8 Ways to Enjoy Camping with Campfire Bans

Due to how dry it has been this spring, there are numerous campfire bans in many provincial parks. Camping might not feel the same without the warm glow of a fire in the evening.

And now it’s the first long weekend of the summer. While the northern part of Saskatchewan is under evacuation orders with fires, the south is expecting cooler temperatures – and hopefully some precipitation (even if it is snow!)

To make the most of it, here are 8 tips to help you still enjoy camping with the fire ban in place.

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1. Use a camp stove for meals

The easiest way to manage meals during campfire bans is to bring along a camp stove. Consider picking up a multi-burner camp stove if cooking for your family or a big group. Another great option is to pick up a backcountry-style camp stove (this is the one I use). They’re smaller and lightweight and a lot cheaper, but you can only cook with one pot at a time. These stoves use either naptha fuel or isobutane canisters. Make sure to pick up the proper fuel when you purchase or borrow one.

2. Plan meals that don’t need to be cooked directly over a fire

Keep it easy and plan meals that don’t require heat to cook. Consider simple meals like cereal, sandwiches or wraps for breakfast and lunch or eating out at a restaurant in or near the park you’re visiting. There are some great rural restaurants to visit. Some of my favourites to roadtrip to? Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market in Shaunavon, The Happy Nun in Forget and Rawhides in Stenen.

READ MORE: Looking for outdoor inspiration on where to travel this weekend? Check out this post on 50 places in Saskatchewan to inspire you to get outdoors and explore.

3. Use charcoal briquettes if you don’t have a camp stove

If you don’t have access to a camp stove, consider buying charcoal briquettes to start your fire for cooking. Briquettes are compressed blocks of material like coal dust, charcoal or sawdust. They’re deemed safe and acceptable to use in an approved firebox. Gas barbecues and propane firepits are also acceptable.

4. Take advantage of Saskatchewan’s great night skies and stargaze

Saskatchewan is already famous for its lack of light pollution, so take advantage of the campfire ban and go star gazing (as long as the skies are clear). There’s always a chance of seeing northern lights if you’re far enough north. Some of the best star gazing locations include Cypress Hills Dark Sky Preserve and Grasslands National Park in the south and pretty much any destination in the north as there are fewer towns and cities.

5. Bring cards or games to play instead of sitting around a fire

The last time I went camping with a campfire ban in place, I felt lost deciding what to do during the evenings. couldn’t sit around the fire like I usually do so I turned to the pages of a book. Bring a deck of cards, Uno, Monopoly Bid, dominoes or board games to play in the evenings after the sun has set.

6. Bring lighting in the form of glowsticks, flashlights or lanterns

A campfire gives off more light than you might realize, so make sure to pack proper lighting for your campsite. Bring standard items like flashlights, headlamps (this is the one I use) or lanterns. Spice up your campsite by bringing glowsticks, flameless tea lights, solar lights or even pack a string of rope twinkle lights if your campsite has access to power (or bring extra batteries).

7. Pack extra layers for additional warmth

The fire provides a lot of heat during cooler evenings. Make sure to bring extra blankets if you’re sitting around visiting. Plan to pack more layers than you would normally wear. Nights are still cold (especially if you’re further north) so don’t forget to bring a toque and even mitts

8. Go to bed early

Most people are exhausted from the weekly grind, so take advantage of the opportunity and catch up on sleep instead of sitting around a campfire.

For a full list of Saskatchewan parks with campfire bans, check out the Saskatchewan Government website here.

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8 tips for camping when there's a fire ban and you can't have a campfire.

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