5 Tips for Camping Without a Fire

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Camping without a campfire can throw off even the most experienced campers: It's your light at night, your stove for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a source of warmth when it gets chilly.

Some campgrounds ban campfires during wildfire season while others don't allow them at all. But don't worry; your trip isn't ruined if you can't have a campfire. Here are five tips to help you have a great time without it.

More: 5 Ways to be a Happy Camper

1. Plan Your Food

Without a campfire, you have to rethink meal preparation. This may seem tricky, if you're used to cooking over a campfire, but it's easy if you prepare ahead of time. There are three ways you can handle this:

Use a camping stove. If you already pack your camp stove every time, then you're in luck. If you use a small, portable grill like this one from Weber, check whether it can heat pots and pans. These are often best for cooking directly on the grill itself.

Cook food at home and then eat it cold at the campsite. Some foods to cook at home include: pasta, quinoa, chicken, homemade pizza and macaroni and cheese.

Bring no-cook foods like cold cuts, peanut butter and jelly fixings, cereal, bagels and tuna salad.

More: 15 No-Cook Recipes for the Campsite

2. Bring Nighttime Entertainment

Nights at the campsite are typically spent talking and telling stories around the campfire. Without this to gather around, you need to find other entertainment for your evening. Other than stargazing, you can:

  • Play card games
  • Play dominos
  • Play board games
  • Listen to a book on tape
  • Play a guitar (or other instruments)

3. Pack Extra Warm

Your campfire is an important source of heat on chilly nights at the campsite. Bring extra blankets, sweatpants, sweatshirts and pajamas to make sure you're warm without it.

More: Printable Packing Checklist

4. Don't Forget Lighting

Without your primary source of light when the sun goes down, it's important to remember other forms of lighting for the campsite like flashlights and lanterns. Remember to bring extra batteries in case your lights die during the trip. Check out these 6 Lighting Options for the Campsite for fun ideas.

5. Plan for Stargazing

The one benefit of not having a campfire is less light at the campsite, which means you can search the night sky for constellations and shooting stars without going to the campground park or a field. Don't forget to bring extra blankets—to lie on and to cover up with—so you don't have to get your tent blankets dirty.

More: How and Where to Stargaze

RAFind a Campground at ReserveAmerica.com.