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#46013 - 08/05/05 02:51 PM Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2155
Loc: Bucks County PA
From the "Warming Up My Tent" thread.

The test material is a relatively heavy nylon - similar to that used to make a backpack or tent bottom. I'm going to try to find an actual tent to burn, but for now I think this video makes a point of why you never want open flame in a tent.

Note: The noise in the background is the annual Cicadas, which come out this time of year and "sing" in the very hot weather. On the small video, due to heavy audio compression, the sound is fairly "odd" as a result.

Large Video - (About 9MB Suitable for Office, Cable Modem and DSL users)

Small Video - (About 1.4MB for dialup users)

Note that you'll need the free "Quicktime" program to view these movies. You may get Quicktime for Windows or Mac at www.apple.com/quicktime

Edited by martinfocazio (08/05/05 03:26 PM)

#46014 - 08/05/05 02:57 PM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video)
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Wow. And that's with just one spot lit. Imagine if you knocked over a stove...

Edited by groo (08/05/05 06:12 PM)

#46015 - 08/05/05 05:10 PM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...

Very interesting - thanks. Following comments are to the topic of heat in tents, not a reply to your post:

I have seen more than my fair share of tent fires (canvas) in the far North, some of which involved fatalities(s). But all things considered, less tent fires than I would expect under the circumstances.

I do not disagree with a general sentiment that generally says that most of us will never NEED to have a fuel burning appliance inside a tent. Having written that, there ARE circumstances and locations where cooking and/or heating has to happen inside a tent. Unless, of course, we all move to the tropics and never vacation in the high mountains or far North (or far South, globally speaking).

So... now that we've all thrashed the "No Flames in Tents" concept pretty well, maybe it's time for some discussion of when it is appropriate and how to minimize the risks. It doesn't have to be -40 deg with horizonatal blowing snow situations - there can be life-threatening situations in much milder conditions where heat in a tent is appropriate.

<shrug> Or I can keep biting my tongue, I guess. "No Flames in Tents" probably applies all the time to 90% of us here anyway.



#46016 - 08/05/05 05:46 PM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
norad45 Offline

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 1506
I agree with your thinking. I recommended Sterno (gelled alcohol) for a tent heater on the other thread because it is far safer than petroleum products. It burns cleaner, extinguishes easier, and obviously doesn't spill/splash as easily. It has the drawback of not cooking as well as liquid fuels, including liquid alcohol, but as a tent or food warmer it's hard to beat.

I personally would do without a heater in a tent unless facing hypothermia.

Regards, Vince

#46017 - 08/05/05 06:15 PM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Aren't we trying to solve the wrong problem? I wouldn't need to have a heater in my tent if the tent were better insulated, or I was. I didn't want mention this, since the original thread said this wasn't a possible solution, but really.... just insulate the darn tent, or buy a better sleeping bag. Or both.

Right? What am I missing?

#46018 - 08/05/05 07:09 PM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
>> Right? What am I missing? <<


You were kidding, right? Let's see... you live in Florida, right? <img src="/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

(An insulated tent is not backpackable - bulk and weight. The few that I know of are designed to be heated and cooled.)

Here's a classic: There are situations where one simply must run a stove inside a tent in order to make water. Once it's water, we COULD maybe stay outside in the deep dark howling wind ice crystals cutting exposed skin conditions and use up our fuel trying to heat it - or maybe not. These days, fewer and fewer climbers use liquid fuel stoves and all hacks and tricks aside, the fuel cannister has to be kept around freezing or warmer AND have heat input because it is cooling itself from gas expansion (like an AC evaporator).

Infinite number of other reasons/situations, the vast majority of which deal with very cold temps and/or cold temps and winds.

As far as heat for comfort reasons, you are basically correct - there are far fewer situations where it really makes objective sense to burn fuel in a tent simply for warming it up. Especially not small volume backpacking tents as opposed to large (usually canvas) tents that are designed to have a wood burning stove in them.

Ahem - unless we are talking about dire survival situations - when we can least afford to have a mishap.

Surely others here besides me have experiences to chime in with...? You don't have to be above the treeline or in the far North to encounter situations where running a stove for heat inside a tent is the lesser of two evils.

To be objective: Short of some huge catastrophe, even where I live, one is very unlikely to ever get into that sort of a situation - some sort of rescue / refuge is usually going to be close enough. My experiences come from the time I've spent and spend in more remote areas.



#46019 - 08/05/05 07:34 PM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
howling wind ice crystals cutting

Look, I know it's theoretically possible for water to go into a solid phase, but AFAIK, it's never been observed outside a laboratory. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Cold is 60F. They start warning people to cover plants and bring pets inside at 40F. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#46020 - 08/05/05 11:51 PM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)

What's that old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words? Thanks for the visual, Marty. If that doesn't convince a body to stay away from tents with open flames, I don't know what will (the dripping flames were caught real well, nice camera work <img src="/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />).


#46021 - 08/06/05 04:34 AM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
You know, we are not that far off from having a suitable, portable "fuel cell" that works much like a catalytic element. In fact, what's so wrong with catalytics? Maybe we just need to find a reasonable way to isolate and protect the heat source so that the chance of it igniting an external flammable are next to nothing.

I've been so cold in my wall tent (read big canvas tent) that I've had to light off all three propane burners on my BIG cookstove, plus a hot fire in my woodstove. That's 12' x 17' in a good blizzard. Eventually it got warm enough in there that I could get outta my FWG and do some cooking. Ah, now that was living. I believe that was the night I made beef stroganoff and fresh scratch sourdough fritter rolls and triple berry compote topped with yogurt... Oh God, I miss elk camp.

If you can keep the airflow down, you'd be surprised I think at how much heat you can get out of one candle in a jar. The trick is to trap the air. Not an easy proposition in these new fangled tents.

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#46022 - 08/06/05 10:33 AM Re: Nylon Burn Test (Video) (Corrected URL)
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1204
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Is there any risk from carbon monoxide or other fumes in a tent, or does it all leak out before it builds up?
Quality is addictive.

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