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  1. #1
    Senior Member Aunt Roady's Avatar
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    The Devil is in the Details

    I am new to touring. I've completed three local overnights to test gear. So far, I have loved the entire experience. This site has been extremely helpful in preparing. Now I must return to the fount for more information.

    Campfires are an important part of sleeping outside for me. Do most of you usually have fires? Do you carry an axe or saw with you, or just use fallen branches?

    Now this is related in an odd way. If you're not in a campground, what do you do about the number two? Where do you drop off the kids at the pool? Drop the deuce? Etc, etc. I was reading about someone who hiked the breadth of the US and he claimed he always buried his personal waste. I notice the Appalachian Trail requires 4-6" minimum. If you do this, do you drag along digging tools? An axe/shovel combo?

    I'm not an ultralight tourer yet, but as an ex-roadie I'm weight conscious.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Campfires are an important part of sleeping outside for me. Do most of you usually have fires? Do you carry an axe or saw with you, or just use fallen branches?

    Get over it.... don't have fires every night, save them for special occasions, and it is customary to buy firewood if staying at established campgrounds (at least around here collecting wood is forbidden). Never have a fire if wild camping.

    If you're not in a campground, what do you do about the number two?

    You are bike touring, not backpacking in remote places. My #2 usually happens at a cafe or gas station or other public restroom. That said, I've had to go by the side of the road, and yeah i dig a hole, the heel of a shoe usually works well enough.
    Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.

  3. #3
    Has opinion, will express
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    In some parts of Australia, you simply aren't allowed to light campfires. World Heritage Areas are among them. I don't find them necessary to my camping experience, and I can better use the time rather than gathering wood and lighting the fire.

    I'm with zoltani with the heel-in-the-ground hole for faeces. Part of my tour guide training was that burying faeces "as deep as possible" is not as good as some suggest. The breakdown period is extended dramatically. A shallow bury is much better, and be discreet about where it is -- 50 yards from water courses, and well away from paths.

    I do suggest, though, you bag the toilet paper you use and take it with you. We've been to numerous roadside areas across the world littered with crap-wipe toilet paper. It's grossly disgusting, and the paper takes a long time to break down -- if there is no rain, it will take much longer.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Part of leaving no trace, no impact camping is no fire pits..
    NB: archaeologists and other paleo- anthropologist scientists,
    still find fire pits 10,000 years later.

  5. #5
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    I have stayed in a good number of county, state, NPS and U.S.F.S. campgrounds. I have never stayed in one that allows you to collect and burn anything but dead and downed wood.

    Yes. Bury it, and not near a water soucre. For digging, it's called a plastic trowel:

    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___86702

    2 oz. $2.99.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Aunt Roady's Avatar
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    I knew there would be answers! Thanks for the info.

  7. #7
    I'm doing it wrong. RJM's Avatar
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    fires = fallen wood, never cut. I do make fires, but not every night and really not all that often. When I do I generally cook with them and use public campsites that already have a fire ring or pit. I will have no problem having a fire when in the wild if I need to warm up.

    I tend to poop in toilets and tend to tour where I can find an outhouse or gas station.
    "Even people opposed to religion need calm minds and compassion to make their work more effective."

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Roady View Post
    Campfires are an important part of sleeping outside for me. Do most of you usually have fires? Do you carry an axe or saw with you, or just use fallen branches?
    No. No fires.

    I haven't had a fire in a campground in years, and I've never built a fire when wild camping.

    In many parts of the world, they are banned. As Rowan said, in Australia, there are significant portions of summer when there's a total fire ban on. And I'm sure some of the fire prone areas of North America and Europe also have fire bans.


    And I usually use a public toilet of some sort.

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Roady View Post
    Campfires are an important part of sleeping outside for me. Do most of you usually have fires? Do you carry an axe or saw with you, or just use fallen branches?
    Once in a while I might have a fire if staying in a campground that allows it, never when wild camping. I think I had a fire once on the entire Southern Tier and never on the Pacific Coast or Santa Fe Trail. We did have fires now and then on the Trans America and the Sierra Cascades, It might have been 1 out of 10 nights at the most on those tours.

    I wouldn't even consider carrying an axe, shovel, or saw on a bike tour. If I have a fire I burn stuff that I can break up or once in a while buy a bundle of firewood.

    Not sure what you mean by "important part of sleeping outside". Do you actually keep a fire going at night while sleeping? I never do that when touring. I have mostly just had a fire in the evening before turning in for the night. I think it was only once I built a fire in the morning. That morning was 18 F and I wanted to enjoy the warmth of a fire for a while until the sun got high enough to warn things up a bit.

    I find that the large majority of the time I manage to use indoor facilities or outhouses, but when necessary I dig a cat hole with a stick or tent stake. That is an infrequent occurrence though.

  10. #10
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Part of leaving no trace, no impact camping is no fire pits..
    NB: archaeologists and other paleo- anthropologist scientists,
    still find fire pits 10,000 years later.
    I can attest to this. All my co-workers are archaeologists.
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  11. #11
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    No fire ! Then other campers have pity on me give me free food and drinks. ;0)

  12. #12
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    If you use a Zipp stove or "Swiss Survival Stove", you can get the firebug out of your system and cook at the same time. Smores are even possible!

    Cutting trees is useless, green wood won't burn. Almost never have built any fires, except on very cold (far below freezing, how cold is it when a water bottle freezes solid in July?) mornings in the Sierra, and that only in the designated fire ring. That was just to get everyone else out of their sleeping bags and tents.

    State parks here in California forbid any sort of wood gathering whatsoever; it must be brought in or purchased. Nat'l forests allow only fallen wood to be gathered.

  13. #13
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    I'm also not big on having fires. I really hate smelling like smoke the whole next day, and having my gear smell like it as well. Also, i'm usually tired from biking all day and am in bed too soon to really enjoy one.

  14. #14
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    I like having a fire also but there seems to be a problem with fires these days,not green or something.Rarely do I see people with fires going much anymore.....just one more thing for people to hate me for...

    For a stroll with a roll,if I'm in the city,I'll use the head......if not,I dig a cat hole.
    Last edited by Booger1; 10-10-12 at 01:08 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  15. #15
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    First time I see a bear dig a hole, I'll start digging holes. I do carry the wipes I use out to the next garbage can. Don't expect to see a bear use a wipe.

    Solo, never a camp fire that I can recall. Occasionally when with others. Great compliment to the evening toddy.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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