Skip to Content

7 Best Types of Firewood for Camping

Are you wondering what type of burning firewood is best for camping? If YES, here are 7 best burning firewood for camping. Building a campfire is a must for almost any camping trip. The campfire creates an unforgettable ambiance that becomes the meeting place for storytelling, relaxing, and hanging out with your other camping buddies.

Whether you are sharing the moment with your family roasting marshmallows or taking a solo trip to reflect in the quietude of nature, a good campfire is always a welcome thing. Now, every campfire needs a very crucial element to succeed – wood. That is a quite straightforward claim, but what kind of wood is best? What difference does it make?

While there is no definitive answer on which firewood is best, there are definitely several which are a cut above the rest. The best firewood to use can depend on certain things, such as what is available locally or what is in your budget for buying firewood. Nonetheless, the best firewood to use is seasoned wood. If the wood was cut recently, then it hasn’t been seasoned. Once a tree is cut, it must be split into usable logs, stacked, and allowed to dry out of the elements.

Most times perfectly seasoned wood is not available, so you may just have to inquire how long ago it was cut, because you want to make sure it doesn’t have too much moisture in it. Many hardwoods have a lower moisture content and will still burn pleasantly, even if recently cut.

Note there is nothing like sitting in front of the fire on a cold night or when you are camping. It is part of the experience you are looking for when you are on vacation away from it all. However, you want to make sure you choose a hardwood if at all possible. They burn better than softwood.

Here are the ins and outs of each firewood type including the pros and cons of each, how easy it is to find each type, and a ballpark estimate for how much you will pay.

What is the Best Firewood for Camping?

  1. Ash

Burning in the medium-to-hot range, Ash is renowned as an all-American wood. It is tough wood, yet it is lightweight and fairly easy to split with the right technique. Ash is also known to burn extremely hot, capable of keeping you warm and toasty for colder camping nights. It is one of the most user-friendly types of wood you can get for your campfire with no glaring downsides. Of the many types of ash, white ash is your best bet, as it produces 23.6 million BTUs per cord.

  • This wood is known to burn incredibly hot which means it is a great pick if you are going camping during the colder months. It will help extensively in the winter, especially white ash since it produces an extremely impressive 23.6 million BTUs per cord.
  • Ash wood is tough yet lightweight and easy to split. This is perfect for those just learning how to split their own wood. Also, its lightweight composition means it is both tough and super easy to transport.
  • It is one of the few types of wood which has the capacity to burn even if it is still green. It is still better if you wait for it to be fully seasoned, but the option is there.
  • Since ash falls into the category of hardwood, it tends to be more expensive than its softer counterparts.
  • Ash tends to produce a slightly thicker smoke compared to other woods, so keep that in mind when using it around those with respiratory issues.
  1. Beech

After being seasoned for at least a full year, Beechwood are known to burn long and scorching hot, making it ideal for colder camp adventures. It is able to emit an enormous amount of heat with only nominal sparks and smoke. In addition, it has a smooth, silver bark that doesn’t flake off as much as other types of wood out there. Beechwood is an outstanding firewood choice, burning hot a clean, producing 27.5 million BTUs per cord.

  • This wood produces heat at 27.5 million BTU’s per cord which makes it a wonderful firewood choice. It is dense, so it will give you plenty of burning time without a lot of sparks.
  • For a hardwood that burns similarly to oak, it doesn’t take as long as oak to season. It only takes one year, so you can start planning to use it for next year’s camping trip as soon as you get your wood split up.
  • The smooth silver bark of beech wood won’t flake off as much as other types of wood out there. While it is a great wood for outdoor activities, you can also use it at home and not have to worry about it making a real mess.
  • Splitting beech wood can be moderately hard, so it is not recommended unless you have the right axe or hatchet in your possession.
  • This is the kind of wood that needs to be very well seasoned before being used. Even if there’s just a little green, it is going to be tough to ignite it.
  1. Birch

Birch is softwood that burns fast, yet still puts out a comforting amount of heat. Note that this wood produces lively flames with only a small amount of smoke and sparks. Depending on the species of Birch you choose, the wood can range from mediocre to excellent for your campfire.

Black birch is the most reliable choice, as it produces 26.8 million BTUs per cord. Howbeit, it is advisable you use a durable axe to split this type of wood into small pieces and give it a sufficient amount of time to season.

