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A couple years ago I learned about using candle lanterns as a replacement for propane lanterns, bulky battery lighting, and even camp fires.  It's an LNT-friendly device to have and surprisingly practical.

As a lighting source, it's great to have at night because it's not excessively bright --- no glaring white light to disturb people who want to bask in the beauty of a clear night sky. (LNT Principle 7: "Be considerate of other visitors").  It also doesn't generate any waste (LNT Principle 3: "Dispose of waste properly") and you don't have to carry the bulk of metal canisters or heavy batteries  (LNT Principle 1: "Plan ahead and prepare").

As a campfire replacement, it's not really going to work for big troop campfire programs, but it's a great replacement when you're dealing with small groups in the backcountry. Let's face it, we don't really need campfires for light, heat, or cooking, like our pioneering ancestors might have, but the soft glow of natural flame is a great gathering point for evening cameraderie, and a candle lantern (especially those with 3 candles) can provide more than ample light for a decent small group "campfire". (LNT Principle 5: "Minimize campfire impacts" --- and the BEST minimization is NO campfire impact!)

REI is one reliable place to get candle lanterns:  https://www.rei.com/c/candle-lanterns 

REI's lanterns are made by UCO (which also sells citronella candles --- environmentally friendly AND drives away bugs --- awesome!):  https://www.ucogear.com/citronella-candles-3-pack-l--can3pk--c

 

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I'm a big fan of candle lanterns.  Especially in the winter.  A single candle can add an amazing amount of warmth to a small tent.  You can dry out gear, sit around comfortably, read (remember books?) and just be cozy in your tent while the weather storms outside.

If you suspend a candle lantern inside, you need to use a carabiner or metal clip to isolate the hot candle lantern hanger from your cord. Don't want to melt through your suspending line and have the candle drop.

Unfortunately, every Scouter that I've ever run into says that candle lanterns are an 'open flame' and barred from scouting as such.  Hope I'm wrong.  

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If every person in the group brings a candle lantern to put in the center of your ring, and you set some on rocks, cookpots, or whatever is handy so that they are at different heights, you can have a pretty nice "campfire."  And you can turn the "gathering" and/or "dispersing" of the candles into opening and/or closing ceremonies - a new tradition for your group.  

Edited by dkurtenbach
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9 minutes ago, JoeBob said:

I'm a big fan of candle lanterns.  Especially in the winter.  A single candle can add an amazing amount of warmth to a small tent.  You can dry out gear, sit around comfortably, read (remember books?) and just be cozy in your tent while the weather storms outside.

If you suspend a candle lantern inside, you need to use a carabiner or metal clip to isolate the hot candle lantern hanger from your cord. Don't want to melt through your suspending line and have the candle drop.

Unfortunately, every Scouter that I've ever run into says that candle lanterns are an 'open flame' and barred from scouting as such.  Hope I'm wrong.  

All those Scouters you have run into are correct.  Candles in a tent are prohibited for BSA activities.  

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19 minutes ago, JoeBob said:

Unfortunately, every Scouter that I've ever run into says that candle lanterns are an 'open flame' and barred from scouting as such.  Hope I'm wrong.  

Our council camp forbids them in tents, and while I have not had a scout bring one on a troop outing, we would also forbid them in a tent.

I have seen on more than one occasion how quickly a tent can become engulfed in flames; thankfully never with a scout inside the tent.

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33 minutes ago, JoeBob said:

Unfortunately, every Scouter that I've ever run into says that candle lanterns are an 'open flame' and barred from scouting as such.  Hope I'm wrong.  

Candle lanterns aren't "barred from scouting" but they are prohibited inside tents. No reason you can't use one in your patrol cooking area or in place of a campfire.

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13 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

Our council camp forbids them in tents, and while I have not had a scout bring one on a troop outing, we would also forbid them in a tent.

I have seen on more than one occasion how quickly a tent can become engulfed in flames; thankfully never with a scout inside the tent.

