How Much Firewood do I Need for Camping?

firewood

On average, between 2-5 bundles of firewood per day are needed – 1 bundle has 4-5 logs and should last around an hour. However, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to planning how much wood for a campfire such as length of your trip, campfire purposes, weather conditions, wood moisture, and more.

In this article, I will go into detail of everything I have mention thus far to help you figure out the amount of firewood you are going to need.

Length of Trip

As already mentioned, around 2-5 bundles of firewood are needed for each day. One bundle has 4-5 logs, which are 12-14 inches long and 4-5 inches in circumference. The longer your camping trip, the more wood and kindling needed for your campfire.

Your own habits and preferences matter as well. Some campers enjoy keeping a fire going every night of their trip for around 5 hours, whereas others prefer the occasional short campfire before bed to warm up. Calculate how many hours you intend to spend by the campfire, so that you can estimate your wood consumption.

Campfire Purposes

This factor often gets overlooked, but it is one of the most important. Whether you prefer not to bring a camping woodstove and like to cook over the campfire, this makes quite a difference. You need more logs when using the fire for cooking, as opposed to just for warmth and aesthetic.

One bundle should last for about an hour, whether it be for warmth or for cooking. For 4 hours, 2-4 bundles with 10-20 logs should be enough for warmth, whereas 3-5 bundles are recommended for cooking. For 8 hours, 7-9 bundles with 35-45 logs are enough for cooking, and 6-8 bundles for warmth. Although eight hours may seem a bit extreme, I am providing these estimates to help make it easier for you to calculate what you need.

Weather Conditions

If the weather conditions are likely to be wet and/or windy, you will need to bring along more firewood. You should pack at least an extra bundle for each day of the trip, since wet and windy conditions reduce the burning efficiency of a fire, causing more wood consumption.

Season

So, we’ve mentioned wet conditions which can happen at any time. Whether you are camping in winter or summer is what makes the biggest difference on firewood consumption. As one would expect, more wood is needed for winter camping than during the summer months.

Especially if there is snow on the ground or forecasted, because your campfire will burn wood less efficiently. I would say that around 25% more wood per day is needed in winter.

Wood Moisture

It goes without saying that wet conditions are not ideal for campfires. Although even when it’s nice and sunny, if your firewood is even slightly moist then you’re done for.

The drier the wood, the easier it will be to start your campfire and the better it will burn.

This is why it is best to avoid chopping down trees or collecting green wood for your campfire, seeing as that type of wood is too damp to burn efficiently. Not only is it extremely difficult to light, but it is also very likely to produce a ton of smoke – nobody wants that.

If you do still plan on collecting wood at your camp location, then I recommend packing a wood moisture meter. These devices give you an instant estimate of the moisture percentage, so that you can be sure to only use wood that is no more than 20%, which is best for fires.

Otherwise, it is easiest to simply purchase dried, seasoned wood like that of a bundle of firewood that you can find at campground stores.

Types of Firewood

Now that you should have a much better idea regarding how much firewood is needed for your camping trip, let’s take a look at what kind of firewood you should use.

When it comes to campfires specifically, there are two main types: hardwood and softwood.

Hardwood

Hardwood is any type of wood that comes from a dicot tree. Dicot, also known as dicotyledon, is a term used to describe a group of flowering plants that have two seed leaves. To put it more simply, a dicot tree is any type of woody flowering plant which has a layer of growing cells between the cambium (inner wood) and the bark.

Some examples of dicot trees are oak, ash, beech, and hickory as these have visible growth rings in their trunk.

Hardwood is preferred for fires because they burn more slowly, but they can be trickier to ignite than softwood and tend to be more expensive.

Hardwoods are known for their quality when it comes to woodworking and construction, which is the reason they’re not as affordable as softwoods.

Softwood

Softwood consists of wood from gymnosperm trees which are a group of seed-producing plants. Conifers are a subset of gymnosperms, which are cone-bearing seed plants such as pines, yews, spruces, and firs.

Don’t let the name fool you, softwoods aren’t actually softer than hardwoods. In fact, certain softwood trees like Douglas firs and longleaf pines are much harder than some hardwoods such as balsa, which is popular in woodworking as it is known for being bent into very unique shapes.

Softwoods are easier to ignite but they burn much faster, making them ideal to use in wet conditions but not ideal for making a fire last a long time.

The main advantage has to be their affordability, which also makes them more common to use for campfires.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will 20kg of firewood last?

20kg of firewood can last anywhere between 1-3 days, depending on how long you leave your campfire lit.

How much firewood do I need?

A lot of factors come into play to answer this question, such as season and weather, your campfire purposes, and the length of your camping trip. A good general rule of thumb is that 2-5 bundles of firewood are needed per day (1 bundle has 4-5 logs).

How do you get firewood for camping?

If you are looking for where to buy firewood for camping you can purchase some at campgrounds, gas stations, and home depots.

How much does firewood cost for camping?

How much is a bundle of wood depends on where you buy it and whether it’s hardwood or softwood. On average, you can expect to spend between $5 and $10 for one bundle.

How much is firewood at Walmart?

How much does a bundle of firewood cost at Walmart – anywhere between $8 and $20, depending on if it’s hardwood or not.

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