Best Camping Outdoor

Bonfire vs Campfire

Written by Chris Alan

Have you ever noticed the distinction between a campfire and a bonfire? Are they constructed differently in a way? Are they distinct in size?

Most people mistakenly believe that a bonfire and a campfire are the same when we use the terminology casually. A campfire and a bonfire may resemble one another, but they differ. Unexpectedly, they vary in size and function.

Campfires are tiny and enclosed, typically in a fire pit. People utilize them for enjoyment, lighting, cooking, and warmth. On the other side, bonfires are big and are used for festivals. Additionally, you construct them differently.

So you should choose a bonfire if you’re organizing a party for a gathering of 20 or more individuals. But a campfire is the greatest option if you want to spend a quiet night alone or with your closest friends. We’ll go through all the facts so you can easily choose your next flaming form of fun.


Some people think the word origins are from the French word bon, which means “good”. Some believe the phrase originated from “bone-fire” because animal bones were burned to fend off evil spirits during the midsummer rituals of the Celts. Whatever the origin of the word, I think it takes skill to make a decent bonfire and maintain its safety. 

The bonfire is a sizable, controlled outdoor fire. You build it in an open region far from flammable plants, shrubs, and trees. They are frequently constructed in meadows, fields, and beaches. Keeping them away from plants that can catch fire assists in limiting their spread and preserving the environment.


A campfire is referred to as a small fire made when camping. For people to gather around them securely for hanging out, cooking, and warmth, the fire maker typically places them in a pit or ring. They offer light and pest protection. You would normally build a simple campfire at camping, but you may always erect a temporary site in a cleared or open area.

A campfire may captivate you with its appearance, feel, and fragrance while also developing friendship among those gathered around it. Additionally, campfires are a fantastic way to warm up on a chilly fall morning while you enjoy your coffee, make delicious dishes, and keep the animals at a distance.

Purpose of Bonfires

A bonfire is typically used as a component of a larger event, such as a festival, party, or celebration. Compared to a campfire, it is less functional and more symbolic. Generally speaking, a bonfire is just a campfire built into a much larger fire. Bonfires produce much heat and are controlled fires (like campfires) but are much more difficult to contain.

Undoubtedly, a bonfire has various applications, including massive outdoor gatherings, parties, and even as a signaling tool. Because of their size, bonfires are great for burning trash like old furniture, scrap wood, or even your child’s homework. You might need to seek permission or a permit in advance, depending on where you are.

Purpose of Campfire

There are a lot of applications for a campfire, but I believe most people prefer to enjoy one. There is nothing like cooking marshmallows, sticking them on a hotdog and eating that yummy morsel with plenty of ketchup and mustard. They can be used to provide warmth, protect against wild animals, repel mosquitos and other insects, and create a pleasant environment.

The earliest known controlled campfire was discovered in South Africa, estimated to date 1.6 million years ago. Campfires are still very relevant today and are a great source of heat, entertainment, and comfort.

Construct a Bonfire

Mark the area with rocks or other nonflammable things to start. After that, create a pit to contain the flame. Before starting, ensure you have all the necessary permits because a big burn area will be needed. Bonfires need frequent refueling and a lot of fuelwood. Like any other fire, a bonfire can be started with tinder and kindling. There is no need for flame torches.

The initial flame from the firestarter is captured by tinder. Matches and lighters are typical fire starters, while sawdust, paper, or twigs can be used as tinder. Kindling is made up of thick sticks or thin strips of wood that serve as a transition from tinder to fuelwood. You may get ready for the real fire after the kindling begins to burn.

Keep it away from anything that could catch fire, and secure it with large logs or wooden pallets positioned perpendicular to the ground. 

Construct a Campfire

Despite being a tiny fire, safety is still crucial around campfires. Always construct campfires outside tents, trees, and bushes in a fire ring or fire pit. For safety, fire rings are frequently already created on campgrounds, but if one is needed, individuals can build one.

To construct a secure fire ring, follow the procedure:

  • Select a location that is open and free of obstacles, like tents, trees, and bushes.
  • Create a fire ring by gathering huge rocks.
  • Create a two-foot-wide by at least six-inch-deep hole inside the ring.
  • Ensure that any rubbish and flammable materials are removed from the area around the fire ring.

It is time to construct the campfire if you have a secure fire pit. If it is wet or you have problems locating materials to start the fire, you might need to bring kindling. To assist in starting your fire, you can get cardboard strips or flakes of wood.

To start a campfire, you need three different kinds of wood: tinder, kindling, and wood. Like wood shavings, tinder must be dry and lightweight to ignite quickly. Kindling, such as cardboard strips or smaller sticks, assists in starting a fire. Logs and other huge pieces of gathered wood are what we refer to as “wood.”

To start the campfire, follow these instructions:

  • To light your tinder, use matches or a lighter.
  • Kindling should be added gradually; allow it to burn.
  • Around the kindling and tinder, add wood in a teepee-style pattern.

When you’re ready to retire or go, the campfire must be totally extinguished. This is crucial because even a pile of glowing embers can start a hazardous, out-of-control fire if left unattended. Remove the wood and check for any leftover heat after you’re sure the fire is completely out. Before you leave the campfire, the fire pit should be completely cool to the touch.


Campfires and bonfires are both sources of fire, but they range greatly in size and purpose. A bonfire is used for festivities and rituals as well as for trash or waste disposal. They should always be constructed in open areas far from trees, buildings, and other flammable objects because they are much larger than campfires. They frequently call for permits, and burning them without one may be banned.

When people go camping, they use campfires, which are often much smaller, to cook and stay warm. Always construct them safely, and put out all the flames before you leave the construction site. Leaving a bonfire to smolder or having embers blow into the neighboring bush that catches fire are two common causes of wildfires.

Since the beginning of existence, humanity has used campfires and bonfires for cooking, warmth, light, and celebrations. They can be great as long as safety comes first. They are still a crucial part of life today.

About the author

Chris Alan

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