A very reasonable policy.  That's why it strikes me as ridiculously dangerous that sporting goods stores sell compact propane tank-top heaters. What sane person actually WANTS a hot flame burning inside their tent??  If it's that cold out, I'll just plan ahead and bring my sub-zero mummy bag. Fortunately, I live in south Texas so I rarely have a need for the real cold weather gear (unless I'm camping in the frozen tundra of the north, which I think is somewhere around Dallas).

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

A couple years ago I learned about using candle lanterns as a replacement for propane lanterns, bulky battery lighting, and even camp fires.  It's an LNT-friendly device to have and surprisingly practical.

As a lighting source, it's great to have at night because it's not excessively bright --- no glaring white light to disturb people who want to bask in the beauty of a clear night sky. (LNT Principle 7: "Be considerate of other visitors").  It also doesn't generate any waste (LNT Principle 3: "Dispose of waste properly") and you don't have to carry the bulk of metal canisters or heavy batteries  (LNT Principle 1: "Plan ahead and prepare").

As a campfire replacement, it's not really going to work for big troop campfire programs, but it's a great replacement when you're dealing with small groups in the backcountry. Let's face it, we don't really need campfires for light, heat, or cooking, like our pioneering ancestors might have, but the soft glow of natural flame is a great gathering point for evening cameraderie, and a candle lantern (especially those with 3 candles) can provide more than ample light for a decent small group "campfire". (LNT Principle 5: "Minimize campfire impacts" --- and the BEST minimization is NO campfire impact!)

REI is one reliable place to get candle lanterns:  https://www.rei.com/c/candle-lanterns 

REI's lanterns are made by UCO (which also sells citronella candles --- environmentally friendly AND drives away bugs --- awesome!):  https://www.ucogear.com/citronella-candles-3-pack-l--can3pk--c

 

Great idea, provided you don't use them in tents, which is against G2SS.

Edited by perdidochas

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1 hour ago, JoeBob said:

I'm a big fan of candle lanterns.  Especially in the winter.  A single candle can add an amazing amount of warmth to a small tent.  You can dry out gear, sit around comfortably, read (remember books?) and just be cozy in your tent while the weather storms outside.

If you suspend a candle lantern inside, you need to use a carabiner or metal clip to isolate the hot candle lantern hanger from your cord. Don't want to melt through your suspending line and have the candle drop.

Unfortunately, every Scouter that I've ever run into says that candle lanterns are an 'open flame' and barred from scouting as such.  Hope I'm wrong.  

It's against G2SS for using in a tent.  It's pretty clear:

https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss12/#a

Burning. Never use flames in tents, teepees, or snow shelters. This includes burning any solid, liquid, gel, or gas fuel; using features of tents or teepees that support stoves or fires; and use of chemical-fueled equipment and catalytic heaters.

44 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

Our council camp forbids them in tents, and while I have not had a scout bring one on a troop outing, we would also forbid them in a tent.

I have seen on more than one occasion how quickly a tent can become engulfed in flames; thankfully never with a scout inside the tent.

It's not just a council rule. It's national rule, and is in the winter camping section of G2ss.

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28 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

A very reasonable policy.  That's why it strikes me as ridiculously dangerous that sporting goods stores sell compact propane tank-top heaters. What sane person actually WANTS a hot flame burning inside their tent??  If it's that cold out, I'll just plan ahead and bring my sub-zero mummy bag. Fortunately, I live in south Texas so I rarely have a need for the real cold weather gear (unless I'm camping in the frozen tundra of the north, which I think is somewhere around Dallas).

The propane heaters are for heating up shacks and duck blinds, not just tents.  

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Back in the days of canvas tents the rule was " no open flames in tents.  So we lighted our candle lanterns outside our tents, closed the tiny door and took them inside.   One warmed our tents up about 10 degrees on a calm night, half of that if the wind was blowing.   UCO also makes small lightweight reflectors that help greatly.   I've been doing it for over 40 years now with nary a problem.  Mind you there is no way I am going to risk it in a small nylon tent.  If I were camping tonight when the windchill  going to be 5 or 10 below zero, I would have two or three going until I was ready to go to sleep.  Better yet I would be in a 16 foot tepee with a small fire in the center.  I would be happy to trade a hour or two of lost sleep while fire tending to gain 50 degrees.  

