One of the joys of camping is sitting around the fire at night, poking the fire with a stick. You alternate talking, laughing, and falling into contented silences. I also prefer cooking and grilling over an open fire. Building that fire, however, isn’t always so much fine. I won’t give a tutorial on how to build and maintain a fire, there’s too many excellent ones already out there. (Like here and here) but I will highlight a few items that made building, tending, and cooking over a fire so much easier and more enjoyable. And safer, too!
These are the best way I’ve found to start a fire. Build your fire according to whatever style you prefer, such as tee-pee or log cabin, then put your tea light under the kindling and smaller sticks. If you can’t get the wood to light with 4 hours of continuous flame under it, it’s not going to light. Much cheaper than those fire starting logs.
Look for these gloves in a store that sells fireplace tools, such as Menards. Don’t just get any old leather gloves, though, get ones specifically made for fireplaces, like those pictured below. These gloves allow you to pick up logs in the fire and adjust them, add logs to a fire in a precise spot, and are excellent as oven mits when cooking over a fire. Or when cooking over your propane burners, too. I’ve had these for a while, but kept forgetting to bring them with me camping. They were invaluable and I used them countless times each day. No more melting the sole of my shoe by trying to nudge a log back into the fire. You know you’ve don’t it too, so don’t make a face.
I’ve had this tripod for years and I love cooking with it. I also have a folding camp fire grill that can’t be raised and lowered and I used it once and never again. My tripod is a bit of a pain to put together, not bad, but it does take a few minutes to screw on all the screws. Worth it. To be able to raise and lower the cooking platform is priceless. You can grill meat or slow cook a stew. I’ve simmered delicate cream sauces and seared ahi tuna. I’ve toasted garlic bread. Boiled water. Cooking something quickly is great over your propane cooker, but slow cooking a pot roast for 6 hours? Not so much. I bought my tripod at Menards, and I’d love to link you to it, but their website sucks for finding anything. In using other cooking tripods I can tell you one thing to watch out for – make sure there is something to hold the legs in place so they don’t splay out when a heavy pot is put on the grill. You’ll note that my tripod has a steel circle hoop around the outside of the legs preventing the legs from opening wider. That’s an important feature.