Archive for the ‘Camping Tip of The Week’ Category

How to Start a Fire by Friction-Creating the Tools

Friday, July 11th, 2014

What do you do when you need to start a fire and your matches are wet, you have run out of matches or you forgot matches? Well, one option is to just hang it up to experience. While you do learn more from your mistakes than successes, this mistake can be a very cold one and can be dangerous. The other option is to learn how to create fire in many different ways and this includes those challenging non-traditional or modern ways.

One of these ways is learning how to start fire by friction. This may sound complicated but believe it or not, this is how fire has been started for centuries. To begin this process of making fire, one will need to first survey the environment. You will need the traditional wood for a fire, which includes tinder, small pieces of wood and larger logs. Also, while you are out looking for dry wood take a look for the wood that you will need to create the friction. You will need two types of wood. This includes softwood such as pine or hemlock and a hardwood, which includes cedar, walnut, cottonwood, and slippery elm.

Once you have your wood at your campsite, the next step of this process is to organize it. Separate the fire building materials from the friction supplies as described above. To create fire using friction, you need three different tools. This includes a spindle, fireboard, and a thunderhead. The spindle and fireboard both need to be made from a hardwood. The thunderhead, on the other hand, will need to be made from softwood.

Before starting, make sure the wood is dry. If it is not, you may need to wait a couple of days before creating your friction fire starting kit.

To begin this process, one should select a log that is about 12 to 15 inches in length. What you are going to do at this process is to whittle down the center of the log until the spindle has reached a diameter of about ? of an inch. Next, cut down the corners so that the spindle has eight sides. Once that is done, sharpen both ends so that the top end is pointy while the bottom end is more round.

The fireboard is created by taking a piece of flat wood that is about ? of an inch thick and 18 to 24 inches long. While the length is important, the truly important fact is to make sure that the wood is flat as possible. A rocking board will not create a spark.

Once you have your board, you will need to create holes by which your spindle will fit into. These holes need to be place
? of an inch from the edge of the wood. This will keep the wood from breaking while you are using the spindle. To create these fire starting holes, take a sharp lock-blade knife and dig into the wood.

To create the thunderhead, one will need a wood that contains a lot of resin. This resin will be used as a form of lubrication, which will be important when it comes time to use your spindle. While there really is no size for a thunderhead, it is the piece that fits on top of the spindle. It needs to fit well in the hand since this will create the pressure by which the spindle is forced to make contact with the fireboard. To help the spindle remain in contact with the thunderhead, make sure to create a small hole in the board.

Now that you have all tools to start a fire through friction, now learn how to use these fire making tools.

Camping Ideas for Kids

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Camping can be a wonderfully rewarding, enjoyable, character-building activity for kids. But when you have a pandemic at hand, camping can get challenging, which is why I introduce you these 5 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained During Quarantine. It can also be one heck of a challenge! Taking children out into the woods away from their PlayStation and Wii while insisting they leave their handheld PSP behind already puts you in quite the hole in terms of helping them have a good time and keeping them entertained. Thankfully, as you and I both know, once they get out there and brighten up their attitude, they'll see that camping can actually be quite fun!

Here are some ways to help make camping rewarding and enjoyable for your kids and their friends.

1. Build enthusiasm about the trip by including them as part of the planning. Take them to the grocery store so they can choose what snacks to bring and what games to play.

2. Make them have some modicum of responsibility during your camping excursion. Even if it's something as simple as helping set up the tent or collect firewood. Give them some type of task that will help them feel like they're a contributing hand in making the camping a success. Reassure them that there will be plenty of time for fun and games but that before you can do that, a little work must be done. This work-reward pattern is something many kids in this generation miss out on which is a shame because it's very character building. You can make the camp chores fun by having awards for most sticks collected, fastest clean-up, etc.

