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Idiotic "expert" advice from Backpacker....


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This video pretty much violates every principle of LNT, as well as suggesting that you break the law in most national forests and national parks in the West.  Gotta wonder who edits these things.  And who the "experts" are who suggest creating a new fire ring where none already exists.   And this is the middle of one of the worst fire seasons in history.


Completely clueless!!!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Unfortunately I can't view the video, but I can't say I'm surprised this appeared on Backpacker. They're starting to lose me by posting things like "what's your back country beauty routine?"  -- Because OF COURSE, that's absolutely an important topic. Big eye roll. (Dirt doesn't count as makeup, does it?!?)

After living through my first Oregon wildfire season, I get a little twitchy even seeing matches in the store, honestly. Very bummed to hear misinformation is being spread.  


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I just watched the video but could not get the sound to work. It did look like good instruction on how to start a fire for beginners. Their method of putting out the fire was poor and messy. Just like carrying a weapon, anyone starting a fire should understand the responsibilities and risks. I hope that was explained. Just looking at the area I would not start a fire there.

OTOH, If I needed a fire for survival I would have a fire, or do anything else needed to survive.

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The video was in the Survival category of videos. These are techniques suggested in to know survival situations. Take it in that context. Gosh this one video was less than 3 mins long. What does one expect to learn in one 3 min very basic campfire video?...a covereing in detail of every campfire contingency and regulation?  Exploring the Survival vids further Backpacker has several other short duration campfire videos applied to survival(emergency) situations. Even so, in this one less than 3 min video many excellent points were offered.  

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I guess I would be more or less fine with this video if it came with the following introduction:

Welcome to the next of our “survival skills” video. By now you will have seen our videos on how to avoid finding yourself in a survival situation:

>> You know how to avoid getting lost by taking a map, knowing how to read it, and staying found.

>> You know to take the right equipment on a hike, so you will be prepared the conditions you are going to encounter.

>> You’ve seen our video on day hikes how important it is to be prepared for an emergency even on a day hike.

>> You know enough to check the weather report for your trip to know what conditions you are going to encounter.

>> You know that when you choose to hike solo, you need to be extra careful, because you don’t have a lot of back-up equipment, and you don’t have anyone you can count on for help.

And despite all of that, you now find yourself in a survival situation where building a fire is critical to your survival. How did that happen? Why are you in a survival situation? You obviously didn’t learn anything from at least two of these videos. Which two did you not understand? Didn’t you pack the right equipment? Or did you get lost far from the trailhead—without a hiking companion? Were you surprised by the weather, and left all of your warm equipment behind?

Now that we know that you are not a quick learner, here is a video on how to make a fire in a survival situation. We’ve made it using materials you can find on any sunny, dry day in the mountains, because we know that when you need it, those conditions will prevail. If it’s raining and the tinder is wet, this system won’t work. But that shouldn’t be an issue with you because you’ve already checked the weather. Or not.

And if the tinder is very dry and the fire easy to light, it’s probably because you are west of the Rockies in an area that is so susceptible to wildfires right now that they are prohibited in many national forests and national parks. Note that in the video we suggest that you keep the fire small, so that it is easily controlled. But we also have suggested that you study all the videos above, and you haven’t taken our advice very seriously yet. So we figure you are going to make a huge fire anyway, because you won’t want to wake up every 45 minutes throughout the night to feed it again. So when the wind picks up and blows sparks into the surrounding forest and lights off a conflagration of thousands or hundreds of thousands of acres, you’ll want to be on the windward side of the fire you started.

Finally, if there’s snow on the ground, this system will quickly melt the surrounding snow and put out your fire. And there will be precious little available fuel to re-light it. That would be a good time to pull out a nice book to read for the remaining minutes you have before hypothermia sets in and you die.

We’d suggest Darwin’s “The Origin of the Species” on natural selection…

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  • 3 months later...

I have to say I strongly disagree with the assessment of this video. I though they did a great job of both making it clear that this is a survival skill (the labeling under survival skills and the giant skull and crossbones logo with survival 101 underneath is a pretty good indicator) and in promoting LNT policies (don't build a new fire ring if one exists, only collect downed and dead wood, keep the fire a manageable size, make sure the fire is completely put out). And while building a fire ring is disruptive to the natural environment, if you have to build a fire, a good fire ring is important for making sure that it stays contained.

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