Camp Hanger for Your Kitchen Utensils

We love finding old school camping tips and tricks. Check out this cool tip using an old belt to hang your camp kitchen utensils.

This was just one of the top 110 best DIY tips ever from Popular Mechanics.

Check out the original article in PM from the April, 1921, issue.
And here’s “The 110 Best DIY Tips Ever.”

Why Bother Packing Out Your Garbage?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “pack in, pack out.” The idea is whatever you bring into nature you should bring back out with you so as to not negatively impact the ecosystem.

By Brian Walker, CNN. 08/16/2010

By Brian Walker, CNN.

But what is the real impact of leaving trash laying about? There are immediate effects possible like possibly killing wildlife. But there’s an even more sinister effect possible. As man-made materials are left laying around they can leach chemicals into their surroundings as they degrade. But many of these items take many years to break down. They’re like a slow time released chemical weapon to the natural world.

How much time you ask? Well a Nylon jacket could take 40-50 years to breakdown. That baby’s diaper will take 450 years. So do your great, great, grandchild a favor and pack out that trash.

Trash - How Long It Really Lasts

by VisualApogee.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


Ascend Dry Bags

Keep Your Gear Dry

Mt. Fork RiverHaving a dry bag opens up new possibilities for what kind of gear you can pack out into nature. Whether you’re on a river or ocean or hiking through a desert, a good quality dry bag will save your gear from the elements.

Becoming a Fan

Every year my brother and I head over to Mt. Fork river to do some kayaking. It’s great fun, one of the best workouts I’ve ever found and a great stress reliever.When I first started going several years ago, I’d pack my food and gear in a backpack, strap it to the kayak and subsequently drench it all at the first rapids we found. Newbie me just figured that was par for the course.

The next year I’d learned about dry bags and after some research found that there are many kinds with different properties. Thickness of the material was of paramount concern to me since my bag would be strapped to my kayak and smashed against rocks and tree stumps. After stopping by Bass Pro I decided on their Ascend™ Heavy Duty Round Bottom bags.

Bag Construction & Quality

The heavy duty dry bag from Ascend at Bass Pro ShopsThese bags are made of thick PVC fabric. There are only two seams; the first runs the length of the bag, top to bottom, and the second runs the circumference of the round bag joining the bottom. The seams are over lay seams — meaning the pieces overlap each other — which means they’re very strong due to the surface area that’s welded together. The welded seams are joined by electronic-welding which excites the molecules in the PVC and literally fuse the two pieces together. This creates a very strong bond resulting in a leak proof seam.

The bag has two handles / tie-down patches on either side of the bag. While these are welded to the bag just like I described above, they’re not seamed into the bag, they’re applied to the outside only. This makes a lot of sense since it reduces the number of seams in the bag construction.

The roll-top design is very cool. Along the top of the bag is a bonded webbing strap that’s sewn into the PVC. On each end of the strap are male and female quick-release buckle ends. To seal the bag you simply place the sides of the bag opening flat together and roll it down the bag 3-4 times, then pull the two buckle ends together in a circle. The end result is a sealed bag that’s held closed by the mechanical lock provided by the folded fabric; it also doubles as a nice handle.

Final Thoughts

I have two of these bags, the 10 Liter and 20 Liter. In the smaller bag I usually place a first-aid kit, phone and camera and food. The larger bag gets filled with bottled water. My brother and I each take a bag and strap it to our kayak using a bungee cord.

I’ve submerged these bags going over falls, I’ve thrown them from kayak to rocky shore and now I’m recommending you get at least one. They’re made well, durable and work as advertised.

Your Thoughts

I’m interested in how you use, or would use, your dry bags. I’ve not had the opportunities yet but I when I go camping in bear county my food is going in one of these bags for sure.

Lloyd Anderson: Founder of REI

REI had it's humble beginnings just outside Seattle, Washington, USA. It was a series of small events which caused Anderson, his wife Mary and their climbing friends to form the co-op. It all started because of a $12 climbing axe.

Lloyd and Mary Anderson.
Thanks Jonathan Colman via Google+

Lloyd Alva Anderson was born in Roy, Pierce County, Washington August 4th, 1902 on his uncles dairy, to parents of Canadian and Scottish ancestry, John and Marry Anderson. Growing up he would chop wood and worked in a creamery. He obtained his BS in electrical engineering in 1924 and began amateur climbing as a young man in the late 1920’s. In 1932 he married Mary Gaiser and they remained partners, on and off the mountain, till Lloyd’s death in 2000. Together they had two daughters, Ruth and Susan.

While Anderson retained his position with the Seattle transit system as an electrical engineer from 1924 to 1971, when he retired, he’s most known for being an avid climber — he scaled 428 peaks in his career — and founding America’s largest retail cooperative, Recreational Equipment Inc. or REI in 1938.

REI had it’s humble beginnings just outside Seattle, Washington, USA. It was a series of small events which caused Anderson, his wife Mary and their climbing friends to form the co-op. It all started because of a $12 climbing axe.

