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How to build the perfect beach fire

Updated on July 7, 2011

Beach living

You're not beach living unless you end your day with a beach campfire.  It's a must and yet many people leave things too late in the day to get it sorted.

So, as an experienced campfire instigator, I thought it only right to share with you some top tips on how to end your day the perfect way.

Build it and they will come

Top tips to beach fire perfection

1. Plan ahead. Being the beach bum you are it's sometimes difficult to plan too far ahead but bear with me. The ideal time for gathering your firewood is early in the morning before the sun is high in the sky. This way you avoid the pesky midges and mosquitoes in the woods which will eat your sweaty flesh to death should you go later in the hot day. Make sure you take a couple of big animal backpacks or a massive blanket to pile the logs into. Oh and for once it may be worth ditching your havaiana flip flops for something a little sturdier.

2. Storage. When you return to the beach stick the pile under your beach hut/shack. Make sure they are hidden from the eyes of your lazy teenage neighbour. This is because said lazy teenage neighbour has often been found to steal your fire wood later in the day - he's a good kid mind but cannot be arsed to go and gather fire wood for himself. Keep your eye on him.

If you don't have a beach hut/shack keep it wrapped in the blanket. No one will know what it is so they won't steal it. Also keeping it under wraps ensures it stays dry should you get a late afternoon thunderstorm... more on dry wood later.

3. Light the fire at dusk. You've had your bbq, the drinks are flowing and people are chilling out after a long days surf, fishing, doing nothing, etc. So get the fire started so you all have a focal point as the dark draws in.

4. Build it away from wooden beach huts/shacks. Firstly you don't want the no fun police door stopping you just as you get the fire going because 'you're making too much noise'. So light it halfway down to the water’s edge.

This will have the added benefit of stopping the no fun police complaining of the fire risk. This is especially important if some idiot recently burnt down a beach hut/shack by breaking into a hut/shack and starting a fire in the middle of it during the winter months. You are then able to point out that a) you are nowhere near the huts and b) you are not a complete idiot who starts fires in the middle of said huts.

5. Use tinder or newspapers to light it. It's a quick and easy way. Make sure you don't have an idiot friend who insists on knowing how to light fires 'really well'. You'll end up blowing each other’s sparks out... And both look like complete asses!

6. Make sure the wood is dry. I can't stress this enough. If not you may all spend the night with tears streaming down faces.

You see wet wood, when burnt, is very smoky. Smoke gets in your eyes and before you know it everyone looks like they've just finished watching Bambie for the first time. Whilst some of your more seasoned surf buddies will stick it out there will be many who quit early and/or just moan for ages. Put a stop to the moaning by using dry wood!

7. Bring booze and blankets. The booze will keep the party going late and the blankets will be there for when you pass out. Believe me waking up to a bitching hangover under the blazing sun with a mouthful of sand is not nice.

Make sure you've got all your essential booze categories covered. You'll need beers and wine early on. Later you'll need whisky and Sambucca to really help you get through the night and see that beautiful dawn.

8. Bring guitars and harmonicas. Stereos and sand don't mix. Keep it organic with some quality blues guitar playing. Make sure the said instruments are in the hands of people who can really play it and not that guy still learning three blind mice.

Use the empty beer bottles for some extra quality slide playing.

9. Bring a dog.
No real reason other than dogs are great. When they get cold wrap your jumper round them and all say 'ahh' when they start snoring loudly.

10. Put the fire out. If you do end up going to bed and not simply passing out you should put them hot embers out. Poor water over them (there's a massive ocean next to you afterall) and then bury them in a deep layer of sand. Should kids just happen to start digging in the exact spot on the massive beach you had your fire the embers will be truly cold.

So those are a host of tips for you. I hope you have many years of having great beach fires. I know I did. I don't really remember many of them because of my massive penchant for whisky but still the hazy memories are always comforting when stuck in the city.


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    • animal-backpacks profile image

      animal-backpacks 6 years ago from Brighton

      Hope it helps. Let me know how it all goes.

    • donnakays profile image

      donnakays 6 years ago

      This year my Beltane fire will be on the beach. Thanks for a well laid plan.

    • megmccormick profile image

      megmccormick 7 years ago from Utah

      I have the fondest memories of many beach fires at night during my childhood and teen years in Huntington Beach, California. Thanks for a great Hub it brought back memories!

    • animal-backpacks profile image

      animal-backpacks 7 years ago from Brighton

      I hope you get to build a beach fire where you live. They are the best way to enjoy the end of a day. Good luck building yours.

    • annmeadows profile image

      annmeadows 7 years ago from Mobile, Al.

      Great info. I wonder if it's perfectly legal to build a fire on the beach in Orlando. Well, if so, I'll be prepared.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 7 years ago from USA

      Funny AND informative!