Playing With Fire
Sitting around the warm glow of the campfire, telling tales, playing music, or just staring into dancing flames, is perhaps our oldest form of entertainment. What's changed in recent times is the stuff we use to augment that primal experience. Here are a few standouts for maximizing fireside bliss.
ENVIRO-LOGS are great for times when dry wood is scarce. Made from 100 percent recycled waxed-cardboard produce crates, these logs burn for about two hours, putting out a decent amount of heat while emitting 80 percent less carbon dioxide than wood does. For a fast-starting, even-burning fire, try two Enviro-Logs at a time, using their wrappers as kindling. $21 for a case of 6, enviro-log.net
S'mores have been a campfire tradition since the 1920s, and now you can create an earth-friendly version of these smoky little slices of sugar-filled decadence using EREWHON Organic Honey Grahams, SWEET & SARA Vanilla Marshmallows, which are vegan, and an ENDANGERED SPECIES Chocolate bar or two. Graham crackers: $5 for 14.4 ounces, attunefoods.com; marshmallows: $5 for 16 pieces, sweetandsara.com; chocolate: $2 per bar, chocolatebar.com
GERBER's Camp Axe II is compact enough to stow in your pack but tough enough to blast through a weekend of chopping logs. Its ultra-tough handle, made of glass-filled nylon, is topped with a forged stainless steel head, which comes with a plastic snap-on sheath. Light, well-balanced, and fun to swing, this is the campfire ax you'll want for the zombie apocalypse. $52, gerber-tools.com
GREAT NORTHERN POPCORN COMPANY's Pit Popper has a telescoping handle that stays mostly cool. And the four-quart pot means that, within about five minutes, you can pop enough corn to share with the whole crew. $30, greatnorthernpopcorn.com
ULTIMATE SURVIVAL TECHNOLOGIES' Trekker Stormproof Lighter is a refillable, water-resistant butane lighter that can generate a steady flame in winds of up to 80 miles per hour. Once you get the fuel flow set for your altitude and temperature, the electric ignition and coil provide a consistent strike, even in nasty weather. The Trekker comes in a rubberized case and features a fuel window so you can see when you're running low. $60, ultimatesurvival.com