How to Build a Campfire for Cooking

Campfire Cooking

By Mitra Cazaubon

Camping just isn’t camping without a fire.  Whether to roast marshmallows or keep you warm; you got to have one. Better yet, a campfire you can use to cook is ideal. In this article, I will give you the step by step process to build a campfire specially designed for cooking.

Safety Tips

1)    Before you start your fire ensure you are allowed to light a fire in your location. If your area is dry and hot, be extremely careful or don’t light a fire at all.

2)    Your tent should be at least 25 ft away from the campfire downwind.

3)    Don’t light a fire near the base of any tree, as this can kill or damage the tree. Neither should you light a fire near dead stumps as fire can travel underground through the dead roots and damage neighboring trees.

4)    To avoid accidents clear dry overhanging branches or low hanging branches. Keep water close by in case of an incident.

5)    Rack dry leaves and debris away from your fire location (not downwind of the fire).


A cutting tool for processing your wood; and a small shovel for digging a trench and maneuvering hot coals are all the tools you’ll need. You can use a Y stick or your shovel as a rake to get rid of dry leaves and debris before lighting the fire.

Constructing a Trench Fire for Campfire Cooking


Dig a 4ftX1ft trench about three inches deep. You can get the same effect by lining the area with stones. I used both techniques, digging the trench and lining one side with rocks. This configuration gives me the added benefit of a reflector wall made of stone which is ideal for keeping warm and for smoke reduction.
Building Campfire Cooking Trench


Get your firewood, two Y sticks (to be placed on either side of the trench), one or more sticks with hooks  (for hanging pots) and a long stick the length of the trench (for ridge pole). Process your firewood, kindling, and tinder ensuring that you cut them to fit inside your trench.

build campfire cooking trench 2


Take your two Y sticks and put them on opposite sides of your trench (see photo). Secure them by digging a small hole for each stick. Place your ridge pole onto your Y sticks.

build campfire cooking trench step 3


Place your tinder along the entire bottom of trench then light. Add kindling over tinder allowing the fire to breathe. Then add firewood diagonally to the previous layer. Allow wood to burn through the length of the trench. Crave notches in your hook stick to hang your pot.

Carve notches in your hook stick/s


Start cooking. Place some pots directly on the coals or hang those that can be hung, roast your meat on the stick or add a grill and barbecue.

Start campfire cooking using your trench

Campfires are great for making that excursion more memorable, and one of the best for cooking is the trench fire. You won’t need a separate fire for grilling and cooking since the trench fire will allow for a variety of cooking styles and cook pots.

A simple three stone fire, instead of the trench, can also work if you don’t want to be extravagant. But for multiple pots, baking, roasting meat and chatting around a trench fire with reflector wall is perfect.

Next time you go camping with friends show off your skills and build a trench fire to cook up a storm.

Here is a video that also shows a completed cooking trench and the finished result in action…


Happy First Birthday Camping for Women!

Camping for Women first birthday

Camping for Women is now officially 1!

Camping for Women and its website went live with its first blog post on 23 May 2015 and so much has happened since then.

In our first year, we have chalked up a few milestones…


Top 10 achievements include:

Camping for Women free ebook

  • Commenced the website with a global theme focussed on women’s needs
  • Launched free blog subscription
  • Introduced ‘Knowledge Sharing’ between women to benefit all
  • Coordinated significant contributions of multiple women across 8 countries from 5 regions
  • Commissioned and published a free beginners ebook available on website
  • Compiled (so far) 91 specialist women outdoor articles (and counting…)
  • Commissioned a specialist camping cookbook to cater to hikers, campers and glampers
  • Developed the free ‘Planned Itinerary Notification’ (P.I.N.) safety resource
  • Commissioned and published the Camping First Aid Guide
  • Launched the Camping for Women Channel for videos on YouTube

But there is no time to rest now…with more and more women expressing keen interest to grow available resources across a number of different areas.

So what’s being planned next for year 2?

Well, we have a few things that we are working toward right now…

Camping Cuisine Cookbook Front Cover-page-001

  • Launch of ‘The 3 in 1 Camping Cuisine Cookbook’
  • Checklists across a number of different outdoor activities, available for free download
  • Introduction of an online outdoor store within the website
  • Providing a service to assist women produce and share videos with other women
  • Continue to build a bank of useful articles, tips and information for women who love the great outdoors
  • Put together specialist guides on Rock Climbing & Mountaineering, Canyoneering, Canoeing & Kayaking while investigating other areas of interest to our readers

So this post is about marking the occasion of our first birthday by letting our readers know what has happened and outline a few things we have planned for the future.

Most of all we want to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and ongoing encouragement to continue to develop the best global resource possible.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas for what you would like to see for the future or if you want to join in sharing your experience of the great outdoors.  Just send us a message on the ‘Contact’ page of the website or email us: [email protected] – As always we love to hear from you.

Here’s to another great year serving fellow women campers…

Nicole Anderson

1st Birthday Celebrations

Survival Skills: How to Build a Simple Shelter

Survival Text

By Mitra Cazaubon

Waiting till building a shelter is your only option, isn’t a wise idea. If you are a camper, hiker or just an outdoor enthusiast, make shelter building one of your skills. In a survival situation time is of the essence and having to rebuild a shelter because it wasn’t done well, is not the best use of your time and energy.

In this article, you will learn the general principles of building a shelter and detailed instructions on build a sturdy A-frame debris shelter. You will need a knife or suitable cutting tool.

