Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Majority of readers not fond of campfire smoke


Last week’s poll showed our readers seem to be firmly divided into two camps: the smokers and the non-smokers:

Here are a few comments (some have been edited for brevity). Which “camp” to you belong to?

Michael–If you are a true camper, you don’t need the full-hookup convenience of a RV Park. You can have your campfire and enjoy it to your heart’s content. RV Parks are not campgrounds. Most park sites are very close together. Filling my motorhome with campfire smoke and forcing me to smell your smoke.
Teresa–OK.. Have to leave my “2” cents here. I am very guilty of enjoying a raging fire. I am new to the rv lifestyle…thus, the reason I subscribed to this site. Before reading and attempting to educate myself I did not understand nor even stop to consider that I was bothering anyone else. I just assumed a fire was part of being outdoors. I had never even heard that there was “fire edicate”. Some of us are not rude…just ignorant. Not stupid, just ignorant. There is still hope for some of us!

Natalie–So we are building an RV Campground in the next year in Arizona. I really value your opinions and feedback. We have heard it all. From Adults only on one side of park, family friendly side, no pets and a pet friendly side. No campfires and campfires side. Our sites will be large enough to handle campfires as that is what WE hate the most. Small sites! So this just opened my eyes to the fact that not everyone likes campfires!
So how does an adult only, no pets, no campfire and no smoking area sound. Is this even possible?

Tom Waits–When you’re down on your luck and you’ve lost all your dreams, there’s nothing like a campfire and a can of beans.

Ron–I also agree with no campfires in RV parks, but would have no problem with one in a campground or boondock location.
That said…..too often forest fires are started by those that are careless with or neglect to properly put out a campfire.

Michael–I deplore RV Parks that allow campfires. There is nothing quite like being next to a person who has the need to have a raging campfire within a few feet of your motorhome. When the wind is in your direction, it fills the air with suffocating smoke inside your motorhome. RV Parks are not “campgrounds”. I find this mostly happens when the summer vacationers decide to go camping with the kids. They need to find campgrounds in the woods or boondock. I don’t see where there is a need in RV Parks these days to have firepits in order to attract visitors. A simple firepit fuelled by propane would be a solution.

Linda Petersen–Non Smoking campgrounds would be awesome. We could actually enjoy the fresh air and a breeze though our RV with our RV windows open. Instead we are frequently forced to endure the carcinogens from our neighbors second hand smoke. And the stink lingers on after they throw their butts on the ground in their outdoor ashtray….How about a pool to see if people would pay for non Smoking camp sites…just like so many now charge $2 for a pet?

Gigi–I think the people who don’t like a campfire, the essence of camping should just stay at the expensive slabs. They are not really campers, this would leave the nice areas for the real campers.

Michael–Gigi, my suggestion is you stay out of RV Parks and go to Campgrounds. There you can join the other Campers and enjoy your campfire. Yes, you are correct us RV’s who choose to stay in “RV Parks”, are not campers. We enjoy having the convenience of traveling this country and staying in full-service RV Parks. For many of us, our RV is our home. We do not enjoy smelling our close neighbors smoke inside and outside our motorhomes.

Ed–Would not be a problem if campers were considerate of others, but there are people who are just a pain in the arse and no matter what you do they are only in it for them self. If I start a camp fire and the smoke is hugging the ground to much, I put it out as I don’t want it to get into my unit and I am sure others don’t want it either.

Lollygagger–Campgrounds should offer smoke-free, pet-free, noise-free, liberal-free and conservative-free zones. How about “other-camper-free” zones?
Sartre’s observation that “hell is other people” should have been warning sufficient that RVing isn’t for you.
You could always build your own one-site campground. No other campers; no annoyances.Joel

Vinson–This is stupid. It’s about being outside, trees, moon, bugs, nature, and campfires. People’s sensibilities are getting ridiculous and have been overbearing to normal people for quite some time now.

It may be about trees, moon, bugs, and nature, but if you’re ten feet away from your neighbor, it should NOT be about smoke intrusion from an inconsiderate neighbor.

