How Is A Tent Made Fire Retardant

What Is a Fire Retardant Tent and What Is It Made Of

This was a question I received lately in a comment, so I provided a brief response there, and here is a longer response. So, what exactly is the composition of a fire retardant tent? Continue reading, and you will discover the solution. Did you know that it takes a lot of effort to burn down a contemporary tent? If you still don’t believe me, I recommend that you watch the video I included in my article on how to cook in a tent. However, in the same book, you will find yet another example of an old-fashioned tent that was completely destroyed by fire in a short period of time.

So you’ve figured out that this has something to do with the fire retardant chemicals that are employed in the building of contemporary tents.

The use of fire in a tent is not a major concern for most people.

The question stated in a remark noted above may be found in my other work, where it is included under the section under “Comments.” So, let’s have a look at what the true issue is with regard to flame retardance.

Flammability standard CPAI-84

Camping tents are supposed to satisfy the requirements of the CPAI-84 standard. According to what I understand, this is an optional specification for the majority of nations. However, there are occasional exceptions; for example, several states in the United States have local legislation requiring camping tents to meet the CPAI-84 flammability standard. These at the very least include the following: California, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota are just a few of the states that have legalized marijuana.

In order to recognize this, you will also notice the term IFAI, which stands for Industrial Fabrics Association International.

They utilize a flame to test the material for several seconds (it looks to be around 4 seconds), and the damage generated by the flame should be no more than 255 mm in size, according to their specifications.

In any event, the CPAI standard is being implemented for safety reasons, but it may have unintended consequences for human health.

So what is a fire retardant or flame retardant tent material?

This article isn’t about the tent fabric itself; rather, it’s about the standard materials, which include synthetic (polyester, nylon, polyethylene) and canvas (cotton or polycotton). This article is about the use of fire retardant materials in various applications. These are chemicals, and they have the potential to be dangerous since they may contaminate hands and be absorbed into the body via the skin. Alternatively, you might inhale them straight from the air due to the dust that is there.

A research on this topic was conducted by A. S. Keller et al. and published under the titleFlame Retardant Applications in Camping Tents and Potential Exposure, which you can access by clicking here. Some of the conclusions are as follows:

  • They looked examined samples of tent fabric that had been treated with flame retardant chemicals. Chemicals such as tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCPP), decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209), triphenyl phosphate, and tetrabromobisphenol were among those implicated in the attack. The quantities of flame retardants in the tent fabric samples were found to be as high as 37.5 mg/g (3.8 percent by weight) in some of the samples. The TDCPP and BDE-209 were found to be the most commonly occurring contaminants in these samples. The fact that a large amount of this substance is present on the fabric’s outside is apparent. A statistically significant relationship was found between TDCPP levels in tent wipes and those in matched hand wipes
  • This shows that human contact with tent fabric material results in flame retardant being transferred to human skin surfaces and, thus, increased human exposure in general. Dermal absorption of certain of these substances may be modest, and inadvertent ingestion of these chemicals may occur as a result of hand-to-mouth transfer activities or other similar activities. In particular, if you are camping with children, I want to draw your attention to this. It is possible that persons sleeping in tents will be exposed to flame retardants by inhalation, which is particularly true for organophosphate flame retardants such as TDCPP. In addition, it should be noted that TDCPP is classified as a potential human carcinogen and is placed on California’s Proposition 65 list of carcinogenic and reproductive substances. When it comes to the immunological response and thyroid hormone signaling, it may be very disruptive.

As a result, you have the previously stated CaliforniaProposition 65, which makes it necessary for manufacturers to notify you of potential health dangers. This is a living document that is updated on a regular basis and is available online. If you wish to save it on your computer, you may download it here. Some of the ingredients used as flame retardants are included inside it. A sample list of the chemicals that you might anticipate to find in the tents surrounding you is as follows:

  • 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA)
  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH)
  • Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP)
  • Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP)
  • Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP)
  • Tris(3,3′,5′-tetrabromobis

Because I am a theoretical physicist rather than a chemist, I am unable to comment on the specifics of these materials, but they do not appear to be particularly promising. So, what do you do now that you’ve learned everything? There are at least two things that are completely different:

i) Avoid using tents with flame retardants

This is something that some buyers have inquired about with vendors, something I have witnessed several times. My hunch is that they are asking mostly because they want to have a “safe” tent and want to utilize flame-retardant materials, rather than for any other reason. In any case, there are tents available that do not include fire retardants. It appears that tents manufactured of Dyneema Fiber Fabric, also known as Cuben Fiber, are devoid of flame-retardant components, based on what I’ve learned through reading.

  • Furthermore, Fjällräven tents do not appear to contain any of these substances.
  • After doing additional research on their website, it is evident that they made the move to fluorocarbon-free materials in 2012.
  • In addition, the Mountain Hardwear Space Station Tent (seen in the photo) appears to be safe for use in space.
  • The same may be said for other new tents from this manufacturer, such as this Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 Tent.
  • The Mountain Hardwear Stronghold 10 Tent, on the other hand, does not appear to be covered by this statement.
  • There are certain tents by Nemo that are also made without fire retardants, such as thisNemo Chogori Mountaineering 4 Person tent, which is one such example.

ii) If you use tents with flame retardants, try to reduce contacts with the tent fabric as much as possible

Additionally, wash your hands after eating. However, it is undeniably improbable that you would be able to maintain this level of behavior. When you are camping with children, this is a near-impossible task since you cannot monitor everything they do. Then there’s the issue of sleeping pads and other synthetic materials that are used in tents and for camping in general. It appears that some manufacturers are producing such things without the use of flame retardant chemicals. According to what I’ve learned, this is true at least for some Therm-a-Rest, Exped, and Teton Sports sleeping pads.

