So its your first early season weekend camping trip, the night you arrive you set up camp and start a campfire. All is well and you settle in for some well earned relaxation, and maybe a couple of beverages to lighten the mood.
There’s something about a campfire that seems to captivate.
The next morning all is not so well, you stick your nose out from the sleeping bag and it’s cold and damp, maybe you even heard some rain on your tent through the night.
My first inclination is to cuddle up to a nice warm body, but no playing or you could be banished back to the cold. Although if you’re camping with a bunch of guys this could be awkward. My advice is no cuddles or you could be worse off than banished.
You were up late and forgot to put away the paper etc. all is too damp to light a campfire. The camp chairs are wet, you can’t even sit down without a wet butt. Now what?
Do you escape to your vehicle to warm up or pack up and leave? If you are well prepared maybe you have a back up plan, some dry paper hidden away somewhere, but the wood is damp. This camping trip is turning from a dream to a nightmare in a hurry.
Grampa’s Fire Starter
I have a solution I learned from my neighbor Ken an avid hunter, and outdoors man. He makes home made fire starter, its with him on every hunting trip. It is truly so simple and works amazingly well.
Diesel fuel and sawdust, that’s it. Easy to make yourself – ingredients, 1 semi-air tight container like a coffee can and a cup or 2 of diesel fuel. Stuff the container with sawdust and add a cup or so of the diesel fuel. Let it stand for an hour and presto your own fire starter. A mason jar works well especially if you don’t camp often, it keeps the diesel from drying out, although it would take months.
You have just eliminated paper and kindling. To start your fire, use a couple of tablespoons of fire starter with dry or even semi-dry wood and light. In no time your group will be nice and toasty, and you have saved the day, you’re a hero, a legend, a McGyver……..Ok maybe a bit over the top but you get the drift.
Mixed with sawdust the diesel fuel burns slower and longer than paper so it will ignite larger wood pieces, even semi-wet wood.
If you do not have access to sawdust, see if there is a sawmill, woodworking or furniture manufacturing facility or even a construction site. Several handfulls of sawdust is all that is needed.
As we are all well aware campfire bans are a reality these days, due to drought conditions of recent years in many areas. In fact I read that California state has banned outside watering in some areas, people are saving their shower and dish water for their favorite plants…………… OK back to the subject.
So its cold and a campfire ban on, all is not lost, a little trick I learned from the man I bought my last truck camper from.
Where’s the Pot.
It not that kinda pot lol.
I was checking out the camper, I asked the owner if the furnace worked, his reply, “don’t know, never used it, draws down the battery”. So I said,” what about when its cold in the mornings?”
With this he turns and heads to the garden shed and emerges with a clay terracotta flower pot, climbs into the camper turns the pot upside down and places it on the propane stove.
He lights the stove and in no time heat is radiating from the clay pot………. well go figure. This was amazing. Since then I have used this little heater many times.
For larger areas use 2 pots, it will take the chill off in a hurry and no battery power needed.
This little trick will work anywhere there is a propane stove, even a tent I suppose, after all the Indians would build a campfire in their tent……….. right and propane is much safer and no smoke.
Caution – make sure you have good ventilation, without ventilation a flame will use all the oxygen, and apparently we need oxygen
Portable Propane Heaters
Of course there are more conventional solutions to keeping warm on those cool camping nights and early mornings, if a campfire is not an option.
The propane heater click here to check out heaters on Amazon.
These types of heaters use the small propane bottles although some can be adapted to use the larger cheaper to fill 20 lb. bottles and with a long hose the propane bottle can remain outside.
I haven’t used one of these heaters but I have talked with other campers who have and they are warm and happy.
I have created a comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV travels click here to check out my list.
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I hope this article is of some help to make your camping trips more enjoyable. If you have any suggestions for an article or you would like to make a comment I would love to hear form you.
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