Alternatives to Pressurized Fuel
Recently I attended a Boy Scout Leader Roundtable meeting where they held a Pressurized Fuel Training session. The focus of this training was to teach leaders what they should be teaching boy scouts about safety rules for using primarily cooking stoves, but also lanterns and heaters that use propane or liquid fuels under pressure. The point was not at all to teach how to use these devices, but was purely about safety.
The point of this article is not to discuss the specifics of the safety rules. I'm sure you can find them elsewhere on-line, and frankly a lot of it was common sense (like reading the manual that came with the device you are using and following their instructions). The point of this article is to offer answers to the following questions that came up in my mind during this training: 1) If there are so many safety issues with pressurized fuel, why use it? and 2) What are the alternatives?
The answer to the first question has to do with the BSA and other organizations adopting the Leave No Trace philosophy. I won't go into all the details on this either, but suffice to say that Leave No Trace is an environmentalist movement which among other things discourages the use (or over-use) of wood found in the wild for campfires or for building camp furniture, etc.
This is somewhat at odds with the old tradition of scouting which is closely linked with the woodcraft movement of the early 20th century. This oft misunderstood social movement heartily encouraged people to get out of the over-crowded cities and re-discover the joys of primitive outdoor living. The term "woodcraft" not only referred to the fact that camping, hunting, and fishing activities were often conducted in the woods, but it also referred to the skills required for survival in the woods with a bare minimum of modern equipment. Such survival skills included the ability to start a fire without matches and the ability to build shelters in the wild. Naturally, it wasn't enough to just know about these skills; they required some practice, and some people over time came to feel that the practice of these skills was unnecessarily destructive.
Leave No Trace presents us with new problems. First, unlike wood found in the wild, pressurized fuel and the devices that use it are not free. Many people are reluctant to buy something like this that they would only use once or twice a year. Then there is the safety issue. Even when handled properly, these devices sometimes malfunction. And last but not least, people simply enjoy gathering around a campfire to tell stories, roast marshmallows, etc.
So, what about the alternatives? For lanterns, there are very good battery-powered models. There are even models with remote controls and night lights. These are plenty bright enough (remember that even a dim light seems bright when you are in the woods at night), don't make any noise, and are perfectly safe to leave unattended or to give to a child.
For cooking, match-light charcoal works quite well. This does not require any special skills. You can bring along a small portable grill or use whatever fire pit or grill is provided by the park. Charcoal is probably better than wood for dutch oven cooking, and definitely better than pressurized fuel, because some dutch oven recipes require coals to be placed on top.
For campfires and cooking over wood, first and foremost you need to know and obey the rules of the park you are staying in. If you decide to use wood, you can use less wood by simply building smaller fires. The old-time woodcrafters were fond of pointing out the wisdom of the Indians who would build a small fire and gather in closer to it while white men would waste materials by building a big fire that was so hot they'd have to back away from it.
For staying warm at night, throw on an extra blanket or buy a sleeping bag that is rated for lower temperatures. I recently read about a family that had some kind of heater in their tent and were found dead the next morning due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Is getting a better night's sleep worth that kind of risk?
I'm not saying I won't use pressurized fuel, but I don't think people should feel obligated to use it due to environmental concerns if they are uncomfortable with the safety issues or just like cooking on an old-fashioned campfire while observing park rules.
The author, Greg Bonney, is the owner of Bonney Information and E-Commerce and founder of Scoutcamping.com (http://www.scoutcamping.com).
Copyright © 2005 Bonney Information and E-Commerce.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Hikers will climb 600 feet to summit Mount Nittany for week 7 of Centred Outdoors - Centre Daily Times
Backcountry Safety - An Essential 10-Point Checklist
The call of the wild can be seductive. The exquisite beauty of the wilderness, the incomparable solitude, the simplicity of life on the trail, and the rush of living a bit on the edge attract thousands of eager backcountry enthusiasts.
Is There Such A Thing As A Romantic Camping Getaway In Minnesota?
Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel.com and Bookpleasures.
What Do Cowboys-n-Campfires Have in Common?
I bet you're wondering where the heck this articles going. After all what could cowboys-n-campfires have in common? Well lots actually!Cowboys are full of wonderful tales from their travels and their work.
Yellowstone Camping In The Fall
Soon, the busy summer tourist season will be over in Yellowstone National Park. If you are interested in enjoying one of the world's most unique geological wonders without the traffic, and crowds, it is time to start planning a trip.
Student Travel - Backpacking In Europe
For the fortunate few, life isn't complete without a backpacking trip through Europe. This right of passage is believed to further the maturation process of college students, according to sociologists.
