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Old 06-21-2010, 08:46 PM
qwertyjjj qwertyjjj is offline
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Default How close can fire be to tarp?



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If you put up a tarp (A frame/triangular canopy type hung between 2 trees), how close can the fire be to the tarp without risk of fire but also enough to kee you warm?
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:56 PM
Dad Dad is offline
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Good question!

Alot of it depends upon the tarp's construction (what it's made of & how heat & spark resistant the material is) and the heat of the fire. As a rule of thumb, the tarp should never get warmer than "warm" to the touch. As tarps heat up, they begin to show what I call "pre-combustion" danger signs.

smells
warping (sometimes)
blistering (sometimes)
increasing tackiness (stickiness)

I live in the Canadian north and use a tarp within 1 pace of my fires (2 steps) and have never had a problem...but I almost never put a tarp directly over a fire because I don't want it to catch the direct heat off a fire.

Try experimenting with tarps...the ones you don't mind damaging, that is...

Kurt.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:36 PM
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There's really only one way to find out.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:39 PM
qwertyjjj qwertyjjj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad View Post
Good question!

Alot of it depends upon the tarp's construction (what it's made of & how heat & spark resistant the material is) and the heat of the fire. As a rule of thumb, the tarp should never get warmer than "warm" to the touch. As tarps heat up, they begin to show what I call "pre-combustion" danger signs.

smells
warping (sometimes)
blistering (sometimes)
increasing tackiness (stickiness)

I live in the Canadian north and use a tarp within 1 pace of my fires (2 steps) and have never had a problem...but I almost never put a tarp directly over a fire because I don't want it to catch the direct heat off a fire.

Try experimenting with tarps...the ones you don't mind damaging, that is...

Kurt.
And you find that keeps you warm under the tarp? Say it had been raining and it took you 15mins or more to get to the nearest bit of shoreline in your canoe and then another few mins to set the tarp up, obviously you're going to want to get warm and dry pretty soon...
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:40 PM
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Great question!
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:52 PM
dcliffhanger dcliffhanger is offline
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If it catches fire you got too close.

I have always had best luck using a tarp with a reflector for the fire. Make sure the wind is at your back.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:18 PM
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Depends how big the fire is. Indian build little fire - sit close. White man build big fire - sit back.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:53 PM
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If you and other humans can't take the heat from the fire, neither can a plastic tarp at the same distance.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelguy View Post
If you and other humans can't take the heat from the fire, neither can a plastic tarp at the same distance.
This is true, but what if it's cold?

I think it's like getting ot the center of a tootsie pop. You're not going to know until you experiment a little. And as mentione dby another member, keep a look out for pre-burning signs.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:21 AM
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if you can carry them, get some of the big heavy canvas tarps. some are covered with fire retardant and there are products you can apply to the tarp to help.

they will be much more fire resistant than nylon. although much heavier.

if i was winter camping with a basecamp i would really try to carry a huge canvas tarp.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:09 AM
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For nylon tarps the body is not a good indicator, a nylon tarp can be affected by heat before the human body is effected.

It also depends on the kinds of woods you use. Canadian softwoods such as pine and fir trees tend to give off burning embers (especially if you throw on boughs) which can float on the winds and land on your tarp burning holes in it.

The size of the fire and location also matters. A fire in the open is heating the entire planet so to speak because there is nothing to hold in the heat. A fire inside a shelter (ala wood stove in a cabin) is heating up the shelter because the heat is being stopped from escaping somewhat by the shelter.

If you take the risk of having a fire under your tarp then do not go to sleep, better to heat some non-river rocks and build a fire bed.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:32 PM
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dcliffhanger had a good idea, that I was about to mention - use a reflector. Build a little wall behind the fire, and you could go so far as to use light colored materials (light stones, peeled wood, even a mylar survival sheet) to reflect heat into your lean-to. To get warm, get dry - keep your body off the moist earth with a stool, or piled branches, or even your pack. "Nothing insulates like 'nothing' ". Keep that dry air gap around you in all directions, direct the heat to where you'll be, and get toasty.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:13 PM
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Another good 'reflector' is a space blanket inside the tarp. Or a tarp with a shiny side to it. Reflects some of the fire's heat back down on to you (and specifically your back, which isn't getting any benefit from the fire without it. )

You can also make reflectors like that for your camp chairs if you like - makes your back and buns nice and warm instead of freezing them while your face cooks
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:04 PM
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I had a cheapo chinamart tarp 24 inches perpendicular above the top of a ~16 inch diameter pine fire all night with no damage to the tarp.

As was said, only one way to find out!
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