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Thread: Hello to all, can you help with advice about fire under a tarp?

  1. Default Hello to all, can you help with advice about fire under a tarp?

    Hello,

    I'm Jim, I'm new to the forum. I'm involved with our local Scout Group and trying to get my boy away from his phone/nintendo/playstation so I'm trying to do a bit more outdoor stuff. I'm still a complete noob so please be gentle if I ask stupid questions.

    My son and I are going away at the weekend, nothing too exciting, just a tent in the woods at our scout campsite. But we will be cooking over the fire all weekend and using it to keep us warm in the evening. The weather looks like it might be wet so my question is about how to keep the fire going all weekend. Can I put it under a tarpaulin, I'm worried it will burn. Sorry if this is sounds daft........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Nylon has a low melting point so if the tarp is too low then there is a chance sparks will melt holes into your tarp. If the fire is too large there's a chance for damage to your tarp.

    I have small cooking fires under tarps and shelters all the time. I'm just careful with the fuel I use and the size of the fire.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Poole, Dorset. UK
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    As mentioned, light weight PU nylon tarps, can be damaged. I have lots of patches on my DD tarp, because of this.
    But if you are car camping and using just a household tarp or similar, then small sparks probably won't be an issue.

    Choose the orientation of the tarp carefully. If you have a breeze going across the shelter (rather than coming from behind or into the front), any smoke will be carried away, and not blown/circulated into your shelter. You can always close in sides of the shelter, towards the back, if the wind is too much for you.

    To keep a small fire going (small enough to be safe under a tarp), you will need to attend to it regularly. So you would be better to plan to just have the fire burning whilst you are needing it.
    That also saves you having to worry about the fire whilst you are away in your tent, reduce the amount of wood you need to prepare and gives your son some practice at lighting the fire.

    If you pull log ends away from the seat of the fire, starving it of fuel, the remaining ashes will burn down reasonably quickly. And those chared and bone dry ends, kept dry under the tarp, should make it easy to get the fire going again in the morning. Also, if you put some of the smaller firewood, near the fire later in the evening, it should be nicely dried out and get it going quicker.
    You may even find some glowing embers in the ashes, that you can blow into flame again, with some added kindling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Choose well dried hardwood wood, less sparks.

    Maybe a stupid idea, but could you get a piece of metal to create a small roof over the fire? Corrugated roof sheating or similar.
    Nothing is more irritating than waking up in the morning and your fireplace is sodden and unusable!

    I like to keep some thin branches, tinder and logs under shelter to keep dry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Hi Jim, welcome and enjoy. I second all the good advice above.

    I am not young enough to know everything.
    Oscar Wilde

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    If unsure at all keep the fire outside its not worth the risk burning nylon sticks.
    Go ahead and try it you might just enjoy it.

  7. #7
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    I have nylon/polyester tarps up to 17 years old that are regularly used over fires - admittedly they have tiny pin holes in a couple of places but are still fit for purpose...
    I like the tarp at least 6' above the fire.
    Love makes the World go round......Lust makes it all go pear-shaped...

  8. Default

    Marvellous, thank you all

  9. #9
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    Aye Up,

    Keep the fire area and height relatively small and build a dead-fall type teepee over the fire with an opening on the relevant side for access.

    I do this periodically, primarily as a smoke defus-er and find that it often acts a bit like a chimney and draws smoke away from the opening of my tarp.

    I was out in torrential rain yesterday and did something similar for a BRS wood stove. The one in the image was a rush job and as sparse as the cover was, it did the job of keeping heavy rain and the subsequent after-storm drips from overhead foliage off.

    For an over-nighter I would have made a much tighter structure.

    No tarps to worry about then.

    Fire cover.jpg
    Free-State Yorkshire Now!

  10. #10

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    Hi mate,
    All good advice has already been give.

    I would like to add,

    Take a small gas stove or a trangia stove with you. You can used these as back ups just in case you have very very heavy rain and your fire place is a washout. Also you can use these first thing on a morning to get a hot drink on the go while getting your fire going.

    Good luck and I hope you and your lad enjoy your weekend.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Fenna View Post
    I have nylon/polyester tarps up to 17 years old that are regularly used over fires - admittedly they have tiny pin holes in a couple of places but are still fit for purpose...
    I like the tarp at least 6' above the fire.
    or a bit higher if Greg is cooking
    "Everyone Who Has Not Already Done So Should Avail Themself Of The Magnificent Panorama Provided By Nature!"

  12. #12

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    Another one to say that you SHOULD be fine if you keep it high and be careful with your selection of firewood. I have a couple of DD tarps that are 10yrs+ in age and they are both doing well with no spark damage. My friend cannot say the same about his sleeping bag however...

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