There might be more, so please let me know if you know of any. Perhaps you’d be interested in reading my comparison of a single wall tent vs. a double wall tent. It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts, and there is a comment box provided below. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

How are canvas tents made to be fire retardant?

They have been treated with chemicals to make them fire resistant. Canvas tarps coated with compounds that reduce flammability are known as fire retardant canvas tarps. Despite their appearance, they are not particularly flame-resistant. When a fire comes into touch with these tarps, they have the ability to slow or even halt its progress. Tarps made of fire retardant canvas are environmentally beneficial. Because they are constructed of natural fibers, they generate less waste than synthetic fibers.

They are textiles that have been treated with a chemical that makes them fire resistant.

Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants as well as phosphorus- and nitrogen-containing flame retardants as well as inorganic flame retardants are among the many types of compounds classified as flame retardants.

Source It is possible to purchase canvas treatment sprays, but from what I can see, this is not highly recommended as compared to purchasing canvas that has already been treated.

How Is A Tent Made Fire Retardant

A tent engulfed in flames There is no such thing as a fireproof tent fabric. Even though many materials will be fire resistant, all tents will burn, and the majority of tents will burn quite rapidly. That is one of the reasons you should never use any device with open flames in a tent, and you should never use candles in or near a tent, no matter how romantic you believe it may be.

Are tents fire retardant?

There’s a campfire going. There is no such thing as a fire-resistant tent fabric. Even though many materials will be fire resistant, all tents will burn, and the majority of tents will burn quite rapidly. The use of open flames in a tent is one of the primary reasons why you should never use candles in or near a tent, no matter how romantic you believe the situation may be.

How do you make something flame retardant?

Purchase a box of borax, such as 20 Mule Team Borax, to use as a cleaning agent. Take care not to purchase any detergent that contains borax for this project. 13 ounces of water should be added. Using a spray bottle, fill the solution with water and shake vigorously before saturating the fabric. 9 oz. of water and 9 oz. Because the borax and boric acid in the mixture are washed out of the fabric, it is necessary to reapply the mixture after laundering.

Does fire retardant clothing cause cancer?

Many flame retardant compounds have been shown to have adverse effects on the endocrine, immunological, reproductive, and neurological systems, according to mounting research. It has been demonstrated in certain animal experiments that long-term exposure to flame retardants can cause cancer in humans.

What happens if you inhale fire retardant?

Many flame retardant compounds have been shown to have adverse effects on the endocrine, immunological, reproductive, and neurological systems, according to increasing research.

It has been demonstrated in certain animal experiments that long-term exposure to flame retardants can cause cancer.

Do sleeping bags catch on fire?

In addition to their ease of ignition (as all combustible materials will ignite), flammable textiles used for sleeping bags have the potential to be hazardous to the user due to the possibility that they will burn rapidly. 5.5 The majority of material used to produce sleeping bags are flammable (see 3.2. 2).

Does fire retardant wash off?

What to Do and Don’t When Cleaning With Fire Retardants – Phos- Fortunately, Chek is meant to wash away in light rain, which is excellent news for many property owners in the coming week. If there is any residue left, it can be washed away with running water if necessary.

Is baking soda a fire retardant?

Water, baking soda, and boric acid are all effective flame extinguishers. Flame retardants may make it more difficult for a fire to start or may delay the rate at which a fire spreads, but they do not totally eliminate the possibility of a fire starting. If the paper strips are left in the flame for an extended period of time, they will finally burn.

Is Vinegar a fire retardant?

In contrast to commercial softeners, vinegar has no influence on the fire retardants used in children’s sleepwear, which is why it is recommended.

How do you remove flame retardant from clothes?

Using a Normal or Cotton cycle, wash the items separately at any water temperature up to a maximum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). You may use any regular washing detergent from your house. Use of soap is not recommended (tallow soap containing animal fats). During the washing process, turn clothing inside out to prevent staining caused by abrasion.

Does sand react with vinegar?

Calcium carbonate-containing sand dissolves when exposed to vinegar, which is an acid, resulting in the formation of CO2 bubbles as it dissolves.

Is tent material toxic?

Flame retardants account for the vast bulk of the harmful compounds present in camping tents. When I was growing up in the 1970s, tents were commonly built of extremely flammable paraffin-coated fabrics, which was a far cry from the far less flammable synthetic materials that are used today.

Are sleeping bags flame retardant?

It is true that sleeping bags must be fire retardant in order to ensure the safety of the user. This implies that a stray ember from a crackling wood fire will not catch fire and ignite a sleeping bag. When exposed to flame, flame-retardant cloth should not melt or leak, and it should not burn.

Can you have a fire in a bell tent?

It is true that the bell tent will burn, however being fire retardant does not mean being fire PROOF!

Are canvas tents flammable?

So, are tents a fire hazard? All of the tents are coated with a flame retardant in order to slow the pace at which they catch fire and collapse. There is no such thing as a fireproof tent since a tent that is exposed to an open flame would ultimately burn down to the ground completely.

What clothes are fire resistant?

Flammability-enhancing materials like Nomex, Kevlar, and Modacrylic, among others, are frequently utilized in the construction of flame-resistant clothing and their components. The natural flame resistance of other materials such as cotton can be enhanced with the use of specialised chemicals, which can increase their heat resistance and protective characteristics.