It was 1936 when Anderson ordered a climbing axe from a Seattle distributor, an axe he expected was Austrian. When the axe came in several months later though it was in fact from Japan — Japan’s metallurgy was known to be inferior in those days — and at a cost of $12. That was a full day’s wages for Anderson, the city electrical engineer. Anderson ended up ordering the axe he actually wanted directly from Austria a short time later, it arrived at a cost of $3.50 including shipping. He ordered several more for his fellow climbers and in 1938 a lawyer suggested Anderson and his cohorts form a co-op to formalize the arrangement.

Anderson and freindsAnderson and his pals each paid in $1 and by the end of 1938 there were 82 card carrying members, Lloyd and Mary carried cards numbered one and two. That year the co-op divided a $212 profit, generated by $1,361 in sales. For the first half of the co-op’s existence, the Andersons managed all shipping from their home, becoming the Seattle post office’s largest customer. The warehouse was in the attic, Mary ran the office from the kitchen and Lloyd tinkered with product development from a shop in the garage.

Anderson on right.

Anderson on right.

Early REI product tag.

Early REI product tag.
via History of Gear

Anderson remained president of REI till 1971 when he retired from both REI and the Seattle transit system. After his departure REI headed quickly towards providing a more generalized outdoors inventory at the over 77 retail stores. While Anderson personally didn’t care much for the fancy gear, choosing to remain true to the old-school climbing gear and apparel, he still patronized the REI stores. It’s said he got a real kick from providing his #1 membership card at checkout to employees with shocked expressions.

Further Reading

Win Cutter Insect Repellents

Cutter Insect Repellent Giveaway

This giveaway is sponsored by Cutter. They provided a bundle of products for us to use and review and are providing one of our readers with a fabulous bundle too!

Win Cutter Insect RepellentsAre you ready to go camping? Grab your tent and food. We’ll supply the bug spray.

Thanks to Cutter, we’re giving away $55 worth of bug repellents that will help you enjoy summer bite-free. You’ll get citronella candles, a yard fogger, backyard spray, personal repellents and more. These items will cover your backyard, your patio and your next camping or hiking trip!

See How We Used Our Cutter Products!

Earlier this week we had a backyard party… just our family and my little sister. We made chili dogs and s’mores and had a blast! Read about it: Summer Protection from Cutter Insect Repellants

Want to learn more about Cutter products?

Follow Cutter on Facebook
Follow Cutter on Pinterest
Follow Cutter on YouTube

Enter to Win this Huge Bundle of Cutter Products!

This giveaway will include:

  • Cutter Skinsations Insect Repellent Pump Spray, 6 oz.
  • Cutter Dry Insect Repellent Aerosol, 4 oz.
  • Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent Aerosol, 4 oz.
  • Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate, 32 fl. oz.
  • Cutter Backyard Bug Control Outdoor Fogger, 16 oz.
  • Cutter CitroGuard™ Triple Wick Candle, 20 oz.
  • Cutter CitroGuard™ Bucket Candle, 17 oz.
  • Cutter CitroGuard™ Candle, 11 oz. red
  • Cutter Scented Citronella Outdoor Candle, 11 oz. Vanilla & Lavender
  • Cutter Natural Insect Repellent Pump Spray, 6 fl. oz.

How to Win

Use the Rafflecopter form below to earn up to 10 entries in this giveaway.
Giveaway ends June 7th at 12:am and a winner will be randomly chosen and contacted. The winner will have 24 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond another name will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer Protection from Cutter Insect Repellants

This giveaway is sponsored by Cutter. They provided a bundle of products for us to use and review and are providing one of our readers with a fabulous bundle too!

bite-freeEverything is bigger in Texas. Really. Even the bugs.

And, every year I spend most of the summer covered in itchy welts thanks to blood thirsty mosquitoes and chiggers. But, not this year!

Cutter insect repellants to the rescue!

Thanks to Cutter I got a huge box of insect repellants to try out. There are sprays for the lawn, candles for the patio and picnic table, a backwoods spray for those tick infested woods we like to camp and hike in, an all natural spray for the kids and anywhere we need to spray directly on our skin and even a tiny to-go spray I can toss in my purse for when we go to the park.

Cutter Natural Insect Repellant
I’m most excited about the Natural spray. We’re pretty cautious about what goes into our bodies and this includes the products we may put on our skin and absorb through our bloodstream. I’ve never been a fan of deet, and while I have no problem spraying some heavy duty chemicals on my boots and pant legs before a hike in the woods, I won’t spray that stuff on my little ones’ skin, or my own skin for that matter.


