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SURVIVAL 101: THREE WAYS TO BOIL WATER IN THE WILDERNESS

BOILING WATER IN THE WOODS

So, in our last post we discussed why it can be important to boil water in a survival situation, but we did not delve into the methodology of boiling said water, so, in this insert we will discuss three very easy yet effective methods of boiling water in a wilderness situation. Now notice, I said wilderness situation and not necessarily survival situation. The fact is that the only way I’ve ever been able to get water to boil in a survival situation, (one where I didn’t even have so much as a tin cup to boil with), is the hot rock method. So here are three methods that you can use to boil water in the wilderness.

  1. Fresnel Lense. I’ll mention this first because it is the least practical; however it is probably the most fun, rewarding, and the greenest. The Fresnel Lens harnesses the power of the earth’s sun to boil your water or to otherwise cook your food. This would be a great apparatus to have for a military surplus tent adventure, family camping trip, or any other planned outing. It is kind of big however, so in order to get one together that will be effective you will need to have room in your camper, truck or Subaru.
  2. Fire and iron. Or aluminum, or steel, or ceramic, copper, tin, brass or anything else that can withstand the heat of a fire or cookstove. Most non-ferrous metals other than lead, zinc, etc… The trick here, regardless of the heat source, is to get the water hot enough to boil by getting the vessel hot. This is how we boil water all over the world, the most common method.
  3. Hot rocks. This is the easiest method when in a survival situation because you can use a wood container, clay, mud or even a thick leaf container, or bark, to hold the water while it is being heated to boiling by placing egg sized hot rocks in it. The rocks should not be sedimentary, rather you should use igneous or metamorphic rocks.
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RDDUSA PRODUCT REVIEW: THE SOLAVORE SOLAR OVEN

Photo By: solarovenshopblog.com

SOLAVORE SOLAR OVEN

As an extension of recent prior posts about wilderness cooking, and in celebration of the upcoming SPRING weather and the camping/survival trips that accompany it, I want to introduce you to a wonderful new gadget that is sure to add hours of hiking/fishing/camping time to your outdoor excursion, strictly for no other reason than the fact that it will limit significantly the time that meal preparation normally takes. It is: The Solavore Solar Oven. This device simply focuses and retains the sun’s energy in the form of heat to bake a meal without electricity or gas. The Solavore weighs in at around nine pounds and it only costs around $229, (MSRP). With it you get a plastic oven, 2 three pound cooking pots, and a temperature gauge. (For $40 more you can also get a reflector, there is also a shoulder strap, carrying bag, and pot holders available as other options). The tech team at GearJunkie® recently did a review of this oven where they used it sans instructions as most of us would. They found that the oven quickly heated up to 300 degrees in moderate sunlight, and sufficiently cooked a pot of pulled pork, (from chops), and a pot of tubers after letting them set in the sun most all day. Their review indicated that they didn’t produce anything that Gordon Ramsey might consider brag worthy, but they did maintain a steady 250 degree temperature the whole time. One important thing of note, they did report that as the food cooked it emitted an attractive aroma, one which wouldl ikely draw animals to your campsite… because of this, you might consider erecting the device in an open area away from camp, and maybe even putting it up high and out of reach somehow. This would protect your campsite and your meal, and give better exposure to the suns rays as the earth rotates. You can read the original GearJunkie® article here: http://solarovenshopblog.com/

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CAMPFIRE RECIPE; STEW AND BISCUITS, NO DUMPLINGS

A dutch oven and fire

I was perusing the news recently when I happened upon an article which had the uncommon ability to start my mouth to watering and which furthermore set my imagination onto a much needed adventure, which entailed it’s being transported immediately to an arctic environment where I was suddenly inside a small trapper’s cabin, in the midst of a winter storm. It wasn’t really much as far as articles go, just an idea for a simple campfire recipe of Dinty Moore beef stew and some Bisquick biscuits, however, the combination of the two together elicited an excited stimulus of Pavlovian dimensions in my tongue and belly and I immediately began to scheme. In the original recipe it called for a can of Dinty and some Bisquick and milk… pretty boring, so I went into the kitchen and began to concoct this:

