Archive for April, 2013

Purifying Water with Charcoal

Monday, April 15th, 2013

11 Knots that Every Primitive Camper Should Know

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Knowing about knots and their different uses is a very important skill every camper should master before going out.  Below are 11 basic knots that should aid any camper in any situation they may find themselves in but always remember that the knot is only as good as the rope and its preparer.

Common Whipping Knot is one that is used to prevent a rope from unraveling.  This can occur on both synthetically and naturally made ropes.  Synthetic ropes will only need to be burned on each end to prevent unraveling while natural ropes will need the whipping knot. 

To begin the knot, get a piece of twine and lay one end slightly above the cut end of the rope.  Now make a loop with the twine on the rope.  This is called the bight.  Once that is done, run the other end of the twine around the back of the natural rope and overlay it on top of the bight.  Continue this until you have at least three wraps.  The number of wraps will be determined by the diameter of the rope. 

After the appropriate number of wraps has occurred, secure the loose end by sticking it through the loop and securing by pulling both ends of the rope.

Keep in mind when using this knot that it is only to prevent raveling and not to be used to secure anything.

Overhand Knot is an easy one to start with since you have been doing this knot since you started wearing shoes.  This knot is used as a stopper knot or one to keep a rope from sliding through a grommet or hole.

Larks Head is a knot that is used around ring shape.  To make the knot, simple fold the rope in half and run through a ring.  Once that is done, take the end of the rope and run it through the looped end of the rope.  Pull tight.  Keep in mind that this loop is one that easily comes undone especially if you are using a synthetic rope. 

Square Knot is a great knot for tying things down verses tying two ropes together to get a longer one.  To create this knot, lay two ropes on the ground with one end going in one direction and the other end going in the other.  Twist the ropes together with one twist and then bring up the ends.  Loop the ends together with one twist and then tighten. 

Two Half Hitch is a knot that can withstand weight.  To begin the process of making this knot, you will need to wrap your rope around a post twice.  On the second turn, take the end of the rope and go under the straight rope and through the loop that has formed.  Pull tight.

Tautline is created as described above but with an addition loop at the end.    This is great for tents, and clotheslines. 

Sheet Bend is a knot that can be used to secure two ropes of different diameters together securely.   To begin, form a loop with the thicker rope and hold in your hand.  Take the thinner rope and pass it through the loop of the thicker rope from the back.  Pull it through and wrap it around the loop of the thicker rope.  Once this is done the thinner rope will be in a loop.  At this point, run the end of the thinner rope through its own loop and pull to secure.

Clover Hitch is another great knot for binding but it does slip easily so use with caution.  To complete a clover hitch, one must first make a loop somewhat up on the working end of the rope.  Once that is done, place over a post.  Repeat with the loop forming on the end of the rope and place over the post and tighten.

Bowline is a knot that will not slip and can be used to secure items.  To begin this process, make a small loop leaving enough rope to make a loop large enough to hold your item.  Next, pull the rope around and go through the small loop.  Then, go above the loop and repeat by threading the end back into the loop.  Pull tight. 

Timber Hitch is another great knot to use around a post or any circular object.  To make this knot, first wrap the rope around the post, then around the standing end of the rope and then back through the loop around the post three times.  Pull tight to secure. 

While the above knots may sound complicated, they really are not and only require practice to be able to make them perfectly. 

Please keep in mind that the skill of knot tying is very important but so is the care of ones ropes.  Always coil them up neatly when not in use.  If they get wet, always allow them to dry completely before backing them away for the next campsite or camping trip.

A Breakfast Favorite-Homemade Doughnuts

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Did you know that you can make delicious homemade doughnuts on the camp stove or fire?  Well you can and they are as easy as 1, 2, 3.

The first step in this process consists of heating up vegetable, peanut or canola oil in a Dutch oven.  Make sure that the oil is not too deep or too shallow.  A good rule to follow is to make sure it is one-half to three-fourths full.  While the oil is heating up one can move on to step two.

In step two, one will need to prepare the toppings for the doughnuts.  This can include powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and/or hot chocolate mix.  Place each covering in its own paper bag that can be sealed or tied off.

The last step consists of preparing the doughnut dough, which are canned biscuits.  This can be done in two ways.  The first way entails making holes in each biscuit with a small, empty can of vegetables or tomato sauce.  If you do not have a can, use a small glass to make the holes.

Once you have your hole-maker in hand, take each biscuit and place on a hard surface.  Push the hole-maker into the center of each biscuit and lift up.  You will now have a doughnut with a hole and the hole will be in the hole-maker.  Do not forget to remove this dough to make fried doughnut holes.

If you do not have time to make the hole, do not fret.  Take each biscuit and cut into fourths.  Take each fourth and roll into balls.

Now that your dough is ready you are now ready to cook.  Before dropping the dough into the hot oil, check the oil temperature.  While this can be done with a thermometer, there is an easier way and that is with water.  Sprinkle a few drops of water on top of the oil, if it spatters back then it is ready for your dough.

If your oil is ready, the next step is to gently place your doughnut rings and holes in the oil.  Allow to cook until they float up.  Once this happens, scoop out so that oil can drain off and place in the chosen bag of topping.  It is easier to cover the doughnuts when they are hot verses cold.  Once you have a few in the bag, shake to cover and place each doughnut on tray to cool.

Repeat with the remaining doughnut shapes.

Once you try these doughnuts, you will want them every campout but you may want a variety of toppings.   If so, look through your camp kitchen for some ideas.  This can include prepackaged drink mix with sugar, which can add a fruit flavor to your breakfast staple.  Another idea is pudding mix, which again comes in an assortment of flavors.  All of these ideas can be used as described above. 

But if you really want to add a pastry chef touch, consider drizzling some chocolate, maple or even diluted jelly over the covered doughnuts.  There are no rules and you are only limited by what is in your camp kitchen.