How Much Firewood Do I Need For Camping? The Answer May Surprise You!

To have an excellent, relaxed time outdoors, you’ll want to have enough wood or the right bundle. This will allow you to enjoy a campfire during the night or occasionally throughout your trip. You can cut down on weight by using lighter synthetic logs that burn hotter and longer than real logs if transporting firewood is an issue.

Depending on how often you will be using a campfire and the type of wood available where you are camping, you might need to calculate how much firewood you’ll use throughout your trip. You can do this by figuring out approximately how long your trip will be, for what purposes you will use it, and as well as what time of year it will be happening. The amount of wood you need to have available for your journey also depends on whether or not you’ll be using a campfire frequently.

People who go camping in the summer will use more firewood than those going during wintertime. This is because it’s harder to find green, damp wood when it’s cold outside. Thus, it takes longer to dry out. If you’re using a campfire frequently throughout your camping trip, estimate at least 12 pieces of wood for each day that you’ll be staying in the woods.
What Factors affect How Much Firewood I’ll Need?


How Much Firewood Do You Need for Your Camping Trip

This guide is an estimate of how many firewood logs or bundles you will need for your trip to a typical camping space or area.

You will see below that different wood burns at different rates so you will need to adjust depending on the type of wood you plan to buy or even if you prefer collecting firewood.

The diameter of tree branches can vary significantly so be sure to keep that in mind.

Campfire Hours Amount of Firewood Needed

*1-4 People

Amount of Firewood Needed

*5+ People

1 Hour 1 Bundle (4-6 logs/sticks) 2 Bundle (8-12 logs/sticks)
2 Hours 2 Bundles (8-12 logs) 3 Bundles (12-18 logs)
3 Hours 3 Bundles (12-18 logs) 4 Bundles (16-24 logs)
4 Hours 4 Hours Bundles (16-24 logs) 5 Bundles (20-30 logs)
5 Hours 5 Bundles (20-30 logs) 6 Bundles (24-36 logs)
6 Hours 6 Bundles (24-36 logs) 7 Bundles (28-42 logs)
7 Hours 7 Bundles (28-42 logs) 8 Bundles (28-42 logs)
8 Hours  8 Bundles (28-42 logs) 9 Bundles (36-54 logs)

A quick answer to your question:  If you plan on having your crackling campfire lit for around 5–7 hours per night/day then you probably want around 5 – 7 bundles or 20 to 42 logs for a small fire per night/day.

For a larger fire with more people you probably want between 7 – 9 firewood bundles or 28 to 54 logs per night.

Factors that can affect how much you need on your trip include:

  • Length of Trip

The duration of a camping trip can affect how much firewood you’ll need. If you’re only staying overnight, you won’t need to bring a lot of wood with you because it will allow the fire to die down before going to bed. However, if your trip is longer than a couple of days or weeks, you might want to have at least 12 pieces of wood available per day. This ensures that you’ll have enough to last your entire trip.

  • Type of Wood Available

Different types of wood will burn differently because of some have a thicker diameter than others, and it could take multiple logs to build a fire big enough to keep you warm throughout the night. Also, if you’re trying to ration your wood supply, you’ll want to know how quickly the firewood that you have with you will burn. This way, you can make sure not to waste any of it.  Some varieties also smoke more than others so if that is a concern you want to ask about the types of wood that don’t provide as much smoke but still provides heat.

  • What Time of Year is It?

The time of year when you go on your trip can also affect how much wood you’ll need. It takes longer for wood to dry out in the summertime because of humidity and precipitation from rain or snow. This means that you’ll need more wood to keep the campfire wood going throughout the night or on multi-day trips.

  • Frequent Use of Campfire

If you’re using a campfire frequently throughout your trip, you’ll need to estimate at least 12 pieces of wood for every day that you’re in the woods. This ensures that you have enough firewood available if it takes a long time for your wood to dry out.

  • Campfire Type

Not all campfires are the same. Depending on how big the roaring fire needs to be, you might use more or less wood. If you’re trying to keep your fire inside a pit dug into the ground, it will need more wood than if you were building it on top of wooden platforms or rocks. These types of campfires will require less wood.

  • Restocking Wood Supply

You can decrease the amount of weight you have to carry by opting for lighter synthetic logs instead of natural firewood. These combustion chambers burn hotter and longer than a pile of kindling or a few pieces of wood, making them great alternatives to cutting down on the weight you’ll need to carry.


Types of Logs and Their Burn Rate for Campers

There are two main categories of wood from trees:  Hardwood and Softwood.  For a camping trip, hardwood logs are the way to go for firewood, as they provide higher temps while they burn efficiently and they provide more embers as they heat.   Not all hardwoods have the same burn time so let’s break it down for you, below.

The best firewood offers the heat-energy equivalent of 200 to 250 gallons of fuel oil and includes the following varieties:



Birch (Yellow)

Hickory (Shagbark)

Red oak

White ash

White oak




The next category of heat energy is the equivalent of 150 to 200 gallons of fuel per cord of firewood. These woods include:


Birch (White)

Cherry (Black)

Douglas fir

Elm (American)

Maple (Red and Silver)

Pine (softwoods)



This a great non-smokey wood that can have a high heat if you select red and white varieties and burns slowly  Be careful you only select dry firewood as this particular kind of wood requires a lengthy drying period to work well for campfires.  This wood also has high moisture content or water content and will smoke or not light if it hasn’t been cured correctly.  This can also be good for tinder. It is best to not use wood from living trees because of the moisture but you can gather firewood from standing dead trees.


