Add your Idea ---> Camp Hacks <---

Northern Dancer

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I learned recently to use a steel straw to blow on the embers to get the flame back.
It sure stops you from blowing out your guts.


ANYWAY
This is an open invitation for you to add one of your tested ideas to the list.
You can mention the particular gear you use or share a suggestion.
The rules? No judgment, criticism, and only one suggestion at a time.
Let's call it "Pages From the OutdoorBasecamp Experience".
Ya...I like that idea!

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Happy Joe

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MacGyver once made a powered version using a mattress infiltrator/blower... and a piece of, I believe steel EMT conduit.
Sounded like a good idea to me! Perhaps, if he's still around, he will chime in, he used to make ingenious hacks regularly.

My most recent, significant, "improvement" to my camping gear, a couple of years ago, was a folding cot headboard to keep that sneaky pillow from jumping off the cot and trying to escape in the middle of the night.
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Enjoy!
 
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Happy Joe

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I have always had a problem with cold feet, tried many things from a hand warmer in the sleeping bag, (hot foots, 'though somewhat humorous, are less than good at O-Dark-thirty...), through throwing the jacket/coat over the foot of the cot etc, etc...
... I was wandering around wallymart, one day, and spotted a fuzzy, fake fur bathmat; visions of toasty toes immediately sprung to mind...
It now lives on the tent floor beside the cot and if I should wake with cold feet it takes but a second to reach down and flip it over the foot of the cot .

Problem solved...

Enjoy!
 

Happy Joe

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I've used a "hot rock" wrapped in a towel and placed it at the bottom of my sleeping bag - simple, but it works.

Yep! (blast from the past, Thanks!) my grandmother used to talk about heating a brick in the wood stove and using it as a foot wrmer during winter sleigh rides (powered by horses , no less)...

Enjoy!
 
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Happy Joe

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Here's a cooler enhancement (that I once saw on exped. portal);
A stainless steam table tray can be used to help keep food out of the ice melt water;
Unfortunately I could not find the right size steam table tray (amazon) to fit my cooler.
The solution; make an adapter out of 1/4" poly-carbonate sheet plastic.
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Some measuring, some hole and table & hand saw action and it was all over, except for rounding the corners to fit...

Enjoy!
 
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Northern Dancer

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I always use packaged fire cube starters with flint to light my campfires.
Or, if I can, I use white birch bark off a dead tree.
I tend not to use barbeque lighters or cigarette lighters.

Just my happy knife, and scrape off hot tiny embers onto my starter.

KEEP THE IDEAS COMING CAMP FANS.

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Happy Joe

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...Being basically lazy; I normally, now, use a BIC lighter on found tinder, I used to use GI trioxane tabs for stubborn fires but they have become hard to find.

Enjoy!
 

ppine

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Mostly my camping is being simpler and more streamlined as I get older. I like sleeping in the back of my pickup.

Years ago I was on a day trip with a close friend in separate trucks. By the afternoon we found a beautiful spot with one one around. We sat for awhile and I said "Man I wish I had a chair right now." My friend goes to his truck and comes back with two lawn chairs. Later I said "The only thing that could make this even better is a bottle of whiskey." My friend comes back with whiskey and two glasses. As a joke I said "Fishing is the only thing we are missing." Within 5 minutes we had lines in the water. It was funny at the time, but I will l never forget what being prepared feels like.
 

Roybrew

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Fire starter? Kerosene. I cheat a little. Poof! IMG_20221020_190410305_HDR~2.jpg Instant fire.

I purchased a pair of down booties to sleep in. They work great too. I don't use them unless it's under freezing temperatures tho.

I like cot head board, Joe. That's a great idea.

The Great Outdoors
 

Northern Dancer

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AND WHEN IT'S OVER?
When the trip is over the first thing I do is head for the nearest restaurant.
The number of vehicles parked outside indicates a good one.

BUT
In order to look good and respectable?
I make sure I have a complete change of clothing that I've left in the van to change into.
Ya feels gooder when ya get out of da camp duds.


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Happy Joe

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A trash bag holder;
I got tired of tying a trash bag to a tree... while wandering around wally mart I spotted a coiled spring laundry hamper, a smaller version of those large lawn leaf bag holders;
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It even has a loop at the bottom that I use to secure it from blowing around.

Its not even remotely critter proof, however.

