Hot answers tagged

24

Wool does not melt or drip This answer might surprise you: wool! Wool (...) does not melt or drip(.) Wool ignites at a higher temperature than cotton and some synthetic fibers. It has a lower rate of flame spread, a lower rate of heat release, a lower heat of combustion, and does not melt or drip; it forms a char which is insulating and ...


17

Fires must be attended at all times! There is no such thing as, "the best way to leave a fire unattended for a short time," your fire is either being attended, or your fire is thoroughly extinguished and your pit is left cold, no argument. There are no conditions where an open pit fire can be left alone and be 100% guaranteed not to spread. It's the people ...


15

I'm from British Columbia, lots of BC is technically a rain forest, which pretty much means you're always starting your fire with wet wood. The trick to getting wet wood to light is to generate a lot of heat when you first start your fire, that means using lots of extra kindling. Cut triple or quadruple the amount of fine kindling and build yourself a ...


12

Having built several fires while wearing down jackets I can confirm that your jacket will not burst into flames, nylon is not that flammable. The worst you will experience is a small burn hole in the outside if an ember lands on you. Probably still a good idea to keep a safe distance away anyway there are plenty of other ways to burn yourself on a fire. Me ...


12

I think this largely depends on the specific area you are traveling in. My approach is to always minimize campfires in the backcountry as a general rule. That being said, if I am in an abundant backcountry environment, where there is an already well made fire ring, I have no qualms making an occasional fire from dead, down, dry, and less than wrist size ...


11

Like most activities, campfires aren't simply ethical or unethical. There are only a few things in this world that are always ethical or always unethical. Rather, there are ethical and unethical ways to behave. I don't expect a campsite to look exactly like the land around it - I understand there will be artificial clearings in the trees, perhaps a sign ...


11

No, it is not safe to burn just any kind of wood, because some woods contain toxins that have the potential to be fatal if inhaled as ash (poison oak, poison ivy). However, most wood found in nature is safe. There's no such thing as smoke that won't cause damage to the lungs, smoke is a particle, your body has many levels of defense to try and prevent ...


11

I would say any time you're in an undeveloped area, it is OK and perhaps the most ethical thing to do, to dismantle fire rings. They encourage over-use of a particular spot, collect trash, etc. When you're in a developed camping area, you should not dismantle them. Having the fire ring there ensures that the damage from fires is kept to one area, thus ...


11

Different land managers have different takes on this so I don't think you're going to get a solid answer that applies across all areas. I generally use the term "trail camp" to describe what you're talking about. An area with up turned rocks for sitting and doing stuff on, a fire ring, some flat spots for sleeping, etc. I've never dismantled a single one, ...


9

You shouldn't inhale too much smoke. Everything which is (or used to be) alive is mostly carbon, and whenever carbon burns, you get carbon-monoxide which is poisonous. Symptoms of acute carbon-monoxide poisoning are: Dull headache Weakness Dizziness Nausea Shortness of breath Confusion Blurred vision When you have these symptoms while spending some time ...


9

In the context of camping, it's perfectly safe to wear a down jacket. Keep in mind that fleece is typically also made from synthetics, and so can be expected to have similar properties to your down jacket. (Actually somewhat worse, given the texture.) A table of synthetic fiber characteristics at ...


8

I've been out in the woods with companions who have suffered severe burns. You first priority is to relieve the pain, you accomplish this by removing the heat from the burn. Cool clean water is your best friend for the first few hours at least, have the victim stick his hand in a cool clean lake or stream. I say cool water, not cold water. If the water is ...


7

Since you didn't limit the question to materials found in nature: I've lit wet firewood in the rain using pieces of waxed cardboard. They burn very fast and hot. And wax firestarters are essentially waterproof themselves, so they're pretty reliable even in wet conditions. You used to be able to get waxed cardboard from any supermarket, in the form of ...


7

To answer the third question: Charcoal is basically wood (technically any biomass, but it's usually wood) that has had its water and other volatile components completely removed, leaving pretty much a lump of almost entirely carbon. Charcoal compared to wood is similar to comparing distilled, concentrated alcohol to sugar cane. The charcoal burns ...


7

It boils down to the point what one could really do in such a situation. When I trek in India, I do come across such situations that beg some action from me and other sensitive people around. I define scope of 'what can I do' as following: Don't be outnumbered!: If we are outnumbered, I will rather opt to report it to the authority, without threatening the ...


