high wind cooking

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    jeremy wo


    Is it ok to cook in a tent (e.g., black diamond firstlight sized) using a canister stove (e.g., MSR pocket rocket)? Will there be too much heat for the roof? I know the firstlight doesn’t have fire retardant in the material (i wonder if you could add this yourself after purchasing it?). I also assume the screens would be open for lots of ventalation. My problem is I’m in a very windy area of Alaska. Homemade wind screens either don’t work, get beat up too fast in a pack, or are annoying to set up in windy cold weather. Should I just leave the stove and carry pints of Ben and Jerry’s? (about 100 Calories per ounce for peanut butter cup!)

    Dane Burke


    Locale: Western Washington

    I’m no expert, but I would personally feel VERY uncomfortable cooking in any tent, especially the firstlight. I owned the lighthouse a while ago, and while I really have no clue about the flammable properties of Epic fabric, I’d bet it would go up in flames pretty quick. If it’s so windy you can’t cook outside a tent, imagine trying to stay warm in those conditions after your tent has gone up in flames.

    Another reason I would never cook in a tent, especially in Alaska, is that the smell will attract animals. You would not be able to see animals approaching, and even if you did finish your meal uneventfully you would then be sleeping in a tent that smells like food. A squirrel trying to chew through the fabric and get in would be bad enough, not to mention wolves, coyotes, black bears, grizzlies, and who knows what other kinds of animals.

    I would never recommend cooking in a tent. No matter what you do to make cooking inside your tent safer, their will always be a potentially life threatening risk.

    kevin davidson


    Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson

    Even fire retardent tents will burn (albeit w/ a slower rate of ignition).
    For non-mountaineering situations where I expect
    a high potential of unpleasant weather conditions
    (for cooking,that is) I bring a small ultralight tarp,
    in addition to my tent,for cooking underneath. Much more pleasant for cooking under and you won’t get the tons of condensation associated w/ cooking in a tent–thus you stay dryer. Of course,
    you set up your kitchen away from your camp to keep the beasties away.Tarps are versatile enough to configure into a windbreak for most situations.
    There is always constructing a windbreak from the materials at hand–rocks,dead wood,etc.
    If you must cook inside your tent in really,really bad conditions–use a hanging stove setup. It’s far safer and prevents spillage. It’s what I do on my mountaineering trips when I have to. I have a B.D. lighthouse,and this works. I don’t cook under the optional vestibule–too small.

    John Davis


    Locale: Isle of Man

    Cooking in a tent is a fact of life in Britain and can be done with almost any stove design, including those which need priming. I have never even come close to burning down a tent in 36 years of this particular act of folly. Note though that people have been badly hurt by getting it wrong. Tents burn down with astonishing speed.

    The key is to get the right sort of tent and many American tent designs pose problems with their sloping doors and minimal height in the vestibule. By contrast, Hilleberg designs are much safer. In a storm, I can open the inner and outer doors on my Akto without worrying about rain getting in. Also, there is excellent height in the vestibule. If anything goes wrong, I can be out, past the stove in less than a second.


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