Reminiscing.

Kepis

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 17, 2005
6,269
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Sussex
Was reminiscing yesterday with an old school friend about the times we used to grab our gear and go up the woods and play, sorry, ahem, practice skills.

We got round to talking about our cooking gear, these days we both have pots and pans in stainless steel, aluminium, anodised aluminium & titanium, yet, back to basics all we ever used when we were kids was an old bean tin with a bit of coat hanger to suspend it with, it worked perfectly well and was free, ok its difficult to cook a full blown meal in it, but for making a brew it's perfect and you can always grill or roast meats and veggies.

Problem with a lot of tins these days is they have an awful plastic lining so are unsuitable for making a small billy from, mind you, i think the next non lined can i get, might just get repurposed to a basic of basic billy can and take me back to basics.

IMG_0068 by Mark Emery, on Flickr
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
In those days you write about, what was the layer inside the cans?
I recall ( late 60's?) some cheap brands being tinned, but most had the see through yellowish lacquer, and later a white plastic layer too.

I think we were just not aware of those things.
And we survived, the only remnant are those facial ticks!
:)
 

Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
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My first forays into cooking outdoors were wee navets nicked from next doors veg bed and boiled up in a bean can. The lad who nicked them ate them and complimented me on my cooking (his Daddy trained him well :) ) we must have been oooh, eight, maybe nine.
Harry (the next door neighbour) chapped the door the next morning to complain, but admitted that at least we'd eaten them. We picked him a couple of pounds of brambles in compensation :)
I'm getting old. The lad's dead, so is old Harry, and I miss simpler times.

M
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Many were the summer family camping trips of 5-15 days. Deeper and deeper into the wilderness as we got older.
Many lessons, particularly about food and fire. Places only boaters with a lot for fuel could get to.

There are recent mumblings about taking one last shot at it. Cabin, wood fires, renting a boat, fishing.
We all know how that fish will be cooked, nobody needs to even ask.
Won't bother with a guide, I lived in that area of the Churchill River, decades ago. Islands don't move.
Find the Churchill River in central Saskatchewan. From Black Bear Island Lake to Keg Falls.

Thanks Toddy. Maybe just cabin fever after an ultra-crappy cold winter.
 
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saxonaxe

Forager
Sep 29, 2018
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Not so much early Bushcraft/Camping cooking but eating cooked food outdoors....
I spent my early years in a Children's Home and one day during the school summer holidays, five of us 8-10 year old kids were playing in the fields adjoining the home when we spotted a pall of grey smoke above an Orchard, which was part of a nearby Small Farm.
Soon came the clanging of the Fire Engine's bells ( Emergency vehicles rang bells in those days, not wailing sirens or two tone horns...:D ) So we dashed across the fields to the boundary fence and peeped through. By the time of our breathless arrival the fire in the sun dry grass of the Orchard was out and the fire crews had obviously been rewarded with mugs of tea by the Farmer.
We crept through a hole in the fence and crawled like stalking Leopards into the soft fruit area. Gooseberries hung like tanned jewels on the bushes, the lower berries black and charred but the higher ones a golden brown and still warm.
Munching as we went, we made our way down the rows over the blackened grass. Black Currants, some burst with the heat were still warm, as were the Red Currants, scoffed by the handful over the next 20 minutes or so.

Suddenly raised voices! A Fireman was coming to do a final check before returning to the Fire Station, but our quick retreat was undetected and we scuttled back through the fence.

About half way, or less, on the run home, I detected the first signs of gurgling and sharp pains in my stomach.
I made it back to the Home...just, and spent the next two hours sitting on the toilet, as did my comrades in arms. The next two days meant it was highly risky for any of the intrepid five to venture more than a quick dash away from the toilet.
The moral I suppose is beware of the associated dangers of flaming Orchards....:biggrin:
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
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Exmoor
I still make coathanger toasting forks and use them to make toast and cook the odd sausage.
I too miss simpler times and wonder was it just the carefree ignorance of youth?
I spent most of my childhood free range and building shelters in the woods. I was never taught how to do it never read a book about how to make one I just did it.
I'd spend hours in a corner of the garden with my tipi made of bean poles and old curtains with my little firepit making tea in my marvel tin billy can and toast, or a sausage on my coathanger toasting fork.
Still have my firepit in the garden and make tea and toast when the whim takes me though gluten free bread kinda spoils the experience a bit. Also there is no room for a beanpole tipi...... let alone one big enough to fit into nowadays! But I just put my camp cot up and sleep under the stars instead.
 
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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
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All but one of my billycans is a recycled coffee/tea/sugar storage tin or biscuit tin from charity shops. All I do is add a wooden "button" handle to the lid and a fencing wire/coathanger/knitting needle bail...
£1 for a 2L billycan!
 
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Crowe

Forager
I heat my canned food in boiling water. However the label these days is affixed with a glue that dissolves and sticks to the side of my Billy can. So I now have to remove the label, glue and clean the can before I go out to the woods.
BTW Not seen a metal coat hanger for a number of years now.
 
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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,129
435
Canada
Coffee cans have a long and noble history - especially since the 1930s in the US when so many were poor and on the move, not just for cooking in, but also as a stove itself :) A couple of holes poked in the lower sides for air, couple int he top sides to thread through something for the cooking pot to stand on

Cheaper than custom titanium and exactly as capable

I have made a bunch of pots like this for the fun of it. Best one was from an Illy coffee can because of its lid. But the standard north american coffee can is quite a bit bigger and possibly more serviceable
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
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I've just got into stove making and made some cola can penny stoves and an ikea cutlery drainer stove. All took just a few minutes to make. They all work just grand and I'm wondering why I paid so much for all the other stoves I have... (last count 6). !
I'm also about to start on a coffee can rocket stove if I can get some sand or vermiculite.... or I've got an old paint tin I could use... the possibilitys are endless. :)
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
It is the modern life, and modern people.

How many of us darn socks?
Know how to sew a button on properly?

Making your own stove - why, when you can but a beautiful cheap one made from Exotic Titanium? in only costs xx money!
:)

From very early days and youth, I was taught to buy the highest possible quality. Save and buy.
Or use something 'houshold-y' .

The Kephart knife in another thread is another good example of a household item slightly adopted for outdoor use.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
That is because you and the other 'stove makers' are interested in a more deeper way, than the average.

Me, I have never used this type of stove. First (with dad) his family's old kitchen Primus that had about 70 years of use before my dad (stupidly) threw it away, then a Trangia or a Sami style fire.

Primus ( and copies like Optimus) were invented over a Century ago, Trangia 3/4 of a Century ( might be wrong), plus the fact that every man in Sweden ( homosexuals and Communists excluded) did Armed Forces duty, plus regular training months every couple of years means we are used to these systems as 'the norm'. Ingrained in our minds.

Those regular training months were spent to 90% in the area where they were going to be deployed, somewhere in the nature. So 'bushcrafting'.

I do not know any of my Swedish and Norwegian friends that does not have an old Trangia at home.

The young, post Cold War generations are different of course.