Canopy over the campfire?

General Discussion about almost anything Teardrop or camping related

What I think!

Postby eamarquardt » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:48 pm

IMHO putting a flammable tarp directly over a fire is an accident waiting to happen! You might get away with it for a while, but it's gonna bite you eventually and the results could be disastrous! You don't taunt fire!

Cheers,

Gus
The opinions in this post are my own. My comments are directed to those that might like an alternative approach to those already espoused.There is the right way,the wrong way,the USMC way, your way, my way, and the highway.
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Postby regis101 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:50 pm

Fear not, Everything in proportion. I have yet to see hot embers go above the 5' mark. We'll be dry and warm, thank you.
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Postby bve » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:15 pm

I've used 3-4 smaller tarps strung together over / around the fire with an opening in the middle, then use a larger tarp on the sides to block out the wind and rain - usually only 2 of the four sides are covered.

The smaller tarps if left with a large enough opening to allow the fire to vent the smoke (for the most part) about 3'x3' are fine. It's not ideal, but then again packing up and going home isn't ideal either.

I always tarp off of trees, it's pretty much the first thing I do when getting to camp, rain or shine and I always have more tarps and rope than I've ever needed.

Tarped or not you always have to be conscious of your surroundings when you have an open fire.
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Postby Oasis Maker » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:32 pm

regis101 wrote:Fear not, Everything in proportion. I have yet to see hot embers go above the 5' mark. We'll be dry and warm, thank you.


You're kidding me? You've put an absolute mathmatical limit of 5 feet for flaming embers?

I don't mean to demean your calculation, it's just that living in Arizona (and camping in your state of California) we have a great deal of respect and experience as to what those little suckers can do.

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Postby len19070 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:53 pm

We did something like that once but not with a wood fire, we used a Dura-flame log and it wasn't under an EZ UP, More like a Car port thing with a 12' roof.

I think the ticket was the Dura-Flame log, not much more than a big candle.

There were also a 6-7 adults there to keep an eye on things.

It was a terrible weekend weather wise. We were camping for 48 hours and it rained heavily for 47 1/2.

But we linked all our canopy's together gathered inside and still had a great time.

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But build a wood fire under a 7' tall EZ UP.....Na, not a good idea.

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Postby hugh » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:35 pm

oddly enough around here I,ve seen the embers go up a good 20 feet, usually a fire we build big enough to do that is in snowy conditions though. We would never build a fire like that in summer, if the rangers ever saw it you,re looking at a huge fine. Another thing we tried a few weeks ago was tie 3 birch trees about 20 ft high together at the top using a ratchet strap and we wound up with a teepee shaped triangle. We then used a small 10 ft tarp we had to wall off one side and the whole thing straddled the fire. Turns out that the tarp wall acted as a chimney so it drew the smoke to it which we solved by moving the wall back about 9 or 10 feet from the fire. Before anyone gets mad because we cut down 3 birch trees it is in area where no one except our jeeps can get to and those trees are like weeds, very fast growing. Plus in the province where I live there is lots of wilderness, one of your cities has more people than all of Manitoba.
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Postby Pottercounty » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:04 pm

No......
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Well said!

Postby eamarquardt » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:19 pm

Oasis Maker wrote:You're kidding me? You've put an absolute mathmatical limit of 5 feet for flaming embers?

I don't mean to demean your calculation, it's just that living in Arizona (and camping in your state of California) we have a great deal of respect and experience as to what those little suckers can do.

Scott G.


I fergot our "cultural" differences. Here in So. Cal. virtually everything is "tinder" dry! Every year, it seems, we have devestating wildfires that often cause millions of dollars worth of damage and occasionally take the lives of civilians and firefighters alike. Things that people people do in other parts of the country without a thought require permits and strict procedures here. For example, the recent HUGE fire near and around Santa Barbara was apparently started by two fellows clearing weeds on a recreation trail with "weedwhackers". They will be proscecuted under the law for not having a permit and not posting a "fire watch" for a half hour after finishing their work.

Diffferent environments drive different behaviors, rules, and different levels of respect for the dangers of fire.