Since Cutter not only supplied us with a generous sampling of their products, but also a stipend to create a fun outdoor experience, I thought we’d all go camping. Thanks to four graduations and two weddings over the past couple of weekends that just didn’t happen. So, we had a great cookout in the backyard! I grabbed everything we needed for chili dogs and s’mores, we built a fire in the fire pit and set out our lawn chairs just like we would have done at the campground. The kids loved it. Oh, who am I kidding? We all enjoyed it! And, we did it bug-free thanks to Cutter. I burnt our Cutter Scented Citronella Vanilla & Lavender candle on the little table and sprayed the kids and I with the Natural Insect Repellant. Even tho the grass was wet from a recent rain and there were bugs everywhere we remained bite-free. For me and the baby that is almost a miracle… we’re both mosquito magnets.

The natural repellants contain no deet and use the following ingredients to repel nasty biting insects:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus: Plant-based protection with natural active ingredient
  • Oil derived from Geraniums

Cutter Insect Repellants for Camping
backwoodsSince I’m still eager to pack everyone up and go camping before the summer gets too hot, I’ve got a little pile of Cutter goods set aside to take with us:

  • Cutter CitroGuard Candles – three-wick candles in metal pails with handles, perfect for on the picnic table or beside the campfire.
  • Cutter Unscented Backwoods – Extra strong, deet based spray we can put on our pant legs and boots before hiking through the woods.
  • Cutter Natural Personal Insect Repellent – Great for the kids and direct spray-on-skin.

Mosquitoes Are More than Just Annoying
Last year’s West Nile outbreaks had everyone a little scared. This year the city is already driving by at night and spraying our lawns to help keep the virus from becoming an issue again. West Nile is often spread by infected mosquitoes biting humans, so taking measures to protect yourself does more than save you from some itchy welts… it could keep you from getting sick.

Cutter Insect Repellent: Useful Tips & Facts
The CDC cites PERSONAL REPELLENT USE as the single most effective way to reduce your risk. And, most people don’t used one.

Useful tips on how to best protect yourself from insects:
• Spray repellent on exposed skin, spreading the product with your hand to improve protection (mosquitoes can detect an unprotected area the size of a dime!).
• Pay special attention to protection during prime mosquito-biting hours (usually dusk to dawn).
• Eliminate standing water around your home/in outdoor areas you are spending time in. It is a huge attractor for mosquitoes! Get rid of containers that aren’t being used, empty water from flower pots, change water in bird baths and maintain clean gutters.
• Make sure window and door screens are in good condition — install or repair where necessary.


Want to learn more about Cutter products?
Follow Cutter on Facebook
Follow Cutter on Pinterest
Follow Cutter on YouTube

Win some Cutter Products This Weekend!
In case you hadn’t noticed, this post is sponsored by Cutter. We’re grateful for their support of our site and we’re excited to tell you we’ll be posting again on Friday with a great giveaway where you can win some Cutter products of your own!

Cast Iron Cookware Care - Image Credit: Erica Mueller

Cast Iron Cookware Care

Cast Iron Cookware Care - Image Credit: Erica MuellerUnless you’re hiking to your campsite and need lightweight cookware, cast iron is the best option for cooking over an open fire. It’s heavy and heats evenly and if properly seasoned, is also easy to clean and care for.

Our first camping cookware was this Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker, 10.25″ that I continue to use almost daily in my own kitchen. And of course we toss it in the car when we head out to the lake every spring and fall! (some yummy campfire recipes here)

I was raised cooking with cast iron and my mother taught me how to properly care for my cookware so that I can enjoy mine daily, year after year.

Caring for Your Cast Iron Pans

Besides seasoning and cleaning, there are a few things you can do to ensure your cast iron cookware is ready for your camping trips and that food doesn’t stick.

  • Use wooden utensils. My favorites are wood or bamboo. Metal utensils can scratch the surface, cutting through the seasoning and sometimes leaving micro scratches in the iron itself. Soon your pans will rust and food will stick.
  • During the off-season, when you’re huddled inside cause it’s too cold to camp, store your cast iron with a few pieces of newspaper or paper towel between the pans. This keeps them from scratching one another as they shift and will also absorb moisture and prevent your cookware from rusting.
  • After cooking acidic foods like chili, spaghetti sauce, etc, rinse the pot out quickly. The acid in tomatoes can eat away at the seasoning in your pans! When we go camping we love to cook things like chili, but we make sure to bring a plastic storage container or mason jar to store any leftovers and we get that pan cleaned up fast!

Learn how to clean and season cast iron cookware!

Let’s dispel a few cast iron cookware myths…

  • Food sticks to cast iron. Not if it’s been properly seasoned.
  • Once cast iron is rusted, it’s ruined. Not if you know how to clean it!

I’ve written an extensive article on How to Care for Cast Iron Cookware on where I cover the best ways to clean cast iron and how to season new cast iron cookware.

And, here’s a video I shot of me cleaning my favorite skillet:

Do you cook with cast iron on your camping trips?

I’d love to hear about your favorite pieces for camping, whether you’ve tried dutch oven cooking, and about the most callenging dishes you’ve cooked in your cast iron cookware!