Do all tents cause cancer?

According to a research conducted by Duke University in 2016, the chemicals used in hiking tents have been linked to cancer, altered hormone function, and neurological issues.

It also doesn’t take much to get exposed: In the air within the tents, as well as on the hands of the volunteers who helped set them up, the scientists discovered the presence of flame retardants.

Is fire retardant toxic to humans?

Because polybrominated diphenyl ethers, also known as PBDEs, are persistent and accumulate in the environment, and have been found to be toxic to humans, they are being phased out. They are linked to neurodevelopmental problems in children and altered thyroid function in pregnant women, among other things.

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How long does fire retardant spray last?

Smaller ones may be sprayed with a home spray bottle, and unopened canisters of the flame retardant have a shelf life of up to ten years.

Is Fire Retardant Harmful?

Concerns about the environment Generally speaking, the forest fire retardants that are utilized are not hazardous, but even the least toxic of these compounds can be harmful to organisms if they are exposed to significant concentrations of them. Despite the fact that these compounds are employed as flame retardants, they have been linked to environmental toxicity.

What is fire retardant made of?

Approximately 85 percent of long-term fire retardants, when properly mixed and delivered to the fire site, are water. Ten percent of the retardant is fertilizer, and five percent of the minor ingredients are colorant (iron oxide – rust, or a fugitive color that fades with exposure to sunlight), thickener (natural gum or clay), corrosion inhibitors, stabilizers, and bactericides.

Why are fire retardants bad for you?

Despite the fact that flame retardants can be beneficial when used in some goods, a growing body of information indicates that many of these compounds are related with negative health consequences in both animals and people. Disruption of the endocrine and thyroid systems are examples of this. Immune system effects are a concern.

Are canvas tents fire resistant?

Fire Resistant: This product complies with CPAI 84 fire retardant regulation. Canvas that is fire resistant will only burn if there is a flame source present on the canvas surface. When you turn off the source of the flame, the wall tent will extinguish itself. However, there is no such thing as a wall tent that is not flammable.

How do you fireproof a canvas tent?

How to Make Canvas Tents Fireproof Wash your canvas tent with warm, soapy water. You may get a fire retardant spray from a store such as National Fireproofing or DTW Flames at a reasonable price. Check the label on the bottle to be sure the product is appropriate for use with a canvas tent before using it. Place the tent on the ground, flat on the ground, in an open area.

What is the formula of vinegar?

Photographs of tents set up just a few steps away from crackling campfires can be found all over social media platforms. The folks gathered around these flames appear to be enjoying the fun of their lives, seemingly unconcerned about anything else. What do you think: is it the magic of photography, or are their tents more resistant to fire? Are tents able to withstand a fire? Many contemporary and even older tents have some degree of fire protection, but none of them is completely fireproof. Depending on the type of tent material you pick, as well as the fire retardants used in its construction, the fire resistance of your tent will be determined.

Flame Retardants

A wide range of firms have been using flame retardants for many years now. Currently (2020), the majority of tent manufacturers continue to employ flame retardants in their products. These flame retardants are created from a range of chemicals and are used to cover tents in order to protect them from the elements. This fire-resistant coating reduces the likelihood of a tent catching fire and makes it burn more slowly if it does. Studies have discovered that these compounds are carcinogenic, which is unfortunate.

Some firms in the United States have likewise opted to discontinue the use of certain substances.

This year, the firm followed through on their statement, and you’ll see that its tents are no longer treated with flame-retardant chemicals when you look at their product listings online.

This is a fascinating and eye-opening presentation about the chemicals that are used in the production of flame retardants.

But before you leave, take a moment to recall why you came to this page in the first place. The threat of cancer is real, but so is the threat of being burned. So, what do you do to avoid from catching fire in your tent?

Tent Materials

One strategy to reduce your danger of a fire is to use a tent material that is less prone to burn than other materials. It is important to note that “all textiles will burn,” as the City of Phoenix puts it, “although some are more flammable than others.” Here’s a basic breakdown of the materials that are used to construct tents:

Linen, Cotton, Silk, and Wool

Materials such as linen, cotton, and silk are easily ignited and burn rapidly. Wool does not ignite as rapidly as silk, cotton, or linen, and it will not burn as quickly as these fabrics. Occasionally, wool materials burn so slowly that the fire goes out on its own before it has a chance to spread across the entire piece of wool fabric. Fortunately, because they are not waterproof on their own, you will not encounter tents fashioned from these materials. As a result, when you’re sitting by the fire with a blanket wrapped over you, you should keep this fact in mind.

Nylon, Acrylic, and Polyester

The majority of tents today are constructed of synthetic materials. These materials are ideal for tent construction due to their capacity to keep water out as well as their resistance to fire. They are also inexpensive. Behind one thing, their weaves are considerably tighter as compared to more natural fabrics, which is one of the reasons for this. As a result, fabrics with tighter weaves burn at a slower rate than fabrics with loose weaves, making them less prone to catch fire and burning more slowly.

It is possible for a melting tent to leak, which can enable a fire to spread more quickly.


Various types of canvas can be used to construct canvas tents, but often, thick cotton or a combination of cotton and linen is used in their construction. However, while these tents are inherently resistant to water, they are not watertight. A water-repellant must be applied to the canvas in order for it to be waterproof. Another option is to coat the canvas with a water-repellent wax before painting. Of course, adding wax and dissolving agents to a combustible material will not make it any less flammable; on the contrary, it will make it much more flammable.

