Quick Tip #22

Planning for a backpacking or camping trip? If so, I recommend using lighterpack.com You can sign up for a free account and use their free forms to keep track of what gear you’re taking, carrying and wearing. It’s a great way to track your pack weight and to see if there’s anything you need to change, add or do without. All the forms you create are saved to your account and you can share them as well. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Pack Weight

Here’s a list of what each of our packs weighted for our most recent family camping trip.

*Weights do not include water or food (consumables) I carried all of the food.

 

Me: Hidden Woodsman Deepwoods Pack Loaded Weight 37.2 Lbs

Wife: Hidden Woodsman Dayruck Pack Loaded Weight 22.6 Lbs

15 Year Old: Hidden Woodsman Dayruck Pack Loaded Weight 15 lbs

12 Year Old: Rothco Mini Alice Pack Loaded Weight 15 lbs

11 Year Old: Urban Mountain Pack Loaded Weight 16.2 lbs

6 Year Old: Hidden Woodsman Dayruck Scout Pack Loaded Weight 7.4 lbs

4 Year Old: Ozark Trail Daypack Loaded Weight 5 lbs

As you can see, our packs were not very heavy. We did not lack for anything or suffer. We had everything we needed and a few extra’s. The youngest two carried only their extra clothing, sleeping bags, cup, spoon and bandanna. My wife and I carried the extra things they needed. We had a great time in a beautiful place and can’t wait to get out again.

I hope this inspires others to lighten the load and get out and enjoy the wild places that are available all around us. What things are a must for you to take camping? Have you ever primitive camped? Thanks for stopping by and please like and leave a comment with your answers or thoughts about the above questions.

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Preparations for Wild Camping with A Large Family

 

I love to be organized and it’s no different when planning a camping trip for my family. To make it as easy as possible I always create an Excel document listing everything we need to take for each person and our dog. It also includes our food and what we’ll be eating each day. Below is an example of what I used for our last trip.

 

Camping List
15Year Old 12Year Old 11Year Old 6Year Old 4Year Old Wife Me
Backpack x x x x x x x
Tent/Hammock x x x x x
Sleeping Bag x x x x x x x
Sleeping pad x x x x x x x
Clothing x x x x x x x
Cup/Spoon x x x x x x x
Cooking Stuff x x
First Aid x x x X X
Water Filter x x x x x
Bug Stuff x x
Headlamp x x x x x x x
Fire Kit x x x x
Knife x x x x x
Saw x x x x
Cordage x x x x x
Food x x x x x
Bandana x x x x x x x
Toilet Kit x
Tissues x x x x x x x
Water Bottle x x x x x x x
Bear Bag x
Hand Gun x
MultiTool x x x x
Camp Soap x
Iphone Tripod x
GoPro (?) x
Food
Fri. Lunch sandwiches (6) & chips (6)
Fri. Snack Granola Bar (6)
Fri. Dinner Hot Dogs (12) Cut Peppers (3) Ketchup Rolls (10)
Fri. Dessert S’mores (11) Coffee
Sat. Breakfast Oatmeal (12) Bacon (2) Coffee Hot Cocoa (10)
Sat. Snack Granola Bar (6)
Dog
Food (2 Scoops)
Bowls -2
coat
Bug Stuff
Leash
Tieout (25′ of cord)
Bedding

 

Next, I’ll break the excel document down further into word documents for each person to pack from. Each person in our family gets a sheet with a list of items to pack. This way as each person packs, they can cross off the things as they are placed in the pack. This has helped us tremendously to not forget things. Examples from our last trip.

 

15 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Hammock

Under&over quilt

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and wool pullover)

Cook kit with spoon

Water filter

Headlamp

Fire Kit

First Aid Kit

Fixed Blade Knife

Folding Saw

Cordage

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Food

 

12 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tarp, Ridgeline & Tyvek

Sleeping Bag or Wool Blanket

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cook kit with spoon

Water filter

Headlamp

Fire Kit

First Aid Kit

Fixed Blade Knife

Folding Saw

Cordage

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Food

 

11 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tarp, Ridgeline & Tyvek

Sleeping Bag or Wool Blanket

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cook kit with spoon

Water filter

Headlamp

Fire Kit

First Aid Kit

Fixed Blade Knife

Folding Saw

Cordage

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Food

 

6 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tent

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cup & spoon

Headlamp

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

 

4 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tarp

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cup & spoon

Headlamp

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

 

 

Doing lists like this makes it so much less stressful to pack our large family for a trip and makes it more delightful. It gives me peace of mind and I’m not racking my brain at the last minute trying to think of things we may be forgetting. It also makes our trips more successful and enjoyable. What things do all of you do that helps or hinders your trip planning and packing? Thanks for stopping by. Please like or leave a comment with your thoughts on trip planning.

Waxing Gear

A simple more traditional way to waterproof your clothing or gear is to use Greenland wax. I own a couple pairs of Fjallraven Vidda pro trousers and one of their granite wool flannel shirts. When I ordered my first pair of Fjallraven pants I also ordered some of their Greenland wax.

It was time to wax/waterproof my pants and the shoulders on my granite shirt so I grabbed the wax and my heat gun. Putting the wax on is simple. All you have to do is rub the wax on whatever you’re treating like you’re coloring in a coloring book.

