I love cooking, I love camping, I love campfires and I love children.
Yet sometimes putting all those together, with everything else involved in camping with children, is a little daunting if not completely off-putting; camp cookery reverts to the stove, a barbecue and the odd Cornish Pasty if we’re down that way!
Men at work
What if you could have all the fun of the fire and the food without the travel and paraphernalia of camping? You can.
Cue Kids of the Wild’s urban cookfire revolution! Here’s how to have a campfire in your garden or yard.
Food, Fire and Fun without the Faff?
Why not practice and enjoy outdoor cooking at home before taking your perfected pyro-culinary skills into the field on an actual camping trip? Genius. And GREAT for getting wild kids acquainted with fire lighting, fire safety and outdoor cooking.
In the Genes
I consider Wild Grandma, (my Mum) a moderate to serious pyromaniac and consequently we have enjoyed many a garden campfire over the years. She and Wild Gump are lucky to have a large garden so we’ve had various family gatherings involving fires or firepits at theirs, including in the snow!
It’s just as easy to enjoy a campfire in a small garden if you play it safe.
Before embarking on this mini adventure there are a few things to consider: –
Garden Size – your space doesn’t need to be huge but must allow for a safe ‘escape’ distance around the fire in case of flying embers, sudden wind changes or flare-ups
Embers being blown by a swirling wind
Trees & Shrubs – Ensure any fire is well away from overhanging branches which could catch light
Wind Direction – As with garden barbecues, always consider how smoke will affect the neighbours/washing/open windows etc
Smoke – Ensure that smoke from the fire will not drift across roads causing risk to drivers etc
Fuel – You may live in a Smoke-Free Zone. Find out from your local authority and use appropriate smokeless fuel if necessary
Emergencies – Always have a bucket of water close by in case the fire gets out of hand (and for plunging little fingers into in the unfortunate event of an accident)
Scorched Earth Policy
A campfire in the garden is obviously going to scorch and damage the grass or patio that it burns on. Grass quickly recolonises almost anywhere but if you are keen to avoid too much damage, a firepit might be the best plan though even these can get very hot underneath. Below are some ideas to consider.
Types of Fire
Firepit – a great option for small, contained fires, easily used as a barbecue too.
Traditional – choose a space that you’re happy to scorch and set your fire there! NB – it’s easier for this kind of fire to spread and burn where not wanted.
Traditional with rock ring – the one above is actually in sand but works just as well in your own back garden. The rocks contain the fuel and also radiate heat as the fire grows. However, if too close to the fire the rocks can overheat and explode so take care.
Digging out a shallow pit contains the fire even more and is ideal on a beach where you should always maintain a ‘leave no trace’ policy as you can bury the ashes once finished.
Washing machine drum – my current favourite. A fantastic idea for a contained and therefore much safer fire. And a great recycling idea too. See my post how to recycle a washing machine drum to make a firepit for details and safety considerations and note – the metal gets hot!
I’ve not got many recipes on the site yet but here’s a couple we love cooking outdoors – and yes, custard! It works. Check these out: –
We had great fun heating hot chocolate on a campfire in the snow recently – it meant we could stay sledging for a couple of hours after dark! Read snow fires and night sledging for info and pics.
Go on, try an Urban Campfire in your garden. Set the space, whether it’s on the ground, in a firepit or in a washing machine drum. Check out The Campfire Cookbook for recipes and then light the fire. Here’s how; how to light a campfire (almost every time). Simples.
Join the Urban Cookfire Revolution today!