Archive for August, 2018

Campfire Recipe: Partying Lemonade Cake

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Nothing beats a refreshing dessert after a delicious meal and this is especially true during spring and summer camping season. Without spoiling the taste of this delicious cake by telling you how wonderful it is after a day of hiking in the heat of summer, I will simply let you find out for yourself. But I will say this cake is as refreshing as a fresh squeezed glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. Enjoy!

Campfire Recipe:  Partying Lemonade Cake


Liquid or spray oil

1 box of lemon or yellow cake mix

Ingredients required to make the cake according to mix, which may include eggs, water, and vegetable oil

1 6 ounce can of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

¾ cup of powdered sugar

1 container of vanilla or lemon whipped icing



  1. Build fire to prepare the coals.
  2. Using a 12 inch Dutch oven, lightly grease the inside with liquid or spray oil.
  3. Line the 12 inch Dutch oven with parchment paper.
  4. In a medium bowl, prepare the cake mix according to the directions.
  5. Pour the cake into the Dutch oven and top with lid.
  6. Move the Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  7. Arrange 10 prepared coals in a circle on the heat resistant surface.
  8. Put 12 inch Dutch oven on top and add 22 prepared coals on lid.
  9. Cook for 15 minutes and then move the coals around the center of the lid to the outer rim.
  10. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  11. Once the time period has passed, gently remove the lid and check for doneness by poking a hole with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes up clean then it is done. If the toothpick has batter on it, continue to cook for another 10 minutes with the lid on.
  12. After the cake has tested done, knock off the coals from the lid and remove the Dutch oven from the circle of coals.
  13. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  14. Once the time has passed, remove the lid and place a plate on top of the Dutch oven.
  15. Invert the Dutch oven so that the cake falls onto the plate.
  16. Remove the parchment paper.
  17. Mix together the lemonade concentrate and powdered sugar.
  18. Using a skewer, poke holes in the cake ½ inch apart and ¾ the way into the cake.
  19.  Pour the lemonade mixture from step 17 over the cake.
  20. Place in a cooler or fridge for 2 hours.

 Prior to serving, top the cake with the whipped icing.

Got a hole in your Jacket? Look no Farther than the Cattail for Camping Repair

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Have you ever been out in the backcountry and noticed a tear in your jacket? Or, have you arrived at your backcountry camp and noticed you have somehow torn your sleeping bag? Regardless of how you answered the questions, a tear in any item that is meant to keep you warm during cold weather camping will cause discomfort and in some situations even death. But…..Mother Nature does provide a simple solution and all you need is a fluffy cattail seed head.

Believe it or not, cattails have been used for many things, which include clothes, shelter, as a fire starter, and even shelter. The advantage of using the fluff to keep yourself warm is that it is easily harvested and even if it has been raining, the fluff inside the seed head in most situations will still be dry.

To begin the process, you will need to harvest the cattails. Now, keep in mind that cattails grow in a moist environment and in soil rich in ferrous sulfate. In doing so, you will need to wear waterproof boots or create a bridge with a log over the bog area where the cattails are growing. Once you have done this, pick the cattail seed heads that are displaying the white fluff. Next, carry your collection of fluffy cattail seed heads to your campsite and begin to remove the fluff. Do not worry if you harvest too much, it can be used for other things.

After you have harvested a pile of cattail fluff, remove your jacket or spread out your sleeping bag. Begin to fill in the tear with the cattail fluff. When doing this process, make sure you overfill the space. Once the tear has been filled, lay down the item on a hard surface and tape shut with duck tape.

Now, what do you do with the extra cattail fluff?  Well, one of the things I have done many times is to create a cattail fluff pillow while at the campsite. My favorite way to do this is to start with a knit hat. When I go camping I always take an extra cap. You never know when you will need one and this simple camping staple can easily be turned into a fluffy pillow.

To make your own DIY camping pillow begins with gathering a few items. The first item is a knit cap. The second item is some string or vine from the wild. The last item is the cattail seed head fluff. Once you have all the items together, begin to harvest the cattail fluff from the seed head. Place this fluff in the hat and continue to fill until you reach the fullness that you desire. To keep everything inside the knit cap, tie the open end with string or vine.

Now you have a simple primitive camping pillow made from a knit hat and what Mother Nature supplies us for survival along with comfort.

Starting a Fire with Cattail Fluff

Friday, August 10th, 2018

When it comes to camping, nothing beats a warm fire at the campsite but…….there are times when that fire is easier to have compared to others. As an example, if you are camping at a campground you may have an assortment of fire starting materials at hand but when you are out in the bush, this is a different story. This is especially true when it comes to trying to start a fire after it has rained and everything is wet in the backcountry. But not all is lost. Below are some tips on using cattail fluff to start a fire.

What makes cattail fluff a wonderful fire starter is the fact that it is fluffy. The spacing of the fibers allows oxygen to get in and around the fibers, which makes igniting the fluff easier even if it is mildly damp. The other reason this plant’s fluff is a great fire starter is the fact that the cattail can keep some of the fluff bone-dry when harvested from inside the “tail” itself. Why is this? Well, the truth being the dryness comes from the shape of the cattail, which allows water to run off the sides straight down verses inside the “tail.” Now that we know the whys lets learn the hows of starting a fire with cattail fluff.

When it comes to building any fire, the first step is to gather the materials. This includes tinder, kindling, and fuelwood. Tinder, by definition, is the smallest of the materials. This is used to start the fire and once the fire has ignited, the kindling is added. In this situation, you would remove the cattail fluff from the stalk and mix it in with very small twigs and/or leaves, dry grass, etc.

As the fire ignites and coals begin to appear, add a small amount of kindling until the fire is fully burning. After that as the fire burns, continue to add more wood that is bigger in nature so that the fire is sustained for several minutes without having to add more wood.

Now beyond being a great fire starter, the cattail also has a secret that can make your fire starting at your next campsite a breeze. What is it? Well, it has to do with not the fluff so much but the tail itself. You see, if you open up the “cattail” itself it creates a perfect vessel by which to carry some chard wood by which you can use to start another fire along with some cattail fluff. This is very much like a tinder bundle, which will only require a lit to get burning.

All in all, cattail fluff, when available, is the answer to that question of what can I use to start a fire in the backcountry.