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How to roast marshmallows when there's a fire ban: 5 fun alternatives to campfires

It might not be the real deal, but it's pretty close.
smores stock image
Roasting marshmallows is a crucial part of the camping experience. Here's how to have it even with a campfire ban.

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A campfire ban is in effect for all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands unless otherwise specified in local government bylaws. Which is bad news for anyone planning on going camping this month. Campfires are an integral part of the camp culture and facilitate food, conversation, and an overall cozy feeling beneath the stars in what is essentially Mother Nature's living room.

So it's understandable that people would feel disappointed when campfire bans happen. They are however crucial to protecting the province from devastating wildfires and should be strictly observed. The good news is that there are gadgets and technologies out there that can mimic or replicate the things we love about campfires and that are safe to use during the ban.

The B.C. wildfire service says that "The campfire prohibition does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or portable campfire devices that use briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, provided they are CSA or ULC approved, and the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.”

These five products comply with those guidelines and are perfect for creating ambience, a bit of warmth, and really yummy s'mores.

Portable Propane Little Red Campfire

The Little Red Campfire has all the rustic charm and nostalgia of a red wagon that meets childhood camping. The round propane-powered fire has fake logs sitting on top of a 9-1/2" diameter ring burner with a raised stainless steel base. It comes with a handled dome cover that latches onto the base for easy transportation. The campfire uses an eight-inch propane hose for standard gas cylinders and there's an adjustable regulator. With this one, it's important to be mindful of the height of the flames because they cannot be any higher than 15 centimetres according to the B.C. wildfire service.

Chef'n S'mores Roaster

This slice of Scandinavian design is for the aesthetic campers. The adorable campfire has a white ceramic dome, a metal tray for resting the graham crackers and chocolate on, and a crossed wood base. A small flame comes up from the centre of the dome for roasting marshmallows over and the heat melts the chocolate onto the cracker as it roasts the marshmallow. It also comes with a stainless steel stick for roasting. The S'mores roaster uses 6.1-oz. gel chafing fuel and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Tabletop fire pot with gel fuel

At Canadian Tire you can get gel fuel canisters that are suitable for indoor and outdoor use, you may recognize them from catering services that put small versions under serving trays to keep them warm. They also sell ceramic or stainless steel tabletop pots to house the canisters. They're small enough to throw into the back of the car with the rest of your gear and it makes for a nice picnic tabletop ambience when camping. Plus you could roast marshmallows over it if you wanted to. 

Salton S'mores & Fondue Maker

This S'mores and fondue maker is meant for indoor use but there's nothing that says it can't be enjoyed outdoors when there's a campfire ban. The stainless steel heating element has no open flame and there are attached serving trays for your marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers or fondue accoutrements. It has two heat settings, one for S'mores and one for fondue and a flat top so you can rest a fondue pot on top without it tipping.

S'more to Love 6 S'more Maker

If you're already bringing a portable barbeque camping then the other entries on this list might not make a lot of sense. But this cage for S'mores allows you to perfectly cook the camping snack on a barbeque pre-assembled. It's also great if you have a reputation for setting your marshmallow on fire. The metal wire tray has individual compartments for the crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow to be stacked and then securely sandwiched before placing in the barbeque.

With files from Alanna Kelly