Even the fanciest campsites hardly have a separate kitchen space or a dedicated kitchen tent. Campers often rely on toaster ovens, portable stoves, or grills for cooking meals at campsites. No matter which method you use, safety always comes first. Most campers prefer to cook under the open sky. But it is difficult to continue grilling if the weather takes an unwanted turn.
If the sky gets cloudy or rain starts to pour, campers would have no choice but to find shelter. Sometimes, the shelter they choose is a canopy tent. Fire hazard is a crucial thing to consider, especially when you are camping out in the woods. Before concluding whether you should grill under a canopy tent, let’s discuss the risks.
Can you grill under a canopy tent?
Most manufacturers run some tests on their canopy tents to ensure that the fabric is flame resistant. But that does not mean your tent is completely safe with a grill burning under it. Even with a flame-resistant rating, your tent can still burn from the grill if it stays in contact with the fabric for too long.
If a fire hazard does happen, it can damage your canopy tent. Moreover, it puts you and the other campers around you at risk. It is not completely safe to grill under a canopy tent. Having a grill or fire under a tarp or canopy is always risky. But it can still be pursued if you are extremely cautious in handling the grilling equipment.
Gas grills can be used under a canopy. Any flame should be extensively monitored when it is under a tent. If you have a gas grill, you can use it under a canopy tent if the weather is bad. But make sure the grill is kept as far away from the tent wall as possible. There should be enough room for the grill and for you to move around.
An electric grill is probably the safest to use under a canopy tent. You need a power supply to use the grill. But if you already have a power supply such as a generator in the campsite, it should be enough to operate the electric grill. Electric grills are the safest to use in tight spaces since there is no ‘real’ flame. Still, keep the grill away from dry wooden structures.
Charcoal grills are the most risky if you use them under a canopy tent. It is nearly impossible to perfectly regulate the heat when you use a charcoal grill. The fire hazard risk is too high. Charcoal grills should only be used out in the open with a lot of surrounding space. Avoid using charcoal grills under a canopy tent at all costs.
What are the risks of grilling under a canopy?
Grilling means there would be immense heat produced in a small space. Most of the time, the heat is generated through fire. There is always a risk when using anything that uses immense heat (i.e., stove, grill, oven, and more). The risk intensifies when you grill under a canopy tent because of bad weather.
Using grills out in the open should be fine as long as you know what you are doing. But putting something like a tarp or a canopy over the grill is a fire hazard. Most canopies are made out of polyester or similar materials. These materials tend to melt from immense heat. If you are grilling near the fabric of a canopy, the heat from the grill can cause the canopy to melt. Such scenarios can often end in a disaster. The risk is not just for the camping tools but for the people who are around them. If the canopy tent does catch on fire, people can get hurt.
How can you make grilling under a canopy tent safer?
If there is no option other than grilling under a canopy tent, then taking precautions is necessary. Before going on the trip, look for a canopy that uses fire-resistant materials. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and the rating to see how well your canopy would fare against flammable objects.
When you do set up the canopy tent, make sure the structure is strong. Set up your grilling equipment a little away from the main campground if possible. You can use an extra tarp to put over the grill. Make sure there is enough space inside the tent so the grill will not touch any fabric or wooden structure directly. Do not use a charcoal grill under a canopy tent. Electric grills are the safest, but gas or propane grills can also be used.
Strong wind can often accompany rainy situations. So try to provide enough shelter around the grill if it is windy. Cover or shield the grill flame without adding to any fire hazard.
You can also get a canopy tent for grilling. This option might be a little expensive and ask for more hassle, but it is the safest approach.
Related reading: How To Clean Grill Grates?
Remember to consider all the risks and take precautionary steps when the weather turns bad. You have no choice but to grill under a canopy tent if it starts raining, so if you have a small fire extinguisher, keep it nearby.