Survival Tips You Never Knew About Choosing Firewood (Part One)

choosing firewood

Most preppers wrongly assume that when it comes to choosing firewood, the process is pretty darn simple. After all, anything will burn and all wood is essentially the same. Right?

If only it were that easy.

Unfortunately, choosing firewood isn’t a process of “eenie meeney miney mo.” That’s because they don’t all burn the same. and are completely different. In fact if you choose the wrong type of firewood it might even become hazardous to your health.

When you’re in a survival situation it’s important to take every precaution possible in order to survive. That’s why you need to be aware of these…

Survival Tips You Never Knew About Choosing Firewood (Part One)

The Firewood Song

Remember how when you were a kid, singing a song about something made it way easier to remember? Well it turns out the same goes true for being an adult and learning about firewood.

Remembering everything there is to know about firewood can be difficult. However, if you remember the Firewood Song, you’ll be much more prepared. And because the song rhymes, you’re likely to learn this information faster and remember it for longer.

Check out the video below to hear it.

Comparing Different Types

The truth is choosing firewood can be tricky when you don’t know what to look for. Some types burn for longer, some burn brighter, some are easier to chop, and some have a gross smell (or pleasant smell) when you burn them. If you don’t know this going in, you’re in for a surprise (and likely not a good one).

Check out the chart below to learn all about various types of firewood. This can easily help you while camping or in a crisis!

choosing firewood
Picture courtesy of
Hard vs Soft

When it comes to choosing firewood, each type is different. However, in general, they tend to fall into one of three categories: softwood, softer hardwood, and hardwood. Each of these has their own unique traits. Below is a cheat sheet for you:

Softwoods: These types of firewood are inexpensive and pretty easy to get your hands on. However, they also burn super quickly – so they’re not great for times you need fires with a long lifespan (such as while camping or when SHTF). Pine is an example of a softwood.

Softer Hardwoods: These don’t burn as quickly as softwoods, but they’re really only ideal for small, simple fires (like in your fireplace at home). Some examples of these include Cottonwood, Red Maple, Poplar and Birch.

Hardwoods: These are perfect for camping and bugging out. That’s because hardwoods tend to produce nice, long, lingering fires. Examples to look out for are Hickory, Black Maple, Oak and Locust.

Seasoned Wood Is The Best Wood

Seasoned wood is the best to burn, since it’s completely dry, This is essential because, if the wood is not completely dry, it will take a much longer time to burn. Wet wood is also a major pain in the butt, since it’s also quick to smoke and smolder (while giving off basically zero heat).

It may be hard to tell if wood is seasoned or not. So here’s some tips to help you out:

  • Wet logs are noticeably heavier than seasoned logs.
  • Seasoned logs are extremely dry and thus contain cracks along the sides.
  • Wet wood is typically cream-colored or light brown. Logs turn yellow, grey or dark brown as they dry.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Wood in general takes A LONG TIME to dry completely (which is why you should always have it completely covered in a rainstorm). Softwoods require about 1.5 years to season. Meanwhile, hardwoods need up to 2 years.


This is just Part One of this two-part blog series. There’s so many survival tips about choosing firewood that we felt we needed a whole second article. However, hopefully you learned some new information and are much more prepared for future survival scenarios. Remember – Prepare Now, Survive Later!