Wednesday, July 6, 2022


Around the Campfire: A debate on campfires vs. open windows

There’s been an ongoing discussion around the campfire for the past week. The “campfire vs. open windows feud” has potential to ruin two RVers’ camping experience. An RVer I’ll call “Campfires” likes to have a fire every evening. There’s another RV family that likes to keep their RV windows open. I’ll call them “Windows.”

The problem

These two RVers are parked back-to-back in our campground. Windows’ RV sits downwind from Campfires’ RV. And there’s the problem. You see, smoke from the nightly “s’mores-fest” drifts directly into Windows’ windows. (Following so far?) Campfires doesn’t want to give up his nightly ritual. It’s their right to have a fire. Windows doesn’t want to run the air conditioner when the outside air is nice and cool. But they can’t stand the smoke coming into their RV. They believe that Campfires should be more considerate.

I understand both points of view

I like s’mores as much as the next guy (or gal). Actually, I like them so much that I wrote a whole article on s’mores hacks. Sitting around a campfire just listening to the wood sap snap is a true joy. What’s better than watching the fire burst into sparks that twinkle in the nighttime sky? Or scootching close to the cheery warmth? It’s quintessential camping. A Norman Rockwell painting.

On the other hand, I don’t appreciate damp wood that continually smokes as it burns. Some folks have health issues when breathing smoke, as well. I can understand Windows’ point. It’s frustrating to close up the RV’s windows just as the night air cools. I appreciate the angst of listening to the groaning of an air conditioner. All. Night. Long.

So what to do?

Both parties are adults and should be able to work something out. But so far, Windows continues to smolder, and Campfires has completely closed down communication about the problem.

Any suggestions? Where do you stand on the campfire vs. open window feud? Share your ideas in the comments below, please.



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2 months ago

Maybe windows should just realize that campfires are a huge part of camping for a lot of people. They need to find a campground that doesn’t allow them , or, a campsite that is far enough away from others so they don’t have this problem. Close the windows and run the a/c.
There are many people at campgrounds and they all have a way they like to camp. Their definition of camping may not be the same as someone else’s. My take on this is someone is going to get upset about something someone does but they need to suck it up and enjoy their camping experience the best that they can or just stay home.

Cynthia Lebarron
2 months ago

I love camping why does other people have to ruin it for people that want to camp Maybe campgrounds that sell wood should make sure their wood is totally dry

2 months ago

A lot of good points. To those who say go somewhere else, in the western states if you want to camp at a lake you most likely need to be in a campground, probably on national forest land. Dispersed camping usually isn’t allowed.

Ty Sell
2 months ago

We love sitting outside the cool fresh air once the sun sets but very often the campground air is so smoky we have to resort to staying indoors, closing everything up and hunkering down running the AC. If campgrounds allow campfires then there is nothing else we can do. We would never ask someone to extinguish a campfire but think it is rude when excess smoke is blowing directly at someone else’s camper.

2 months ago

There are several smokeless fire pits available today. Some have a hefty price tag and some are just hefty, too heavy to carry around in your RV. Finding the right balance is like building the perfect fire. The fire triangle is heat/ignition source, fuel and air. Smoke is just fuel/gas that lacked sufficient air or heat to ignite. Wood has a flashpoint temperature of 752 degrees. Adding wet or green wood lowers the fire temperature when the moisture flashes to steam and carries the heat away. The solution is achieving higher fire Temps so when moist wood is added intermittently, the fire temp doesn’t drop below the threshold. The more exciting options are Breeo and Solo Stove. I prefer the Amicus Fire Pits, they’re a lot less expensive and the modular design makes clean up a snap. Transport is easier too because you can carry it’s two sections in each hand. Of course I am biased due to my being the creator of The Amicus Smokeless Fire Pit.

2 months ago

If a campfire is properly built and maintained it should produce very little smoke. Unfortunately about 80% of campers do not know how to build or maintain a good campfire. Regrettably, campers that have a camp fire with excessive smoke usually just sit upwind of it completely oblivious to how it affects the campsites that are downwind.

Note to these campers…. If you cannot sit downwind of your campfire because of the excess smoke, you should either Google the correct way to build & maintain a campfire or buy a propane fire pit.

Remember, it is important to be courteous to your fellow campers when you have a campfire given the close confines of campsites at most locations.

Gregg G.
2 months ago

I think the real problem is “Camping” folks and “Resort” folks using the same space with very different expectations, so neither is happy. If you’re in a campground then expect campground behaviors: wood campfires, quiet, bugs, nature. If you’re in a resort then expect resort behaviors: lp fire pits, folks with music/movies, party atmosphere, amenities (pool, clubhouse, kids playground).
There is some place that meets each of our individual wants/needs, but not every place is for everyone. If you find yourself in the other folks environment, roll with it till you get to yours.

2 months ago

So now the neighbors want me to control the direction of the wind!? Really!??

We seldom have campfires. I love the “overall” smell of the campfire, but don’t like the way I smell when I am sitting right over it, nor do I like it blowing smoke in my face.

But I have to admit that a campfire is one of the true icons of camping. If you keep your windows closed, it should not be an issue. And if you are sitting inside your RV instead of outside in your lawn chairs enjoying nature, then you are not a real camper anyway.