Once each garment was completely covered in wax, I grabbed my heat gun. I set the heat gun on the lowest setting and took care to constantly keep the heat gun moving so not to burn the garment.

There’s something very satisfying about watching the wax melt into each garment and disappear. It didn’t take me much time at all to treat my two pairs of pants and flannel. Since I had the wax out, I decided to wax my Hidden Woodsmen Deepwoods Ruck. It turned out pretty good. We’ll see how well it worked this weekend well I’m out.

Do you wax any of your gear? What type of wax do you use? Let me know what you think in the comments section down below. Have a wonderful day and get out into the wild places and use that gear you’ve bought.

Natural Tinder (Mushroom)

Well out for a walk with my family, I came across a standing dead tree that had mushrooms all over it. Whenever I’m walking around, I’m constantly on the look out for great natural tinder sources to test with my flint and steel kit or with a fero rod.

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I noticed that all the mushrooms were dead and dried up, so I grabbed a couple to see if I could get an ember going using my flint and steel.

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Sure, enough after a few strikes, the broken piece of mushroom took a spark and I was able to blow it into a nice ember that would burn for a long time. Since the mushrooms worked so well, I went back and filled a brown paper bag full of them so that I could test them some more as well as have my kids try them out as well.

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Mushrooms are not something I know much about, so I’m still trying to find out what kind they are. I’m thinking they’re some kind of polypore. I’ve shown them to others online that know way more about mushrooms than I do but they’re unsure as well. Since they’re dead and dried up, it makes it harder to ID them. As soon as I have the ID, I’ll post a comment on this post stating what they are.

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What natural tinder sources do you use with your fire kit? Have you ever tried flint and steel or a fero rod? I love challenging myself and furthering my skills and I hope you all do as well. If you’ve never tried starting a fire with flint and steel or a fero rod I urge you to give it a try. You won’t regret it. Learning can be fun and empowering. My challenge to you is, learn a new way to start a fire this week, month or year. Thanks for reading and leave a comment sharing what new fire starting skill you’re going to challenge yourself to learn.

Quick Tip #21

So, you made it to where you want to camp for the night, and you’re all setup, then you realize it’s going to be dark soon and you start scrambling around to gather natural tinder and wood to get a fire going. Does this sound like your normal routine? It used to be mine years ago until I started carrying a tinder pouch on my belt. Now as I hike along, I gather natural tinder, birch bark, small twigs and anything else I might be able to use to make a “birds nest” and get a fire going. I also grab a few pieces of wood (sticks) that are slightly thicker than my thumb and break them short enough to fit in the pouch. I use these for making feather sticks.

Carrying a tinder pouch and filling it as you hike makes for a less stressful time later trying to get a fire going and it means you’ll most likely have better quality material to work with. Some advantages to carrying a tinder pouch are that everything you put in the pouch gets mixed together and ground together as you hike and if anything is damp it will help dry it out by the time you get to camp. Also, if it starts raining along the way or by the time you get to camp or before you get a fire going, you’ll have a bag full of quality dry tinder to work with instead of trying to scrounge around in the rain.

I highly recommend training yourself to grab natural tinder as you hike, whether you put it in your pocket, pack or designated tinder pouch, you’ll thank me later when you have a much easier and relaxed time starting a nice warm cozy fire. Do you already carry a designated tinder pouch? If so, what natural things do you grab to fill your pouch? Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment with your answers to the previous questions.

Homemade Pulk Sled

I’ve wanted to make a pulk sled for winter camping for a while now, so I decided making a pulk sled was next on my list of D.I.Y. projects. I was excited to find that my local Runnings store was running a sale on Jet Sled Jr’s so I grabbed two of them. I figured I’d make two sleds so that either, one of my sons could use one or my brother. I crafted brackets out of some steel stock I grabbed from the hardware store. After shaping the brackets and painting them, I mounted them on the front of the sled with stainless steel bolts and fasteners.

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I added a fin, made from aluminum angle stock, on the rear bottom of the sled. I used galvanized fasteners to attach the fin. This helps with tracking in the snow especially when in hilly areas.

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I used plastic electrical conduit for the poles that connect to the sled and a leather belt for pulling. I used two pieces of conduit because I wanted six foot poles. If I were to make the poles five feet instead of six feet I would have only needed one conduit. On one end of each pole I epoxied a tie rod end and the other end epoxied an eye bolt. Prior to adding epoxy, I heated up the conduit so that I could push the nut for the eye bolt and the nut for the tie rod end in, to make a more secure attachment. The tie rod end connects to the bracket on the sled using a locking pin.

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The eye bolt on the other end of the poles connects to clevis pins which I mounted on either side of a leather belt I made. I put a washer on both sides of the belt before installing the clevis pin and then added a heavy bushing which fit perfectly inside the eye bolt and over the clevis pin. Lastly, I added a hitch pin to keep the eye bolt in place but to also make it easily removable once at camp.

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All in all, I think this project went well and the pulk sleds turned out great. I can’t wait to get out and test my new pulk sled. This should make snowshoeing a bit easier without the extra weight from the pack on my back pushing down on the snowshoes. Do you winter camp or snowshoe? Have you ever used or thought about using a pulk sled for winter camping? Let me know in the comments section if you liked this D.I.Y. project and if you’d like to see more.

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