During our local camping experiences back in the summer and fall of 2014, I had to relearn how to make a campfire. Sad to admit it too, as I spent many years in the Boy Scouts and did earn my Eagle Scout. When we started camping (after we bought the travel trailer), I struggled to get a campfire going.
Recognizing my shortcoming, I went back to the manual.
What I had forgotten was the tinder and the kindling. Before the larger logs that serve as the main fuel for a campfire can actually be used, very small tinder must be used to ignite kindling. For tinder, I mostly use paper. I found that while traveling this past summer is that I would get a fair amount of paper from the different campgrounds and visitor centers. I would use that as the tinder. I brought kindling with me. Stored in a box, I collected very small, dry sticks that were broken up into small pieces.
My lesson learned is that I need to maintain and bring a box with tinder and kindling.
Another lesson I learned (on our most recent campout to Perry Lake) was that after a campfire has initially started and it is a campfire that I am going to use to cook food, then dump coals on it. I had a bag of coal in the trailer that I had been given by a British couple when we camped at Glacier National Park. They were wrapping up their trip and I took it off their hands. I used the coals in conjunction with using a pie iron to cook dinner on our last campout of 2015. The coal worked really well (as coal does) in keeping a nice even temperature for cooking.