Quite a few campers I’ve seen that light a fire under a tarp. Tarp, in general, is a must-have item if you are out camping. There are a lot of values of having a tarp in your daypack.
It’s not only for having a shade; sit underneath and have your lunch. You can also have a fire underneath and will get a nice recirculation of warm air underneath it. For this, a silicone nylon tarp will come in handy.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Is it okay to put a tarp over a campfire? Aren’t you going to put holes in it? Well, obviously, you don’t want a raging inferno with the flames touching the tarp.
However, if it’s raining, there will be a lot of cooling effects going on of the water on the outside. In this article, I’m going to show you how you can light a fire under a tarp using the same tarp that I mentioned here.
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Setting A Tarp Over Campfire
The perfect time to set up a tarp on top of a campfire is when it’s just about to rain, and you feel the chilly wind. Most of the time, I use my tarp so that I can put some sort of cover around the fire site.
I use my tarp largely to put over my tent on my trip. Most of the time, I put up a tarp so that I can get a fire going underneath it.
If you have a fireside ready, but it doesn’t have any blockage from wind, you will really get tired of it. You don’t want to spend 30 minutes for your pots to boil because of the wind blowing stuff around.
So, the first thing you need to ensure is that you choose an established fire site that is out of the wind. This way, you can put a tarp over it and keep everything dry.
This is very helpful, particularly when you are about to start a fire. It’s not a big deal. You can even light up a small stick fast fire under a tarp and start boiling stuff.
You don’t need to place your tarp super high, either. Usually, I can’t even stand up underneath my tarp when the fire is going strong. That should give you an idea of how high you should place your tarp.
You don’t need to set it up to a ridiculous height. If the tarp is wet on the top, there will be a greater cooling effect as well, and you are most likely to have a tarp up in the rain anyway.
So, there you have it. Can you light a fire under a tarp? Yes, of course, you can. And this is a good example of it being done.
Safety Guidelines Of Using Tarp Over Campfire
There are places when you don’t tarp the fire; you won’t be able to keep the fire going. However, you want to do it as safely as possible. In this section, I’m going to show you some cool tricks and tips you can follow so that you can enjoy a nice campfire experience regardless of the weather condition.
- Avoid nylon. Also, make sure to always use a tarp. Never ever use a rainfly. At the slight glance of a spark, your rainfly will go up in flames.
- Make sure to avoid building a campfire at the center of the tarp. Instead, you should build a fire at the very edge. This way, the tarp will protect you and the fire from being rained on in the event of wind pushing the rain towards you.
- The highest corner of the tarp should be directly above the fire. To do that, you will need to set it up at a somewhat extreme angle. The lowest point, or should I say the furthest end of the tarp, should be behind your chairs, almost touching the ground.
- Setting up your tarp at an angle is vital as it allows you to redirect all the smoke, spark, and heat to just roll up along the edge of the tarp and escape. Additionally, you can set your tarp up flat, but it won’t be very safe.
- Avoid using pop-up canopies at all costs. This is the absolute worst way to use a tarp over a campfire. The problem with canopies is that they are pointed in the middle. Because of that, the heat, smoke, and spark all get trapped up there.
- Most pop-up canopies are made using synthetic materials that can easily burn. You should also avoid using tarps that are made using nylon or any other synthetic materials.
- If you want to use the tarp as a windshield, make sure to use two tarps. Your main tarp should be set at an extreme angle. The second tarp should be on the opposite side, where the steeper angle of your tarp is. This one should be off from the fire because you are setting it up to block the wind.
- Using two tarps will allow you to prevent rain from blowing in sideways and also work as a windshield.
Oftentimes, it’s hard to set up a tarp over a campfire because a lot of fire pits tend to away from trees. If there are no trees around you, you can use large extendable tent poles near the fire.
You can use the poles to keep the end of the tent high. You can rig the poles into the ground using tent stakes and paracords. Now, if you are camping with a group of people, make sure to use brightly colored paracords.
This will reduce the chance of someone tripping over on them. You certainly don’t want people running in them. If you don’t think that’s enough, use a couple of glowsticks and hang them on the cord after sundown.
Try to stay as safe as possible and make sure to rig your tarp as securely as possible. The last thing you would want is your whole tarp setup coming down on your heard and also on the campfire at night.
Also, no matter how you set your rig up, the main thing to keep in mind is to provide enough clearance for the heat and smoke to escape. The key here is not to be enclosed rather providing a way so that the heat can disperse easily.
The most important thing to a successful rainy camp is to know the proper use of tarps. Knowing how to set up a tarp shelter is the key to enjoy camping comfortably in the rain. Even while it rains, a well-pitched tarp will allow you to cook comfortably and safely.
It doesn’t matter if you have amazing rain gears and tents. When it rains all day, you don’t want to sit inside a tent all day just to stay dry. Get a tarp to put over your campfire and another one where you can sit and read. On that note, we conclude our article on how to put a tarp over campfire—happy camping in the rain.
Also Read-Tent Footprint Vs. Tarp