ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Build a Traditional Teepee Campfire

Updated on December 20, 2011

And There Was Fire!

Firstoff, you're going to want to gather a lot of dry wood, especially if you plan on having a fire that lasts more than a few hours. Secondly, you're going to want branches and twigs and logs of varying diameters from as thick as toothpicks to the size of your leg. Third, you're going to want to gather a bunch of softball-sized (or larger) stones to create a fire ring two-three feet in diameter. The stones provide a safe barrier between your toes and the heat, and also prevent the fire from spreading at ground level (when properly tended to).

The trick to a good teepee fire is the arrangement and layering of the combustibles. The structure of the branches and logs is literally one teepee inside a larger inside a larger and so on. The first and smallest should be about a foot tall and made with sticks about the size of a pencil or a finger. Try to find three sturdy branches with a crook in them that can, when pushed into the ground a bit (if necessary), form a free standing structure that resembles a tripod. With similar size sticks, cover two-thirds of the tripod by leaning sticks against them as though building a tiny pyramid-shaped shelter. Don't get discouraged if your little teepee falls down while you are building it, it's happened to all of us, just keep trying. Once you have that done, take whatever smallest twigs you have and place them in the gaps that inevitably remain between the sticks you just placed.

Now it's time for filling the teepee with your fire-starters. I prefer tiny twigs, paper bags torn into small strips, dry and open pine cones, or birch bark taken only from fallen trees or branches. If you have a paper shredder at home, a big handful of that works perfectly. Make sure whatever you use it's packed in there allowing for air flow to help fuel the blaze. Now you can cover most of the open third of your teepee, just make sure to leave room to get your match or lighter flame directly to your firestarter.


The rest of the process is simply building larger and larger teepees with thicker and thicker branches and logs over and around the initial little pyramidesque structure until you reach the desired size of your blaze. Just remember to leave a gap in each teepee so that you can reach in and light it up. Also, in order to facilitate the combustion of that centermost pyre, be sure to send several deep breaths into the initial embers, to make sure the smaller branches catch. Once those branches are blazing each successive layer with ignite into a blaze of glory, with the branches falling inward as it flares.

However, as a note of caution, not all fires are created equal, and some can fall out of the fire ring if lopsided or if some branches are substantially larger than those opposite them in the teepee. Aim for uniformity and symmetry in each arrangement, and you will minimize the chance of an out of control fire. On that note, always keep a large bucket of water or method of extinguishing close at hand, and always build a fire away from trees, brush, and strong winds; and never leave a fire unattended unless it has been fully extinguished.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)