RE: [John Muir Trail] JMT: Campfire PACK OUT YOUR TRASH
I hope I can answer your question concerning burning plastic.
Plastic bags are composed from polyethylene. Polyethylene is composed of the organic compounds carbon and hydrogen (C2H2). This is similar in structure to gasoline but is less branched and is composed of much longer strands and therefore is in the form of a solid and not a liquid. The burning of plastic releases carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and other organic compounds into the atmosphere. The combustion of the plastic in a campfire is not efficient and many of the components are not completely burned. This releases small and larger organic molecules. This is the nasty smell you may have encountered when burning plastic. The releasing of these volatile organic molecules are not good for the environment. Some of these organic molecules are known to damage the ozone layer protecting us from harmful radiation.
It is much better for the environment for you to dispose of the bag properly and not burn the material. Many environmental studies have shown that the carbon dioxide levels are already way too high and protecting the ozone layer is crucial to our survival.
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 08:09:54 -0600
Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] JMT: Campfire PACK OUT YOUR TRASH
The question I asked was not questioning the rule, it was asking for what is the rationale for not being able to burn plastic bags. Is there a scientific rationale or is it merely 100% environmental- political. How is 100% burnt plastic bags toxic to rocks? How is 100% burnt plastic bags toxic to trees? Is there some scientific evidence that trees get sick or die from the smoke? I know some of the trees in the High Sierra can only reproduce during forest fires (eg, the Sequoia).Again, I'm not asking for the rule to be restated in bold caps. I just want to know if the basis of the rule is scientific or political.I understand that less than 100% burnt plastic is not desirable, same with less than 100% burnt paper.It is a no-brainer scientific understanding about aluminum which can't be burnt at the temps a camp fire get to.Thanks, if anyone knows. My curiosity is intrigued about this.On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 1:50 AM, robert shattuck <bobolonius@hotmail. com> wrote:
"PROTOCOL," IS TO PACK IT IN, AND MOST DEFINITELY, PACK IT OUT.THERE ARE STILL FAR TOO MANY PEOPLE THAT THINK IF THEY PUT ANYTHING IN A FIRE PIT THAT THEY'VE DONE THEIR JOB AND THERE'S NO NEED TO PACK IT OUT.MUCH OF WHAT DEHYDRATED MEALS COME IN IS NON-BURNABLE AND NO DOUBT, TO SOME DEGREE, TOXIC TO BURN, BUT YOU ALWAYS FIND SINGED, SOGGY PACKAGING IN THE FIRE PITS.THERE'S REALLY NOTHING AT ALL THAT YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND AND THERE'S JUST ABOUT NOTHING THAT YOU SHOULD BURN––IT ALL GETS PACKED OUT . . .JUST ASK ANY BACK-COUNTRY RANGER, WHO WHEN NOT (THESE DAYS!) CHASING DOWN CLOWNS WITH THEIR TRIGGER FINGER ALL OVER THEIR SPOT LOCATORS, IS PROBABLY CLEANING UP THEIR TRASH.
http://www.summitpo st.org/plans/ view_activity. php?post_ id=6480
To: johnmuirtrail@ yahoogroups. com
From: duprelufkin@ hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 02:47:40 +0000
Subject: [John Muir Trail] JMT: Campfire
I recently backpacked with two guys in Arkansas. We were all from different states and backpacking experience. When considering a fire for the evening it was mentioned that ones trash would be burned, which I really hadn't considered before. One of our group did not agree. Ultimately, no fire was started. So, this brings me to the JMT / Campfire question. Do thru-hikers burn their trash? I would assume any residue in the morning would be packed out. What is the protocol?
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- One of the benefits I've found from starting to use a "cozy" -- my favorite personal gear change of 2009 -- is that it holds my food warm enough that if I get feeling full -- just so full that i can't eat another bite -- I'll just zip the food back into the cozy and wait 10 minutes and come back and eat the rest of it. That's hard to do if your Mac-and-Cheese or rehydrated eggs have gotten all cold, not so hard if the cozy's kept the food warm. I used to bury leftover food (apologies to John Ditti and all other campers), but since adopting the cozy, I find I always can finish my meals.
The cozy arrangement that works for me is a 10-16 oz. specimen jar inside of a commercial cozy I got at REI.
The cozy was a Outdoor Products Insulated Water Bottle Holder which is lightweight, has a reflective liner, decent insulation value and is not too hard to clean if you spill food on it..
http://www.rei.com/product/770795 (1 liter)
http://www.rei.com/product/770794 (1/2 liter)
(I use the 1/2 liter size.)
Appropriately-sized specimen jars are harder to find but they are widely used in the biosciences. They tend to have very non-reactive insides, which makes them very easy to clean and wide mouths and straight sides.
They look like this:
I've gotten mine from friends, so I don't know where to buy them for sure. Here's one site that lists 8- and 16-oz. sizes.
The trick, of course, if finding (or designing) a cozy that fits the jar you want to use. I've got jars that are taller and thinner than the one illustrated above, so it works well in the OP insulated bottle holder.
This is probably obvious, but the idea is that I cook my food in a pot (JetBoil for me) up to the point when a little more steeping will get it fully hydrated, pour the food into the specimen jar and put it in the cozy to complete steeping. Then I just eat it directly from the specimen jar, still inside the (now unzipped) cozy. The specimen jar cleans just fine with a vigorous shake with water (no soap is required for most foods).
For 5-minute grains (like cream of wheat for breakfast), I find I can get it fully cooked with bringing to a bare simmer In the Jetboil, letting it steep in the Jetboil for about 5 minutes, re-bring it to a bare simmer (which takes minimal added fuel) and then pour into the specimen jar.cozy, let it steep 5 more minutes until it "gels" to a nice consistency and then eat. For meals based on 10-minute grains, I use one extra re-simmer and steep in the JetBoil before putting in the cozy. It allows me to avoid freeze-dried foods, which I'm not a fan of.
Since your food finishes cooking inside the specimen jar, rather than in the pot, it tends to be easy to wash the pot.
John Curran Ladd
1616 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114-3707