3. Have these activities ready for your kids to enjoy. When I was a kid, my Dad brought out a bb-gun and had us shoot at empty cola cans from 30 feet away. I was only about 7 at the time and still remember how awesome it was to shoot a "real gun"! There are so many possible camping activities for kids and many of them are things they never get the chance to do in the city. Consider some of the following:

  • Scavenger hunt (first kid to find all items on list wins)
  • Rubbing souvenirs (place a leaf vien-side-up under a piece of paper, rub a crayon over the leaf)
  • Frisbee, baseball, or football to toss around
  • Camping races (one-legged race, sack race, backwards race with teams and partners)
  • Alphabet nature hunt (have to find something that starts with each letter)
  • Constellation and satellite search at night
  • UNO, checkers or other picnic-table games
  • Camping Olympics (organize a series of games with points awarded based on finish)
  • Hide and seek (nature makes a great place to play hide and seek, just be sure to establish boundaries)

With any competitive event, be mindful of everyone and keep it fun for all. Winners should not be praised too much nor losers chastized. After all, it's just camping!

4. Use your time out in nature to instill valuable skills with your kids. Teach them about fire safetey. Show them poisonous leaves so they know what to avoid.

5. When in doubt, have fun! I think you could agree that some of the best memories you form as a child take place while camping, so have a blast!

Three Common Camping Mistakes

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

We all love camping and being in the outdoors, but nothing will ruin a trip so fast as forgetting to bring essential gear or not being prepared. To have the best camping trip possible it’s important we don’t make mistakes that will leave our tents flapping in the wind…literally!

There are three common camping mistakes that can lead to a lot of regret; missing tent poles and stakes, missing correct cooking gear and utensils, and being unprepared for rain. Each of these common camping mistakes can ruin a perfectly good camping trip in a hurry.

1. Missing Tent Poles/Stakes
There is nothing worse then getting off work early on Friday and driving as fast as you can to meet friends and family at your campsite, only to struggle to erect your camping tent in the dark and find out there are missing tent poles or stakes.

Missing tent poles can easily leave you shacking up with friends or sleeping in your car, not exactly the fun camping trip you had envisioned! It’s important to always check to make sure camping stakes and poles are in your car and with your tent before you leave home.

Having the correct number of camping tent stakes is critical. As you know, a camping tent is just not the same without them. The sides will often lean in and the structure of the tent in wind and rain is compromised without them. If you find yourself stuck without stakes or poles, remember to think outside of the box. You can use sturdy and thin pieces of wood or gear in a pinch.

A great way to make sure they are all present is to number them yourself. That way you can quickly count and check to see all tent poles and stakes are accounted for, before it’s too late.

2. Missing Correct Cooking Utensils
The second most important part of camping is often cooking and preparing the food. It’s tough enough to cook a big meal when you are in your own kitchen, but move the party to the campsite and you can be in for some trouble.

Missing the correct cooking gear and utensils is another big area of frustration for campers everywhere. Not finding something simple like a can opener can ruin a night of cooking and leave anyone without an idea of where to turn next.

Making your camping meal list up before hand and writing the corresponding cooking utensils down next to each meal will save you time and trouble. This idea of listing out each utensil needed to prepare and consume a camping meal will insure you have what you need. Then you won?t have to use a stick to stir that soup.

Another great idea to help with problem of forgetting the correct cooking utensils is to have a box or bag specifically for these items. Having a dedicated camping cooking set that includes all the items you may need will ensure you have what you need to get the job done right!

3. Unprepared For Rain
Who likes being cold and wet on a camping trip? Nothing will make you head home from a weekend camping trip quicker then getting soaked in a hard rain. Camping in the rain can be one of the most challenging things for anyone, so being prepared for wet weather is of the up-most importance. Bring the right rain gear includes everything from a good rain suit, a rain fly for your tent, to extra shoes and clothes.

Having a few tarps to cover gear and keep the bottom of your tent off the mud will always pay dividends when the rain starts falling. Extra clothes and towels will allow you to clean and dry up quickly when you are faced with a sudden rain shower. Preparation is key when it comes to staying dry!

The three most common camping mistakes are things that everyone can relate to. It could be frustration with missing tent poles or stakes, missing cooking supplies, or sudden rain showers that can put our camping trips in jeopardy. Being prepared and organized is the key to success!