Camp Tricks

Yes, You Can Camp Without a Campfire

August 17, 2016


With all the fire bans becoming more and more prevalent these days, if you want to camp, you may as well get used to doing it without a campfire—trust us, it’s not as painful as it sounds.

Banning Backstory
Fire bans used to be rare, at least total bans were. It seems most summers, in Colorado at least, we have some sort of ban or other at one time or other in the summer. Some years have brought out total bans for at least part of the season. Total bans mean no fires at all, even in established campgrounds. This can put a damper on your plans, but only if you let it.

Time is Precious
It takes a lot of your time to start and maintain a fire. Collecting the wood is quite a chore, and that only works if you have wood around. Camping has gotten so popular that finding any wood anywhere near your campsite is pretty rare these days. It is not a good idea to transport wood from one region to another due to bugs that can cause and spread diseases, so don’t bring any from home. Since most of the forests have been picked clean of the low-lying fruit, you have to either buy wood or hunt for big branches and chop it up yourself.

A Whole Lot of Chopping
I was always the cool dad who let the kids chop wood with a real axe (when Mom wasn’t looking of course). The novelty of that wore off after about an hour or so when my son asked why they had to do all the work. I told him that Mom and I drove them there and bought all the food so if they wanted a ride home or to eat, they should get back to chopping; I wasn’t such a cool Dad after that. Then my slave laborers grew up and I was back to chopping myself. That’s a lot of work that I won’t have to do when we go fireless.

Eww That Smell
The stench we produce from playing in the wild without showers is bad enough, but everything, and I do mean everything, will smell of smoke with a campfire. You will be pleasantly surprised how much less of a cloud surrounds all of you without the campfire smoke permeating everything. Then there is the added bonus of being able to set up your chair and not have to get up and move from the smoke every time the wind shifts. It does get a little old trying to relax in the evening, yet having to get up and move your chair every 5 minutes; that can wear a guy out.

Cook it up Quick
Yes we all enjoy food cooked over a campfire, especially steaks and burgers, but you can learn to do without all that ash on your ribeye. Cook stoves like Stansport’s stoves, grills and Woks are safe and allowed even during fire bans. They also cook way faster as they are ready at the push of a button. They are easier to cook on due to the steady flame and heat and you don’t have to gather any wood, chop up any wood or feed any wood into the fire all night.

Let There be Light
I used to love my old fueled lantern that you filled with flammable fluid and then had to pump and pump before lighting. I still say it puts out the best light but those are very flammable and not only are they not advisable in dry years but illegal during total fire bans. The new propane lanterns are so much easier to light and safer as well. During a total fire ban or if you just decide to go flameless checkout the new battery powered LED lanterns at You may not feel as manly or important as I used to when only I could get the old fuel lantern to light, but you’ll feel much smarter for making your life that much easier.

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