The warm crackle of a fire is an integral part of the camping experience. It’s the perfect gathering place at the end of a day to watch the flames dance, visit with friends, and toast a marshmallow or two.
But campfires can also be a lot of work. Hauling the wood, building a nice blaze, and poking it until it’s completely out require a commitment of at least a couple hours. And then there’s the smoke! It gets in your clothes, your hair, and your lungs. It seeps into your sheets while you sleep and can even cause allergic reactions.
Most of us go out of our way to make sure we have a clean, smoke free environment to live in, and those efforts are useful for our campfires, too. Many household items contain chemicals that are toxic when inhaled and should not be burned. Some types of wood burn cleaner than others, and by “seasoning” the wood, we can further reduce the smoke it creates. Done properly, you can build a traditional campfire that is virtually smoke-free, and this video gives you the tips you’ll need:
If you’re willing to compromise on the snap and pop of a wood campfire, a portable propane fire pit is an excellent alternative. These provide all the ambiance, all the heat, and none of the effort or smoke of a traditional campfire. They’re also allowed in many campgrounds that don’t permit open fires, and they basically have an on/off switch so it’s easy to enjoy the fire for short periods of time.
These fire pits require a 20 lb propane tank – the same size used with outdoor grills – which can be purchased and refilled at most hardware stores. Here are a couple of options available on Amazon:
This 19-inch diameter fire pit includes auto-ignition, decorative lava rocks, a cover/carry kit, and a 10-foot hose to attach to your propane tank. It weighs 24.5 pounds and a convenient travel bag is sold separately.
This 18.5-inch diameter fire bowl comes with a locking lid, pumice stones, tank holder, and 10-foot hose with regulator. It weighs 18 pounds and is 19.7 inches tall.
This 14-inch diameter fire pit comes with a weather-proof lid, pellets, and 10-foot hose with regulator. It is 14 inches tall and weighs just nine pounds.
With any fire it’s important to consider the campers around you. Make sure the smoke from your campfire isn’t engulfing their site, observe the campground quiet hours, and douse or move your fire if asked. Smoke can be a serious hazard to those who have allergies or health issues. Learning how to build a clean, smokeless campfire may make your next camping trip more enjoyable for everyone!
About the Author: Denise Rolen is a retired holistic health practitioner, devoted animal lover, die-hard Raider fan, political & animal activist and RV traveler. She, her husband, and their two dogs have traveled throughout the country and parts of Canada and especially enjoy the Pacific Northwest region.
Guest Posts on GoPetFriendly.com: We love sharing stories from people having fun traveling with their pets – especially when they do things a little differently than us! Sharing your pet travel experiences may be just the nudge someone else needs to pack up and head out with their own best friend. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Take Paws, let us know!