Disclaimer: before starting a campfire, make sure to have any needed permits for campfires and be sure to have a safe fire pit.

My go-to fun fact is that I went to nature camp. For eight years of my life, I spent two weeks in the woods of Vermont every year. It was there that I learned how to create coal-burned bowls and spoons, how to hike and how to build a campfire

Building a campfire was a daily occurrence both for warmth on the sometimes cold Vermont days but also to practice. At camp I learned the best shape for campfires (teepee with larger sticks on the inside and drier, more wispy branches on the outside) and five different ways to start a campfire. They are the following:

1. Bow Drill Set

A bow drill, also called a fire drill, is a set with four parts. Fire is created by friction when the spindle, which is dragged by the bow, meets the hearth board. The spindle is held in place by the handhold and this process creates an ember in the sawdust. This ember is then placed in a tinder bundle, which is a ball of flammable fibers that must get oxygen for the ember to stay alive.

2. Long Match

 A long match is a shell made of tree bark that is stuffed with dried grass, leaves and bark. The stuffing is secured with cordage or another type of rope. A live coal from another fire is placed inside the shell and then it is covered to protect the coal from the wind. In the process of transporting the coal, it is vital for the carrier to blow on the coal to keep it alive, without causing the entire long match to burst into flame.

3. Fire Plough

A fire plough is literally rubbing two sticks together to make a fire. The bottom board has a notch cut into it and a dull stick is dragged across the notch, creating a coal from the friction. The coal is then put into a tinder bundle and transported into a fire pit.

4. Flint and Steel

The flint, or fire-striker, is scraped against the steel to create sparks. These sparks are caught by a char cloth, which is just a piece of fabric. The char cloth smolders and is placed within a tinder bundle to create the fire.

5. Matches/Lighter

When all else fails use matches or a lighter.

You don't need to spend two weeks in the Vermont woods to start the perfect campfire. Using one of these lit methods, you can easily start a campfire. Those s'mores are waiting and they're not going to toast themselves.