A campfire is a pleasing way to warm up and entertain yourself after a long day of fun camping activities. However, it can also be pricey to maintain!
Buying in bulk is a great way to keep firewood costs low. A bundle usually costs $5-7 depending on where you get it, and Farm and Feed stores are one of the cheapest places for it.
I’ve done some further research to provide you with free and low-cost places to get your firewood, so let’s have a look.
How Much Does Firewood Generally Cost?
The price varies depending on where you get it, but a bundle of firewood will rarely cost you more than $10. It will also rarely cost under $5 unless you’re buying in bulk.
If you’re buying a cord of wood, then the lowest you can expect to pay is $120, which is a rare price, but most people end up paying around $300 for the cord.
Asking yourself, “how much wood do I need for a campfire?” will help you determine how much wood for your trip is going to cost.
Where Is The Best Place to Get Cheap Firewood?
The best place to get cheap firewood is somewhere local, as you’ll cut down on major delivery fees. A local farm and feed store is your best option for getting low-cost firewood.
Buying in bulk also helps you keep the costs down depending on where you get it.
There are also some free ways you can get yourself a nice bundle of firewood. I’ll go into those below, and I’ll also mention the cheaper places you can get your bundles from.
Gather Your Own Firewood
Gathering your own firewood is always going to be free if you have the tools. You’ll need a chainsaw, an axe, and protective gear. On top of that, you need the know-how.
Gather your wood well ahead of time so it has time to season. If you want seasoning tips, check out my article answering, “how long does it take firewood to dry?”
Look Around Locally
You can often rely on the kindness of strangers to supply you with free or at least seriously discounted firewood. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist often have listings for free or highly affordable bundles.
You could also try putting up an ad saying you’re looking for firewood. Those with wood they need to get rid of will likely reply. However, ensure you state you’re willing to pay and put your budget in the ad—some people aren’t keen to help out if they think you’re begging for freebies.
Clean Up After Bad Weather
A storm can cause a lot of destruction, and that includes destruction to trees. There are often sticks and logs everywhere after a storm, so volunteer to clean up. During this cleaning, you can take the wood for yourself.
Some towns have areas set up for people to discard wood after storms, so it’s all taken and dumped together. Visit this area and take what you need!
Visit A Construction Site
Construction workers use a lot of wood, but they can’t use all of it. They may have scrap wood they’re throwing away, so go to a local site and offer to take it off their hands.
There may also have been trees uprooted on the site to make room for the new building, so ask if there’s any wood leftover from that that you can take or purchase for a low price.
Trim Peoples’ Trees or Consult Tree Trimmers
If you can, offer your services as a tree trimmer to friends, family, neighbors, and the city/town council. If they can’t afford to pay, tell them the free firewood is payment enough.
You should also consult local tree trimmers. If they’re not using their trimmings, they may be willing to just give it away or sell it cheaply.
Check Out a Sawmill
Sawmills often have so much scrap wood that they pay companies to take it away for them. Because of that, they may be willing to let you take as much as you want for free. After all, they’re not using it!
Use Wood Pallets
Wooden shipping pallets burn well, and there’s often very little use for them once their initial job is done. You’ll often find ads trying to give them away on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other places.
If you manage to get your hands on these for free or cheap, inspect them first.
If they have metal in them—staples, nails, etc—don’t burn them. You also shouldn’t burn pallets marked with “MB” as this means they’re treated with Methyl Bromide, which is highly toxic.
Farm and Feed Stores
Now we’re moving onto places where you’ll always have to pay, but at least these are pretty cheap! Anecdotally, people find Farm and Feed stores sell bundles of firewood for around $5. You may get a discount if you buy lots of wood.
Many Farm and Feed store regulars say the stores only charge you $1 more than what they paid for the wood when purchasing it.
Check out your local Farm and Feed stores, and make sure you’re polite and easy to deal with. The nicer you are, the more likely they’ll be to give you a good deal.
Gas stations are a great, reliable place to get firewood in emergencies. If you’re halfway to your campsite and realize you forgot your wood, then you can be sure you’ll find some at a gas station along the way.
However, gas station prices can be on the higher side. You can expect to pay $5-7 for a bundle depending on where you are. The closer you are to your campsite, the higher the price is likely to be.
If you don’t mind a high price, however, getting your wood close to your campsite is a good call, as you won’t have to travel with it crowding your car for too long.
Home Depot is fantastic for selling high-quality, affordable firewood. Prices vary depending on location, but you can often get a bundle of firewood for $6 at your average Home Depot location.
Many chain grocery stores, like Walmart, sell firewood. You can stock up for camping while you stock up on groceries! However, there’s a major downside: they hitch up those prices.
Grocery store firewood will often cost you over $7, as they mark up the prices to maximize their profits. If there’s nowhere else near you to get firewood then grocery stores are a great place get the wood, but they wouldn’t be my first choice.
Quick tip: Try to get your grocery store wood near the end of winter. It may be discounted as many people will no longer be buying it to heat their homes.
At Your Campground
I consider buying firewood at your campsite a last resort. It’s almost always available there, but it’s usually the priciest of all. The firewood can cost well over $7, and prices may be as high as $10 per bundle!
If you want a campfire for three hours per night on a three-day trip, that’s a minimum of $90 of campground firewood. You could burn the same amount of firewood from a Farm and Feed store and it’d only cost $45.
This is assuming you burn one bundle per hour—it could cost double!
Speaking of burning firewood —if you’ve ever asked, “how much wood do I need for a campfire?” then wonder no more.
How to Minimize Firewood Costs
Buying smart is the best way to keep firewood costs low, but there are also ways to minimize how much wood you need to burn. Learning how long your campfire lasts with certain woods helps you do that.
So, how long does a campfire last? Well, it depends on how you burn your wood.
Burning dry hardwood will ensure your firewood burns for as long as possible, and that will help you minimize your firewood usage, and therefore you’ll have to buy less.
Oak and hickory are two of the best woods to use as they burn very hot and for long periods.
Checking out these alternatives to campfire is also a great way to keep costs down! Many of the alternatives cost less than regularly buying firewood.
Getting affordable firewood is a simple matter of knowing where to look, so hopefully, this article has got you on your way to gathering all the wood you need for that comforting, roaring campfire.
Harvesting it yourself, checking out local ads, and gathering it around your local area will always be free or very, very cheap ways to get your hands on some quality firewood. And of course, burn your wood wisely to keep your costs down.
Go for the dense hardwoods, and ensure it’s seasoned well. If you do that, then you can be sure your wood will be long-lasting and as low-cost as possible for all your camping trips.