MoJo–Campfires have been an integral part of camping since its inception. Has it occurred to the politically correct control component that if you’re allergic to smoke, pollen or mosquitoes, maybe camping should not be you first activity of choice. A zoned campground ? What’s next?


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2 years ago

How about a Breeo smokeless fire pit. I have one in my back yard and once fire is going there is virtually no smoke !

2 years ago

I deplore snooty people in their big motorhomes who don’t like dogs, kids or campfires. Stay home or stay in hotel.

2 years ago

Smoke may smell good, but it’s not good for you. The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles, also called fine particulate matter or PM2.5. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they may cause burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses, such as bronchitis.

For everyone who feels that people who enjoy breathing clean fresh air instead of smoke are somehow aberrant needs to read about the harm of wood smoke–especially for those whose have allergies. Why should the people who don’t want to or can’t breath smoke be denied the pleasures of camping just because you insist upon having a campfire. Campfire free camp sites should be made available.

Compromise. Do not be so conceited to think that what you like will be everyone’s cup of tea.

Rory Roberts
3 years ago

On the subject of campfires, I had to sit and think about it. I don’t want to be a inconsiderate neighbor. But then again I have had to put up with more then my share of neighbors who unthinking, do things that irritate me. When I take my grandkids on a trip with us during the summer, the first thing they ask for is is a campfire, so they can make s’mores. It seems to be one of the things that we all did as kids. I make sure my campfire isn’t a bonfire and I only use cured or dried wood, it burns with much less smoke. I also use only use hardwood. Now with that said I favor CG’s having a campfire free zone upwind of the area approved for campfires. The community campfire doesn’t work for me, because I see someone who doesn’t like campfires purposely docking next to the community fire area, just so they can complain. That mantra “live and let live”, has died. As it has been suggested here that those who want a campfire, boondock out in the wilds. Well Those of us who like campfires are paying the same money to dock in an RV park, so why don’t you take your own suggestion. There has to be a middle ground. As someone once said, there are those who would complain if they were hung with a new rope!

4 years ago

The problem is some people think they have to have a bonfire, not just a campfire. Maybe the RV parks could just have a community campfire in one area of the park. After all, they say it is all about sitting around the fire and visiting and relaxing. What better way to meet new people!

4 years ago

Well with Marijuana/Pot becoming legal in quite a few states now we’ll be smelling a different kind of smoke around the campfire, I also switched to a nice propane fire pit, I also use a 7 gallon propane bottle which last a bit longer…cheers….

Jimmy Law
4 years ago

My wife and I are alergic to the wood smoke. Alergy alert. So many times in our 35 years of comping and now full time have we seen people in 80 and90 degree summer weather come out of there camper in the daytime stoke up the campfire and then go back in the camper where the air is on leaving the smoke to come into our rv and we have to then turn on our air. No consideration to others.

Dave Pritchard
4 years ago

You can have your ‘cake and eat it too’ when it comes to wood fueled campfire. There’s a bit of science in burning propane but not really when one uses a traditional wood fueled fire pit.

Solid fuels burn when heat turns the log to gaseous and particulate components. Most of that escapes the traditional fire pit as smoke. It doesn’t turn to flame because of several reasons; the smoke is too cool to ignite in the cooler air above the fire and there’s not enough hot air to allow the smoke to ignite.

Search the phrase “wood gasification fire pit” and you’ll find some well thought out solutions to a smokey traditional fire pit. I bought one in the winter and, once at operating temperature in a short 5-15 minutes, there’s very little visible smoke or smokey smell. In all cases, good etiquette should be our guide to a good time by all.

4 years ago

Campfires have become a big problem for me and my wife. WE have had the best of full time rving, we started in 92 and stopped in 2010 due to health issues. I have copd and Asthma and can not breathe wood smoke. I understand how folks like their fires but the campgrounds sites are just to small for fires. I think parks should offer sections with no fire ,pets or kids , that way we could all enjoy them. In our time on the road I have seen it all . In one c.g. dog poop a foot from my entry step. Next park kids throwing baseball hitting my coach. Last park start a roaring fire with fire wood from telephone poles, left to go to the store 20 minutes after starting the fire. In one park campers started a fire that burned 800 acres. I could write a book . I do not hate kids I just do not want them in my site playing ball. and if you try to speak with the parents you become the bad guy. Also Rv with outside entertainment centers for you football fans 15 feet from my unit. I hate football.

