Tips for Gathering Firewood

CampfireFall was made for outdoor enthusiasts. There’s no better time of year to go camping than the fall. You get to enjoy the crisp air, the changing leaves, and cooling temperatures. But autumn nights can get pretty chilly, especially after growing acclimated to the sweltering dog days of summer. Thankfully, a good campfire can balance the temperature out just right.

Gathering firewood is pretty self-explanatory. There’s no big secret, and you don’t need an instruction manual. However, as with anything, you can learn little tips or tricks to make your time and effort spent more effective and more efficient. Since you’re bound to be making plenty of campfires over the next few weeks, so here are some tips for gathering firewood.

Use a belt or webbing to carry more wood at once. Unless you were the subject of some secret laboratory experiment, you’ve only got (a maximum) of two arms. There’s a limit to how much firewood you can carry at a time. You end up making a whole bunch of trips, juggling armfuls of firewood. However, if you lay a belt (or some flat nylon webbing, with a loop or closure at one end) flat on the ground, stack your firewood on top of the belt, and cinch the wood together, you can easily carry large quantities at one time.

Gather firewood in a bucket or a crate. Again, instead of making hundreds of little trips carrying 5 or 6 pieces of wood at a time, use an old milk crate or 5 gallon bucket to carry more firewood in a single trip.

Always gather more wood than you think that you need. Motivation to gather firewood typically declines as the night goes on. Capitalize on your initial surge of productivity and getting-it-done-ness and collect as much wood as possible. If you have enough to last through the night, that’s great! If you have too much, you can use it in the morning, the next night, or leave it for the next group of campers.

Gather different sizes of firewood. Don’t just get all the girthy logs, and don’t just grab all the lightweight limbs. You need to have a good supply of both. Logs burn longer but limbs will put off more immediate light and heat.

Try not to collect wet or rotten wood. Sometimes you can’t avoid damp firewood, but the wetter the firewood, the more smoke your campfire will produce.

Bring some firewood with you. This is especially true when you’re going to a new area and you’re unsure of how scarce wood is. In most dispersed camping areas you will probably be able to scrounge for firewood, but bringing some with you will either give your fire a jump start, or provide a fallback if no wood can be found.

Wear a pair of gloves. Points, thorns, dirt, poison ivy, there’s no telling what could be on the fire wood you’re collecting. Protect your hands by wearing a pair of work gloves.

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