Archive for November, 2012

How to Deal with Cold Nights at the Campsite

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Nothing ruins a camping trip like getting cold.  When this happens, many campers choose to just stay around the campfire in hopes of getting warm.  While this does seem to be a good idea, many campers have been injured when their sleeping bags caught on fire.  Instead of taking this chance consider the following suggestions.

Choose the right sleeping bag.  If you are winter camping, one will need a appropriate type of sleeping bag.  Do not try to get by with a lighter weight, summer bag.  Winter sleeping bags are designed to hold heat in.  As a “Golden Rule,”  if the area’s winter temperature is normally -15 below, then you will need a bag that can go 15 degrees cooler.  In this example, this means you will need a sleeping bag that is rated to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

To utilize ones natural heat source, you will need a mummy style bag.  This type of bag has a hood that goes over the head to reduce and conserve heat loss.  You will also need to make sure that the bag has a draft tube along the zipper and a draft collar along the hood.

The type of filling that is used in the bag is not that important while the fit of the bag is.  The mummy bag should fit tight with your clothes on but keep in mind that this type of bag is designed to be used in while you are in your undergarments.

If you do not have a mummy bag or cannot afford one, do not cancel your trip.  A three season bag can be used with a few additions.  This includes a vapor barrier liner, bivy sack, and an overbag.  This overbag can be a simple summer weight sleeping bag.  To compensate form loss heat out of the top of the head, add a winter hat.

To keep moisture away from the body, consider adding a foam pad. 

Consider your evening meal.  While this may seem odd, a meal high in protein will help keep you warm throughout the night.  One technique to use is to place some of your frozen meat and cheese for the next day’s lunch in you sleeping bag.  If you get hungry during the night, you will have a thawed snack and a warm meal for the next day.

Consider what you drink.  Never drink anything cold.  It takes additional energy to keep the body warm after drinking cold drinks.  To add choice to the drink menu, consider nontraditional drinks beyond coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.   These include hot Jello, hot orange breakfast drink, and hot flavored water.

For some individuals, camping out in the cold is not their cup of tea but with a little preparation one can enjoy a cold weather camping trip regardless of the outdoor conditions.

Coffee or Tea- How to Cook These Morning Favorites Perfectly

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

A nice warm cup of coffee or tea is a welcomed treat in the morning.  But producing this treat can be a challenge when one is camping.  The traditional ways of perking one’s cup of java just do not work at the campsite.  Some require electricity while others are just too bulky to carry.  The directions below utilize items that are in every well stock camp kitchen.

Cowboy Coffee I

The filter is created by a whole egg or cheesecloth.  To make the coffee, simply fill a container with 12 cups of water and place over the fire on along the side on top of hot stones.  While you are waiting for the water to boil, mix together 2 whole egg, eggshell and all, along with ½ cup of cold water, dash of salt, and 1 cup of ground coffee.  After the water has come to a boil, place the egg mixture in the water and let it boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.


Once the coffee has boiled for 2 to 3 minutes, remove from the container from the fire and add 1 cup of cold water.  This will cause the egg/coffee mixture to sink to the bottom.  Let the coffee sit for a few minutes.  If a few grounds are still floating on top, simply skim off with a spoon. You can visit for more information.

Cowboy Coffee II

To make this coffee, start with 12 cups of water inside a container.  Bring the water to a boil over the fire.  While you are waiting for it to boil, cut out a large square of cheese cloth and fill with the following ingredients.  This includes 1 cup of coffee, 2 eggs, and a dash of salt.  Tie the bundle off and then gently break the eggs.  The broken egg will hold the coffee grounds in the cheesecloth bundle.

Once the water has come to a boil, place the bundle in the water and let set for 2 to 3 minutes.  Then remove the bundle and enjoy.

Billy Tea

While a simple cup of tea can be made by heating up a pot of hot water and steeping a tea bag, I have an easier solution and that is Billy tea.  To make this tea, start off by heating your water in a tin cup over the fire.  Once the water begins to boil, drop loose leaf tea into the cup and swirl around 5 times.  Once that is done, set the “tin cup” down and let the tea leaves settle.  Then enjoy.

A simple cup of hot coffee and/or tea can make or break many camp mornings.  So this camping trip, give these sunrise boasters a try.

Creating a Solar Hotdog Cooker

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

A solar hotdog cooker is easy to make and is just as easy to use.  One may wonder why you may need a solar cooker when you go camping and the answer is simple.  In many areas, burn bans are being enforced due to dry conditions.  A solar cooker can give the camper the option of cooking without violating the ban.

Below are the directions for this hot dog cooker.  While this project is great for kids, always supervise them during the construction of this solar cooker.


Utility knife






2 sheets of corrugated cardboard that are 7.5 by 30-inches

Two 2 by 2 by 12-inch connector boards

Large piece of poster board

Aluminum foil that is 12-inches wide

Two 1 by 1 by 13.5-inch uprights

Coat Hanger



  1. Draw out a curve on one piece of the corrugated cardboard.  Cut it out using the utility knife.  Using the cut piece, trace the curve shape onto the other piece of cardboard and cut out.
  2. Connect the two curved pieces together by gluing and nailing the two connector boards to the end of the curved pieces.
  3. Lay the curved piece on a table so that the straight edge is on the bottom.  Take the poster board and cover the curve.  Using a pencil or pen, trace the bottom of the curved piece onto the poster board.  Cut along the lines and secure to the curved piece with glue and tape.
  4. Next, unroll the aluminum foil and place on the inside of the curved piece.  Once it is a good fit, carefully remove and lay down a thin layer of glue.  Replace the aluminum foil and smooth out as much as possible.  This step is very important because the smoother the surface the better the reflection.
  5. Take the uprights and drill a hole all the way through both pieces of wood.  This hole is where the coat hanger and hotdog will be placed.
  6. Once the hole has been made, glue the uprights to the outside of the curved box.

After the above steps have been completed, it is now time to cook.  To do this, straighten out a coat hanger and run it through one of the holes on the upright.  String your hotdogs and then continue to run the coat hanger through the other hole.  Leave a curve on one end so that you can turn your hotdog for even cooking.  To maximize the solar cooker, prop up one end of the cooker with a piece of wood so that the sunlight is intensified in the center of the cooker.

While this solar cooker is designed for hotdogs, you can cook other items, such as marshmallows, and other precooked link type meats.

So this year, do not let a fire ban limit you to cold cans of food.  Instead, give a solar cooker a try and in doing so expand your camping cuisine.