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Re: [AT-L] Campstoves vs. Campfires

Michael wrote:

snipped original post

Please accept these remarks with the respet with which they are made.

Remarks on scouts snipped

> Many people still feel that a campfire is an essential ingredient of the
> camping experience. That feeling can be a primal one (the fire keeps
> away the wild animals and the fearful darkness) and/or nostagic and
> enculturated (Mommy and Daddy always built a fire when we went camping,
> the pioneers built fires so let's do like they did).

No primal fear of animals or the dark and yes mom and dad built fires

> Or maybe they like
> to sit around a fire at night.. for no other reason than they just like > to!

Bingo ....you hit it. Unless it's raining, I'm as likely to build a fire
as not.

Snipped fear comments

> In regard to the enculturation of campfires, campers at all levels need
> to change their thinking and enjoy the campsite without a "big roaring
> fire". 

A campfire does not have to be big to be enjoyable.

More snippage
> There's a peace and harmony in a cool, quiet campsite in the evening
> without the roar, smoke and sparks of a campfire. To say nothing of the
> satisfaction that can come from knowing that one is living in the
> forests and wilderness without endangering the camp and its
> surroundings. 

But what happens when the evening starts at 7:00 and the day doesn't
start untill the next 7:00.  For a solo hiker that can be alot of
piece and quiet.

>Campers should learn from the natural inhabitants of the
> forests and wilderness- who don't build campfires, but survive.

They also survive without all the other things we pack on our backs.

> Campfires generate much more air pollution than a well-tended,
> clean-burning campstove. 

I've never met a fuel burning stove that I couldn't smell a good
distance off and personally the smell of fuel just doesn't fit into a 
backcountry experience. 

>The stove burns only as long as needed to > prepare food and drink, but 
>the fire burns and smolders over a much > longer period and inherently 
>burns "dirtier". In many natural areas> around the country (the Great 
>Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park is a prime> example), the problem of air 
>pollution is becoming critical, and> although campfires create a tiny portion of the total, we don't need to
> contribute campsmoke when there are options.

Anyplace that has an air pollution problem does not seem to represent 
what I have come to know as the backcountry experience.  Seriously..
Pennsylvania has over 2 million acres of publicly held land accessable
by over 2 thousand miles of trails and 2 thousand miles of old woods
roads.  Most of the time in the woods I don't see anyone.
> (Aside: the Park and Forest Services should discourage developed
> campground campfires - go through Elkmont, Smokemont, and Cades Cove in
> the Great Smokies on weekend evenings and look at the total volume of
> campfire smoke generated! Whew...)

No I don't think I'd like that.  With such population concentration
I might agree that fires are not appropriate.

> Also, most backcountry campsites experience the high impact of campfire
> fuel gathering. If you've seen and despaired over a typically scoured,
> picked-over and trampled campsite area, with numerous fire rings built,
> no more need be said. Many campsites are closed each year to allow site
> recovery, primarily from fuel gathering.

If this is your experience you should try going further "out"

> Campstoves are inexpensive, reliable, clean-burning, and low-impact.
> They do have some disadvantages, but these are far outweighed by the
> facilitation of low-impact camping.
> They heat food and liquids much more efficiently than campfires, and the
> need for warmth can easily be met by proper clothing selection.

Agreed..that's why most of my cooking is done on my stove....
my zzzip stove. The warmth I seek in a fire is for my spirit.
Also needs to be said...I don't build fire rings.  I carry on my back
a cheapo lightweight 15 in. round grill (ala supermarket). I build my 
fire there.  No black rocks and it enforces a minimal fire.
> A lot of this has probably been discussed in the AT-L list prior to my
> subscribing, but it bears repeating to raise consciousness about the
> issue.


> Michael Vaughn
> Chattanooga, TN  USA