The What of Roasting Logs
The Roasting Logs are not fire starters per say, but instead a package of these logs acts like a micro-sized bundle of firewood. The logs light up fairly easy and once they get going, they produce a decent sized fire for about 2 full hours, during which time you aren't loading the fire with wood.
The logs themselves are more like wood than your typical fireplace logs. Instead of being mixed up and made with various petro-chemicals and other things you probably don't want to be roasting marshmallows over, the Roasting Logs are made from a mix of charcoal, sawdust and waxes that burn hot and clean and don't release various toxic chemicals that could get into the food that you're roasting over the fire. The logs are also cleaner to burn than wood, releasing less smoke and less soot. I guess if everyone used these in a campground, that cloud of smoke that fills the campground when everyone has their fire going might be a bit thinner and less obtrusive.
In addition, four of the logs, which weigh in about five pounds take the place of a 20+ pound bundle of firewood. Not only that but you do not need to worry about firewood transportation restrictions with the Roasting Logs and when it comes to lighting, all you do is light the wrapper and the log starts burning on its own after a minute or two.
I used the Roasting Logs at my outdoor fireplace at home on a night when I had a bunch of friends over and we were just going to be relaxing outside around the fire. The logs lit easily and at first I had three piled up and let them burn for a while before adding the rest that came in the bundle. The fire stayed hot throughout the entire time with a decent sized flame for the most part. It was nice to not have to get out every 20 minutes or so and go to the woodpile and restock the fire.
The first thing you notice when you light these logs though is the lack of any chemical smell. The flame logs I've used in fireplaces and other places before have a distinct chemical odor and the Roasting Logs really more or less smell like wood burning (or nothing really at all). There is very little smoke and not being a fan of campfire smoke, I really liked that.
Part of the package I received for the Roasting Logs included marshmallows and roasting sticks, so of course we had to try that out and see how the logs roasted a marshmallow compared to your standard pile of wood. It was a good experience. The marshmallows roasted up just fine and there was no linger chemical tastes from the fire in them.
The logs burned for a little over two hours. As we reached the end of the fire the overall size and intensity of the fire dropped off, but it kept burning and when it was finally out, there was just a small pile of fine ash left from the logs.
All in all, I thought the roasting logs were perfect for when you want to have a fire for a few hours without any hassle. I actually went out and bought another pack to bring on a car camping trip we went on. They were perfect for that hour or two of fire after dinner and before you go to bed. I did not have to go and buy firewood at the campground (we're under various firewood quarantines here in NY), I didn't have to prep and get the fire going and I didn't have to keep loading up the fire. Put the roasting logs in a pile, lit the package and instant fire for a few hours. Plus it was really nice not to have all that smoke blowing directly into my tent (since everyone knows that no matter where you put the tent and build the fire, the smoke always finds the tent).
As I said before, I'm lazy and I realize that the effort of starting a fire and having to use firewood in of itself isn't that hard, but I did like the Roasting Logs. Given their price versus a pack of matches, some paper and some firewood, I probably will end up building fires for the most part the traditional way, but if I'm in a situation where I want a no fuss, no mess fire, I would not have a problem picking up another package of the Roasting Logs.
Full Disclosure: We received a package of the Duraflame Roasting Logs along with a camping kit (small items for use around a campfire) in return for a review of this item here at Adventures in the Outdoors
For those who are interested, a video is available showing the Roasting Logs in action.