#1 Find a Suitable Location

Avoid low line areas as they may be prone to flooding or rising tide. Choose an elevated spot but keep in mind the higher up a mountain you go the colder it gets. It should be flat and cleared of overhanging branches and dead standing trees. Also, remove all debris to ensure there are no dangerous critters on the ground.

Consider the availability of materials you will need and other necessities, such as water. Expending all your energy to carry materials to your site will leave you too tired to build a good shelter, or the loss of sunlight may leave you without one.

#2 Collect Your Materials for Shelter

When collecting wood, avoid using any trees with white milky sap. Most are poisonous.

Find two Y branches and cut it your height. Also, get one ridge pole twice your height to use as the spine for your shelter.

If you can’t get any Y branches two straight ones can work. Ensure that these branches are straight and sturdy. Collect small sticks and branches.

For the roof you will need leaves, small twigs and debris lying around, so hold onto the off cuts.

#3 Build Shelter

Before you start building your A-frame debris shelter find the direction of the wind. Your entrance should be parallel to it.

Lift the two Y sticks and ensure the base is no more than 4ft apart. Dig two small holes where you placed them and join the Ys at the top. Now, put your ridge pole between the Ys.

Dig a small hole at the opposite end of the ridge pole to keep it in place. If you didn’t get the Y sticks use your two straight sticks and use a tripod lashing to achieve the same effect.

To see how to tie tripod lashing check out:

Foundation frame

Your survival shelter needs to be big enough for you to lying down in it and sit in the entrance. At this point, you’re A-frame shelter should look like a triangle from all sides.


Place small sticks and branches on either side of your ridge pole. Alternate the sides then add a stick the same length of the ridge pole to hold your branches in place.

Weave tiny sticks, vines or tree back (natural cordage) between the sticks to form a lattice. This is to keep debris from falling between the sticks and also to keep them in place.

Now start adding the off cuts and leaves. You can weave them between the cordage.

This layer of leaves and debris needs to be at least 1ft to 2ft thick for protection from the wind and rain.

Building the roof

Add whatever is available after you have put your small twigs and leaves.

Keep an eye out for snakes and scorpions when picking up debris.

For the floor of your A-frame shelter, you can add some big leaves for comfort and insulation. An asset would be a mylar blanket which will provide added insulation; this should be in your survival kit.

Optional – Make a door using big leaves or build a reflector wall to block the wind.

Build a simple shelter

Practice building a shelter until you can build one in under one hour. Familiarize yourself with the best wood in your area and techniques to help you improve your time.

Having a shelter is a basic need, whether in a survival situation or just enjoying an overnight camp with friends.

The best gear you can have is your skills so add shelter building to your list.

Here is a video made that shows the finished shelter:

Brand New Camping for Women Channel Launched!

Video has come to Camping for Women through the creation of a Camping for Women Channel!

The development of the Camping for Women Channel has been in response to the growing popularity of video and comments of many people who say they prefer watching presentations on a screen instead of scrolling through information on their screens.

Camping for Women Channel image


Hosted on the massive YouTube platform the Camping for Women Channel will contain specialist information for women campers from the website as well as videos made & shared by fellow campers in the wild on a variety of topics geared to maximising and enhancing outdoor experiences.

Here is the brief ‘trailer’ made on the Camping for Women Channel to introduce people to the scope of what is covered and who the channel caters to:

In addition to the above trailer, the Channel has been launched with the following short videos:

Getting Involved with the Outdoor Women Community

Sharing Knowledge

Subscribe to our Blog

Planned Itinerary Notification

About Camping for Women

Free publication: Attention Women Campers: What you will never be taught about camping

The Camping First Aid Guide

Contributor Profile: Amanda Parent

Camping for Women Channel on computer

This is only the start of the Camping for Women Channel.  This resource will be built over time with content from the women camping community and the Camping for Women team.

The first Woman Camper to put her hand up to contribute video content to the Channel has been survivalist Mitra Cazaubon from Diamond, St. Lucia in the beautiful Caribbean.  Mitra has put together brief videos to support articles she has written on:

How to build a simple shelter in a survival situation; and

How to build a decent campfire for cooking.

So watch out for these articles and videos that will be posted soon on the Camping for Women Channel, blog and articles section on the website.

In the meanwhile, you can view and enjoy the initial videos posted on the Camping for Women Channel by clicking here

Happy viewing!  And please send us your thoughts, comments or suggestions through the Channel or via the contact us page on the website.  Your views help shape our content to make sure you receive what you want from Camping for Women.

Camping for Women Channel film

New Camping First Aid Guide Available Now

Camping for Women has just released a brand new publication: The Camping First Aid Guide.

Camping First Aid Guide CoverThe Camping First Aid Guide is an exciting new resource that women campers in particular have stated was needed to address all the emergency and health issues that can often arise in the great outdoors.

Written by French camper Amanda Parent, the guide has been specifically designed and developed to suit all outdoor environments and activities.

These activities includes things such as camping, caravanning, hiking, trekking, campfire cooking, canyoning, rock climbing, mountaineering, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and water sports.

first aid word button on screen. medical conceptThe Camping First Aid Guide covers all aspects of health and life-saving treatments for the most common occurrences that are faced by people in the wilderness.

These situations are considered for circumstances where people are located far away from emergency responders and therefore must rely on their own knowledge and resources to survive while not making matters worse.

This indispensable companion is a must-have for anyone who is serious about ensuring the safety and health of themselves and their family and friends they camp with.

Click here to find out all about this wonderful resource.


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