7

I have ruined more than one hatchet in my lifetime trying to split large logs in half. The trick is to not try to spit them down the middle as you would with an axe, but to chop around the edges of the logs and split off smaller pieces all the way around, making the log smaller and smaller as you go. One technique is to make "helper" chops in the top around ...


6

It may be safe for you, but not for your jacket. While it won't instantly burst into flames, your very expensive jacket will get holes melted in it by hanging around a fire, same goes for any other nylons or non fire-resistant synthetic materials. Goose down will burn fairly well, oddly enough there are quite a few youtube videos of people burning down ...


6

Pressure treated wood is especially toxic, since it contains chemicals meant to preserve it and kill things that would destroy it. Never burn pressure-treated wood. Other answers covered the rest pretty well.


6

Avoiding the word 'ethical', I'll ask: Is it good for the forest to stop all fires, and let fuel accumulate? In North America this has led to many very destructive fires that kill every tree in the forest. Lot's of money and time is being spent to clear out the excess fuel with controlled burns before it is too late. So in these areas, I'd say go ahead, ...


6

Lightweight stoves are preferred over campfires, but it is still important to know how to make a leave no trace campfire when the occasion calls for it (run out of fuel too soon, stove failure, etc.). I think a mound fire would be best in this situation. Lay a sheet on the ground and pile a mound of dirt on top of it (get your dirt from a previously ...


4

I strike my fire steel with a piece of hacksaw blade. I have the added ability to either just strike/scrape the ferro rod, shave shavings off it into a tinder bundle to get more intense fire lighting sparks, I can use the striker to shave fat wood, or normal wood, which will in turn take less of a spark to ignite, I can attach a piece of paracord through the ...


4

A camping grill is not the indispensable cooking utensil in the wild, at least not anymore. Back in the day cooking over a fire was your only option for eating hot food, and a grill was the lightest thing you could carry for cooking. Cooking over a campfire is still fun, it's nostalgic for a lot of people, but it's not necessary in the backcountry these ...


4

First of all, you want to bring a lightweight hatchet with which you can split the green firewood. Remember that the more surface area you expose the more flame you will get and the hotter the fire will get. Last week, my friends and I were having a hard time with your same problem, so we made a bellows (air pump to fire) with an air mattress pump (4 D ...


4

When I built a pit to roast pigs in some years ago, my brother brought up a bunch of lava rocks from southern Oregon for me to line it with. What you don't want are river rocks. Basically you're looking for rocks with rough edges instead of rounded. Rounded indicates the rock has been smoothed by water action and may contain water which as you've ...


4

TLDR: military grade tech fabrics designed for air and tank crew uniforms. As others have pointed out you might reconsider cotton as an outer layer only. Be careful with waxed cotton as some have suggested, occasionally the wax is flammable. Wool is a good choice given your criteria. If however money is no object and/or you don't mind surfing ebay till ...


3

However, you don't typically breath in campfire smoke in concentrations as high as cigarette smoke, and it doesn't have the addictive chemicals in it either. Campfire smoke is not an issue for most people because they are not exposed to it very often. However in parts of the world where people cook over a fire all the time, or where they light their homes ...


3

This summer I went out canoe camping in some light rain that turned into a torrential downpour and wouldn't stop. When it finally did, there was a puddle in the fireplace and we had no dry wood. We had a little paper with us, and we got tinder from the inside of logs, and all those tricks, but nothing worked and we had a small child with us who was getting ...


3

Kerosene is different from other carbon fuels in that is has a much higher flash point, meaning that it has to be warmer than other fuels before it will produce a vapour that can be ignited. Other fuels with a much lower flash point produce a lot more vapours at warmer temperatures, making them much more volatile. If your lamp is designed to be used with ...


3

I used the wax paper on the salt water taffies. I compacted one into a small ball, as small as I could get it, then wrapped others until I got about 10 on in total then lit it and it stayed burning for quite awhile.


3

I normally baton with a large knife, but the principle remains the same (driving a wedge to split the wood). I taught myself how to baton in order to quickly make kindling from larger sections, often quarter-rounds, while my little cousin was around. Batoning can be performed on logs or thickers sticks, depending on your needs and the size of your wedge. I ...



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