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Old 06-23-2009, 04:54 AM   #1
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Does anyone else hate camp fires?

I may be in for a lynching here, but Sam and I hate camp fires.

It seems that state campgrounds have more of them, in our experience. We prefer state campgrounds for everything about them except the fact that every site has to build a fire. I know it's part of the camping thing for families, but frequently there is a blanket of smoke over the whole place every night. It's so thick it irritates your throat and you carry the smell with you for ever. We end up closing all the windows in an attempt to keep some of the smoke out of the trailer so we can sleep.

Most campgrounds have more than one "loop" or section of camp sites. So we thought why don't they make one section a no campfire zone? Unless we are the only ones......

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Old 06-23-2009, 04:58 AM   #2
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If you think state parks are bad, try camping at any NASCAR event, Spring, Summer or Fall!

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Old 06-23-2009, 05:31 AM   #3
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Love Campfires...Hate The Smoke

I love campfires, but hate the smoke. I think a lot of it has to do with ones prowess at building fires. A good campfire using good wood doesn't produce that much smoke.

We were at a KOA near Lake Seneca, NY a few years ago and there was an elderly gentleman with what I assumed was his grandson. They sat by their campfire ring all day long placing scraps of lumber on a "fire" and I never once saw a flame, it was just one large billow of white smoke, all day, which forced us to keep our Airstream sealed up tight in order to keep it from smelling like a smoke house.

We got around the smoke issue at our permanent site by installing a propane "campfire." it doesn't throw the heat that a normal campfire does but we can still roast marshmellows and hot dogs over it.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:01 AM   #4
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I would like campfires but my wife has very bad asthma. We do the same thing shut the windows up tight to keep the smoke out. If you look around some places dont alow campfires.

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Old 06-23-2009, 06:04 AM   #5
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We usually take seasoned firewood with us to have a fire a few times during the trip. Some campgrounds, but not all, have good firewood available to purchase for a good fire but we have seen the smokey fires to. There have been a few who know nothing about fires that have actually cut down fresh green wood to try and burn. That makes for some of the worst fires, not to mention appalling to cut young growth.

We like tamarack the best for the clean burn and the snap, crackle, pop effect. It burns pretty clean and leaves little ash behind.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:29 AM   #6
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We've been known to produce campfires that are more smoke than fire---had a fellow camper once ask if we were trying to send smoke signals. Have gotten better at building them over the years. We do love them in the morning, nothing better than a nice fire while drinking coffee.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:32 AM   #7
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I agree to a point.
We love a good campfire and know how to build one and keep it flaming. I am alergic to smoke and we have been near smoky fires several times. Campers do not take their neighbors into consideration at all. They do not check to make sure the wind is not going to blow right into the neighbors camper. We recently were camping near one of theses smoky fires. The camper was burning wet leaves to clean up his site. A good camper is a considerate camper.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:51 AM   #8
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Shucks, they came up with smokeless tobacco, so why not smokeless fires?

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Old 06-23-2009, 06:59 AM   #9
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We're not real big on campfires, either. Too much smoke, not enough fire. We are often entertained and have gotten some really great laughs at campgrounds watching other campers build and "enjoy" their smoke fest. We have seen many campers build, and then run from their own camp fire.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:09 AM   #10
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Can't think of camping without a fire. Glass of wine, a cold beer, ghost stories, sitting back and starring at the fire. Love it! Will be out West in a few days and bought a Campfire in a Can (propane fire) in case there are fire restrictions.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:15 AM   #11
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WOW ---- and we were just remarking on how our last trip was so dampened by the lack of a fire. I didn't actually think it was camping without a fire. Isn't that why there are rings on most every site. It's something that I look forward to - regardless of temperature. It sets the mood for me! And sorry if the smoke blows into the other campers (though I rarely observe any other RV's with their windows open - they're running their heat/ac instead). Here, the wind can be blowing from the south one minute and then suddenly change to the east. Not much you can do about that situation. Wind seems to take no notice.

What I don't like are those who believe a fire cannot be built/maintained without saturating logs with firestarter/charcoal fluid.

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:29 AM   #12
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I agree with the original post. The last time we went to a State Park our trailer smelled like smoke for several days. NOT pleasant.

