Well not my main tent anyway.
I was reading in the news section about a tent that burnt down. I hadn't really thought about fires until now, and how a tent would handle one. Although I always keep a fire extinguisher in the car I wanted to know more. I couldn't find much out on the internet, well nothing specific anyway, so I thought I would do my own test.
I had an older 2 man Gelert tent that I bought off Ebay about 2 years ago for £5. It was used just for storing items we couldn't fit in the main tent when we had a much smaller tent than we have now. The zips are broken, it now leaks and has quite a few holes in it.
Instead of throwing it away I thought I would burn it under different conditions to see what happened.
First of all the flysheet. I tried with a lighter and at first not much happened. The most I could get happen was to burn a hole ( a very small one ) which smoldered for a couple of seconds and then went out. Next I tried my Coleman Twister stove. First on a low setting and then on a high setting. All this done was burnt a proessivley bigger hole that again just smoldered and went out. In short, I couldn't get the flysheet to catch fire until I burnt it properly in the tin bin using BBQ starter fuel. Even then it melted rather than burnt and just got smaller and smaller generating a lot of smoke. Had it not had a constant flame, it would have gone out.
After the flysheet, I did the same with the inner tent. This was exactly the same except the mesh nets on the doors which burnt a bit more rapidly, but still no major fire. Again, this got finished off by putting it in the tin dustbin.
This actually gave me a bit of confidence. Looking at the notice on it, it reads ' This tent is fire retardent, but WILL burn.'. The fact is, it handled a fire very well and this was just a cheap tent even when new.
I just hope that my main tents are as good and safe as this one although I am not going to prove the theory.
In short, it would have taken something else to burn quite intensley to get this tent to be a major fire hazard. Smething like a stove fuel of petrol to fall over and spill whilst on.
I will still be very cautious about fires but it has given me a little more confidence when it comes to safety.