You can now buy these at sporting goods stores however the wally mart home/laundry section is cheaper.

Enjoy!
 
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Northern Dancer

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NEVER SEEMS TO BE ENOUGH PLACES TO HANG THINGS AT CAMP.

So, I tie a web belt around a tree, with inexpensive hooks I get from Dollarama.
I know where things are - like saws, first-aid kits, water bottles, and the like.
Everyone can hang their mess kit.
I never use nails in trees or screw-in hooks.
This method makes for a neat and tidy campsite and people know where their stuff is.



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Cappy

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cheat a lil poof campfire?? try that citronella lamp oil cheaper than lighter fluid often found in thrift baskets in the front of hardware stores I got a half gallon jug for 2$. burns hot for a while great starter with the added bonus it smells good and drives off skeeters for a half hour or so
 

Happy Joe

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After finally finding a tent big enough to stand upright in;
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I decided that I needed some entry lights so that I could find it after putting the campfire out.

A trip to the chinese freight junk store got some solar garden lights, a stop at the garden store resulted in some plant hangers and Autozone provided some hose clamps.
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They are dim enough to find the tent with out ruining the campsite ambience...

A friend saw these and now his popup has entry lights...

Enjoy!
 
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Northern Dancer

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TO WATERPROOF CLOTHING AND PROVIDE A FLOATING DEVICE

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I use a discarded pickle or olive barrel to insert into my pack.
It fits perfectly and is light, durable, and waterproof.
And should it fall overboard or if I capsize it floats.
I also use it as a food barrel for short trips.
You can also use it as a seat.
Or even a table.



 

Happy Joe

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Back in the 1970's I got tired of the hassles of trying to use mantle lanterns and decided to try using electric lighting in the tent...

This required a battery and inverter (since 12 volt bulbs and fluorescent lamps proved less than optimum).
After much experimenting, I finally settled on a small 12 volt storage battery and inverter along with a 120 volt LED bulb in a pendant (hanging) fixture for intent lighting.

Here is my most recent tent battery and inverter combination;
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Its a 12 volt 50 amp hour LiFePo4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery, weighing about 11 pounds with a modified 80 watt (added a switch and terminals) inverter and custom carry handle.

It recharges USB toys and can power most of my 120 volt toys (one at a time).
When I was backpacking I experimented with USB power packs/banks but they are a bit on the small side for my needs.

I don't normally bother with solar charging or a generator as this provides energy enough for my purposes during week long camping trips.
I recharge it at home before each trip using a 10 amp "Genius brand" battery charger. I do have a 12 volt to 12 volt charger for charging in the field, which, so far, has not been needed.

Since the rules are just one hack, I will cover the tent light tomorrow, and other toys/items in subsequent posts..

If you get the impression of "Glamping"; you are correct; I gave up bare bones sometime around the beginning of this century...
Simple can be good but it can be less than comfortable.
As long as everything will fit in a 2 door Jeep (CJ, YJ, TJ), its all good!

Enjoy!
 
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Roybrew

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11 pounds? That's not bad. I don't think I'm cut out for backpack camping. Maybe with a pack mule. I bring to many creature comforts. I do like that fancy battery power pack ya have Joe. I may check into that.
Roy

The Great Outdoors
 

Northern Dancer

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NOW FOR A DELICATE MATTER
- A GUY THING -


I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to howling and blowing snow.

The fire had long gone out in the wood stove - and it was cold - very cold.
And then I felt it.
I must have tossed and turned for forty-five minutes and then I realized I had to do something about it.
I reluctantly crawled out of my gorgeously comfortable warm sleeping bag.
I meticulously put on sufficient clothing while doing a little dance on the cold ground before putting my cold boots on.
And then?

I went out into the storm and did my thing.
When I get back into the tent everything that was loose chattered, from my teeth all away down.
My thoughtful buddy had the fire roaring hot.
"Forgot your night bottle, did we?"
"Night bottle? I didn't even bring a baby bottle.
"Oh...Night Bottle, oh... I get it, that's what it's for?"

To this day, in winter, spring, summer, and fall I always carry a Night Bottle whether I think I need it or not.
There have been many times I've simply rolled over, did my thing, and rolled back to accomplish a good sleep.

Caution. Make sure the cap fits tightly. For obvious reasons.

I wrap mine in a sock so it is clearly evident what it is for.

 
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