The application of flame retardants to canvas is the only effective approach to make fabric fire resistant.

Non-Flammable Tents to Buy

If you’ve read thus far, you’re aware that there isn’t such a thing as a non-flammable tent in the actual world. The most you can hope for is a fire-resistant tent, which is about as good as it gets. It is likely that a tent composed of synthetic material and then coated with a flame retardant will be the best fire resistant option. If you use this sort of tent, it will meet the requirements of CPAI-84 and will reduce the likelihood of your tent catching fire.

It has the potential to cause cancer, just like anything else these days. The next best option is to simply pick a tent made of a synthetic material with a tight weave, which is the least expensive option. When compared to their more natural cousins, these tents are less sensitive to fire.

Keeping Your Tent Safe From Fires

Personally, I’m not very concerned with the flammability of my tent’s materials. Instead, I prefer to devote all of my time and attention to fire safety. As long as my tent is never exposed to flames, I won’t have to worry about whether or not it is flammable. So, what can you do to prevent your tent from becoming a tinderbox? Here are some precautions you may take to lessen the likelihood of your tent being damaged by fire.

  • Maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet between your tent and any flammable or combustible items or vegetation. Grills should not be used within 10 feet of your tent. Store sources of ignition away from your gasoline
  • This will save you money. Usage only extension cables that have been certified for outdoor use. Maintain a safe distance of at least 5 feet between your generator and your tent. It is never safe to leave a fire unattended. Before you walk away from your fire, put it out with water. Maintain a distance of at least 15 feet between your fire and your tent. All brush within a 5-foot radius of your campfire should be removed. Keep your fire contained
  • Don’t light a fire if there is a fire ban in effect.

Keep a Tidy Campsite

Keeping combustible materials close to your campfire may cause the surrounding area to catch fire and spread. It is very likely that you have left combustible material near your tent, and that this fire will rapidly and easily spread to it as well. Another thing to bear in mind is that embers from your fire may go a great distance, far further than you might expect. As a result, experts recommend that you keep grills and campfires a certain distance away from your tent when using them. (See the bullet points above for further information.) Also, it is for this reason that you should keep dry and easily ignitable materials away from your fires and barbecue grills.

Campfire Safety

Always be in mind that the wind might blow leaves inside your tent or into the area around your campfire. As a result, you may find yourself having to clean up these spots more than once. Keeping an eye on your campfires at all times will be necessary as a result of this as well. Never leave them alone, and make sure that the embers are thoroughly extinguished with water before leaving the fire pit. When I go camping, I always make sure to pack a class C fire extinguisher with me. These fire extinguishers may be used to put out campfires, grill flames, and even electrical fires in an emergency situation.

Remember to keep your campfires modest and controlled; if there is a campfire ban in effect, don’t build a fire in the first place.

Additional Fire Concerns

In addition, your campfire isn’t the only thing that might create a fire in your tent. Generators and electrical cables that are not designed for outdoor use can potentially cause fires. Campfire heaters may also be a major cause of concern, and even the most fire-resistant tent will not be able to compensate for the dangers of an improperly utilized camping heater. Using a heater in your tent is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. If you do decide to use a heater in your tent, read my post on camping heaters beforehand and never use your heater when you are not there to monitor it.

Final Thoughts

When selecting a fire-resistant tent material is crucial, it is only one tiny step in the process of keeping you and your belongings safe from flames while camping.

Using a flame-resistant tent in conjunction with all of the other fire safety advice will increase your chances of having an enjoyable, safe, and burn-free camping vacation significantly.

Fire Retardancy

Answer: Without a doubt, no! There are three main reasons why we are committed to providing non-FR tents: 1) The MoonLights tents, like other tents constructed of lightweight materials, are already fire resistant to a certain extent. For starters (*ahem*), they’re actually rather difficult to start a fire with in the first instance. There are no fabric edges to ignite, and even if you do manage to ignite it by holding a flame against it until it burns, it will self-extinguish practically as soon as you remove the flame.

  1. As a result, the great majority of backpacking tents do not constitute any kind of fire hazard, and they never have.
  2. 2) The flame retardant chemicals used in tents are NOT SAFE, because they rub off onto your hands, your gear, and everything else in your vicinity.
  3. Some drugs are known to build up in the bodies of humans; they are referred to as persistent drugs.
  4. I have absolutely no intention of exposing my family to them, and I have absolutely no intention of exposing yours.
  5. Colorado, where TheTentLab is situated, is one of the few rational states that does not have such regulations in place.
  6. As a result, a tent sale from Colorado to any other location is not need to be FR.
  7. When Did the Fire Retardancy Standard Come About?
  8. It was developed by canvas tent manufacturers as a means of protecting themselves from an increasing number of lawsuits stemming from the fact that their waxed canvas tents burned INCREDIBLY well.
  9. The difficulty is that those canvas tentmakers drafted the standard in such a way that it could be applied to any type of tent.
  10. It is because of such poor behavior on the part of corporate representatives that we are unable to enjoy pleasant things.

It’s doing wonders to persuade people to question why our modern tents are coated with these harmful chemicals in the first place, when there appears to be virtually no danger associated with burning them — neither in terms of getting them to burn them in the first place, nor in terms of the consequences of doing so.

