Why Does Campfire Smoke Follow You – It Is Not As Simple As You Think!

It’s a truly relaxing and soothing experience to gather around a campfire.

But here’s a question – why does campfire smoke follow you?

No matter where you sit, the smoke just ends up following you. It sticks to your hair, your clothes, and this ruins the whole experience.

So, what gives?

Let us discover the fascinating answer to this rather curious question. And afterward, you may just be able to lose that smoke smell that ends up choking you each time!

What’s The Deal With Campfire Smoke

You have to agree with me when I say this: Campfire smoke is both fun and annoying.

There is nothing more amazing than a nice source of warmth on a chilly camping ground.

But at the same time, the smoke just ends up flowing straight at you. Next thing you know, your face is buried up in thick and heavy smoke.

And it hardly helps you to breathe normally.

Not fun, right?

We have experienced this scenario a few times. And it makes you wonder why it actually happens.

Plus, let us not forget how the smoke ends up moving back right at you, even after it has flown in a different direction just a few seconds ago.

So, what is the real reason behind this?

Most importantly, how can you be away from that nasty smoke smell once and for all?

Why Does Campfire Smoke Follow You?

There are many reasons why this is so.

One, the smoke flows naturally in a direction with the least resistance. Thus, wind direction impacts where exactly the smoke flows.

What this means is that when you set your campfire where the wind speed and direction vary frequently, this may give you that feeling of smoke just following you.

You see, any movement happening around the fire manipulates wind direction. For instance, when you sit somewhere, you may feel that smoke just goes in your direction. The tailwind, the result of the movement occurring around the campfire, is to be blamed for that.

But surprise, surprise – this is not the only reason behind the mystery on smoke following you.

There’s also physics.

Sure, you cannot see what’s going on around the fire… But you can definitely feel it.

The heat that comes off the flames produces a wind tunnel. This flows in an upward direction, right at the same time that cooler air pulls right in at the fire’s very base. As a result, a smooth airflow occurs. Then, this goes from the base and upwards.

When you stand right next to the campfire, you obstruct the smooth flow. This generates a low pressure between the fire and you. Therefore, oxygen is pulled from you and creates a vortex that spins in front of you.

And so… You get the notion that smoke just seems to follow you.

Getting Into Deeper Details…

The wind direction change is also to blame.

Let us say you are in a location that does not have a huge amount of wind. Yet, the same cannot be said with directional change. In fact, at one point, wind flows from the north and then to south… And the next thing you know, it goes from south to north.

But check this out – the wind hardly flows from east to west and vice-versa.

This is when your campsite is in a location that runs from the north to the south.

There may also be obstructions along the way such as bushes and trees. These things can cause changes in the wind direction. It all depends on where the wind is flowing originally.

In other words, the obstructions in the airflow create these disturbances. Thus, the wind gives you the notion that it changes the direction.

Now, the directional change is the culprit behind the smoke’s direct flow at a very high frequency. Well, it is also impacted by where you sit around the fire, particularly if you end up sitting on the side where the smoke’s directional change happens often.

This is why you may notice smoke following you.

Then, there is the case of the tailwind created. This is why no matter what you do or where you go, it is as though the smoke has just fallen into your charms.

Tired of dealing with this scenario? You can limit the movement going on around the campfire. What this means is that you can simply stop pacing around or go from one side of the campfire to the next.

Read More: Can You Burn Wet Wood – Surprising Facts You Never Knew!

How to Stop Smoke From Following You

how to stop smoke from following you

So, now you know why smoke “follows” you.

What can you do, then, to stop it?

First, you can choose the best location to build your campfire.

We suggest that you set it up in a spot where it is relatively flat. There should also be zero obstructions such as rocks, bushes, and trees.

Naturally, you would not want to have a fire where the wind speeds are highly present. Low wind speeds should be fine, though.

Another, set a good distance between the fire and you. About 5 feet is a good number, and this should prevent the smoke from always going in your direction.

And after all, you would not want to be close to your campfire, anyway. This can lead to some health risks, which you should never expose yourself to…. For obvious reasons.

Bottom Line

Overall, it is the wind direction that causes the smoke to follow you. There are also those obstructions that tend to provoke this scenario. The same holds true with having so much movement happening around the campfire.

By eliminating these factors, you can stop the annoyance of smoke always drifting your way. And yes, you can enjoy the campfire more!

Here is a video to offer a visual explanation of this topic. Check it out!

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