A Northerly Campfire


When you think of your favorite memories with family + friends in Northwoods, we bet they include sitting around the campfire telling stories, roasting marshmallows, popping popcorn, and snuggling under a blanket mesmerized by the dancing embers. A campfire is truly hard to beat any time of the day in any season. We have a few things that sweeten the campfire experience. These are the magic ingredients to make a campfire the Northerly way.


Set Your Foundation

Teepee vs. log cabin, tinder vs. kindling – there are so many factors to building a successful campfire! We took the guesswork out for you and researched the simplest explanation to make a roaring campfire. Both Love the Outdoors and The Art of Manliness break down the ins and outs of building the campfire of your dreams. Our tip: patience is key – don’t skip kindling, start it slow, and then sit back and enjoy!


Ignite the Flame

While we all would love to think that we could start a campfire by rubbing two sticks together, has anyone actually tried it? We appreciate the concept, but we also appreciate the simplicity of a Bic Lighter. They are easy, safe, and you can find them at most grocery + convenience stores. If you want something a little more fancy (or perhaps extreme), check out the Bernsomatic Hand Torch. Camping in the rain? These are our favorite waterproof matches.



Throughout all of human history, campfires have been a place to gather, cook, reconnect, and pass down stories from generation to generation. We love to get together with friends and family to carry on the tradition of storytelling from learning about what the Northwoods were like for the first settlers to reminiscing on ridiculous college stories. If you need some ideas for conversation, we love Table Topics from Coontail Sports in Arbor Vitae. We bet you still have some old Goosebumps books on your cabin shelf too - grab a flashlight and make it spooky!



If you have been following along, it is no secret that we LOVE s’mores of all shapes + sizes. The crunch of the graham, the toasty mallow, and the melted chocolate evoke nostalgia of summers past and create new memories with everyone you share them with. While we would never tell you that we have the perfect s’more equation, we do have some favorite ways to enjoy this divine treat. Keep it rustic by collecting sticks to make your s’mores, or buy these sticks that can simply be tossed in the fire when you’re done (yay for easy clean-up!). Get the scoop on the different levels of toasting marshmallows and a guide to the perfect toast here. Stick with traditional honey graham crackers, or upgrade to gingersnap or chocolate chip cookies. Gluten free? These are our favorite GF graham crackers. Any chocolate will do – classic Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, or Dove Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Caramels. The sky is the limit with s’more ingredients and we encourage you to get creative!


Campfire Snacks

S’mores are not the only snacks that can be cooked over the fire. There are some amazing tools out there to help you make some of your favorites over the open flame. We are loving this popcorn maker, this grilled cheese maker (or pudgy pie maker), and this cast iron skillet for making quesadillas and pizzas.


The Beverages

Is there anything better than drinking hot cocoa or spiced apple cider around the fire on a cool night? Whether you like it straight up or spiked with your favorite spirit, keep it warm in our favorite Kleen Kanteen tumblers. Need some new ideas for cocktails (or mocktails) for around the campfire? Inspired Home has some great ideas to help you change it up. We love the Slurping Watermelon!


Cozy Up

Wrap yourself and your sweetie up in a warm blanket to add even more coziness to the campfire. We love Faribault Woolen Mill Co.’s classic Buffalo Check Wool Throw or this stunning Sack Cloth & Ashes blanket.


Fire at Sunrise

Not all campfires have to be enjoyed under the stars. We love having our morning coffee at sunrise by the campfire. Either pack up your coffee in your favorite thermos (this is ours), or grab your campfire percolator to add a little smoky flavor to your cup of morning jo. We always recommend Big Water Coffee’s seasonal blend to start the day - be on the lookout for their Applefest blend, coming soon! Take it a step further and make your breakfast over the fire with this great waffle iron. Don’t forget to stop by TJ's Butcher Block pick up real Wisconsin maple syrup!


Fair Weather Fans

If outdoor campfires aren’t your thing, or if the weather isn’t cooperating, all of our suggestions are great for a cozy indoor fire too! You can still make s’mores, delicious cocktails, and be mesmerized by the flames. Curl up in front of the fireplace with lots of pillows and blankets (or maybe a fort) and delight in warmth and good company.


Change the scenery

Don’t have a fire pit or fireplace? Here is a list of our favorite public places to have a campfire:

Rest Lake Park Pavilion

Stone Lake Campsites just off of the small bay on the southwest side of the lake.

Alder Park Road Campsite

Fox Island in the middle of Rest Lake


For more adventure suggestions, sign up for our newsletter, The Current Collective and explore with the Northerly Collective Adventure Guide.