Big Wild Sleepout, children toasting marshmallows on camp fire in back garden, England

Expert campfire tips from Rohan

Who doesn’t love the crackle, glow and warmth of a campfire? Make yours a roaring success with sound advice from the experts at outdoor wear specialists Rohan.

Get ready

The 1-2-3 of lighting a fire

To create a fire you need three things: heat, fuel and oxygen. When you’re camping the fuel is likely to be wood that you have collected. Oxygen comes from the air. And the heat – the thing that starts the fire off – will usually be provided by a match. If any one of these things is missing, you won’t have a fire.

Collect your fuel before you start

Before you start, collect plenty of fuel. This should be dry, dead wood which varies in thickness from matchstick-thin "kindling" up to inch-thick sticks. 

Choose and prepare a good site

Carefully choose a site away from overhanging branches and a good distance from your tent. Clear away the ground to get to the bare earth.

Start small

Lay down some small sticks side-by-side to create a base or "hearth" for your fire. Arrange your kindling on top of this base into a little pyramid – leaving space inside for your smallest, driest, bits of kindling. Carefully light these with a match.

Remember you need oxygen

As long as your kindling is nice and dry, the key to getting a fire started is oxygen – you can blow lightly to provide extra oxygen or, for a bit of a boost, waft it with your camping plate.

Build your fire slowly

With your kindling burning nicely, add your fuel (your dry sticks) – gradually increasing the size as you go. Don’t put too many on at once – you’ll smother the fire by cutting off the oxygen supply.

When your fire is going nicely, it’s time to add some really big sticks – and maybe even a log. At this stage, you can start to relax a bit – but not too much. Always watch your fire carefully and never leave it unattended!

Big Wild Sleepout is supported by Rohan

Rohan logo
The designer and supplier of outdoor clothing and footwear has lent its support to Big Wild Sleepout for the third year running. Enjoy your Sleepout, whatever the weather.