How Much Firewood Do I Need for Camping?

how much firewood do i need for camping
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Camping is a fun activity with a bright campfire lighting up in the middle. People do it to escape from the tough and busy life of the city and to get some peacetime in the wild. You need to carry all the bare minimums alongside you if you want an authentic camping experience. One such important thing is firewood.

Out in the wild, you cannot have all the comforts and luxuries of your home. You need a fire to cook the food as well as warm yourself up if the weather is cold. There won’t be any fuel available, so the only way is to burn wood. 

The basic purpose you are going to require wood for is the campfire. It can be used for cooking as well as to provide the necessary heat. 

The amount of wood you require would be based on how much time you want to run the campfire. Your estimate of the required wood needs to be accurate as you do not want to be running out of wood in the middle of your cooking. Also, you should not be carrying more wood than you require as it would take up the space that is reserved for the other important items. 

To answer how much firewood do I need for camping, this article covers all the details you need to know.

How Much Firewood Do I Need for Camping?

If you are going on a day and night trip, you do not need to carry a whole lot of wood with you. Your needs are minimum, and much wood is not required. If you intend to keep the campfire long, just carry 3-4 bundles of firewood alongside you. It will be enough for the light cooking as well as for the campfire. 

As the climate of the place matters a lot, if you are camping in a place with warm weather conditions, all you need firewood for is the cooking process. The campfire will only be lit in the evening. So, you only need to light up for a few hours, say 4-5 hours at max. In such conditions, carrying 3-4 bundles of wood for each day would suffice. This would serve you well for cooking meals in the evening and for breakfast in the morning. 

As for camping in the cold weather, a running campfire is the only source available in the wild to keep yourselves warm. If you want to enjoy the views and like to sit outside, you must have your campfire running all the time. Even if not for the entire day, the campfire will be lit for most parts of the day. In such situations, it is recommended to carry 6-7 bundles of fire with day for each day. Being around the campfire in the cold will prove to be a worthy experience, nevertheless.

What is a Bundle of Wood?

If you are searching on how much firewood do you need for camping, then you must have come across the term bundle of wood. Firewood for camping is measured quantitatively in bundles. One bundle usually consists of 4-5 sticks of wood, enough to burn for at least an hour. 

Factors Affecting the Requirement of Wood

First of all, you need to determine the factors that impact your need for firewood. Getting to know such factors will help you figure out the exact amount of wood you need to carry. It is common sense that the longer your trip is, the more firewood you would require. However, there is an important thing to keep in mind here. Carrying wood over a longer distance might prove to be illegal as well as adverse for the trees in the camping area.

Some insects and bugs might not be harmful to one type of tree, but they are, to the others. If you take firewood from one place to the other, you are transporting those bugs alongside. It can literally kill a lot of trees in the area, and you are taking it without you knowing. An infested wood can destroy a whole forest. So, if your trip is much longer or you are covering a huge distance, consider buying or using firewood on the spot.

Climatic Conditions

The climatic conditions of the place where you are camping directly affect the amount of firewood you need. If the chosen spot has a tropical temperature, your need drastically reduces as the only use for firewood would be for cooking. However, just keeping in mind the changes in weather, keep a little bit of wood extra to counter anything. 

If the weather is cold, you would need to carry a lot of wood with you. As the campfire would be lit for not only cooking but for the extra warmth as well. It is very important to keep you warm in a cold environment. 

Types of Wood

If you are a seasoned camper, you would know this. Not all types of wood burn equally. Some of them burn really well while the others are not so good at it. Softwood is notorious for being consumed in huge quantities as they burn easily and readily. Hardwood, on the other hand, takes time to burn. That is why it burns for a much longer duration without getting consumed in a large quantity. 

The key here is to take a mixture of both types alongside. It is best recommended to start the fire with softwood till it gets going. After that, throw in the hardwood to keep it running till long without much consumption. 

Another important thing about wood is whether it is fresh or not? Believe me, this is as important as the type of wood. Freshly cut wood has a high quantity of moisture which makes it extremely hard to burn. Even if you somehow manage to ignite the fire in fresh wood, it will emit a lot of smoke which makes it hard to stay in the surrounding. 

When purchasing, opt for the dry wood. You can use a moisture meter to check the quantitative percentage of the moisture in it, or if you are an experienced guy, you would know just by looking at it. Dry wood burns effectively and the smoke it emits is in the acceptable limits as well. 

Follow the Rules

Depending upon the area you are going, there might be several rules you need to keep an eye on. For example, in some areas, it is prohibited to enter if you are carrying firewood from some other place. Similarly, cutting of firewood is illegal in some parks. You are not allowed to raise a campfire beyond some specific limit in some areas. If you are camping in a forest, they might not even allow you to have a campfire at all the avoid any kind of risk of a wildfire. Before deciding on the amount of firewood you need to carry, please check with such rules of the place you are going to visit.

What if you Are Running out of Wood during Camping?

Don’t worry, it happens to everyone at least once. A slight miscalculation and no reserve carried, and you run out of wood in the middle of your camping trip. What to do now? The only solution is to spot a tree and cut it for the fire. It is a difficult task to choose among the variety available. Here are some tips to make sure that you are getting excellent firewood. 

  • Do not cut something that is not brown. Or to put it in other words, that is not old. Younger trees have high moisture content on the inside, and they will be very hard to burn. Cutting a young tree would be just a waste of the plant. 
  • The smell of the wood is directly related to its moisture content. Young trees have a strong and pungent smell, credits to its high moisture content inside. The older the tree, the almost odourless it will be and a great choice for firewood. 
  • If you hit two wooden pieces together, they are going to make a sound. A solid thud would mean that the wood is dry and ready to be burnt. Conversely, if the wood contains moisture, the voice of striking would be dull and such wood is highly not recommended. 
  • Lightweight wood burns quickly and will be consumed in no time. They are ideal to start the fire, but they can’t keep up with it for a long time. Be sure to cut those logs that feel normal for their weight. 


As you have to carry everything alongside you on a camping trip, the weight and quantities of the things to be carried need to be exact. Determining the right quantity of firewood is a crucial task, and you need to do that before you start your trip.

During your trip, several things can be done to make your firewood last long. For instance, get it started with softwood and later on use the hardwood, put out the fire when not in use, or choose the right setup for the fire. 

As a last tip, always keep yourself on the higher side. Take a little more than the estimated amount to keep yourself covered for any emergency that might occur on the way. Happy Camping!!

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I am Steve Hudson. I write about Fishing, Climbing, Hiking, Backpacking and Camping here at Living Ambition.

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