Rory Roberts
3 years ago
Reply to  benny

Benny, there are CG’s with kidfree zones, they cater to 55+, and most have sites they rent out for the owners. You should give them a try. Might be a happy solution for you..

Michael McCracken
4 years ago

Jim, you are absolutely correct. Switching to propane is the answer for those who have a need for a fire pit. I found one that is inexpensive at Home Depot. Works great and keeps several people warm sitting around it. No Smoke, No Mess!

peggy coffey
4 years ago

Wood fires are part of camping. This is what is passing for “camping” these days. People who want everyone to bend to their rigid ideas. Please, sell your 45 ft. motorhome with the dishwasher and bathtub and 7 tv’s and stay at the Hilton. That way you won’t be near the plebs who love the outdoors with it’s bugs, woodsmoke, laughing children, smores and lots of fun.

4 years ago
Reply to  peggy coffey

Peggy, you show an abnormal amount of contempt for big rig owners, especially since the complaintants didn’t id themselves as such. I own a ’45 rig and enjoy a small campfire fueled with dry hardwood, which produces very little smoke. I sometimes boondock, but spend most of my time in RV parks/Resorts. I have had folks who insisted on docking next to a community firepit just so they could complain about the smoke. Just goes to show you that nasty neighbors don’t just live in bricks/sticks homes.

F. Gisler
4 years ago

One suggestion for those that still enjoy the evening “camp fire” is to
use a propane fire pit. After using wood for many years for a camp fire, we finally broke down and bought a pit. Best move ever! NO SMOKE, still cozy and when you turn off the propane tank, the fire is out. Also, most campgrounds ask that you NOT bring wood from out of the area due to possibly transporting tree beetles and diseases.
And some campgrounds and RV parks allow ONLY propane fire pits.
Yes, it is one more thing to pack and haul, but it’s worth it to us.
Amazon offers a variety of sizes along with reasonable prices.

Trent Alexander
4 years ago

What’s a camp without a campfire. The campfire is traditionally the gathering place for relaxing, telling stories and friendly conversation. The “Fire Master” is the person charged with starting and maintaining the fire which is a responsibility that is revered and an honor to hold. Call me old school but at 70 years of age I wouldn’t trade the smell of a good wood campfire for propane. As far as I’m concerned people that are put off by campfire smoke should just stay home. The campfire is a traditional part of camping and it wouldn’t be the same for me without it.

Michael McCracken
4 years ago

Well Trent, I am 70 years old also and a full-time traveler in my motorhome. Nothing is more irritating than to sit next to a woodburning firepit in an RV Park. My motorhome is my house. I don’t appreciate it being filled with smoke. Perhaps you should stick to “campgrounds”, and stay out of RV Parks. Last year while in Wisconsin, I had a group of traveling workers with trailers in the RV Park. They all worked together. After work each day they decided to get together around their firepit and drink beer. I did not complain since they were some really good guys, however, the smoke drifted at times into my motorhome. Now back in my home state, I recently climbed upon my roof and found black marks which I am certain came from the firepit embers. Campgrounds are the place for woodburning firepits, not RV Parks.

4 years ago

I agree, Jim. Thanks for writing!

4 years ago

This is a you can eat your cake and have it, too kind of issue these days. It’s super easy and affordable and safe to replace those old fashioned wood campfires with propane fireplaces. Easy on/off, absolutely no smoke and just as warm and pleasing as other campfires. Our camping group (varies from 6 to 10 RVs switched to propane 3 years ago and no one misses wood fires one bit. Give it a try! I bet you’ll be glad you switched, too.

Garry Hammond
4 years ago
Reply to  Jim

I agree too Jim!
After years of camping with wood fires, I bought an RV and a propane fire pit. So glad I did! No dangerous chopping of wood through the afternoon to only hope it is not “wet wood” and will light at night, and fires not properly extinguished.
You can still toast marshmallows and cook weenies and s’mores on a propane fire pit too! My pit was well under $100.
Best investment EVER! 🙂

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