Best Wood For Campfire: [Top 5 Of All Time]

 Best Wood For Campfire

For all the adventure lovers and thrill-seekers, camping is an all-time favorite. It’s the perfect way of getting away from the boring day-to-day life while learning how to survive in the wild. Plus, who can resist the temptation of exchanging spooky stories around a campfire?

To be a seasoned camper, you need to master many skills like pitching a tent, cooking outdoors on an open fire, tying various kinds of knots, etc. Most importantly, you need to learn how to make a fire.

A campfire would not only keep you warm but also provide you light, protect you from wild animals and insects, and double up as cooking fire. To build a perfect campfire, you need to be familiar with what goes into the fire, the firewood!

Which firewood is best for a campfire?

Once you’ve got the hang of making a campfire, you might notice that not every firewood is the same. One kind would catch fire easily but would not burn for a long time, the other would burn for a long time but might give out a lot of smoke, and so on.

So how do you discern what kind of firewood would be best suited for your requirements? For this, you need to consider the location where you’re planning to go camping and the weather you’re expecting there. Some varieties of firewood burn with a hotter flame (suitable for colder weather) than others.

Ideally, hardwood is preferred for campfires as it has higher wood fiber density, thus increasing the duration for which the fire can be sustained. On the other hand, many softwood varieties can also be used as decent firewood for campfires since it’s quick to catch fire.

Here is a list of the best choices of wood for building a campfire.


Birch is a hardwood, which means it’d burn for a more extended period. It burns fast with a medium-hot flame, offering you a comfortably toasty fire. So if you’re planning to camp all through the night, Birch could be a great choice.

Two kinds of Birch make for reasonably good firewood: Black Birch and Yellow Birch.

Black Birch is commonly known as the sweet Birch or the mountain Mahogany. It can be burned unseasoned but might produce more smoke. With a BTU of approx. 26.8 million per cord, Black Birchwood burns with a splendid flame and gives off a unique woody smell.

Yellow Birch (known locally as swamp Birch) is another variety of Birch, which is used as wood for campfires. It burns with a comparatively less hot flame and becomes harder to split as it grows old. This can be a good option if your camp is at lower altitudes, or somewhere with less chilly temperature.


Oak supplies the best wood for campfires. With a BTU of 29.9 million per cord (white oak), its flame is excellent. It’s a perfect choice of wood if you plan on a camping trip to a very cold region. Oakwood fire gives off an impressive amount of heat with almost no sparks and smoke.

Oakwood that has been allowed to dry appropriately, would burn effortlessly. It’s a hardwood; therefore, it’ll continue to burn for a significant amount of time.

All this sounds too good to be true? Of course, Oakwood has its downside too- it’s expensive.


Maple is another hardwood that is considered to be fine wood for campfires. The flame of Maple wood is brilliant, and it produces very little smoke. In terms of the British Thermal Unit (amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water to 1° Fahrenheit, which equals approximately 1,055 joules), Maple wood gives about 24 million BTUs per cord.

The best thing about using Maple wood is that it does not require a long time to be seasoned. It can be dried and put to use in around six to seven months only. So if you’re not much of a plan-in-advance kind of person, this wood is for you!

However, it might be challenging to chop Maple wood.

Black Cherry

If you plan on cooking chicken or other meat on your campfire, you might want to consider making your campfire with Black Cherry wood.

Black Cherry is a very popular choice for campfire wood as it burns with a sweet smell and gives a delightful smoky flavor to the meat being cooked. Although it might produce some sparks, it is easily accessible and not at all challenging to split.

It produces around 19.5 million BTUs per cord. Therefore, the flame is not scorchingly hot. So if you’re having a spring or an early autumn campfire, this is perfect for you. Black Cherry is a hardwood tree, so its flame would burn slowly and for quite a remarkable period.

White Ash

White Ash is a popular choice of wood for making campfires as it is lightweight. The flame of White Ashwood is almost as hot as the flame of Black Birchwood. And it is relatively easy to split, not at all as stubborn as Oak or Maple.

The BTU for White Ashwood is 24.3 million per cord, making it an excellent choice for campfire in winters.

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir is a fast-growing softwood tree. Its wood is excellent for campfires as it can burn with a moderately hot flame with only some scanty sparks. However, it should be allowed to season for at least one year before use.

Douglas Fir wood is one of the easiest wood to split.

Seasoning of firewood

Apart from the varieties mentioned above, you can also go for Beechwood and Dogwood. However, all these varieties should be seasoned in advance. For seasoning, it is advised that the wood is scored and let to dry for at least one year before use. Yes, that’s right! A year in advance might seem like a lot to you, but trust us, you won’t regret it.

During the seasoning period, the wood should be stored in an area that receives sunlight and is away from moisture. Well-seasoned wood burns quickly and minimizes the smoke.

To sum up

One thing that should be kept in mind for any wood for a campfire is to make sure that it is well dried and seasoned, as green wood contains large quantities of sap, which would make it difficult for the wood to catch fire.

Apart from this, any firewood that you choose from the list above will fulfill your needs. To select the right firewood for your camping trip, don’t forget to consider all factors such as the location, purpose, the time required to start the fire, ease of chopping, etc. Happy camping!

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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