  1. A new set of tent fire retardancy requirements is being developed in Canada.
  2. In order to develop a consistent burning performance baseline, they must first determine a test technique and fabric standards that are applicable to all materials.
  3. Forget everything you’ve heard about flame retardant chemicals, they perform EXTREMELY well on canvas and barely burn at all.
  4. Despite the fact that it is a significant step in the right direction, it is also an enormous disappointment (again, provided that the legislation is not amended before to being approved).
  5. The MoonLight tents do not include any fire retardant chemicals in their materials or construction.
  6. There isn’t even a smidgeon of it.
  7. These are PFAS-free tents, as the name implies.

It has the chemical formula CAS121-57-3 and is mildly soluble in water (about 1g/l). Whew!

Towards a Chemical-Free Tent

Neither the fabric nor the finishes, nor any of the tent’s components (including parts and sections of components) contain fluorinated materials. These are PFAS-free tents, as the name implies. We even use non-PFAS DWR (Durable Water Repellency) treatments on our textiles to ensure that they are water resistant. On our textiles, we only employ silicone water repellency treatments, and on our little components, we only use silicone or nothing at all. Silicone has an incredibly long and safe history of use.

  • It’s even utilized in “personal lubricants,” as the name implies.
  • As a result, we are convinced that brushing up against our silicone-treated textiles will not result in any injury.
  • Polyurethane is used in the construction of our windows.
  • In other words, despite their low concentration and overall inertness, once they’re in your system (and they ARE in your system), they have virtually your whole life to misbehave, interfering with your endocrine system and spilling breakdown products all over your body at random.
  • NOTE FOR MAY 2018: Scott Pruitt, the notorious oil lobbyist and former director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), withheld a toxicological study on fluorinated chemicals under the Trump administration because “it would be a public relations disaster.” What a powerful instrument.
  • Treehugger Link.
  • It’s no longer merely a matter of “may” rubbing off: Applications of flame retardants in camping tents and the potential for exposure And here’s another one to think about: Characterizing the use of flame retardants in backpacking tents, as well as the potential for human exposure.
  • However, I thought the following slide to be extremely insightful: The flame retardant PBDE is nearly comparable in structure to PCBs, Dioxins, and Furans — in fact, they are all very similar in composition.
  • Alternatively, a shorter version would be: the problem is not limited to tents.
  • 2012; Consumer Product Safety Commission, May 5, 2012; The usage of barrier type textiles, rather than flame retardant foams, resulted in lower burn rates.

The depths of the deceit must be experienced firsthand to be believed. How is it that a firm or an industry association is not breaking the law by doing this? We’re fortunate in that when this film is out, we’ll be able to witness some of the actual people that are perpetrating this on us:

Modern tent vinyl and flame retardancy

The Hartford circus fire, which occurred 75 years ago today, was one of the most devastating days in tent history. On July 6, 1944, over 7,000 spectators were watching a circus show in Hartford, Conn., when a fire broke out in the tent and quickly spread across the venue. Over 700 people were hurt, and approximately 167 people died (the actual number is uncertain) from various causes including burns, asphyxiation, trampling, and other reasons. The exact origin of the fire was never identified, however investigators speculated that it may have been started by a carelessly thrown cigarette.

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It was reported in a 2014 story published by theHartford Courant that the tent had been waterproofed using a combination of paraffin wax and gasoline.

There were no “No Smoking” signs on the premises.

There was no Hartford fire engine on site when the incident occurred.

Flame retardancy today

Today’s fire rules and tent materials would almost certainly prevent such a tragedy from occurring. However, disinformation concerning fire retardancy and tent textiles continues to circulate, even among those who are in charge of regulating tented festivals and events. According to Jeff Sparks, sales director for fabric producer Herculite Products Inc., Emigsville, Pa., some fire marshals are misinformed about contemporary tent vinyl, which is naturally fire resistant and does not require retreating.

  • When the fire marshal comes back and tells that the tent fabric has to be retracted, we receive this all the time.
  • A voluntary industry specification for tent vinyl and other outdoor fabric goods called NFPA 701 Test Method 2 was created by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the absence of any federally mandated fire retardancy standards.
  • The NFPA, on the other hand, is not responsible for the testing and certification of the fabric.
  • California State Fire Marshal (CSFM) Title 19 requires that all tents and fabric structures used in the state comply with the requirements of the state fire marshal.
  • Furthermore, because the state of California is often the first to adopt new regulations, a CSFM certification is sometimes recognized in other jurisdictions.

The fabric produced by Herculite is also tested in accordance with another standard called ASTM 6413, which is necessary for government and military contracts.

Test results

While the specifics of each test vary, Sparks explains that they all entail applying flame to a cloth sample and then extinguishing the flame. As a consequence of the test, an afterburn number (which represents the amount of time it took for the sample cloth to finish burning) as well as a char length number are produced (how far the fabric burned). According to Sparks, if you remove the flame from the sample, the fire should be extinguished in four to five seconds or fewer. “And it shouldn’t burn more than seven inches into the ground.” It’s possible that other tests would take less time, but if the time is within that range, it’s a flame-retardant tent fabric.” Sparks explains that when a fire marshal requests additional information about flammability for a permit, the tent renter typically returns to the tent manufacturer, and if the tent manufacturer’s data does not satisfy the marshal, the tent manufacturer returns to the fabric supplier, who then returns to the manufacturer of the tent.

Every 500 yards of cloth is subjected to testing by Herculite.

When acquiring new tent fabric, tent renters should be aware of the requirements of the jurisdictions in which the tent will be erected, as well as the certifications that have been received for the tent vinyl that is now being considered.