And at the risk of calling down the wrath of all the "by the book " scouters, I really dont care a plugged nickle what the lawyer inspired, monumentally stupid GSS says anymore. I have spent over a thousand nights under canvas or the stars.  I'm not an idiot.  I'll be safe and warm and dry.

  And if one of the scouts is freezing cold at 3am there is a tent where he can warm up for a while while I go look at the stars or start a campfire and put the old coffee pot on. Or if I have the tepee I'll make the coffee / Swiss miss right there and I'll wake up another Scouter or perhaps the scout has a friend who also has chattering teeth and wouldn't mind a mug or two.

Oldscout

Edited by Oldscout448
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Combustion in a closed tent?   Have we forgotten our chem 101?   

Yes, the flame is a hazard worth remembering and avoiding, but I might worry more about the collection of CO2 in the confined space.   

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49 minutes ago, SSScout said:

Combustion in a closed tent?   Have we forgotten our chem 101?   

Yes, the flame is a hazard worth remembering and avoiding, but I might worry more about the collection of CO2 in the confined space.   

Not to nitpick old friend,  but it's CO (carbonmonoxide) that is the poisonous  hazard.  I do remember a little of chem 101.  Canvas tents are permeable  and the gaps in the doors are more than sufficient to let in enough fresh air for a candle or two.  If there is wet snow stuck on the tent then yes it might be a problem.  

As to the tepee I could go on at some length about proper set up, liners, smoke flaps, etc. But I suspect you already know everything that I do.   

I suppose since the old curmudgeons like me won't be around anymore to show the newbies how to do what the plains Indian tribes did safely for centuries  it is perhaps best that they stick to their newfangled LEDs. Sigh. 

Go n-eirghidh an bothar libh, a chairde 

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This thread got me thinking of all the red fire buckets (#10 cans) we used to have by each tent at summer camp, and that was summer.  We didn't have any around the campfire, but every tent had two.  In the 70s and 80s, very often on Michigan Klondike derbies or Polar Bear campouts, we used Jon-E handwarmers or solid fuel handwarmers in our pockets to keep warm.  This was long before the shaking hand warmers available now.  I have a few candle lanterns and they work great for backpacking.  I can fit about 3 tea light candles in each one for packing purposes.  One setting out casts a good glow to brighten the mood.  Inside tents is another story,  when its really cold, a heated water bottle in the sleeping bag is all you need all night.  Just make sure lid is secure. 

Edited by Double Eagle
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11 hours ago, Oldscout448 said:

Not to nitpick old friend,  but it's CO (carbonmonoxide) that is the poisonous  hazard.  I do remember a little of chem 101.  Canvas tents are permeable  and the gaps in the doors are more than sufficient to let in enough fresh air for a candle or two.  If there is wet snow stuck on the tent then yes it might be a problem.  

As to the tepee I could go on at some length about proper set up, liners, smoke flaps, etc. But I suspect you already know everything that I do.   

I suppose since the old curmudgeons like me won't be around anymore to show the newbies how to do what the plains Indian tribes did safely for centuries  it is perhaps best that they stick to their newfangled LEDs. Sigh. 

Go n-eirghidh an bothar libh, a chairde 

CO of course is produced, but most of a candle's production would be CO2, I think.  Canvas?  Yep, leaky tent.  Modern, waterproof bathtub bottom, zipped up ?  Not so good, unless it has a screened top and open rain fly above for ventilation.  I have awoken in the morning with icicles hanging from the top of my tent back when  I camped in such atmospheres.  I leave that to my adventurous Scouts now....

Teepee is good.   Haul wickiup behind pony.  Washte...   

Urban BBQ ?  Noon ?  Friday ? 

Edited by SSScout

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