Cooking in a tent is hazardous. You are mostly advised to cook outside. But picture this, it is raining continuously and you do not know whether it will stop. Or the winds are blowing strongly such that you cannot cook outside. What do you do in such situations?
You have to eat. You will cook inside your tent.
In this article you will know:
- Different stoves to cook inside a tent.
- Different methods to cook in a tent.
- The hazards associated with cooking inside a tent.
- How to safely use fire in a tent?
Can I Cook in a Tent Porch?
Yes, you can cook on a tent porch. It is not advisable to cook inside the tent. If it is raining outside you do not have any other option but to cook inside the tent. Tents designed with a porch can be used for cooking.
These areas have removable floors or no floor at all. Great right? The floorless porch is the best since you do not have to tense about the floor. Just simply go there, prepare your food and leave.
For the removable floors, you will have to roll off the floor each time you cook and roll it back on upon completion. All tents with porches are usually open on one side.
However, if you are camping at a windy site a porch is not your preferred cooking place. Look for another area to prepare your meal.
Can I Use a Stove in a Tent?
It is possible to use a stove in your tent. However, not all types of stoves can be used in a tent. There are those specifically designed to be used inside a tent.
However, to cook with a stove in a tent you have to follow the safety guidelines to the latter.
When using a stove in a tent, please ensure there are enough vents for proper ventilation and always keep the fire precautions in mind!
What Stove Can be Used in a Tent?
Two main stoves can be used for cooking when inside a tent. A wood-burning stove and alcohol, gas, or a corresponding burner stove. If you are searching for a tent with a stove jacket, the Danchel cotton bell tent can meet your need.
1. Wood-burning stove
Using a stove to cook in your tent is referred to as hot tenting. Besides cooking, a stove can also help keep you warm when in the tent. A wood-burning stove cannot just be used in your regular camping tents.
The material of the tent should either be canvas or polycotton. Furthermore, the stove cannot be put in a small tent. The tent has to be big enough to have the stove as far away from the walls of the tent as possible.
In short, the stove should be somewhere close to the center if not the center of the room.
Additionally, the tent should have an opening for a pipe jack or chimney either on the roof or on its side. This releases smoke and carbon monoxide gas into the outer environment.
You do not have to create a hole in your tent. Some tents in the market come with a pipe jack.
Besides, you need to choose the right wood that does not produce many sparks. Go for hardwoods such as oak. It burns slowly producing a lot of coal.
Additionally, it burns for longer. You will not need to cut down the whole forest just because you want to cook.
Remember your fire precautions safety protocols whenever you are cooking using a wood-burning stove.
2. Gas stove
You must be wondering what about you with small tents. What will you do? You can use a gas burner in a small tent.
Gas stoves are small and very portable. They are the go-to when going for hikes. With a gas stove, you can control the flame. This makes it the best source of fire for a small tent. You will need to carry a fuel canister to use with your gas stove.
Different Ways of Tent Cooking
But there are many tent designs. You are advised to cook in the middle of the tent throughout but this cannot be the case for all the tents out there. Just remember there are many tent designs out there.
A cooking area depends entirely on the design of the tent.
Cooking on the floor
For the regular tents with simple designs and no extra space, you have to cook on the floor area. With this type of tent, you must be extra careful to protect your walls, roof, and floor from fire.
Using a fire retardant mat protects your floor. For your walls to be safe, the fire should be in the middle of the room.
Vestibules are found in tents with a full-coverage fly. Some tunnel tents also have vestibules but they are not very common.
A vestibule is generally an area that is well protected from wind and rain. Some tents have porches that feature a floor. If it has a floor, it is either movable or removable.
If you are camping in a windy area, then this is not the best site for cooking our meals.
The bad news is that a vestibule is a very narrow area. The roof is low meaning that if you have to use it closed it can be very dangerous.
However, if your source of fire is a small gas burner then you have nothing to worry about.
Screen room cooking
You have seen the tents used in construction sites, haven’t you? These tents have special rooms referred to as a screen room. This is a small area where you can cook all your meals be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
These tents are characterized with a removable, fixed, or no floor at all. For a fixed floor you have to exercise the safety precautions similar to cooking in a regular tent.
In the case of a removable floor, you can roll it out when cooking. When you finish your cooking, you can roll it back on.
The floorless area is easy and simple to use since you do not have to worry about the floor.
What Are the Hazards of Cooking in a Tent?
The common hazards that can occur when you are cooking in a tent include:
Burn down the tent
A huge fireball, sparks, or a spill of white gas may cause burns.
You should be careful about how you are handling your fire even if most tents nowadays are made from nylon and polyester materials which are highly flammable.
Some come with statements on flammability and others claim to be constructed of materials that satisfy fire safety regulations. This is to say the material will not continue burning but will meltdown.
Tent manufacturers warn you against using fire inside the tent since most are easily flammable. Fire in the tent is not an easy thing to deal with. Because of its small size, fire may quickly spread out.
Additionally, prevailing winds might cause more harm. Exercise caution when using fire inside your tents.
The aroma originating from your cooking may bring you unplanned visitors. Some wild animals are dangerous and may be difficult to deal with.
Mountain lions, bears, coyotes may show up and want to join the party. Chances are that you will run when you see a lion.
So, to avoid attracting wild animals avoid cooking strong-smelling foods. You can eat these when you get back home.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous gas that has proven to be fatal if inhaled for long. It is a by-product of the combustion of carbon-based fuels. A gas stove produces carbon monoxide when burning.
Keep some vents up when cooking to ensure maximum flow of air in and out of the tent.
Carbon monoxide prevents this and you experience the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath.
- Tiredness and dizziness.
- Stomach pains.
The best thing to do when you feel like you have inhaled carbon monoxide gas is to go out and get some fresh air. You can also increase the ventilation by creating more vents in the tent.
Please note that carbon monoxide is fatal. People have been killed at homes after inhaling this gas for a long time.
Fire Precautions for Cooking in a Tent
It is best if you cook outside the tent for safety reasons. Fire and the tent’s fabrics are not best friends. However, cooking in a tent cannot be completely scrapped off. There are times when you will need to cook inside your tent. You can do this occasionally.
When cooking inside the tent you need to exercise safety precautions at all times.
You should follow these fire precautions when cooking in a tent.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Use a flame retardant mat to protect the area around a flame source.
- Keep combustible items away from the fire.
- You will need a fire extinguisher available for emergency purposes.
- You will need a spark arrestor at the top to prevent hot sparks from landing on your tent.
- It is advisable to roll back the groundsheet to put the fire source directly on the ground.
Cooking is doable in a tent. It is not a matter of choice but a necessity. There is a wide range of cooking stoves you can use for cooking in the tents.
All you need to do is use basic sense and follow the safety guidelines. Remember, safety first.