According to him, “It’s critical not just to have a piece of paper that says ‘certification,’ but also to obtain a test result, and to really see some type of test findings, whether from an independent lab or from the manufacturer’s lab.” According to the producer of the fabric, “Rental firms should be aware of the test procedure and what it signifies, as well as have some evidence to back it up.”

Sidebar: The Hartford circus fire

In the United States, the Hartford circus fire is recognized as one of the biggest fire catastrophes in the country’s history. In addition to the raw film that has been put on YouTube and other websites, the tale of the fire has been told in multiple factual books, as well as at least one novel and a legal book that examines the settlement between the victims and the circus, among other publications. History aficionados may be interested in the following: The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy, written by Steward O’Nan, is a true story of an American tragedy.

Michael Skidgell’s book, The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top, is out now.

Masters of Illusions: A Novel of the Connecticut Circus Fire is a novel about the Connecticut Circus Fire.

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith contributed to this article. The Great Hartford Circus Fire: Creative Settlement of Mass Disastersby Henry S. Cohn and David Bollier is a book on the Great Hartford Circus Fire.

Understanding Flame Retardants in Camping and Backpacking Tents

Researchers from Duke University released a study last week on the use of flame retardant chemicals in camping tents, which was co-sponsored by REI. Because we believe that the industry has a unique chance to learn more as we consider creating new methods and technology for our members, we have supported this effort. The Outdoor Industry Association’s Sustainability Working Group is in charge of this effort, and you can find out more about it by reading their ” Flame Retardant (FR) Chemistries ” backgrounder document.

A quick explanation of what flame retardants are and why they are used

Researchers from Duke University released a study on flame retardant treatments in camping tents, which was co-sponsored by REI, last week. Because we believe that the industry has a unique chance to learn more as we consider developing new techniques and technology for our members, we have financed this research. The Outdoor Industry Association’s Sustainability Working Group is in charge of this effort, and you can find out more about it by reading their ” Flame Retardant (FR) Chemistries ” backgrounder.

REI decided to study the topic

Despite the fact that flame retardants have the ability to reduce the risk of fire, research reveals that some of these chemicals may be damaging to both humans and the environment in the long run. REI and other prominent U.S. tent makers worked with Duke University two years ago to do a deeper investigation of the chemicals utilized in tents, as well as the exposure and possible consequences of these chemicals. In this investigation, the researchers discovered that some of the backpacking tents used in the study had been treated with certain flame retardants chemicals, which are often found in a wide range of consumer items but have been associated to a number of adverse health risks.

Our understanding is advancing, but there is more to learn

A growing amount of research exists regarding human exposure to flame retardants from consumer items, but the information we have now is not exhaustive. According to research, exposure to flame retardant chemicals when camping and trekking in the great outdoors may be less than exposure from using other treated items or spending time in closed-in public areas. While this is true, REI and the outdoor sector benefited from the Duke research since it helped them discover areas of improvement, as well as strategies for campers to decrease their own flame retardant exposure.

What we have done so far

At REI, we have made the decision to exclude some ingredients from REI-branded items in favor of more beneficial substitutes. This conclusion was aided in part by the outcomes of the Duke research study. If you are at a REI shop, you can be certain that all REI branded tents meet or exceed industry flammability requirements. We have also shared information with our personnel in order to ensure that they are properly informed as well. REI and other tent manufacturers teamed together with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) to develop the Flame Retardant Task Force in order to push progress throughout the industry as a whole.

This task force is collaborating with ASTM, the organization presently in charge of determining the flammability standards for tents, in order to re-evaluate the standard.

Why we challenged the standard

The current tent flammability standard, CPAI-84, was established in 1976 in order to reduce the danger of fire in big paraffin-coated canvas tents, such as those used to host a circus show or other large gathering. Despite the passage of time, this standard has not been updated in over two decades. Tent materials, sizes, and intended purposes have all changed significantly since then, rendering the CPAI-84 standard out of date as a result.

What you can do to reduce your exposure to flame retardants while camping

  • The current tent flammability standard, CPAI-84, was established in 1976 in order to reduce the risk of fire in big paraffin-coated canvas tents, such as those used to stage a circus show or a festival. For more than two decades, this standard has not been updated. Tent materials, tent sizes, and intended purposes have all changed significantly since then, rendering the CPAI-84 standard obsolete.

What we believe should happen next

Our engagement with our partners and ASTM to re-evaluate the relevance of the standard to modern camping and backpacking tents continues, however ASTM changes to the flammability standard can take some time. Flame retardants used in REI brand tents have been modified as a result of these modifications, and we will continue to modify our products as requirements change and new research becomes available. On the other hand, we are investigating whether tent manufacturers should have the choice to choose whether or not to use flame retardants on tents sold in the United States, as has been done in other areas of the globe.

Additional resources

  • Priority Issues Brief from the Outdoor Industry Association: ” Flame Retardant (FR) Chemistries “
  • Environmental ScienceTechnology Abstract from a Duke study: ” Characterizing Flame Retardant Applications and Potential Human Exposure in Backpacking Tents “
  • Environmental ScienceTechnology Abstract from the American Chemical Society: ” Flame Retardant (FR) Chemistries “

Fire Retardant In Tents

The majority of us go camping to take advantage of rare opportunities to be in nature. Summer sunsets, crisp mornings, and the sound of songbirds, as well as burrowing inside a warm tent on a brisk snowy winter night Furthermore, few are aware that the tent itself may be hazardous. Some tents are sprayed with fire retardants in order to slow the spread of a fire; nevertheless, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that fire retardants in tents are harmful due to the hazardous chemicals used in their manufacture.

