People have vastly differing views on the subject of cooking over a campfire or a stove. We will share our views, but the decision is obviously yours to make. In most cases we prefer stoves for cooking outdoors. I’m sure some of you are screaming, “What? No campfire?” We are not saying that all campfires are bad. In fact, we do quite a bit of camp cooking over a fire, but we only do it when the circumstances call for it. We’re just saying that we feel that stoves are better for most people most of the time. There are a number of reasons stoves are our primary choice for camp cooking:
- Stoves leave little or no impact on the land. Leave No Trace means leave no trace. That includes ashes, partially burned firewood, and charred ground.
- Stoves are less likely to get out of control. A wood fire requires care and feeding, and vigilant monitoring.
- Stoves are more convenient. You don’t need to gather fuel and build a teepee. Just turn on the fuel, light it, and you’re ready to go. When you are finished cooking all you have to do is turn the stove off. When done cooking with a wood fire, you must take the time to put the fire out completely.
- Stoves are cleaner. You don’t have to worry about ash getting into your food when you’re doing the camp cooking.
- Stoves are easier to cook with. You have more control over the flame and the amount of heat output with a stove.
- Stoves can often be used where fires are not permitted. Always check with local land agencies prior to leaving for your trip.
Again, we are not saying that fires have no place in the wilderness. We enjoy a good campfire as much as anyone. It’s just that there is a time and a place for a fire, and there are good ways to build a fire and bad ways to build one.