Solution: Find an RV resort that prohibits wood fires. Easy peasy.

1 month ago
Reply to  pursuits

If you don’t like smelling of smoke and the smoke blowing in your face, Check out The Amicus Fire Pit. Search for it on Facebook and Youtube. Theres also an Etsy store with great reviews.

R. Truby
2 months ago

This may sound rude but it is absolutely not meant to be…if you don’t like campfire smoke then you probably shouldn’t go camping in a campground.

2 months ago

To my thinking, campfires and camping go hand in hand. It is unreasonable to expect that no one in your vicinity will have a campfire on any given night. The “smoldering wood” campfire is another issue and those campers should have paid more attention and earned their campfire merit badge. A smoldering fire is annoying to even the “fire loving” crowd.
We have learned that you can’t pick your camping neighbors just like you can’t pick your family so when annoying practices are close, we adapt with windows closed, air conditioner on, and ear plugs in. There’s not much else you can do but keep the peace.
As for Mr. Campfire, get it together, man. Be aware of your annoying behavior and adapt. Dry out your wood or get another dry bundle from the camp store.

2 months ago

If camping in the woods, especially near a river or lake, where sites are far apart campfires are ok. I’ve seen campgrounds where sites are on top of each other and campfire rings at each site. I’m afraid that if there are campfires around closely parked RVs it could be a disaster.

2 months ago

Have Windows open the windows on the other side of the rig and close the ones pulling in smoke. Then turn on the roof fans enough to pull fresh air in the windows and exhaust thru the roof fan.

2 months ago
Reply to  Keith

Good point, if the fan can draw air in away from the smoke the positive air pressure won’t let any of the smoke in.

Joe Balaz
2 months ago

If I want a fire I’m going to have a fire if allowed. Mind you, I’m the type that won’t start until around 7 and the fire will be out by 11pm so what’s the problem?

2 months ago

Camp FIRES are nice, campfire SMOKE not so much. Nobody sitting around a campfire moves to be in the smoke. Thank heavens for my home where nobody is going to pull in the driveway, start up a generator, build a fire, play music and stay up until 2:30 am laughing and talking.

2 months ago

The campground should have a designated campfire area for everyone, preferably down wind from the majority of campsites. If people insist on having a campfire at their site it should be propane only. You can’t smoke in buildings or near the entrance to public buildings due to the hazards of second hand smoke. Why should campfires be any different? Having a community campfire not only keeps the smoke to a minimum but encourages campground comradeship. A community fire pit is a good answer to the problem.

2 months ago
Reply to  Rick

People like you should stay home. Who are you to tell me what I can do in my campsite? If the sites are too close that is the campground’s problem.

Last edited 2 months ago by Joel
2 months ago
Reply to  Joel

Joel, I appreciate your input and perspective that you feel you have rights and privileges as it pertains to your campsite and I agree to an extent. The reply you offered Rick lacks respect, empathy or any appreciation for Rick’s perspective. Rick was offering a constructive starting point for discussion. Judgmental statements and shame only shutdown intellect for everyone involved. We all deserve respect and a healthy intellectual conversation.

2 months ago

I equate it to boating. I am responsible for my wake. You are responsible for your smoke plume. If it is going straight up and dissipating, great. If it is blowing out in to a field or down the road, great. If it is blowing straight in to someone’s rv, put it out and use a propane fire pit.
It’s not all about you.

Last edited 2 months ago by Gary
Jim Prideaux
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary

A boater can control the wake. A camper cannot control the wind. Plus the wind changes.

2 months ago
Reply to  Gary

You assume they have been taught manners and consideration for others by their parents.

2 months ago

We prefer to stay at campgrounds with either community fire pits away from the campsites or those that do not allow any wood fires. We have a propane fire pit and use it regularly but have left campgrounds that had too many smoky campfires, one bad enough that our coach was full of smoke with doors and windows closed. As others have said, vote with your feet. The campgrounds are full and owners are not going to give up profits so we can breathe better. Check the rules before you make your reservation for those longer stays so you aren’t ambushed by the smoke. If you can’t find the rules online, call and ask.

Ed Green
2 months ago

This why RV camp grounds have no appeal for me. It’s like a seasonal ghetto and it’s not real camping. I would refuse to pay full price. Perhaps have campfire dedicated sites downwind from prevailing weather.

2 months ago

Why cant ‘window’ guy just shut that side of the the trailer windows.. open the other side..? its what I would do.. cause the s’more’ guy is there to chill, camp and have a fire..

Or ‘windows’ talk to the owners/park manager to please move me to another spot less getting the wind of the smoke.. chances are its row campsites..hes going to get more wind from other campers too… . I get it .. happened to me but after all..? If we all were picky about particular things.. better go back to our comfy homes.

You know rv camping is kinda a conundrum.. we get away to camp and from people…yet we sometimes are stuck next to people who are closer to us than our garage is to the house…. to me you just gotta be picky and do research, if things bug you like the fire thing..plan ahead..find a spot that has wider , larger spots away from each other..peace!✌

Thomas D
2 months ago

We winter in an RV resort in Arizona. No wood fires allowed. A lot of people have propane fires .really nice and no smoke no ash and probably cheaper than wood.
Just good neighbors.

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