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5 Beautiful Blazing Campfire Alternatives

August 18, 2021 3 min read

It's hard to resist the glow of a campfire when escaping to the outdoors. Sometimes though, we do need to resist. Whether adhering to seasonal fire restrictions and campfire bans, or paying attention to the principles of leave no trace and respecting ecologically sensitive areas, there's good reason to spark something other than a fire, and fan the flames of your imagination instead. Humans are to blame for nearly 85% of wildland fires, and though campfires aren't always the culprit, they're certainly an easy thing to let go of during the dry season.

Some perks of flame-free ambience? How about no smoke in the face for one (white rabbit white rabbit white rabbit) and not having to worry about whether or not every single ember has been extinguished before turning in for the night.  

Here are a few campfire alternatives, just some suggestions for how to recreate that gorgeous glamping glow, fire-free.

PAINT WITH LIGHT 

Using glow sticks, a flashlight, or even the light on your phone you can create a stunning scene simply by painting with light! Long exposure capability is no longer limited to DSLRs, you can create warm, glowing effects using the camera on your mobile device.

A person holds up a ray of light in front of a glowing orb, an effect from painting with light.
 image credit Xuan Nguyen via unsplash


Here are some tips for how to paint with light using your phone. True, the effects will only be visible in the media you capture, but you'll be glowing from the fun of the experience of light painting, for sure!

BUNDLE UP 

Take a long strand of LED fairy lights and bundle them up inside a clear glass jar (or go big with multiple jars). Then use the bundled up glow as a centerpiece wherever you want those campfire vibes. 

We love the fairy lights from Revel Gear for all the color options they offer, plus each strand is 30' and can be used with their solar USB chargers! 

A glass jar filled with LED fairy lights. image via Pinterest


GET THAT NATURAL GLOW

Take advantage of the fire-free time to embrace the good old fashioned glow of the moon, the stars, or even the Milky Way. Secure all the snuggly things, like your favorite camp chair and cozy blanket, and then settle in for a flickering light show that's out of this world. 

Who needs a single campfire with billions of stars practically within reach? Download the Star Walk 2 app and plot your position beneath the constellations and planets in real time.

A yellow tent sits beneath the milky way.

image credit Jeremy Thomas via unsplash

PROPS TO PROPANE

Perhaps what you're missing the most about being close to a campfire is the warmth. Even with all the puffy, fleece-lined layers of your favorite camping clothes, even with all the stars overhead to hold your gaze, you may still want to feel the blast of warm air in the chill of an outdoor evening. Instead of making a campfire, pick up a portable propane heater and plop it where you want it, then gather 'round and get in on the cozy, smoke-free glow. 

A man and child hold their hands over the glow of a portable propane heater.

 image via Amazon

 We get it. Campfires are more than their individual components: the smell of the smoke, the intricate flicker of the firelight, the heat against the palms of your hands, the crackle and pop ambience, and the primal connection of bodies with the elements. It's the sum of their parts that make campfires so irresistible. But temperance is a beautiful thing, too. And the more people there are who skip the campfire temptation during dryer seasons and climates, the easier we'll all be able to breathe. So pop open the laptop, prop up the iPhone, or set up the projector against the backdrop of a canvas tent, and get your crackle and pop fix with this relaxing campfire scene, and save the in real life campfire time for another time.

Kelli Martinelli
Kelli Martinelli

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