Sitting around the campfire is a quintessential part of camping.
There’s reasons that people have been huddling around the fire since man first discovered it. It’s where stories are told, and where songs are sung, guitars are pulled out, hotdogs are roasted and marshmallows are toasted. The campfire is so much a part of camping that you might have difficulty imagining a trip without one.It’s the perfect spot to unwind after an adventurous day in the woods, and the best place to let lose over a drink and bond with fellow campers.
But what happens if your campsite prohibits open fire? Many parks are placing fire bans on their sites in an effort to prevent wildfires – particularly around Alberta in wake of the recent Fort MacMurray fires. This might be kind of a bummer if you’re a habitual campfire enjoyer – but don’t abandon your adventure just yet! Camping without a fire is definitely doable, and a fireless campout isn’t without it’s own charms. So if you find yourself heading camping during a fire ban, here are some tips to help you get by.
1. Bring a camping stove
While cooking over a campfire has a certain nostalgic feel to it, a small camping stove will do the trick just as nicely. Most campsites allow small fires fueled by liquid gas, so check the regulations of your site and see if you can bring a stove along. You can find a simple propane-fueled camping stove at your local outdoor equipment store. Campfire or not, you’ll be cooking up s’mores and frying up a tasty breakfast in no time. And they’ll probably be cooked more evenly than they would have been otherwise.
2. Pack bug repellent
With outdoor adventure, comes unusual insects. One great thing about a traditional campfire is that the smoke tends to chase away those pesky bugs. With no campfire at your service, make sure you bring along plenty of bug repellent. If you are extra wary of bugs, you can even pick up a mosquito repellent lantern to keep your campout zone bug-free.
3. Bring a headlamp
Reading while camping is awesome and the ideal way unwind at the end of the day. But if you’re someone who typically enjoys reading by the fire, you’ll need to find a new source of light for your hobby. An easy solution is to take along a headlamp so you can read away even as the daylight disappears. Actually, even if you’re not reading you should bring a headlamp. Always have a headlamp.
4. Get creative with activities
There are plenty of late night activities you can do without a fire, as the dark offers its own opportunity for fun. Kids enjoy playing around with flashlights or playing hide and seek, and even adults will be unnerved by ghost stories told without the glow of a campfire. As long as your group has a lantern and some extra warm blankets, you can play cards or board games well into the night.
5. Stock up on glow sticks
Glow sticks are inexpensive and kids love them. They’re not just entertaining; they actually provide a surprising amount of light and last through the night. Pick up a few packs before your trip and hang them from trees, tents or pile them on the ground for a makeshift campfire.
6. Count the stars
With no fire to look at, you may find your gaze lifting upwards. And there’s no better place to see the stars than out in the wilderness, away from city lights and distractions. Take advantage of the dark and the stillness by enjoying a unique stargazing opportunity. Search for shooting stars or constellations and revel in the calm and quietness of the outdoors.
7. Get in touch with nature
As darkness falls, you’ll find yourself pulled into the nature around you. Without a crackling fire, you’ll be more aware of your surroundings and you’ll hear more sounds of neighboring wildlife. Instead of watching the fire, cozy up outside with a blanket and watch the night settle in.
8. Give in to your circadian rhythm
Without a fire to provide you with light and warmth, you’ll find yourself turning into bed earlier than usual. Enjoy going to bed and waking up with the sun and take advantage of the opportunity to catch up on sleep. Rising with the sun also means being exposed to more hours of daylight and more Vitamin D. So make the most out of your new sleep schedule (just don’t forget the sunscreen!).