My Mom & Dad bought their 1st. Airstream in 1955 to TRAVEL, not to camp. They called themselves boulevard campers. In fact, Wally Byam promoted caravans and rallies rather than camping. That is what set him and Airstream apart from the hundreds of other travel trailers out there. The canned hams and boxes were for camping, but Airstreams were for traveling.

That is what makes Airstream special. It is not just that it tows better, but that Wally created a mystic about these trailers that attracted a more "sophisticated" clientele.

We did sometimes have campfires while caravanning, but it was in the center of the wagon wheel, and far away from the trailers.

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:35 AM   #13
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Put me in the group "I don't think it's camping without a campfire". We prefer dry camping or boon docking anyway, but the primary reason we avoid campgrounds with hookups is that most don't allow campfires. I can't stand the idea of spending $40- $50 for a campsite and not being able to toast a marshmallow over a campfire. Luckily the best campsites are usually those that are more primitive, allow campfires, and cost the least. There are a lot of private campgrounds that don't allow campfires though.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:44 AM   #14
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What we find here is that around one in ten will want a campfire. We permit it, but with restrictions: No too close to other folks, off-the-ground pit (we provide a few of them), not directly under trees, no fires during fire-ban season, etc.

During Memorial Day, somebody "accidently" took one of our big fire pits, so now we check them out rather than just handing them out willy-nilly. Swineolas.

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:45 AM   #15
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Just Don't Care For Them

We are in the group of not liking a fire while camping. I like the places where ground fires are not allowed. What kills me is when the campground does not have a ring the people next to us will build one in the grill!

It takes forever to get the smell out of the AS and even longer out of my shirt! Hey I quit smoking so I would quit smelling like something burning.

But with that said, fires should be allowed in a proper ring but I do like the spot in the campground that is no fires area idea.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:57 AM   #16
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In my travels I have found that most campgrounds allow wood campfires but most RV Parks do not. I live in a Canadian National Park and both types are offered locally here.

Maybe the key is to get a solid list of campfire-free RV Parks and plan from there. I love a good campfire, but would also support a loop or two of campfire-free sites. The question for the campground operator is would these sites have an occupancy rate lower than the ones WITH fire receptacles. If so, it's unlikely to be a popular conversion.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:28 AM   #17
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I love campfires but hate what folks burn in them. The smell of burning plastic is nauseating. We travel with a firedancer (propane fire) for early morning, fast fires.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:31 AM   #18
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What I never understood is why anyone would want to have a blazing campfire on an 85 degree evening of heat/humidity. Get a big poster made of a campfire at a one hour photo place and hang it on a tree and just watch that.

A nice campfire is great on a cool AM or in the evening.

A campfire won't smoke to badly if you: use dry seasoned wood. Don't throw yesterdays bacon grease in the fire ring. Don't burn tires, furniture, toys, bottles, spent propane bottles, or your mother-in-law. Slow roasting a raccoon also not advisable. (yes we've seen that! Well maybe not the mother-in-law part) Use natural starter for fire i.e. dry newspaper, dry pine cones make great starters, or in a pinch Weber Charcoal starters the little wax cubes.

And for the benefit of the park keep the fire within reason. It's a little disconcerting to see someone with a fire reaching 20 feet.

Along with packing everything else, don't forget to leave a little space for common sense.

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Old 06-23-2009, 09:40 AM   #19
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There is a good trick to get rid of the smoking fire... Get one of your paper (not plastic cups) Got to be environmentally friendly here. Fill it up with white gas or unleaded premium gas (got to be environmentally friendly) regular unleaded has to many impurities.

Stand back a Good five feet and throw the cup on the fire. Now be sure not to spill it as you throw or you may end up with no leg hair...

The resulting inferno will deplete the smoke and increase the flame.

Repeat as necessary....

Saftey caution...... Keep kids in trialer while doing this.. But make sure they can look out the window as the park ranger comes to yell at you. not sure why he would that though....

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 06-23-2009, 09:58 AM   #20
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Each to their own, I guess, as long as you act responsibly with your fire. What I hate is when someone builds a honking big blaze in the middle of the afternoon and then decides to take a nap in their tent for the next 2 hours, walk their dog or go fishing leaving it totally unattended. Inevitably, that will earn you a bucket of water and a sopping pile of wet wood if my wife or I are around.

For me, I find a fire isn't necessary to have a great camping experience at all. Most of the camping we've done prior to owning an airstream was done out of a backpack, and I'd rather carry an extra sweater and touque than a heavy axe any day!

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