Every camp needs a fire. In most cases, it is the only way to stay warm, not to mention its role in the cooking process. Naturally, campfires require firewood, and firewood isn’t quite as cheap or easy to access as some people think. This is why all campers are encouraged to take firewood’s cost into account before they embark on their camping trip.
How Much Does Firewood Cost for Camping?
People rarely consider the cost of firewood because they think they can bring their firewood. However, that isn’t always possible. Many campsites prohibit visitors from using firewood that was sourced from outside.
They want you to acquire firewood from within the campsite or from vendors in the vicinity. That might sound unfair until you realize that campsite managers have to protect the local ecological environment from the diseases you may introduce by bringing and burning firewood that was bought elsewhere.
It is simply safer to restrict campers to firewood that the overseers of the campsite can trust. If you have chosen to make do with the firewood sold by the campsite, you can expect to spend anywhere between five and ten dollars per bundle.
So it begs the question, how much and where to buy campfire wood. The average camp consumes roughly two bundles each night. Therefore, you can expect to spend an average of $70 on firewood during a week-long camping trip.
It is worth noting that the size of a bundle will vary depending on the vendor. Some bundles have more firewood than others. Unfortunately, the size of the pile doesn’t necessarily dictate the price.
That is to say; some campsites sell bundles that are too small to last the hour, let alone the night. And yet, you may find that they are more expensive than much larger bundles sold in another location.
It would help if you didn’t base your understanding of firewood’s price on your previous experiences at other campsites. Campsites are not obligated to maintain any particular standard where their bundles’ price and size are concerned.
How Much Firewood Do I Need for Camping?
To calculate the firewood cost for a camping trip, you must first determine the amount of firewood you will need on your journey. This means taking the following factors into account:
1. The Length of the Camping Trip
This one is obvious. The length of your trip will affect the amount of firewood you will use. The longer the trip, the more firewood you need, the more money you can expect to spend. This isn’t an issue if you can bring firewood from outside or forage for firewood from within the campsite.
If the campsite expects you to buy their firewood, the easiest way to limit your firewood expenditure is to plan a short trip.
2. The Frequency of Use
Just as important as the trip’s length is the frequency with which you expect to use the campfire. Some people only build and maintain fires long enough to cook their food. Others want a fire that burns all night long. You also have those that need campfires in the morning to prepare their coffee.
Campsites that make frequent use of fires are expensive because they need a lot of firewood. However, the objective of camping is to survive with limited resources. People with a limited budget can always reduce their firewood expenses by restricting their use of a campfire to a few hours a night.
3. The Weather in the Area
A lot of campers forget the weather. They know that it will affect their camping experience, and they will remember to choose their tents and camping grounds accordingly. However, they do not realize that the weather can also impact the firewood amount they will need.
For instance, cold weather calls for more firewood because it takes more wood to keep a fire going. Campers also spend more time around the fire on cold nights because they need to stay warm. Warm seasons, on the other hand, do not require the heavy use of fire. In fact, during the summer, some campers can spend short trips without lighting a single fire.
And if they do, they will only keep the fire going long enough to cook their meals. You are still encouraged to carry firewood during the summer. That being said, you definitely won’t need as much.
4. The Type of Wood
Firewood isn’t all the same. Amateur campers don’t know this. They are convinced that one log of wood is no different from another. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Firewood can either be soft or hard. Softwoods include cedar and pine.
You can use them to build fires, but they will cost more in the long run because they burn for a shorter time than hardwoods. The fires they build last a shorter duration. As such, you have to buy a lot more softwood to maintain your fire.
Hardwoods include maple and oak. As you might have guessed, they burn for a much longer duration. This makes them more cost-effective because they enable campers to use less wood (and less money) to maintain a fire.
This shouldn’t compel you to abandon softwoods altogether. They are better at starting fires. But once the fire gets going, you should switch to hardwoods.
5. The Amount of Moisture
If you accidentally buy fresh firewood with a lot of moisture, you will spend even more money buying extra bundles of firewood. This is because firewood with a high moisture content burns inefficiently. It produces a lot of smoke and, in some cases, it won’t burn at all.
Firewood should be dry. However, some campsites can’t be bothered to vet the firewood they sell to ensure that it is sufficiently dry. If you don’t have much experience with campfires, the chances that you will buy firewood with a lot of moisture are high, at which point you can choose to either suffer through all the campfire smoke or buy more firewood.
With all these factors in mind, you can accurately calculate the amount of firewood you will need and how much it will cost you. Keep in mind that the average bundle of firewood has five to seven pieces.
Each bundle typically offers an hour (or an hour and a half) of fire. Therefore, you need roughly four or five bundles to keep your fire going in the final hours of the night before you sleep. This depends on the size of the fire. Most people can survive on one or two bundles each night.
Wondering Where to Buy Campfire Wood, and How to Find the Best Priced Firewood Dealers?
If you can’t bring firewood from home, you can look in the following places for where to buy campfire wood.
1. Look for the Local Wood Guy
Many camping grounds have an individual that sells firewood in the vicinity. They are easy to find. More importantly, their prices are fair because they want to outcompete the camping ground. If you don’t know where to find the local wood guy, ask other campers. They will point you in the right direction.
2. Check the Local Stores
Go to Home Depot or the equivalent in your area. Not only do such stores stock dry firewood, but their prices are far lower than what you will encounter at the campsite.
If you don’t have any stores in the area that sell firewood, check the gas stations. The local firewood guy is cheaper, and so is Home Depot. But if you don’t have any other choice, and the firewood at the campsite is too expensive, gas stations are a great alternative. Check multiple gas stations. Compare their prices before you settle on a retailer.
3. Use the Firewood Provided by Mother Nature
Some campsites forbid campers from foraging for local firewood in the forest. If your camp doesn’t have those rules, do not hesitate to scour the woods for some dry sticks and branches. The firewood you will find is completely free firewood.
So long as it is available, you can use as much of it as you want. People that camp on national forest land don’t have to worry about buying firewood. They are free to forage for the firewood that nature has provided.
4. Scavenge from Other Camps
The advantage of camping grounds is that you have a much higher chance of running into other campers. This is a perfect thing because, once those campers leave, you can use some of the resources they left behind. That includes firewood.
Don’t be so quick to assume that abandoned campsites are empty. Check the remnants of their campfires. You might be surprised to find a few partially burnt logs.
Can I Still Move Firewood from My Lot?
As was mentioned before, that isn’t a good idea. It is the cheapest option. However, you also run the risk of introducing pests to places where they don’t belong. This could wreak havoc on the local flora. This is why many camping grounds prohibit people from using firewood they bought outside.
Campfires are a vital component of camping. However, they are also costly. Unless you have the option of foraging local firewood from the forest, you should plan your campfires beforehand, taking the time to determine the amount of firewood you will use, where you will acquire it from and how much it will cost.