Campfires have become an integral part of camping. In fact, when we think about camping, the image of a tent next to a campfire always comes to our mind. Many people go camping together to create stronger bonds, which happens by talking and sharing by the fire.
The problem is that campfires can be unpredictable. You should try to do your best and keep your tent away from the campfire. Keep your distance but still regulate the fire properly to remain safe and sound.
How Far Should A Campfire Be from A Tent?
Campfire and tent distance is a tricky topic. Almost all campers have their own preference. Not just about campfire distance but about campfire itself.
- Some say that if you have campfires, it should be a minimum of 40 to 50 feet away from the tent. You should add more distance based on tent size, fire size, and wind direction.
- Some campers are against campfires in general. They don’t like the danger it poses and would prefer to use other means to keep warm. They buy warmer tents with camp stoves attached rather than creating fire.
Now we know the two trains of thought regarding this topic. Some people try to be cautious beforehand and not create a campfire at all. Campfires can get out of control. But not everyone can afford warmer tents with stove jacks. These tents are heavy as well.
Why You Might Want to Make a Campfire?
Sitting by crackling fire and talking sounds like a great time for people of all ages. A great childhood memory for many people is making s’mores by the campfires with their family or friends. Some advantages of campfires as given below.
- Campfires are a source of light. When we go camping, we always take flashlights, headlights, and lanterns. As they are battery-powered, there’s always a chance of them shutting down after a while. A campfire can provide illumination for a while.
- Most people use campfires to keep themselves are warm. When it gets dark, nature becomes colder, even during summer days. So, having a campfire can keep you warm and insulated.
- Who hasn’t tried cooking over a campfire? Making s’mores and other foods by yourself are some of the joys that camping can offer. You can also boil water over the campfire for safe drinking water.
- You can use campfires as a signal if you’re in danger or stranded. Campfires can be seen from far away. So, if you ever need help while camping, you can light a fire as a beacon.
- Campfires offer a safe boundary from predators. If you camp in a non-campground, there’s always a chance of animals lurking nearby. Most predators will stay away if they see a fire nearby. This also provides mental security while camping at night.
- Sitting by a fire, talking, and cooking together create a stronger bond. Campfires give us a chance to take with people organically and connect with them more deeply.
Why You Should Not Light a Campfire?
While camping has many benefits, specific issues come with it. These problems are enough for some people to never light a campfire. One of the most significant drawbacks is campfires can get out of hand if not properly supervised.
Sometimes people leave their live campfires and do other works.
This can lead to many problems like children or pets getting near the fire, wind picking up, and the fire gets larger, fire touches one item which leads to a fire hazard, and more. Small campfires can lead to bigger ones as many wildfires were caused by unsupervised campfires.
Some people use forest trees as firewood. They chop down trees or break their branches. It is not acceptable behavior because this damages wildlife and natural beauty. Some campsites don’t allow creating campfires for this reason.
Furthermore, camping has a ‘leave no trace rule’. It means cleaning everything after using and not damaging any wildlife. But campfires leave behind darkened rocks and soil. Sometimes people use campfires as disposal and dump their paper waste and other things into the fire. This pollutes the environment.
What Should I Use to Contain Campfire?
If things go south and there’s an unstable fire, you need to be prepared to diffuse it before it spreads out. You need to carry some items that can help you to contain campfires. Some of these items may seem hard to carry, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Class A fire extinguisher
Class A fire extinguisher is for fires connected to wood, paper, textile, and plastic materials. These types of fires are extinguished by using mono ammonium phosphate. This chemical can diffuse wood fire quite quickly.
Now, you may be thinking, how can someone carry a fire extinguisher on a camping trip? They are large and heavy products. But there are smaller fire extinguishers, and there are fire extinguishing sprays that are not bigger than mosquito sprays.
Cost: The smaller extinguishers are sold in packs of fours and sixes. They are a bit costly but effective in use. They cost somewhere between 200 to 400 dollars based on the brand and number of extinguishers.
Fire extinguishing sprays are easier to carry, and they work pretty well. You run through them quickly. They are not usually sold in packs but as a single item. They cost somewhere around 20 to 40 dollars. But they are fantastic for containing fires in a small amount of time.
Some consider shovels to be the most effective tool against campfires. You can beat down small fires on grass or small areas. Creating a small fire break in the line of fire is helpful to stop it from spreading. After you use the shovel to beat down fire, check it for damage.
Unlike fire extinguishers, more miniature shovels are not helpful. You need medium size, at least for it to diffuse fire effectively. There are shovels with 5-6 inches of blade size that are easier to carry. There are foldable shovels as well. They become half their size once you fold them.
Cost: Shovel sizes vary based on materials and brands. Mini shovels cost somewhere around 10-20 dollars. Foldable shovels are a bit more expensive as they cost 24 to 30 dollars.
Buckets are one of the must-have camping products. Not just for extinguishing fires but also for bathing and cooking purposes. When you see a fire getting out of hand or just want to diffuse the one you made, just pour buckets of water on it.
You can carry small buckets or use collapsible buckets. Collapsible buckets are made of fabric, so you can easily take them. They can hold several liters of water.
Cost: small rubber buckets come in single pieces or 4-6packs. Single pieces cost around 20-25 dollars. Collapsible buckets cost 24-30 dollars.
5 Tips for Containing Campfire
If you want to make a campfire on your next camping trip, follow these tips for a safer experience.
Know Fundamental Information
You need to know how fireworks react. Fire needs air to be created and continuously seeks for fresh air to keep burning. Don’t create campfires in places where the wind is unstable. Too much wind will change the direction of your campfire in no time.
Check the Firewood
The firewood needs to be dry to burn. It can’t be wet or moist. When you use firewood, always check its condition. While wet firewood won’t light on fire, the moist within will bust if you burn them.
Check the end cracks and look for molds and split ends. If your wood has them, it’s probably wet. You can also check by smacking two wood pieces together. Dry parts will create a ringing tone, whereas moist wood will generate a thud sound.
Use the Correct Fire Starter
You can buy fire starters from outdoor shops, but if you don’t have those, you can use household items as well. Put a paper towel with two tablespoons of cooking oil in a bag and crumple it. You can also use cotton balls dipped in Vaseline. Light them when you want to use them.
Keep Your Face Away from Smoke
The hotter the fire, the less smoke there will be. Dry woods and good airflow will maintain a cleaner fire. If there’s too much unstable wind, you might get a lot of smoke. In that case, put a large log near the fire to change the smoke direction. You should get away from the fire as well.
You need to always keep an eye on the campfire. If you travel with children or pets, then never leave them unattended. Don’t put flammable objects near the fire. This can lead to a bigger mess. Don’t try to test the fire’s limit and see how far it can go.
If you do light a campfire, you need to take wind direction, wind intensity, and fire size into consideration to determine the distance. People who camp with children and pets need to be extra careful and put more space than usual.
You want to take all precautions you can. Regardless of your stance on the topic, it never hurts to be careful and ready for disaster.