Outdoors Information


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.


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


LancasterOnline

Outdoors calendar for Lancaster County, week beginning Jan. 20
LancasterOnline
Great American Outdoor Show coming: The event, the largest consumer sports and outdoor show in the world, is sponsored by the National Rifle Association, and will be held Feb. 3-11 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg ...



Quad City Times

'He could do anything': Outdoors community mourns loss of mentor, adventurer Dave Hill
Quad City Times
Dave Hill glides through the calm waters of Lake Potter at Sunset Marina in Rock Island during an outing in November 2016 with the Quad-City based Saukenuk Paddlers Canoe and Kayak Club. John Schultz, QUAD-CITY TIMES FILE PHOTO. Dave Hill. Buy Now ...



Opelika Observer

Gander Outdoors Announces New Website Launch | Business Wire
Business Wire (press release)
ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gander Outdoors, formerly known as Gander Mountain, is celebrating the launch of its new online store GanderOutdoors.com. This newly redesigned website offers quick and easy access to essential gear and information for ...
Gander Outdoors to open in former Gander Mountain building near ...Opelika Observer

all 2 news articles »


Buffalo News

Knowledge is everything with fishing and the outdoors
Buffalo News
It's important to be a student of the outdoors, always willing to learn with every cast, every step. And as you collect that knowledge and store it away for that right set of circumstances, it can lead you to rewarding experiences that can also push to ...



Outdoors show, winter trek set for this weekend
GoErie.com
The Outdoor and Recreational Sports Show in Olean, New York, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Good Times of Olean Events Center, 800 E. State St. The event features outdoor and recreational sports vendors, programs ...



Outdoors: Trout fishing is beautiful at Folsom Lake
Stockton Record
Folsom Lake, located on the American River about 70 miles from Stockton, is kicking out some beautiful holdover rainbow trout this winter. Jerry Lampkin of TNG Motor Sports Guide Service and two other anglers landed 10 rainbows averaging 18 inches each ...



The Denver Post

Study finds Great Outdoors Colorado gives state $507 million economic boost
The Denver Post
Niko Verras and others collect trash last month on a vacant lot in Montbello that will be converted into an urban open space. By Bruce Finley | bfinley@denverpost.com | The Denver Post. January 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm. Grants from Colorado Lottery-funded ...



Chicago Sun-Times

The outdoors component of Museum Campus: The Field, the Shedd and Lake Michigan
Chicago Sun-Times
While looking at Sambar deer, our daughter said, ''They look like a cross of moose and capybara.'' I know moose up close, but I had no clue about capybara, the largest living rodent. Why she thought of that, I have no idea. There are always discoveries ...



Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Woodside Elementary teacher shows students what the outdoors can teach them
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A Woodside Elementary School teacher is using his love of the outdoors to teach students with a unique education style. Peter Dargatz is in his third year teaching nature kindergarten to students. They spend time every day outdoors learning about ...



Where to put on the blades and skate outdoors
Wicked Local Medford
Before a snowstorm dumped up to 19 inches in the area on Jan. 4, the severe cold that had gripped the region left some of the best ice conditions around. Many communities offer some kind of outdoor skating; rinks are maintained on a regular basis, but ...

and more »

Google News

home | site map
© 2007