Cheers,

Gus
The opinions in this post are my own. My comments are directed to those that might like an alternative approach to those already espoused.There is the right way,the wrong way,the USMC way, your way, my way, and the highway.
"I'm impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it." Klaatu-"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
"You can't handle the truth!"-Jack Nicholson "A Few Good Men"
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The Marines don't have that problem"-Ronald Reagan
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Postby Rick Sheerin » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:21 pm

I'll have to see if I can find a picture but Steve Fredericks brought a great little invention camping that includes a 4 ft steel pipe, a length of chain, and about a 3x4ft piece of metal roofing. A lean-to for your fireplace.

Set the pipe in the ground behind the fireplace, set the sheet metal at the back of the fireplace and attach to the pipe with the chain so you can hinge the sheet metal up and down as needed. You can set your EZ-up a few feet back from the fire and the sheet metal will reflect the heat back towards you and protect your fire from the rain. Very simple and very effective.
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Postby Corwin C » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:38 am

I have done this for years and have never had an issue. In fact I've been using the same 15'x20' generic blue tarp for at least the last 10 and it's been over a fire 30, maybe 35 times ... not a single hole from embers (although a few from wear & tear ;) )

I always make sure that the ridge line is "open" for the smoke to escape and I always build a relatively small fire (the type that you would put a dutch oven on - lots of coals maybe one burning log.) Watch for those embers, they can and will travel a LONG way. Most of the time, I would guess that the tarp is at least 8' over the fire (the highest tips of the flames) As far as a plastic tarp bursting into flame ... I don't worry much. If it gets too hot, first it will melt, then start to flame. With CONSTANT supervision, I think that it's pretty safe.

If it's raining, I can't picture a tarp burning at all ... has anyone here ever boiled water in a paper cup over a fire before? :shock: Give it a try, fill the cup right to the brim and place directly on the coals. The plastic coated paper (not a plastic cup) rather than the waxed cups work the best.

Now don't get me wrong, I can see the potential hazard. But, in my opinion it is a hazard that can be dealt with.

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Anything can be managed!

Postby eamarquardt » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:53 am

Virtually any situation can be "be managed" it you pay attention to detail. Some folks, however, don't pay attention! There inlies the problem.

You gotta use some "common sense" that is sometimes "uncommon sense".

Cheers,

Gus
The opinions in this post are my own. My comments are directed to those that might like an alternative approach to those already espoused.There is the right way,the wrong way,the USMC way, your way, my way, and the highway.
"I'm impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it." Klaatu-"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
"You can't handle the truth!"-Jack Nicholson "A Few Good Men"
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The Marines don't have that problem"-Ronald Reagan
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Postby eveningprimrose » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:04 am

Oasis Maker wrote:No, that's the small one. Click below:

Mr. Big Buddy
Well, I think we've decided to go with the Mr. Heater Big Buddy. We've decided to use it in our gazebo, instead of underneath the Easy Up. We figure there's a little more wall space in the gazebo, that will help trap the heat. I guess if we had to, we could attach a tarp or two to the sides of the gazebo, to block the wind.

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Postby regis101 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:59 am

Yeah, 5 foot. My fires are built with hardwood and have two maybe three logs on at most. If I had embers sailing off at twice or thrice that amount, for one, there'd be no canopy and number two, I'd be tired chasing all those little buggers to make sure they don't set the world ablaze. Can I catch a break, huh?
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Postby Pottercounty » Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:47 pm

People can do what they want however, its still a numbers game...
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Postby M B Hamilton » Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:50 pm

regis, this post isn't about you. Honest.

We meet annually with a group of friends at something called The Snow Walker's Rendevous. One cold, overcast, rainy Saturday we had/did a test of the burn potential of a couple of tents. This picture is of a wet, single wall, cotton canvas tent. Point of ignition was a hot wood stove, there was no contact with open flame or sparks. Ignition was depressingly quick - less than a minute.

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About 90 seconds later this is all that was left. Good news: as long as you weren't sleeping, 90 seconds was enough to slash the back wall of the tent with your knife and get out. But take a look at the faces in the crowd, there aren't a lot of people smiling.

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Not going to say anything more.
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