One of the highlights of camping is telling ghost stories, roasting marshmallows for s’mores around the campfire with family and friends. There is a psychological comforting effect on having a campfire burning. Gathering around a campfire is something we as humans have been doing dating back to prehistoric times. There is scientific evidence that proves enjoying the crackling of a campfire lowers blood pressure. The discovery of fire is one of earliest discoveries made by mankind and still has a profound effect on how it makes us feel.
With spring in full swing across the country, and summer a few weeks away camping season is finally here. Many families, boys and girl scouts are planning camping trips. When it comes to wood for your burning in your fire pit, there are options to consider on deciding which wood should be used.
Oak is probably the most well-known of the woods. Oak wood comes from the Quercus and is part of the beech family of trees. Oak is a very common wood and is used for lots of things including campfires. Oak is a very dense tree and it burns very slow, due to its density. Oak is what is considered to be a high energy wood because of its density and produces a lot of heat, and very little smoke and it doesn’t spark much.
Maple wood comes from trees categorized as part of the Sapindaceae family of trees. Maple wood is good for camp fires, because it like oak is a dense and slow burning wood. Like oak wood, maple wood does not tend to spark much with very little smoke. Sugar maple, and red maple are ideal for campfire, but generally maple is a pretty good wood for burning.
Birch wood is softer than both maple and oak, but is still a decent wood to consider building your campfire with. Since birch wood is a softer wood it tends to burn a little faster than harder woods, and birch also tends to retain water, and can become waterlogged. Birch wood tends to burn faster, but it has a nice smell when it burns. As long as the birch wood is waterlogged or not too rotten, you can build awesome campfires using birch woods. The bark on birch wood is very good to start the fire, because it so flammable.
Cherry wood is also known to have a pleasant smell when burning, which makes it a popular choice for burning in the home in a fireplace and building campfires. Cherry wood does tend to spark a little more than birch, maple or oak so the sparks should be considered when roast marshmallow, or hotdogs with younger children.
Ash wood is part of the Oleaceae family of trees, and is one of about 45 different types of trees in this family. Ash wood is a good choice for campfires, because it does hold on to moisture in the air and does not give off lots of smoke when it is burning. Ash wood can still burn pretty good even if it is green, and generally can be used if you see it around the camping grounds.
Black locust, is not as popular as the other mentioned tress, because it is only grown in a few states. Black locust is a very dense wood. Many campers choose black locust for campfires, because it is dense and tends to burn slowly and makes very hot coals that can used to bake potatoes or corn on the cob wrapped in foil. Black locust is a very hard that burns for a very long time, which can be ideal for long summer nights around the campfire.