Bread For The Road
Forget about trying to pack and protect loaf bread when you're on the trail. Get pita bread. It's great for sandwichs and snacks, and fits easily in your pack or stuff sack.
Duct tape is the silvery colored tape with a million uses and sold at any hardware outlet. It's super-tough, waterproof, and resistant to temperature variations. It's also easy to tear by hand, sticks to just about anything, and can tape together even odd-shaped surfaces like you'd find on a loaded backpack or an old pair of sneakers. Plus you can write on it with a marker or pen so it's handy for labeling gear containers.
A Just-In-Case Survival Sack
Here’s some stuff we'd suggest you keep in a small bag as an emergency back-up to your usual camping gear.
- 2 large garbage bags (shelter or emergency raingear) or a 10' X 10' sheet of plastic
- 100' of parachute cord
- Emergency space blanket
- Metal cup - so you can heat your Jello
- Jello with sugar (There's no nutritional value in artificial sweetners.)
- Lighter or waterproof matches
- 2 small candles
- Flashlight (small enough to fit in your mouth)
- Stocking cap
- Spare socks (double as mittens)
Fix It, Tie It, Secure It with Cable Ties
You can use these indestructable strips of self-locking plastic to repair broken pack straps, snowshoes, zipper pulls, tent parts and anything else that needs a loop. They are available in hardware, electrical supply and computer supply stores.
Amazing Emergency Substitute For Glasses or Contacts
Suppose you're in the woods and you've broken your glasses or lost your contacts. Try this: make a very small hole in a piece of paper (about the size of a pencil point) and look through it. Suprisingly, you'll be able to see clearly enough to read your map and compass.
Easy Pancakes And Biscuits
Put about 1-1/2 c. pancake mix into individual ziplock bags....add about 3/4 cup water when you’re ready to use it....mix in the bag....pours out great....no clean up....no mess. It also works great for instant puddings....just add the amount of dry milk you need ahead of time....then add water..mix before dinner and it's ready for dessert.
Pick up a golfers hand towel at a golf shop. They have a grommet built into one corner so you can hang it or hook it to your pack. It's great to always have a small towel handy when you're outdoors.
Great Oatmeal Without the Dishes
Buy instant oatmeal that comes in water resistant waxed paper pouches. Pour the hot water (preferably not boiling) into the pouch. Stir, eat, and throw away. No dishes to clean. Perfect!
Poison Ivy Relief
One thing that can help a great deal is to apply aloe straight from an aloe vera plant. The juice is usually thick enough that it will hang onto you long enough for it to dry and be absorbed into your skin. It cools, relieves the itching and inflammation.
Here’s a great way to carry liquids (stove fuel, rye/rum or red wine) into the wilderness. A couple of weeks before your trip, start saving those 500 ml or 600 ml plastic pop bottles. Rinsed out and dried, they're ideal for any liquid you want to carry. They are light, cheap, food grade plastic, absolutely watertight and amazingly puncture resistant. When they're empty in camp they can be crushed and carried out.
Keeping Your Feet Happy on Long Hikes
Serious climbers and hikers offer the following advice: Before putting on your hiking boots and socks, cover your toes, all around your heels and in between your toes with petroleum jelly. Slip on a pair of "wicking" under-socks without wiping off the vaseline. Then put on your regular hiking socks and boots. The petroleum jelly protects the skin from abrasion and moisture, so you can say goodbye to the discomfort of blistering and hotspots on your feet on long hikes.
Since it's tough to carry uncooked eggs into the wilderness without breaking, try this unusual idea. Break the eggs "carefully" into a plastic container small enough to be completely filled by the eggs, put the lid on and you're ready to go! When you're ready to cook, just pour the eggs out of the container. They'll come out one at a time or as many as you want. Seems hard to believe, but this really works.
A big zip lock freezer bag can serve as a makeshift camp pillow. Just blow it up, seal it and give it a try.
Clean, Quick Meals
Clean, quick meals can come from "just add hot water" meals, by repackaging them in freezer bags (their heavy duty construction allows them to hold quite hot water. Just pour the contents into a quart freezer bag, label with a permanant marker, roll from the bottom to remove air, and it is compact, identifiable and self contained.
Once you are on the trail, pick a meal, add very warm - maybe not quite boiling - water (most require about one cup) and zip the bag shut. Knead the bag from the bottom to ensure that the water mixes with the contents fully, open and eat right out of the bag. No dishes to clean, except your utensils, and less garbage to pack out.
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