Campfire Cooking Tips for Campers and Backpackers

When the weather begins to warm up, the first thing on many people’s minds is their next camping trip or backpacking adventure. Camping is one of the best ways to welcome summer. Let’s face it though - no camping or backpacking trip is complete without the campfire! Here are a few campfire tips to help make your next outdoor cooking session go off without a hitch.

Campfire Cooking

Tip #1: Be safe
Before packing and heading out the door, you’ll first want to make sure there’s no burn ban in place where you’ll be camping. Safety is the most important aspect of any camping trip. You don’t want to risk environmental damage or the safety of you and others. Plan ahead to ensure this will be your best camping trip yet!

Tip #2: Choose the right fuel
While you might need to forgo bringing along firewood for the sake of a lighter load on some backpacking trips, cooking over a wood-fueled fire is an experience everyone should enjoy! One excellent fuel option is kiln-dried firewood. Incredibly light and dry, this firewood is not only a breeze to carry, but will light instantly, burn hotter and more efficiently, and give you a much cleaner fire than you’ll get with seasoned or green firewood. There’s a reason professional chefs prefer to do their live-fire cooking with kiln-dried wood.

If you’re bringing firewood on a camping trip that’s not right in your hometown, make sure it’s USDA approved to be moved. Wood that hasn’t been heat-treated at the right temperature for the right amount of time could spread invasive bug species. You can read more about this here. Stone Hearth’s kiln-dried firewood is USDA certified – which means it’s safe to take on your next camping trip whether it’s here at home or across the country.

Tip #3: Choose a safe location
Most campgrounds offer designated fire pits, which should be used when available. If there is no fire pit already in place, make your own using rocks and bricks to contain the fire. Pick a location at least 8 feet away from any bushes, dwellings, or combustibles (lighter fluid, alcoholic drinks, etc.).

Dig out a small impression in the ground that’s about 3 feet in diameter. Line the outside edge of the fire pit with rocks or bricks as a non-flammable barrier. By digging your fire pit out, you not only help shelter your fire from the wind but make it more difficult for the fire to spread as well.

Tip #4: Don’t cook on a windy day
There are a couple of good reasons not to cook over a fire on a windy day. Not only can it be dangerous if the wind carries sparks into nearby trees or brush, but the breeze can also blow ash onto your food. While ash-coated steak might still be edible, it’s probably not the taste you were going for! Plan ahead so you have a different meal option available if the weather conditions aren’t optimal.

Tip #5: Be patient
Try to start cooking about an hour before you actually want to eat. Starting when you’re already hungry could result in you being ravenous by the time the food is ready.

Cooking over a fire is somewhat of an art. Learning to master it is what makes it so fun! There’s truly nothing better than a good meal cooked over the open flame. An important thing to keep in mind is that your heat is not going to be as consistent and steady as it would be if you cooked in a stove at home. Be patient with yourself! After doing it a couple of times, you’ll have a good idea of how long it takes certain foods to cook.

Campfire Cooking

Tip #6: Use proper equipment
Cast iron pans are an excellent option for cooking over a fire. Not only is the thick heavy material durable, but it’ll cook your food evenly, and you’re less likely to burn your meal on a hotspot inside the pan. We recommend designating one pan to use for cooking over a campfire. Make sure you properly season your cast iron pan to prevent food from sticking. This will also ensure it’ll last you for many camping trips to come.
In addition to a cast-iron pan, we recommend bringing the following items if you have room:

  • waterproof matches
  • knife
  • aluminum foil
  • lightweight cooking grate
  • basic seasonings - salt and pepper shakers, plus 1 tbsp of onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne

Tip #7: Enjoy the process and relax
Unless you’re on a backpacking trip with time constraints, there’s no rush! Experiment and try new dishes – you can find plenty of great campfire recipes online. Assuming you built your fire ahead of time, there’s no hurry with cooking your food. So take your time, and enjoy the process!

If you’d like to give our kiln-dried campfire bundles a try and see for yourself why kiln-dried firewood has become our best-selling item, give us a call at 906-250-1389, or order here.

We hope you enjoyed these campfire tips, and wish you clear skies and no wind on your next venture into the great outdoors!