By Evan Wishloff
It’s that time of year again – the time when our weekends get filled with adventurous escapes. A quintessential part of any weekend adventure is regrouping in the evening, regaling in stories of the day. Whether it was a bagged peak, an epic hike, a beautiful vista, or a rare wildlife spotting, these stories are always best told around a campfire.
If I close my eyes and picture it now, I can almost hear the charming allure of the crackle of the fire, smell the sweet smoke as it rises up into the starry night, and feel the warmth thrown by the fire, taking the edge off the evening chill.
But what do you do when you can’t have a fire?
Unfortunately, a new reality in Western Canada has been fire bans that start earlier and earlier in the year, and can sometimes even span an entire Spring and Summer! So what is one to do when the sun starts to set, and your daylight adventures have to end?
The fireban doesn’t have to ruin all your fun – here are 4 options to have some fun around your campsite when a campfire isn’t allowed.
Option 1: Play Hard, Rest Harder
No need to worry about not being able to relax around a campfire if you’re too tired to stay awake much past dinner. An action-packed day of hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, or whatever outdoor pursuit you fancy will have you dreaming of hitting the thermarest in your tent for some well earned shut-eye, instead of longing for a late night around a fire.
Admittedly, not every weekend adventure should end in exhaustion, which brings us to our next option.
Option 2: Bundle up and stare at the stars
Sit back, relax, and feel small as you stare up at the stars. A fireban means the usual darkness that is a campground can somehow get even darker, so turn that gaze skyward and take in that Milky Way, Big Dipper or other constellation.
My favorite way to do this is to bundle up nice and warm (may I suggest a puffy coat?), and kick back in the amazing Nemo Stargazer Luxury Recliner. Like the name suggests, this chair screams luxury, and allows you to sit back and stare up at the stars in comfort.
Option 3: Play some games
Camping is a great excuse to unplug, turning off those pesky Iphones and actually having conversations with your friends, family and camping buddies. Bring your favorite board game or a deck of cards, fire up your propane lantern, and let an evening filled with fun-filled games pass the time.
Option 4: Become the envy of the campground and have a fire that IS allowed under a fire ban
There is one hack that allows you to kick back around a fire, cooking s’mores and all, without breaking the rules, and that’s a CSA-approved propane fire pit! Permissible under all but the rarest of fire bans (make sure to check www.albertafirebans.ca to confirm before heading out), these portable fire pits are sure to make the rest of the campground envious.
We want to hear from you: What do you do when a fire ban strikes? Do you have a favorite way of passing the time? Do you care if you can't have a fire? Tell us in the comment section!