This wood requires a lot less drying time compared to Oak and is often referred to as the perfect wood for your campsite or campgrounds.


Can be a good choice but it does burn very quickly so if this is the variety you have selected you will need more Birch bundles, twigs, and tender than any other variety.


Wood from a hickory tree can be a good option because it burns hotter than oak however, it requires a full year to cure and season.  If the wood is not seasoned properly this will give off a lot of smoke.


Maple is a wood that dries quickly so it has a very short seasoning period however, it will also burn much quicker than other hardwoods and if you go with this variety you will need a lot more bundles than other wood choices.  This type has a pleasant smell while it’s burning.


Walnut has a pleasant scent when burning wood and it also requires a short drying period, which means it will also burn much faster than other varieties.


How Much Timber Do I Need For A Night And A Day Trip?

If you’re camping for one night and one day, you’ll only need at least 24 pieces of wood. This allows for a more minor fire that will not use much fuel throughout the night or day.

Consider how many people are going on the trip with you when figuring out how to supply everyone with enough firewood. If you’re going with a group of people and not everyone is carrying as much firewood as you, make sure to plan accordingly.

How Much Firewood Do I Need In Cold Weather?

If you’re Winter camping in cold weather, you’ll need to bring enough wood with you for the entire trip because it will take longer for wet wood to dry out. That’s why if you’re in freezing temperatures, ten pieces of wood per day is a good estimate. Making sure that you have enough firewood available can mean the difference between keeping your campfire wood going or not. You can also quarter up the firewood so that you’ll burn it more efficiently. This way, you’re using smaller pieces of wood to keep your fire burning for longer periods.

How Much Firewood Do I Need In Warm Weather?

If you’re camping in warm temperatures, it’s easier for wet wood to dry out and dry wood or seasoned wood burns better. Thus, estimate at least ten pieces of wood per day when you go on your trip. Again, this will ensure that you have enough camping firewood available if it takes longer than expected for the wood to dry out. Also, if you’re going on a camping trip in the summer, keep an eye out for ripe fruits that can be used as camping firewood. Some examples of these fruits include apples and pears. You can even save them until wintertime or use them as a last resort when your wood supply has been depleted.

How Much Wood Should I bring for a weekend camping trip?

A weekend trip is often 2-3 days and the amount of firewood will depend on how many people are joining you and the main purpose of the wood. You may reference the chart above to help you get an accurate answer to this question.

How Much Firewood Do I Need For Campfire Cooking?

To avoid depleting your firewood supply and needing to find more, estimate at least 12 pieces of wood for campfire cooking purposes. This may sound like a lot of wood; however, it takes a lot for the flames to cook food throughout the day. Also, you might need a good supply of wood if you plan on cooking at night with cast iron. Remember, you’ll also have to gather more firewood if the wind blows out your flame and makes it hard to cook your food.

What are some common mistakes people make when gathering firewood?

You might decide not to purchase firewood but to gather it or collect the wood yourself. One of the biggest mistakes is gathering wood that is still green. You can collect wood shavings and large logs and dry wood that are from fallen branches or on the floor of the forest. You should not gather wood that has not fallen from trees and is still too green to burn.

How To Make Firewood Last Longer?

If you’re trying to make your firewood last longer, make sure not to burn it all up in one sitting. This will prevent you from searching for more and reduce the amount of time that your fire is burning. Also, leave some wood behind when you go to bed so that there’s enough to keep a small fire going throughout the night.


1. The average campfire burns about 0.25 cords of wood per hour.

2. A full cord of wood is 128 cubic feet (4 feet wide x 4 feet high x 8 feet long), or about 3.62 meters wide x 3.62 meters high x 2.44 meters long.

3. A face cord is 1/3 of a full cord, or about 4 feet wide x 4 feet high x 2.66 feet long, or about 1.22 meters wide x 1.22 meters high x 0.81 meters long.

4. A campfire needs about 6 to 8 pieces of wood per hour to keep burning.

5. A single tree can provide enough wood for 6 to 8 campfires.

6. A cord of wood can weigh between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds (907 and 1,814 kilograms).

7. A face cord of wood can weigh between 600 and 1,200 pounds (272 and 544 kilograms).


Wood Facts:

1. A full cord of wood is 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 8 feet long.

2. A face cord is 1/3 of a full cord or 1/2 of a rick of wood. It is 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall, but only as long as the length of the firewood.

3. A rick of wood is 1/2 of a full cord or 2/3 of a face cord. It is 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall, but only as long as the length of the firewood.

4. A single tree can provide enough wood for 6 to 8 face cords of wood.

5. A campfire needs 3 to 4 pieces of wood to keep it going for 3 to 4 hours.

6. A bonfire needs 30 to 40 pieces of wood to keep it going for 3 to 4 hours.

7. A fireplace needs 6 to 8 pieces of wood to keep it going for 3 to 4 hours.


Don’t forget to take notes about when and how you used your firewood. This can help you in the future when planning trips. If it takes ten wood pieces per day during summer and 4-5 per day during winter, then always be prepared for that!