How to Make Sage Bundles for Campfire

Why Burn Sage in Campfire?

A roaring campfire blazing

Burning sage in the outdoors emits a very pleasant aroma enhances and space the scent wafts through. But did you know it can also be used as a natural insect repellant, as the smell deters mosquitoes and other flying pests?

No abalone shells required when lighting this mystical herb in the outdoors, but before you start tossing heaps of fresh leaves onto the blazing campfire, let’s take a look at the do’s and dont’s, and of course why we would want to know how to make sage bundles for campfire.

In addition to  being a natural deterrent of buzzing pests, dried sage is believe to protect, increase wisdom, and even heal when burned. 

Some of the believed benefits are:

  • Remedy for reducing stress & anxiety
  • Improves intuition
  • A means to purifying objects
  • A natural mood enhancer
  • Possessing antibacterial properties 

Burning Sage for Mosquitoes

hands lighting a sage bundle

Another benefit of burning dried sage in your backyard or around the campfire at the cottage our back country, is a powerful and natural mosquito-repelling tool. 

There are several strong-smelling herbs that Mosquitoes seem to hate, or at least don’t like to be in the proximity of. 

In addition to sage, the following herbs have been used by many cultures over the course of history to ward of various things, including insects:

  • Lemon balm
  • Citronella
  • Lavender
  • Mint

Using these herbs can help lead to enjoyable evenings outdoors with the use of less chemical-heavy alternatives. 

Do Mosquitoes Hate the Smell of Sage?

While it cannot be concretely determined, the widely accepted consensus is that yes, mosquitos do not like the smell of sage.

Also a member of the mint family, Salvia officinalis, or sage and its essential oil was found to hold and up to 60% efficiency at repelling aphids in a 2012 Study

A though there are many methods of planting and burning herbs and flowers to keep mosquitos away, the practice of burning sage to repel mosquitos appears to be focused in North America according to this 2018 Survey.

Does Sage or Rosemary in a Campfire Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Mosquito and a field landscape

In short, yes they do! The burning of sage and rosemary in a campfire or even table side during a dinner outdoors can help keep flying pests from interrupting, plus adding the tertiary benefit of smelling great! 

Plus, the list does not just end with sage and rosemary. In Mexico, the burning of Copal has been a common practice for both spiritual benefits, but also as an aid in repelling insects. 

Either planted, or burned, are a variety plants that can deter insects from being in your space.

A common practice is by planting garlic. Placing garlic cloves in around your outdoor spaces allow for the natural chemicals to do their job in repelling pesky bugs like aphids, mites, caterpillars, cutworms, beetles, slugs, mosquitoes, and flies.

In addition to garlic, lavender, lemon balm, basil, tea tree and rosemary. can also help keep outdoor spaces bug-free and will adding fragrance and beauty to the outdoors. 

How do you Add Sage to a Campfire?

The most frequently used practice of adding sage to a campfire, and the one we will be discussing in detail for this article is drying, and bundling sage, to burn in an already blazing campfire. 

To make your sage leaves last as long as possible, tossing a few leaves loose at a time might give off a slight aroma, and even slighter benefits of repelling mosquitos.

Before snipping off fresh clipping of white sage from your garden and tossing it on, there is a best practice for preparing sage to burn, starting with the drying of your herbs. For this we recommend preparing your sage as a smudge bundle. 

How do you Prepare Fresh Sage to Burn?

To prepare a sage bundle for burning, let’s start with the best practice for preparing sage to burn, starting with the drying of your herbs. 

There are 4 common methods to drying out sage in preparation to burning and are as follows. The slowest approach is to dry your leaves in the open air. If available, you can also dry them in a food dehydrator or the oven, and if time is a factor the microwave can also be used. Let’s take a closer look at these options. 

How do you Dry Sage Bundles?

Various dried herb bundles

The most common method, and the best for color and flavor is to hang dry your sage. Depending on the elements, the drying period for your sage can take at least a week, and the basic guidelines are as follows:

  • Hang your sage in a well-ventilated area, keeping it away from direct sun.
    Your bundles should hang upside down from a string.
  • Tie one end of your string to your stem ends, and fasten the other to the sill or object you are hanging your sage from. 
  • Make sure that the place you choose gets good air circulation, such as an area near a fireplace or in a dry area of the kitchen.

If you have a food dehydrator, follow these following steps:

  • Spreading the fresh sage leaves out on the rack in a single layer.
  • Set the heat to dry your leaves at between 100 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit, being mindful to check on them every 60 minutes, until the leaves have dried and are easy to crumble.

A similar method can be repeated in your oven at home:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spreading your sage leaves on a single layer.
  • Place the sage in the oven, setting your oven to its lowest temperature.
  • Check on it every 10-15 minutes until it has dried completely.

How do you Dry Sage Quickly?

The fastest method to dry your sage leaves in preparation to bundles is in the microwave.

  • Place your sage leaves on a flat paper towel, on a microwave safe plate.
  • Microwave your sage leaves for 30 seconds, then 15 second intervals until the sage is dry.
  • After  your leaves are crunchy & dry, you can now remove the stems and discard them.

What Kind of String do you use for Smudge Sticks?

When bundling your sage to use as a smudge stick, or to be burned in a campfire, a cotton thread can work really well. 

Hemp thread is another viable option, just keeping certain the thread is safe to burn.

Start with trimming your plant material from stem into a size that suits you. Next, cut a length of thread approximately 3-4 ft long, and wrap your bundle, interlacing the tread  from tip to stem.

You can also bundle your sage or rosemary by binding it in chemical free, natural twine, or jute.

How Often Should you Burn Sage?

When burning sage within the home, the best practice is to hold your sage at a 45-degree angle, then light the sage letting it burn for approximately 20 seconds, then gently blowing out the flame, so that only smoldering embers remain.

When burning sage in a campfire, we recommend trail and error. If you are still being pestered by mosquitos, try adding more as needed, to find the sweet spot where the scent is pleasant and not overwhelming, and your buzzing, unwanted party guests, move on to a campsite down the road. 

Looking for more info? Check out this video from J&J Acres below: