Fire pits are both a popular design feature for homes and a practical way to keep a fire while camping. In both cases, constructing a quality fire pit is essential for safety and effectiveness. Fire pits provide great ambiance in addition to the practical concerns of warmth or cooking. Constructing a fire pit while camping is as easy as stacking some rocks in a circular form and starting a fire in the middle. There are some details to take into consideration when constructing a good fire pit. These will ensure that your fire pit is safe and contains the fire well.
The first thing to consider when constructing a fire pit for camping is location. Where you decide to build it is key for safety and comfort–since you will obviously want to lounge around the fire pit after a long day of hiking. Constructing the fire pit a good distance away from your tent is always a good idea. Sparks from fires can travel and burn holes in or ignite fabric–even tents. In general, building the fire pit in a relatively isolated location is best. Do not build it directly underneath leafy trees, or any trees at all if you have a choice. Even in a forest environment, try and construct the fire pit out of the way of large brush or trees to avoid the risk of lighting something on fire. Proper management of a camping fire should guard against this possibility, but the location of the fire pit plays a role.
Once you have selected an appropriate area for the fire, clear the area from stray brush and begin collecting rocks. Now is the time to start thinking about the size of the fire pit. This largely depends on how many people you expect to gather around the pit. For large groups, a large fire pit is often necessary to share the warmth. In general, a small to medium size pit is often the best way to go to keep the fire manageable. Often, the larger the pit, the bigger the fire since you are more inclined to want to fill the space. When searching for fire pit rocks, looks for large flat rocks for the base. You will want to establish an initial circumference for the pit. Once you have done this, add a second layer on top of the first. For this you will also want to use large, flat rocks to ensure that the pit is secure. Don’t enclose the pit too much, but don’t leave it totally open either. Usually a perimeter of rocks three or four high will suffice. If you plan on using the pit to cook, leave an opening with just the first layer of rocks on one side of the pit–usually where you plan to sit.
A camping fire pit in a good location with a solid foundation of rocks that keep the heat and flames contained is a safe fire pit. Making the fire pit too high or too deep will make it difficult to control the flames, and the rocks may even begin falling. The most important thing is to keep the fire contained effectively–for heat and safety. While camping, the wind often picks up and will blow sparks out of the fire pit. Having as insulated pit as possible against the wind will help to prevent the spread of sparks. Beyond this, maintaining a safe fire pit comes down to maintaining a safe fire.
Monitor the fire at all times and always keep some water on hand. In general, a well-constructed fire pit is an easy, safe way to enjoy a fire while camping.
Ben Vaughn writes on constructing a safe fire pit, home fire and water damage, and the top water damage restoration company.