A man camping on mountains feels comfortable Photo Credit: Mahmud013 (iStock)

Photo Credit: Mahmud013 (iStock)

While necessary for protecting Colorado's natural space and the safety of local residents, fire restrictions can put a damper on the camping experience. If you're wanting to get the most out of camping when fire restrictions and fire bans are in place, follow these tips.

1. Plan ahead for a cold night

Layers, layers, layers... that can't be stressed enough. Colorado is known for its temperature drops at night, especially at higher elevations. Plus, camping means sleeping close to cold dirt. Pack extra layers and consider bringing an extra sleeping bag if there won't be a fire.

2. Plan your meals accordingly

If you can't have a fire, it limits your dining options greatly. Plan ahead by packing food and snacks that don't require cooking. If you've got a cooler, one convenient option is to grab a few pre-made sandwiches from the local grocery store for the trip. Sure, it doesn't have the same appeal as a fire-roasted hot dog, but you'll be full and you won't risk burning the forest down.

3. Bring the ambient lighting along

With no campfire to light-up the campsite, you'll need to bring battery or solar-powered light sources if you want to see anything after dark. Definitely don't skip the headlamps and consider lanterns and touch lights for softer lighting as needed. Don't forget additional batteries.

4. Know what type of fire is banned

Sometimes a fire ban will still allow certain types of stoves to be used. Sometimes a fire ban means that simply smoking a cigarette is a crime. Know the local rules before you go and follow them.

5. Look forward to stargazing

Without bright light from a campfire blocking out the view, you'll likely have a much better view of the stars if it's a clear night. Look forward to this.

6. Be aware of other potential fire hazards

If there's a fire ban or fire restriction in place, it's also important to be aware of other potential fire hazards that may not involve a campfire. Don't park your hot car over dry fuels and avoid leaving glass bottles in direct sunlight, as this has been known to spark a blaze in the same way that a magnifying glass can.

7. Prepare for nighttime entertainment

Sure, you could still sit around in a circle and chat, but without a campfire to tend to, you might need a few more entertainment options to get a fulfilling experience. Bring cards, musical instruments, or other board games to help fill the time after nightfall. 

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside

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