Build a bushcraft shelter with a fireplace

Learn how to build a bushcraft shelter with a fireplace. Bushcraft is all about survival so comfort is rarely a priority. Building a bushcraft shelter with a fireplace may seem like an unnecessary extravagance, but there are situations in which it may be essential. If you want to learn how to construct a fireplace inside your shelter for survival or showmanship, we’ve got all the information you need.

Put together a plan before you start building

Constructing any type of shelter necessitates careful consideration. This means that you should investigate the area, find a suitable spot, and take into account all the resources accessible to you. The situation becomes more complicated when you intend to incorporate a potentially hazardous element into your shelter, such as a fire. Fire is not something to be taken lightly, particularly if you plan to stay close to it for extended periods of time in your shelter. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to take the initial planning stages very seriously.

Think about ventilation in your shelter

The importance of having proper ventilation for a fireplace in your bushcraft shelter cannot be overstated. Smoke from the fire can cause difficulty breathing and damage to the lungs, while an inadequate supply of oxygen can lead to the production of carbon monoxide. To prevent this, make sure that your shelter has an appropriate ventilation system in place, such as a hole in the roof or a chimney that is high enough. Additionally, be sure not to cover the roof of the shelter with a tarp or foliage when building the fireplace, as this could lead to the shelter catching fire. Following the safety instructions you will end up with the best survival shelter with fireplace.

stone fireplace

How big should the fireplace be

The relationship between humans and fire is a precarious one. We need it to survive, yet too much of it can become our worst enemy. When setting up your bushcraft shelter, make sure that you have enough space for a fire pit and clearance from the roof so that the fire does not burn your shelter. If you don’t have much space, take extra precautions such as using stones to create a smaller area so that the fire stays contained and is easier to control.

If there is not enough space in your shelter for a fireplace you will need to think of alternative ways to heat up. Saving your self from hypothermia is important. However you won’t want to cause damage to yourself by building an unsafe fireplace.

Raw materials and equipment

When preparing for your next trip, ensure you have a firestarter and a tool to chop wood in your survival kit. Before you set up camp, take some time to collect dry branches, leaves, and bushes. If any of the items are damp, put them aside and use the fire to dry them out. Additionally, gather stones for the fire pit. Make sure you have enough stones to form a circle around the fireplace. This will save you from having to forage again later.

How to build a fireplace inside a shelter

Now that you have all the necessary materials, it’s time to start constructing your bushcraft shelter with a stone fireplace. Here are the steps you need to take: 

  1.  Build the shelter, making sure to include a ventilation opening for smoke. 
  2. Gather stones and form a circular fire pit. Collect the stones carefully in order to form a solid construction. You will need a wide variation of sizes in order to build the stone fireplace.
  3. Stack the stones in a brick-like fashion, creating a wall around the pit. Stabilise the bigger stones by using smaller ones.
  4. Leave an opening at the top for smoke to escape and another at the bottom for easy access to the fire. 
  5. Collect dry branches, hay, leaves and bushes. Unfortunately in wet environments this might not be possible. A shelter with a well built stone fireplace will not have any issues to maintain the fire even with slightly wet wood.
  6. Place the materials through the bottom opening of the pit. 
  7. Light the fire using a matchstick or firestarter, and add more branches and leaves regularly to keep the flames going.

Things to not burn

Despite the fact that your survival shelter with fireplace will be adequately ventilated, staying in a cramped area near smoke can be dangerous. If any of the following fuels are added to the mix, it will only make the situation worse. Therefore, we advise you to abstain from burning the items listed below.

Damp and soggy wood

Logs which are not stored in a dry place will contain water. While the logs are being burnt the water will evaporate and create a big cloud of smoke. If the chimney opening is not big enough the smoke will be released inside the shelter causing a health hazard.

Timber treated with waterproof paint

If you are in nature, you won’t come across any treated, painted, or manufactured wood. However, if you happen to have some with you or find any, it may be tempting to use it in your fire. Do not give in to this temptation. Burning paint and manufactured wood such as plywood releases toxic gases and carcinogens which can be harmful to your body, even if the shelter is well ventilated.

Ignitable liquids

Use of fire accelerants should be forbidden inside a bushcraft stone fireplace. Various flammable solvents such as kerosene, diesel or gasoline will instantly generate a big flame which is very unsafe.

Plastics or rubbish

You should avoid burning plastics or other type of rubbish that might find around your camp area. They will release toxic fumes inside a small space such as your bushcraft shelter.


When building a bushcraft shelter, it is important to be mindful of the potential risks of having a fireplace. Make sure to never leave your fireplace unsupervised, as fire has the potential to spread quickly and can become out of control. Before leaving your shelter for even a few minutes, make sure to put out the fire. It is also important to make your fireplace at a reasonable size and at a safe distance from the shelter. 

If you are not comfortable building a bushcraft shelter with a fireplace, there are alternative options available. For instance, you can bring heated stones inside your shelter for warmth without the need for an open flame. It’s very important to stay safe and healthy so you can enjoy the same experience again.

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