Archive for March, 2013

Campfire Pull Buckets

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Pull buckets or monkey bread is an Amish type of bread that is pulled apart instead of cutting it.  The bread is easily made in the oven but also in a Dutch oven with coals.  Below is a basic recipe for pull buckets but do not hesitate to add your own twist.


2 cans of biscuits

1 stick of butter

Granulated sugar

Ground cinnamon

Chopped nuts, optional

Dutch oven with lid

Charcoal briquettes and lighter liquid if needed

Optional charcoal table used to light and cook the dish on


  1. Apply lighter fluid if needed and light charcoal.
  2. Mix cinnamon and sugar together at a 1 to 1 ratio or to taste to create homemade cinnamon sugar.
  3. Place one stick of butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven and melt.
  4. While the butter is melting, pop open the biscuits and cut each biscuit into four pieces.
  5. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle about ¼ cup of the homemade cinnamon sugar in the bottom.   *Please note, this is to taste.
  6. Place one layer of the cut biscuits on top of the melted butter/cinnamon sugar layer.
  7. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon sugar and top with chopped nuts
  8. Repeat step 6 and 7 until all the biscuits have been used.
  9. Top with the lid.
  10. Arrange the bottom coals on the ground.  *Hint for each 25 degrees Fahrenheit of cooking temperature, you will need one briquette but you also need to consider the size of the Dutch oven.  To determine how many coals you need, take the size of the Dutch oven in inches and subtract 3.  This number will tell you how many you need on the bottom.  For the top, you will need to add 3.     In this example, if you are using a 12-inch Dutch oven you will need nine briquettes on the bottom and fifteen on the top.  Make sure to spread out the briquettes evenly on both the top and the bottom.  Keep extra briquettes going so that you can change the ones on the Dutch oven out with warmer ones.
  11. Keep the lid on for 35 minutes and then check the doneness of the bread.  It should be brown and not doughy.

Below are some additional ideas for this recipe but do not be afraid to experiment and come up with your own trademark monkey bread.

  • If doing this with kids, consider placing the cinnamon sugar in a bag and letting the kids shake the cut up biscuits to coat.  Then place in the Dutch oven as above.
  • To add a different flare, add brown sugar in place of granulated sugar or simply add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Frozen bread dough works just as well as canned biscuits.  If using this approach, do not forget to thaw the bread out.
  • To create fluffier bread, let it rise in the sun for about one hour.

Pull buckets or monkey bread is a wonderful hot bread for breakfast, a portable snack for lunch, and a delightful dessert for dinner.  So give this recipe a try, I guarantee you will not be able to stop with one pull.

Keeping Up Appearances when Primitive Camping

Monday, March 18th, 2013

When one goes out to the woods, the idea of how you keep your personal hygiene going can be a problem.  This can be especially true when it comes to situations where you have no shower, no water or one is not allowed to bathe.  Also, in some situations the perfumes used in many hygiene products attract wildlife like bears and in doing so is discouraged.  But since cleanliness is next to godliness, one must come up with a solution that does not offend man or beast.

Below are some suggestions for common items that serve dual purposes.  The concept of duality is very important when one is limited on space and weight, which is a consideration for any camping trip.


Smelling good and not be socially unacceptable is very important to many campers.  But the desire to smell good can be dangerous for everyone around when perfumed laden deodorant is used.  A more camp friendly version is baking soda.  This can be used as a deodorant when sprinkled in the hand and rubbed on the armpits.  Also, it can be used to freshen up and deodorize hiking boots after a long day on the trail. 

Tooth Paste

Having good oral hygiene is another challenge that campers will face.   While a tube of tooth paste does not take up much room, a simple box of baking soda can clean the teeth, clean the pots and used as a culinary ingredient. It’s a good idea to schedule a dental check-up before going camping. If you are having a tough time finding a good dentist, visit this page.


Keeping ones hair clean is another outdoor test.  So campers will deal with this by in different ways.  Men will shave their heads before a campout, wear a bandana or a cap to cover their dirty hair.  Women, on the other hand, will wear a cap by which they put their hair up in or pull their hair back into a bun or ponytail.   Instead of doing this, consider using powder or dry shampoo.  An easy and inexpensive one to use is baby powder, which can simply be sprinkled on the hair and combed through. 


Keeping ones skin, which is the largest organ on the body, moist and healthy is easy to do on a camp trip.  Simply pack coconut oil.  This can be used to cook with, as a moisturizer and an organic sunscreen.  To use as a moisturizer, apply to damp skin.  On the other hand, if you are using it as a sunscreen make sure to apply the oil before you need it and often. 

The name coconut oil is misleading.  When you purchase it, it will be in a solid form.  To bring it to a liquid, just rub it between your fingers or hands. 

Lip Balm

Lips can easily be burned.  To prevent this requires no extra supplies except your nose.  The oil that accumulates in the crease of the nose is great for the lips.  Simply rub this crease and apply the body oil to the lips.  To keep them moist, repeat this step often. 

Following these hints will allow you to keep some level of human cleanliness without carrying everything including the shower.

Got Dirty Clothes? Then Build Your Own Campsite Washing Machine

Monday, March 11th, 2013

What is a camper to do when they have dirty clothes?  If you are staying in a camp ground that has a laundry mat, then the solution is simple.  But how do you handle dirty clothes when you are camping out in the wild?

One solution is to take enough clothes so that you do not have to worry about dirty clothes.  But having a clean change of clothes for everyday can be a challenge when it comes to primitive camping.  There are more valuable items to fill your pack with than 20 plus pieces of clean clothing.  Plus the weight of the clothing can be detrimental.

Another solution is to just wear dirty clothes.  Who will know, you are out in the woods.  But sweaty clothes can cause a chafing problem and muddy clothes can become very inflexible.

Washing ones clothes in a stream or creek may pose another solution but in many areas this is not allowed.  The best solution to this problem is to create your own campsite washing machine.  Below are the directions for this easy clothes washer that can be adapted to the type of trip you are taking.

Campsite Washing Machine

When using this washing machine, make sure to use a phosphate-free, environmentally friendly laundry detergent and dispose of according to Leave No Trace principles.


1 five gallon bucket with lid, optional 2 five gallon buckets with lids if a short trip is planned

New plunger

Hole saw


  1. If you are limited on space or carrying capacity, then only use one bucket.  Regardless of how many buckets, snap on the lid and drill a hole in the top with the hole saw.  Make sure that the hole is large enough so that the handle of the plunger will fit down into the hole easily.
  2. Using the hole saw, drill three to four quarter-sized holes in the rubber part of the plunger.
  3. Place the plunger handle through the hole in the lid.

Using the Campsite Washing Machine

  1. Place clothes, laundry detergent and water in the bucket.
  2. Snap lid on with plunger attached and begin to move the plunger handle up and down.  This technique is just same as the one needed to churn butter.  Continue with this motion for three to five minutes.
  3. After the washing time has passed, you have two choices.  Choice one is to remove the clothes from the bucket and to dump out the used water.  Refill with clean water and repeat as in a rinse cycle.  The second choice requires a second bucket.  In this bucket, you fill with clean water and a little vinegar.  The vinegar will help get the soap out of the clothes.  Regardless of which approach you use, “churn” the clothes until the soap has been removed.
  4. Hang up to dry.

To transport your campsite washing machine, either leave the plunger and soap in the bucket and carry as one unit or take the plunger handle off, place the rubber plunger in backpack and strap the handle to the bag.  The soap can then be carried in the bucket along with other items.

Having clean clothes no longer has to be a luxury when you’re camping.  Instead it can be made into an ordinary item through a simple campsite washing machine.