  • This wood is fairly easy to split which is great for beginners, and the seasoning process is shorter than with other hardwoods like oak. With an average seasoning period of 1 year, its process is one of the shortest on our list.
  • Even though it is a softer wood, it can still generate a generous amount of heat with limited smoke and sparks. This is especially true of black birch which produces a fantastic 26.8 million BTUs per cord.
  • Birch is known for its sweet and enticing smell when burnt. It also generates a limited amount of sparks, making it great for a pleasant night of camping delights.
  • Owing to its softwood qualities, birch often burns out quicker than the average firewood. You will need a hefty supply of birch if you are headed out on a long camping trip.
  • Birch is susceptible to rot if left without splitting for very long, so make sure you are diligent about splitting it before it goes bad.
  1. Maple

Note that maple wood is dense and somewhat difficult to chop. However, it will burn for a long time and produce powerful flames. This type of campfire wood generates high heat with a small amount of smoke. There are many types of maple wood to choose from, but sugar, Manitoba, silver, and red maples are the best ones to use for sustaining a lengthy campfire. Sugar maple produces 24 million British Thermal Units (BTU) per cord. BTU is a measurement of thermal energy and more specifically the amount of energy needed to raise one pound of water 1°F at sea level.

  • This wood is less dense than other hardwoods, so you will have to use more of it. However, it holds a steady flame with limited smoke and very little spark. It is also very quick to ignite which gives it an advantage when compared to other hardwood options.
  • Maple also seasons at a quicker pace than other hardwoods. Speed is really on its side! It is quick to season and quick to catch fire.
  • The smell it gives off is breathtaking. Campfires already have a uniquely pleasant scent, but maple is the most aromatically sweet by far.
  • Note that with maple being on the softer side, you will need to use more wood in order to keep a fire going. It has a lower heat output than other hardwoods like oak, so mixing it with harder woods is recommended if you want the flame to stay alive longer.
  • Maple trees differ pretty wildly. Some of their yields gets put into the softwood category and others into hardwood, so be sure to look into this before purchasing a certain type of maple firewood.
  1. Hickory

Hickory is a dense and heavy hardwood with a long burn time. This wood burns longer than many other split wood options and provides some of the hottest and brightest flames around. Note that it also gives off that classic crackle sound and its burning efficacy makes it ideal for cold nights around the campfire. In addition, it also has an otherworldly scent that infuses into certain foods which are cooked on a campfire.

  • This wood doesn’t hold in much moisture, so the drying process is quicker. Once it is dried, hickory is extremely easy to ignite.
  • Note that it is easy to keep around without having to worry about insects or mold getting to it. Additionally, hickory is low-emission firewood which makes it safer for both you and the environment.
  • It has a long lasting burn and very few sparks to contend with! For a safe campfire, hickory is a really good bet.
  • Finding disadvantages for this type of wood was surprisingly tricky, so that says a lot! One concern is that it is not the easiest wood to split, so make sure you have a reliable axe at your disposal.
  • Hickory is great for both outside and indoor use, but it can be a bit on the pricey side at times.
  1. Oak

Note that premium seasoned hardwood like oak is going to going to be pricier than most. However, oak is dense and slow-burning, giving off little to no spark. Moreover, oak produces a wealth of heat. This wood also has a superb amount of energy content per cord, allowing it to generate a ton of heat. Oak is made up of about 600 different types of trees with many able to live up to 200 years, growing as tall as 100 feet. Perhaps the most notable type of oak is white oak.

  • This wood holds a substantial amount of energy per cord, allowing it to generate a lot of heat. This results in rich and warm fires that are perfect for the cold months. Consider oak if you are planning a winter camping trip.
  • Due to its biological makeup, oak is capable of burning steadily for extended periods of time. So if you want to finish that 300-page book by the fire, oak will stick around and provide you with good company.
  • This wood is also helpful for people trying to avoid large amounts of smoke or sparks. For those with respiratory health concerns, oak is a really good bet.
  • Premium oak can be on the pricier side, so keep that in mind when saving up for your next big camping trip.
  • Oak is notorious for being the slowest wood to season. It takes approximately 2 years to reach peak form. It doesn’t burn well when green, so plan accordingly if you cut some down.
  1. Cedar

Note that this is a handy choice for a campfire especially since it splits easy, burns hot, and has a wonderful aroma. This one is the rebel in the group, though, since it is known to pop quite a lot. When using cedar firewood, ensure to take extra precautions and be careful with its many sparks. Cedar is also known for having smaller flames, but it can definitely be trusted for a longer campfire with that in mind.

  • Building a fire with other woods can be somewhat fickle, but cedar starts up very quickly and can steadily hold its flame.
  • When it comes to heat produced, cedar firewood is on the lower end. However, it still works great for a summer campfire and gives off a pleasant aroma. Maybe that’s why so many household products aim to capture its essence.
  • This wood is very easy to split. Additionally, the 9-month seasoning period is shorter than the majority of other hardwoods.
  • Owing to its oily composition, cedar can be quite volatile and cause many sparks. It is definitely the most intense option on this list in this regard, so be cautious when using it.
  • This is another in the category of “burns quickly,” so make sure to overestimate how much you will need for whatever length of trip you are taking.

With so many different types of firewood to choose from, this list will provide you with a better insight into what you need to make your next campfire an extraordinary one. The more you know about firewood options such as oak and maple, the better prepared you will be for using them efficiently and effectively. There is no wrong option if you are picking one of the firewood types on the list above.