If you have read any Camping or Outdoor Living books, you’ll probably run across the different ways to build a campfire. These styles may include… pyramid, star, teepee, cross-ditch and more, but I prefer the lean-to approach.
I usually use a small log or thick branch as a backstop support. Then I lean a variety of small branches ranging from fine to coarse thicknesses across the top. This forms an open space beneath it in which I place fine thatch. Very fine thatch can catch a spark from a ferrocerium stick that can immediately ignite the fire, otherwise, you can add a coal from a fire-by-friction method. Coals that are created in this way are usually best put in a “birds-nest” or coal extender before adding it to the lean-to thatch. Of course, you CAN use matches or a lighter.
What I appreciate about the lean-to is that it is stable and can double as a wind screen to protect the initial flame. It takes very little preparation to build. In addition, the larger sized fuel that supports the structure is heated up right from the start so that it catches fire faster for a stable, longer burning fire.