PICK: Camping Stove or Campfire

By on October 28, 2015

When it comes to meal preparation, there are many advantages and disadavantages of both camping stoves and campfires. Most campers would argue about which one is better and which one should not be used as often as the other. There are many things to consider in  deciding what and what not to use. Our friends from Backpacking Guide has some pointers to remember about this topic.

To decrease and lessen your dilemma, below are the pro’s and con’s of camping stoves and campfires:

Stove vs Campfire

  • First, many parks prohibit fires during the summer and when the ground is very dry, for obvious reasons. Even where permitted, fires setup and burned improperly and lead to forest fires, burns and can damage any gear in their vicinity.
  • Second, if a campfire is your only source of cooking heat, you will be in bad shape if it rains and soaks available kindling (a problem in alpine or sparsely forested areas) or fires are prohibited where you end up camping for the night.
  • Third, campfires are unfriendly to your gear. While some strange people like the smell of campfire smoke, most backpackers don’t relish the idea of smoke permeating all their expensive clothing and gear. Even worse, sparks from the fire can instantly burn holes in synthetic clothing.
  • Finally, campfires make ‘leave-no-trace’ backpacking virtually impossible. While you can certainly cover much of the campfire’s evidence, you are still leaving your mark on nature.
  • Backpacking stoves come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are well worth having on all of your trips. If you must burn a campfire, consider bringing along an ultralight backpacking stove as well. They are more efficient than a campfire for cooking and, at a minimum, will give usually still work in the wind and rain.

For some campers, there is really no winner and that there should not be a competition between these two. However, others ask “What is camping without a campfire?” It really depends on a situation, the season, the place and the confidence of the ones who will used it that will matter in the future (or you can just have both if you and others permit).

Which one have you tried? How did it work for you? Let us know what you think.

Image Source: The Gear Whores

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