You’ll learn the following things from this article:

  • What are the consequences of using harmful substances when camping
  • Are tents a fire hazard? What should I do if my tent is treated with a fire retardant?

Effect of Toxic Chemicals In Camping

Those used as fire retardants account for the vast bulk of the harmful compounds found in tents. Inhalation of high doses of organophosphates, which are the hazardous compounds used in fire retardants, occurs throughout the process of pitching, using, and taking down a tent, and is the most common source of exposure. Organizations such as the World Health Organization have recognized that organophosphates pose major health hazards, and that they may induce everything from headaches and nausea to seizures, a sluggish pulse, trouble breathing, and even coma.

See also:  How Many People Can You Seat Under 40X60 Tent

So are tents flammable?

Regardless of whether or not a tent has been treated with a fire retardant, any tent that is exposed to an open flame will burn. A fireproof tent does not exist in the real world. Never use a naked flame inside a tent and always pitch a tent at a safe distance away from an open fire, according to the rules of responsible tenting.

Outdoors H&S: Are Tents Fireproof?

The majority of tents are treated with chemicals to make them fire resistant. These chemical fire retardants are added to the tent fabric during the manufacturing process and have the ability to prevent or delay the development of fire in fabrics that are normally combustible when left to their own devices.

Use of these additives is presently required in order to comply with government-imposed flammability standards such as those specified in the Tent Flammability Standard (CPAI-84).

Are flame retardants dangerous?

In spite of the fact that flame retardant additives can lessen the danger of fire and delay the spread of fire, new research has indicated that some of the chemicals used in flame retardants may be detrimental to humans and the environment. I However, while research into the possible health consequences of the flame retardants used in tents is still unclear, a 2018 study conducted by Duke University indicated that the characteristics employed in some flame retardants have been connected to a number of harmful health impacts.

Cleaning your hands after touching a tent, keeping the tent well aired at all times, forgoing the use of a rainfly to increase ventilation, and refraining from using stoves, lamps, or candles inside your tent were some of the recommendations.

Fire safety in your tent

There are a number of precautions that may be taken to reduce the likelihood of a fire arising in your tent:


In order to reduce the risk of a fire spreading, pitch your tent at least 10 feet away from the nearest tent. You should also make sure that your tent is at least 10 feet away from and upwind of any fire pit(s), barbecue (or campfire), or other open flame.


In the event of a campfire, ensure that the fire is contained within the fire ring or pit and that an adult remains there at all times to supervise the fire. Clear the area surrounding the pit or ring of any debris that might catch fire, and be sure to completely extinguish the fire before retiring to your tent or leaving your campsite at the end of the day. If you’re vehicle camping or setting up camp at an existing campsite, put a fire bucket full of water or sand outside your tent as a safety precaution.


Never, under any circumstances, give in to the temptation of cooking inside your tent. Not only does this put you at risk of fire, but it also puts you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which may be fatal. Cooking in the vestibule should only be done if you have the ability to lock the inner tent entrance to prevent odours from entering the tent and if there is sufficient space to do so without exposing the tent fabric to bare flames. Finally, after using any pots, pans, or utensils, make sure you store them at a safe distance from the tent canvas.


Prior to retiring for the night, extinguish your campfire and switch off any lamps or electric tent warmers you may have brought along with you. It goes without saying that you should never use candles to illuminate your tent; headlamps are considerably more effective and, for obvious reasons, far safer alternatives.

Are Tents Fire Resistant? ⋆ Expert World Travel

Tents are an excellent way to go out and about in the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning and unzipping your tent to take in the fresh air and take in the scenery. Having a camp stove on your journey will make all the difference – there is nothing better than a hot supper after a long day in the wilderness or a cup of coffee in the morning after a cold night out in the bush. In addition, campfires are a terrific way to reheat food and create a cozy atmosphere at your campground, and youngsters (and, let’s be honest, adults too) like eating marshmallows that have been patiently cooked over a bonfire over an open flame.

People accidentally knock camp stoves over, and embers are carried away by the wind — these are unavoidable occurrences.

In this section, we’ll go over what makes a tent fire-resistant, which types of tents contain fire retardants (and, more importantly, why some of them do not), and then we’ll go over how to prevent fires from forming in the first place – because your dreams of camping by the fire don’t have to go up in smoke.

What is a fire retardant?

Take a look at what makes a tent fire resistant before we get into which tents are fire resistant. This will help us determine which tents are fire resistant in the first place. As a rule, tent materials are quite flammable, which means that they burn rapidly and spread quickly – which, for many of us, explains why our parents screamed frantically every time we raced past the camp stove when we were younger. If only there was a method to prevent them from catching fire in the first place, or to limit the spread of the fire.

Flame retardants are compounds that help to prevent or reduce the progress of a fire from spreading.

How do flame retardants work?

So, how exactly do these enchanted molecules function? Flame retardants are used in a wide range of commercial items, and they have the ability to function in a number of different ways. Some substances remove heat from the burning process, which slows down the combustion reaction; others coat the surface of the object, which creates a barrier between the ‘fuel’ and the oxygen; and others dilute the air that is close to the flame, which makes it less flammable; and others combine to form a flammable mixture.

It has a similar overall effect in that it makes it less likely to catch fire, and it also makes it spread more slowly in the event that a fire does break out in your tent.

Why don’t all tents have fire retardants?

