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the dangers of cooking in your tent

The dangers of cooking in your tent

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We all know we shouldn’t, but cooking in your tent is one of the most dangerous things you can do when camping.

We know its unsafe and unwise – but yet we still do it, its an accident waiting to happen.

We have all been there – the weather is typically Yorkshire, raining and cloudy and we feel we don’t have much choice anyway, plus we are hungry so we have all been tempted to do it.

We might even have an internal debate, what are the odds of it going wrong anyway. In fact the odds are stacked against you and are pretty high of something going wrong.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises campers to take some precautions.

Think about it, you are exposing a naked flame to canvas when you are your gear is inside.

While most people aren’t naive enough to cook using an open fire under canvas, though some have been, cooking using a stove is a different story.

Many won’t see a problem with it either. Most will realise the danger of the flame and make sure they are careful, but the tent bursting into flames is the least of the potential issues.

Ok, let’s not be so dramatic, modern-day tents are more liable to melt that actually catch fire unless you are extremely careless, the bigger and more serious dangers isn’t something which can’t even be seen, smelt or tasted.

The dangers of CO

Carbon monoxide is defined as, ‘a colourless, odourless, toxic flammable gas formed by incomplete combustion of carbon.’

In summary, it’s highly dangerous and practically untraceable, in homes we have specific detectors to detect this gas, but unless you have a portable detector you would never realise the gas was present.

Unfortunately, it kills and is a big reason why cooking in your tent is such a bad idea.

Using a stove to cook on is highly dangerous because the carbon monoxide given off by the stove will build up in an unventilated, enclosed space. Worse still – usually this is also the same space you will sleep.

As covered earlier, this gas is completely undetectable by humans, until its too late. CO gasses build up quickly and can and have been fatal with a number of deaths on campsites all across Yorkshire and UK in recent years.

If reading this, stops you cooking in your tent or advising other campers you see cooking in your tent and potentially stops them from breathing in this dangerous gas then it was worth me writing this article.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include:

It goes without saying, if you experience any of these symptoms, go straight outside into fresh air as quickly and safely as possible.

Then seek medical assistant and alert the campsite owner.

Safety first

Let’s finish with some tips on cooking when camping:


This is part of our series trying to make you safer when out camping and exploring Yorkshire. As quite a few campsites over Yorkshire have lakes on them, please read our safety tips when around water.

Author: Andy


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