A camping trip is just not the same without an old-fashioned campfire.
There’s nothing quite like sitting around a warm fire with friends, roasting s’mores. But in order to get a good fire going – one that doesn’t go out constantly, or smoke and spark much – depends a lot on what kind of wood you’re using to get it started.
Certain types of wood just naturally burn a lot better than others. Because they’re so dense, hardwoods are usually the best option, but there are some types of softwoods that will still burn pretty decently too.
It’s also really important that freshly cut wood has been completely dried out – or “seasoned” – before using it to make a fire. Sometimes it even needs to be seasoned for up to a full year before it can be used.
But with so many different types of wood out there, it can almost be overwhelming trying to figure out which ones are the best to burn. Try some of these species in particular for a good, strong fire that will last for hours.
Oak is one of the most popular types of firewood for good reason. Dense and slow-burning, it tends to last much longer than other types. The wood also has a high amount of energy content per cord, so it can produce a ton of heat with barely any smoke or sparks.
Like oak, hard maple is dense and can be tough to chop up. But it’ll burn long and strong when you throw it in the fire. The wood puts off a high amount of heat without much smoke. Sugar maple, manitoba maple, red, and silver maple are some of the best ones in particular to burn.
Birch is a softer wood, so it tends to burn more quickly. But it can put off a great amount of heat, with bright and lively flames and very little smoke or sparks.
Cherry or Black Cherry
If a good aroma is important to you, try burning some cherry (or black cherry) wood. It’s not the hottest-burning, but the wood is easier to handle and split than a lot of other types. It usually only puts off a little smoke, and sparks a moderate amount.
This wood’s also a popular choice for smoking meats like pork and beef, and will give them a rich mahogany color.
Beech can burn long and hot if it’s been seasoned for at least a full year. The wood is dense, heavy, and can emit a ton of heat without a lot of smoke or sparks. It’s also known for having a smooth, silver bark that doesn’t seem to flake off as much as other types of firewood.
Considered to be an “all-American wood”, ash tends to burn slow and steady. It’s a tough wood, but still relatively lightweight and easy to split. Ash is also known to burn pretty hot, which will keep you nice and toasty in the wintertime.
Of course, with so many types of wood out there, there are plenty of other great options too. What kind of firewood do you like to use? We’d love to hear your favorites down below!