5 Best Woods for Campfire: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

Fire has long been a fundamental element of survival, and it’s one we turn to even today when we head into the great outdoors. But fire does more than create an ambiance for our campsite; it gives us heat, light, and a place to cook. However, to get the most out of our fire, it’s vital to find a wood that will last for hours without emitting lots of sparks or too much smoke.

So what’s the best wood for campfire? Read on to find out.

Types of Wood Fuel

You’ll notice when searching for campfire wood that you can find this product in many forms. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Firewood
  • Wood chips
  • Wood shavings
  • Sawdust
  • Bark 
  • Wood sheets

Most of our recommendations are for firewood, which is ideal for a campfire, though we have included a wood chip option.

Types of Campfire Wood

It’s vital to have a basic understanding of the types of campfire wood, as they’re not all created equal. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular ones and what they’re best suited for.

Oak

Oak is undoubtedly the most popular type of wood, which is due in large part to the fact that it’s easy to find. There is a wide variety of oak species in North America, so it’s a readily available wood variety. And of course, oak is popular because it’s quite dense and burns slow. It produces tons of heat, with very little smoke or sparks, and burns for an incredibly long time.

Hickory

This dense hardwood is a favorite for cooking—provided you can split it, as it’s quite thick. But once it’s cut, hickory makes an excellent wood for your campfire, where it burns strong. Chefs love its flavor for grilling and smoking steaks and fish.

Ash

Despite being a sturdy wood, ash is actually quite easy to split. It’s considered an All-American type, and it’s very user friendly, even for beginners. Ash burns medium to hot, and it gives off slow and continuous heat to keep you warm on cold nights.

Cedar

Another fantastic choice for staying warm when it gets chilly is cedar. Cedar delivers a lot of heat, though it doesn’t give off the towering flames that other woods do. You’ll probably recognize its characteristic smell, which is popular in many furniture polishes and is quite pleasant.

Maple

Maple is very similar to oak in that it’s quite dense and somewhat tricky to chop. It also has a long burn time and produces plenty of heat with very little smoke, making it a sound campfire option. You have a few options when it comes to maple. Sugar, Manitoba, silver, and red maple are among the most popular choices.

Birch

Birch is not as dense as, say, maple or oak, and it burns more quickly. But don’t underestimate it, because birch can put out a significant amount of heat. Not to mention, its flames are bright and cheery, and it produces very little smoke or sparks.

Pine

Finally, you might choose pine because of how easy it is to start and use. Pine is generally low maintenance, as it takes a long time to decay and doesn’t attract insects. It does burn for less time than other woods we’ve mentioned, but it makes a fantastic starter.

Qualities of the Best Wood for Campfire

Here are some qualities to look for when selecting firewood.

Dryness

Dry wood burns better than moist wood. It produces less smoke, lights faster, and burns better. 

Hardwood vs. Softwood

Choose a hardwood whenever possible, as hardwoods have a higher density and, therefore, more mass to burn. They burn longer and more powerfully than softwoods.

Heat Value

You may hear the term heat value when talking about firewood. It’s a measure of the heat energy wood creates when it’s burning. As a general rule of thumb, if a block of wood has high heat value, it will burn hotter and longer than others with a lower heat value.

Are There Any Wood Types to Avoid?

Yes! Avoid burning these woods in your campfire:

  • Poplar
  • Spruce
  • Alder
  • Willow

Best Wood for Campfire Overall

Wildwood Kindling Kiln-Dried Cedar Kindling

Our choice for the best wood for campfire is the Wildwood Kindling Kiln-Dried Cedar Kindling. This product arrives at your door ready for use in practically any setting imaginable. It’s fantastic for camping use, but it’s also perfect in a beach fire pit or at your home, both indoors and outdoors.

We like that this wood is eco-friendly. It’s free of chemical additives, and you don’t have to worry about any dirt or debris, which is a common issue with firewood. Wildwood Kindling ships their product clean, super dry, and ready for action.

And ready for action it is: reviewers mention how easy it is to get a fire going. All you have to do is add this wood to other logs, light a match, and sit back and relax. It burns for a long time, and it burns hot for cold nights, where you’ll enjoy the pleasant scent for hours.

Pros:

  • Comes in a fun box
  • Wood is easy to light
  • Burns long and hot 
  • Nice cedar odor 
  • Excellent value for money 
  • It has many uses

Cons:

  • Reviewers report differences in weight and quantity

Best Wood for Campfire Under $30

J.C.’s Smoking Wood Sticks

Our first choice for the best wood for campfires under $30 is J.C.’s Smoking Wood Sticks. This applewood is sourced from Central Iowa and Missouri, and it’s fantastic for cooking, as well as your general campsite needs.

It does have a less involved preparation process than other woods, but it arrives dried, chopped, and ready for use. J.C.’s Smoking Wood Sticks deliver excellent burn time, so your fire should last for hours. Plus, reviewers are pleased with how nice this wood smells.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • Pleasant smell 
  • Not too smoky 

Cons:

  • Some users were dissatisfied with the number of logs in the package
  • Some felt the wood was expensive

Oklahoma Joe’s Wood Smoker Chunks 

Kicking back and enjoying your favorite meat is one of the best parts of camping. For that reason, we wanted to include a product that was more geared toward cooking. And Oklahoma Joe’s Wood Smoker Chunks fit the bill.

The wood smoker chunks are available in three flavors, hickory, mesquite, and apple, which are perfect for giving your food that extra flavor. They start burning quickly, and when you mix the chunks with other wood types, they encourage the other pieces around them to start burning too. Oklahoma Joe’s wood chunks burn for quite a while and don’t produce a ton of smoke.

The only real negative was that some users complained that the chunk sizes were too small for their smokers. Other than that, you get a lot for the price of this product.;

Pros:

  • Various flavors
  • Easy to mix with other wood types
  • Fantastic value for money
  • All-natural
  • Perfect for infusing flavor into your meats

Cons:

  • Chunk size too small for some people

Best Wood for Campfire Under $60

Wilson Enterprises Split Firewood

Wilson Enterprises sells firewood of various types, and it’s perfect for camping or backyard use. The firewood is aged, dried, and split, and it burns nice and evenly. One thing reviewers mention is how good the wood smells and how easy it is to start the fire. Plus, it’s kiln-dried to keep moisture out, sterilize the wood, and preserve it in storage.

Some users complain about the price, but we’d say the quality of the firewood and the convenience of having it delivered to your door is worth it.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • Excellent smell
  • Easy to start
  • Even burn

Cons:

  • Somewhat higher price

Smoak Firewood Kiln Dried Premium Oak Firewood

You can turn to Smoak for all your campsite needs, whether that’s general heating or cooking. Their premium oak firewood is of excellent quality, burns exceptionally well, and smells incredible. It also starts very quickly, and the pack includes a starter, which is a detail we appreciate.

But perhaps what sets Smoak’s wood apart is that they kiln dry it for up to 48 hours. This time is much longer than the minimum 75-minute requirement to be called kiln-dried wood, and it’s apparent in the quality. It’s USDA certified pest free and available in two sizes: eight-inch mini logs and sixteen-inch large logs.

Pros:

  • Includes a starter
  • Made in the USA
  • Available in two different sizes
  • Burns for a long time

Cons:

  • Some users complained about the price

Wrapping Up 

There’s nothing like spending a cozy night wrapped up in a blanket next to the fire. We chose the Wildwood Kindling Kiln-Dried Cedar Kindling for this job because it provides excellent value for money. This eco-friendly wood does precisely what you need it to, which is burn hot and for a long time, to enjoy plenty of cozy nights by the fire.