Great Indian Holidays
Holidays in India, awesome in her size and diversity. This virtual sub-continent, stretches from the lofty Himalyas , a series of 2000km long mountain ranges in the north, to the extensive deserts in the west, the lush evergreen forest in the south to the far-flung sub Himalayan forests in the North East.
River Rafting in the Grand Canyon
Rafting through the Grand Canyon is the experience of a lifetime. Viewing the canyon from along the rim is a stunning experience on its own, but it pales in comparison to the adventure of riding the river through it.
San Francisco Beaches
When you are planning a vacation to Maui or Rio de Janeiro you may put beaches on the top of you list of things to see. However, when planning a trip to San Francisco, you may have heard of North Beach, but North Beach doesn't have any beaches (though the neighborhood was named after a beach that used to be on its north shoreline).
Adventure Travel on Horseback
When you think of "adventure travel," what crosses your mind? Hiking? White water rafting? Scuba diving? Something as sedentary as a cruise ship or land rover safari? Those ideas lose their "adventure" status when you compare them to galloping on a horse in Africa with a zebra and wildebeest racing along side you, or quietly observing the elephant and giraffe.How can a traveler visit the remote parts of the world's most beautiful and interesting places while.
Top Five Honeymoon Safari Destinations In Africa
An African honeymoon safari is the perfect way to celebrate your marriage.The pampering that you get is second to none and the surroundings are as beautiful as you will get anywhere in the world.
Spanish Courses in Spain
Spain: sun, sea, sand and Spanish..
Scuba diving in South Africa
This truly beautiful country at the southern tip of dark and mysterious Africa offers diving and wildlife experiences beyond your wildest dreams..
Cochin - Cocktails of Cultures
Eulogised as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin, Kerala's commercial capital is an anachronism. The dashing metropolitan city prides itself on a historical heritage stretching back to ancient times and embracing within its far reaching hold, cultures as diverse as Hindu, Chinese, Arab, Jewish, Syrian Christian, Portuguese, Dutch and English.
Discover Eaton Canyon In Pasadena California
Eaton Canyon Natural Area Nature Center, entrance, 1750 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena, Ca.
The Benefits of One Day Hiking Trips
Do you like to take one day hiking trips? Do you want to take hiking trips on trails near your home? One day hiking trips have a number of advantages. They are great for the recreational hiker.
Hawaii Volcano Tour
A Hawaii volcano tour can be a most memorable experience, and is readily available (short of eruptions!) year round. While each island boasts some volcanic heritage, The Big Island is where all the action is.
Spain´s Beaches - You´re Spoilt For Choice
Spain offers the visitor over 4,000 kms of coastline where s/he can enjoy shining sun and sapphire seas in wonderful settings.And what a choice of sands! Golden sands, white sands, grainy sands, powdery sands, and even the black sands of the Canary Islands!Allergic to sand? No problem! Just plump for a resort with smooth, white pebbles! You´ll find a good selection!Already holidayed several times by the Mediterranean? Then why not try the fairy-tale fishing villages washed by the Cantabrian Sea or Atlantic Ocean?"Spanish beaches are the most environmentally healthy in Europe" says the Foundation for Environmental Education, which has awarded the much-coveted Blue Flag to 450 of the country´s beaches - more than any other participating contry!Leading the way within Spain itself is the Costa Blanca, which received 48 Blue Flag awards.
Ten Skills - A Backpacking List
Have you ever had a backpacking trip that was a disaster - even though you brought everything you needed? Maybe you had matches, but couldn't get that fire going. You need more than good gear to assure a safe and enjoyable wilderness experience.
Book a Golf Package in Myrtle Beach for Golfing Fun and Great Times in the Sun
Thousands of golfers flock to the Carolinas each spring and fall to enjoy some of the greatest golf courses in the country, and booking a golf package in Myrtle Beach is one of the best ways to experience what the area has to offer to devoted fans of the sport.Purchasing a golf package in Myrtle Beach not only provides visitors with great opportunities for golfing but can also make available the finest in first-class accommodations, great meals, and a chance to hear some of the area's best entertainment.
Bunbury Western Australia
The first recorded mapping of what is now Koombana Bay and the eventual City of Bunbury, was in 1803 by the French explorers Nicolas Baudin and Louis de Freycinet, from their ships the Geographe and Casuarina. In 1831 there was a temporary English military settlement with the first settlers moving to the area named after Lieutenant Henry William St Pierre Bunbury in 1838.
|home | site map | Ocean Photography|