As previously said, there are several things available that might lessen the probability of our tent being burned to a char. Isn’t it true that they’re in every tent? It’s not the case, as we’ll see shortly, because the usage of flame retardants in camping tents is a very controversial subject right now. Even back in 1976, the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFA) published a concept of an optional standard for the flammability of recreational tents. This standard, known as CPAI-84, was created to help minimize the number of tent-related fires, and it quickly became the norm for the ordinary camping tent to fulfill these specifications.

  1. Several features of the material’s response to fire are measured during the CPAI-84 testing process, including how far the flame spreads and how much material falls off the burning cloth.
  2. In light of recent scientific advancements, it is fair to say that we now know a great deal more about chemicals and their effects on humans than we did when the test was first introduced.
  3. Duke University collaborated with numerous US tent manufacturers to explore these substances further as a consequence of rising public health concerns about this possible hazard to the general population’s well-being (seeherefor the full paper).
  4. Air samples were also obtained from within erected tents, and flame retardants were found to be detectable, indicating that the retardants might be absorbed in this manner.

By setting up a flame-resistant tent and breathing the air inside of it, you are increasing your exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals through your skin and lungs, which is a very real possibility.

Do I need to worry about flame retardants?

We don’t recommend panicking just yet, despite the fact that the prospect of breathing in dangerous substances while you sleep is not pleasant. The use of flame retardants is common in a number of consumer items, not just tents, and a specific degree of exposure is not enough to be harmful to your health. However, the findings clearly imply that further study is needed in order to properly understand the consequences of these chemicals on the environment. If you’re concerned about exposure in the meanwhile, the scientists themselves have provided some advice on how to avoid exposure from tents:

  • Wearing gloves during tent assembly (or thoroughly washing your hands afterward) is recommended. Make certain that your tent is sufficiently aired (this includes removing the rainfly if at all feasible). Keep stoves and other sources of heat away from the inside of your tent to avoid overheating it.

Have any brands stopped using flame retardants?

Despite the fact that many tent brands continue to utilize normal flame retardants and believe that further research is necessary before they should modify their practices, other tent manufacturers have taken the conclusions of the Duke study with a grain of salt. For example, REI, one of the study’s partners, has phased out the use of certain chemicals in its goods and is looking for healthier options in their place. Similarly, Mountain Hardware, a well-known outdoor business, was fast to discontinue the use of flame-retardant chemicals in its products.

Mountain Hardware rapidly learned that by applying silicon to both sides of the tents, rather than just one, as had previously been done, they could manufacture tents with stronger rip strength and better water-repellent characteristics than those produced with only one side of silicon.

Because CPAI-84 compliance is required in a few states, this is not as straightforward as it should be, although there are workarounds available in most cases.

Alternatively, it is possible to skip the flame-retardant treatment process and still pass the CPAI-84 test, as has been done by brands such as Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Tarptent, Zpacks, and others, by using alternative fabrics (Dyneema fabrics) that have flame-resistant properties without the need for any additives to begin with.

How else can I avoid tent fires?

Even while we do not want to be exposed to potentially toxic chemicals, we also do not wish for our tents to catch fire. So, what can we do to avoid these kind of catastrophes at the campsite? Here are some helpful hints for preventing fires from starting in the first place.

General safety measures

You should always keep the following points in mind when you arrive at a campsite:

  • Extend the size of your campground by at least 6 meters (yards). Learn all you can about your campground – including the location of the nearest emergency phone and fire extinguisher, as well as the protocol to follow in case of an emergency. In no case should you smoke inside your tent. Never use candles inside or close to your tent
  • Instead, use a lantern. Make sure you have a flashlight in case of an emergency. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of youngsters.

Cooking safety measures

The act of cooking while camping inherently increases your fire danger, but it doesn’t imply you shouldn’t do it anyhow.

Just keep in mind the following safety precautions:

  • Never prepare food inside your tent. Cook a long distance away from your tent, and increase the distance even more if it’s windy
  • It is not a good idea to store fuel inside your tent.

What should I do if my tent catches fire?

The following steps should be taken if the worst case scenario occurs and your tent is destroyed by fire despite your best efforts:

  • Remove everyone from the tent as soon as possible
  • Call 911 and provide them with as much information as you can about your location. If anyone’s clothing catches fire, remember to use the stop, drop, and roll procedure.

Although it is not the most pleasant way to begin a camping vacation, we recommend that you provide a safety briefing as soon as you get on the campsite. Make certain that everyone in your organization understands how to prevent fires from occurring in the first place, as well as the emergency procedures to be followed if a fire does occur on your property.

Final word

Unquestionably, we have a long way to go before we fully understand the effects of flame retardants on human health. The Duke study has set the road for further research in the area, and despite the need for greater inquiry and more conclusive results, many outdoor businesses are taking the thought that flame retardants are harmful to human health seriously, according to the study’s authors. Some companies have chosen to eliminate all flame retardants completely, while others are phasing out the biggest offenders one at a time.

Tent fires, on the other hand, are significant and life-threatening situations that must be taken into consideration.

Having a tent that has been sprayed with flame retardants does not eliminate the need to exercise caution when it comes to fire safety when you’re out camping.

Because, after all, we don’t want to trade increased exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals for an increase in the number of campground fires.

Even though it only takes a few minutes to provide a quick safety briefing at the beginning of your vacation, it might save the lives of your family or friends on the road.

We could even uncover a new wave of non-toxic flame-resistant compounds in another ten years, if we’re lucky.

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