JOHNNY’S WHATCHA-GOT? STEW AND BISCUITS

Ingredients: One small roast cubed, three potatoes, six carrots, and some peas of you’ve got them. In a survival situation, I would prepare whatever meat I could get, excluding fish, and use cattail tubers in place of the potatoes and wild carrots in place of the carrots, (think Queen Anne’s lace). The initial trick is to boil the beef first, until it looks a little “raggetty”. In a survival situation, or even on a military surplus tent adventure with the family I would probably pull some wild onion and garlic to enhance the stew and keep the black flies away. In normal situations however, there is no need to put them all through that. Feeds four. The biscuits are most easily prepared in a skillet and are a concocted from lard, flour, some baking powder, and milk. In a survival situation you might be ok trying to use acorn flour in place of regular flour; however, it will be bitter and most likely will serve you better as dumplings rather than biscuits. In any event, I can easily imagine trying to brave the wilds of an Alaskan Wilderness with a belly full of beef stew and biscuits much better than I can a mouth full of jerky and hard tack.

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COOKING FRESH FISH ON A CAMPFIRE; 3 WAYS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

When I was a young wild-man in training, I had several opportunities to practice my survival skills and I took every opportunity to do so. This was the case when it came to young love as well, and the girls with whom I shared a mutual affection were often reluctant to be exposed to the wonders of the outdoors, specifically in the form of wilderness survival. I found out very quickly that the most adventurous of women of the era were more prone to brave the wilds of the local malls than they were to try their hand at living off of the land, and it was therefore a special treat for me when a young woman of my affection finally agreed to a wilderness respite in the form of fish, (apparently the only wild game she could eat). I easily caught us a couple of panfish each and set about to scaling them with a rock, gutted them with the same piece of shale, (I couldn’t find any chert at the time), and cooked them to perfection on the green boughs of a willow grill, on a bow-drill fire I had quickly built myself. To her credit, she did pick through the bones rather courageously if a bit daintily, and she was great company for the rest of the day. It was, however, our last date and I’m not so sure that she really enjoyed herself though she had assured me that she had. In any event, these ruminations have brought me to the present topic, that of cooking fish over an open fire. This is one of my favorite wilderness meals because it is so quick and easily prepared, and here are the three ways I usually do it:

  1. On a simple willow grill. It is just a web of green willow boughs placed over a bed of hot coals. Probably the easiest way to cook them, however, I recommend that you don’t fillet them if you’re going to cook them this way as the fillets tend to get flaky and fall apart and will go into your coals and get ruined.
  2. On a spit over coals. This takes a bit more time, but the advantage is that it’s quicker because you can build a hotter fire. Be careful of singing on one side and getting it raw on the other. Spit cooking takes a lot of attention and care.
  3. On a rock next to the fire. This works best for fillets, especially if you don’t mind eating fish crumbles. The fillets cook more thoroughly and there is less attention needed but they will come apart as you go to turn them.
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CAMPING 2017: 3 REASONS TO TAKE A FOLDING TABLE WITH YOU

If you are like me then you have already gotten a jump on the camping season this year and have gotten out into the Spring mix to get a taste of the crisp cool air and the gentle sunshine without the benefit of the noseeums and mosquitos. The fact of the matter is, at least for me, that it’s the little things that make a camping trip miserable or great. One of the things that I despise most in life is being hunched over something for any length of time. The worst for me is when filleting a thousand or so panfish; but a close second is trying to use some old log or a flat rock as a work space when I am camping and preparing game or fixing a meal. And as a matter of fact it was during a recent fling into the wilderness while I was trying to prepare venison kabobs, corn on the cob, and an apple strudel for the wife and the kids that inspiration struck. (This inspiration did not strike me in the usual way, it struck me right across the top of my head… the bald spot, where the errant, early season fly had landed, which my wife had promptly smacked with a rolled up magazine). It turns out the magazine was an old copy of Popular Mechanics™, and there was an article about fold up tables in it. (YOU CAN READ IT HERE IF YOU LIKE! 🙂 ) Here are three really good reasons to take a folding table camping with you:

  1. You don’t have to be hunched over. Most of these designs are made so that you can take full advantage of your homo-erectus status and stand erect while using them. What a treat for the back, huh?
  2. You won’t have to juggle your items to keep them clean. As I mentioned earlier, a log in the woods or an old flat rock both have a common characteristic that is problematic, namely, they are both filthy as hell.
  3. You won’t lose your knife. This might not be a problem for you, though I’d venture to guess it affects all sportsmen, but there is nothing I hate more than to be using my knife, lay it down for just a second, and then not be able to find it anywhere. With a handy dandy collapsable table in your midst, you shouldn’t have any problem at all finding it, it should be right there where you left it.
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