(C) Copyright 2017-2022 Paul Mobbs & The Free Range Network; released under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license (Version 4 International).
Created: June 2017.
Updated: January 2022.
Length: ~800 words.
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Cooking outdoors is a fun skill to learn to expand your ecological awareness and personal resilience. Cook well outdoors from fresh or foraged food, and you can cook well anywhere. Problem is, where do you find the ‘ecologically sound’/fossil-fuel free kit?
We have to cut our fossil fuel consumption, especially the really inefficient forms of fossil fuels use… such as camping stoves. Realistically, how do you do that? Where, in the entire pantheon of climate change activism, does anyone tell you how to stop using fossil fuels while camping?!
More practically, camping equipment relies on finite resources – such as petrol, kerosene, industrially-produced alcohols, pressurised gas cylinders, or highly refined solid fuels produced inefficiently from fossil fuels – to function. In the event of ‘an emergency’, especially amidst panic-buying, how long will these fuels last?
The idea for the Free Range Do-It-Yourself ‘Feral’ Stick-Fire Cooking Grate arose from members of the Free Range Network who regularly camp, and who wanted to use a more “primitive” approach to walking or backpacking long distances. And if we develop this for ourselves, why not write-up the idea so everyone can share!
While for many it might be a ‘big ask’ to jump from cooking on compressed gas to using stick-fires, we hope that engaging with this project will allow you to appreciate the values of “primitivism”, and the issue of ‘land rights’ in the ‘developed’ world, and their contribution to changing our all-too-unsustainably-modern world.
This write-up of our project is divided into three parts:
Finally, the stick-fire grate was designed by Paul Mobbs. In addition to the written materials produced for the Free Range Network, you can also view a video on YouTube which shows how to build and use the stick-fire grate. If you have any technical questions about the design, or about reuse of the design, please direct them to him.
The Stick-Fire Grate was created in 2017 to raise the issues of the inefficient use of fossil fuels in outdoor leisure pursuits – which those in the Network witnessed routinely at ‘green’ events on the festivals circuit. It was made to challenge both the notions of fossil fuel use outdoors, and more especially, to highlight the contradictory nature of using fossil fuels to enjoy the outdoors when their use imperils the landscape.
Now we want to challenge those consensual blind-spots further – highlighting the contradictions between the commonly portrayed ‘green’ lifestyle and a human system operating beyond ecological limits.
In 2022, the Free Range Network will be relaunching it’s project on lifestyle and consumption, using camping outdoors as a means to teach the skills of escaping the ‘suicide cult’ of the modern consumer lifestyle. As part of that we’ll update our information on using stick-fires for cooking. For further information, and to view these new materials when they are available, go to the Free Range ‘Free Camping’ Project.