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It's a delicate art that seems to be contentious amongst my group. Paper products and those that burn cleanly without issue never seems to cause alarm. Trying to burn excess food and the "burn it all" philosophy can get lame. Trying to enjoy a fire while people pour things on that cause smoke/smells/wipe out the flames can be obnoxious but keeping down trash is nice. Will be interested to see the replies as well.
 

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we were around the fire one time with sausage sizzling away in pan. a friend rolled in from his tent and threw his socks in the fire, not too far from the pan. they made some smoke a bit before they combusted. i didn't ask why he burned them... i didn't eat that sausage either.

i prefer to only see wood and paper burning. i think the rest is a little unpleasant. especially if i'm in charge of ashes.
 

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Good question and you're going to get a variety of answers. A very experienced boater I rafted with last year likes to burn everything including food, wrappers, everythng that could possibly be cremated. We spent a lot of time, wood, and stinky nights so that we could save a rocket box or two worth of trash. Not my thing but not my trip. Personally I burn easy non-toxic trash and haul the rest out.
 

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Let's play a game......Will it Burn?
Don't be a dipshit and through a bunch of garbage on right after dinner. Stay up late one night after everyone else has gone to bed when the smoke isn't blowing towards tents. Get nice and tuned up and grab the garbage bag and tongs and start seeing what colors things turn.
 

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I’m a pyro at heart, but over the years I’ve gotten to the point where my preference is mostly to skip fires completely. If and when I do have a campfire, I prefer only nice dry wood and small amounts of paper or cardboard. One thing that just kills camp ambiance imo is the smoldering wet wood fires that some folks seem to feel is required in order to camp, toxic garbage smoke is even worse. No thanks.

I’m also of the mindset that any burnable trash be put into the fire pan as either starter or some other time where we’re not cooking over it or all gathered around to enjoy it. It just doesn’t really add to the ambiance in a favorable way, which is the whole reason for having a fire in the first place.
 

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I only bring a propane campfire these days, or a pop up pit when grilling is a requirement. Neither are used / able to be used for burning trash.

Learned the trick of stuffing everything into plastic bottles that seem to find their way on the trip, with a stick or similar. You'd truly be surprised at what you can stuff in them, stick the lid on and no smell, compacted as far as it'll go, toss in the trash at the end of the trip.

Since most of my meals are pre prepared and vac sealed, there's not a lot of waste past the vac seal bags to get rid of.

FWIW, YMMV
 

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After spending most my adult life working in emergency departments (one of them a burn center) one of the jobs I hated most, was pulling molten plastic off of various body parts of campers who are either too young, too stupid or too drunk (or all the above) to be trusted with a match let alone deciding what to put on the fire. Do yourself and your party (and me!) a favor and just make it a rule not to put anything plastic into a campfire.
 

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Nothing draws me to the great outdoors more than a burning landfill.
I was just typing pretty much the same thing. Nothing like the smoke and smell hanging low of a neighboring camps trash fire on a serene Middle Fork or Main Salmon morning. The common suggestion is "Pack it in, pack it out." Besides, unless you are bringing in your own firewood you are just wasting driftwood.
 

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I really like evening fires, both for warmth and ambience. Of course, I live up north and except for mid-summer, the warmth is always a plus.
I strongly dislike the smell of burning plastic and don't come on the river to smell like it.

I also don't really like smelling like campfire, but tolerate it. I prefer dry wood fires and love my pop-up pit for minimal-smoke fires. I'd rather have no fire than a wet/green wood smoky fire.
I also dislike morning fires as they take too long to cool, and distract from breakfast/packing/launching.
Learned the trick of stuffing everything into plastic bottles that seem to find their way on the trip, with a stick or similar. You'd truly be surprised at what you can stuff in them, stick the lid on and no smell, compacted as far as it'll go, toss in the trash at the end of the trip.

Since most of my meals are pre prepared and vac sealed, there's not a lot of waste past the vac seal bags to get rid of.
I'm tempted to try the "garbage ball" method others have tried using pallet wrap. I also like the plastic bottle recommendation...though I don't drink much in plastic bottles I'll have to try a few. Would like to have something to odor-seal my vac seal bags since I mostly camp in bear country.

I also just bought a battery-powered electric bear fence. That BIG bruin in camp 2 years ago was a warning.
 

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I recommend against it, but if you feel like you have to, only dry burnables (most trash does not fit in this category anyway) and someone must actively tend to it until it's gone. Burning beer boxes always sounds like a good idea until you try it.

We have never generated more trash than we can manage, including 24 days in GC.
 

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We have never generated more trash than we can manage, including 24 days in GC.
A large part of the issue for some is bringing too much trash.
If you can lose the outer packaging you can leave it in your shuttle vehicle..or at home....or in the trash at the last minute grocery/convenience store

I hate duct tape/soggy beer box waste. Drop cans in rice bags.... then the rice bag can be a recycle bag.
I also started saving/re-using the plastic "cap" type recyclable 6-pack carriers and snap loose cans from a 12-pack into them. Easier to manage and I don't throw away the carrier since I'll re-use it.
 

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Soggy duct tape beer box burning dumb! Decant all beer and soda cans in rice bags at put in or before. Fill drop bag with days ration. Paper not worth burning unless you already have a fire. I've made a 3/8" ply board that fits into the garbage rocket boxes and is used to smash down garbage that is housed in a trash compactor bag. Simply roll closed top of bag (no air please) and stand on board to compact. Try it, you can get 2-3 times the garbage into a rocket box. Without soggy paper you will not need to burn garbage.
 

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I never liked burning plastic or food waste on trips, but on the Tatshenshini trip last summer, we embraced the burn-everything philosophy. Apparently that's standard procedure up there for two reasons: grizzly bears, and the fact that everything needs to fly out in small planes at the end. It took a bit of time and was kind of stinky, but I was amazed at just how little trash we had after 11 days. I'm certainly not advocating this approach in other circumstances though.
 

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I can see where burning everything would have merit (like above) but for the most part I get annoyed when people start burning garbage. If you can smell it, you're inhaling it to some degree, and smoke from a wood fire is bad enough for you. Plastic is the worst, but even stuff like wrappers for bars etc is no bueno imo. Pack it in, pack it out. If it fit on the boat getting there it should fit getting out.
 
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More than once I've sat around a tiki torch on a warm summer's night........
Something to sit around adds to group comradery. Without it it seems that everyone goes their separate ways pretty early. However, I've always wondered about those times when it might be in the 90s+ and a fire is lit up and raging. Kinda see that a lot in campgrounds. Oh well. I guess you ain't camping without a fire.
 
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