What's your favourite trick, cheat or adaptation?

almac

Forager
Oct 13, 2010
156
0
Okanagan, BC CANADA
I've made in the past;

a candle 'storm' lantern out of a beercan. hold the can sideways and cut an 'H' into it. the top and bottom is folded out like wings/reflector.

hot water bottle trick in winter.
in rainstorms, I always leave a pot out to collect water off my tarp/shelter. best drinking water. :)

I've trimmed a small cupcake pan, and used it over the fire to cook eggs and bacon. also used the same pan to melt wax, make tallow, and melt pine pitch.
made tent stakes out of scrap rebar.
I always take a piece of good wire with me for pot hangers and such. :)

ranger bands made out of old bike inner tubes. strongest elastic bands ever.
 
For those of you who use a Trangia or alcohol stove, try using nail polish remover as it's easily available from most shops, cheap and comes in nice small bottles, enough for a few nights camping.
It's also good for cleaning your nails
Cleaning the sticky gooo off of pots that have been on the fire
Firelighting

And remove my nail polish of course. ;)
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
Well, now, this is one of the few threads I've read from the beginning. I've done a few of the things already mentioned but only a few. One thing mentioned that I do always is to carry a cut foam pad to sit on, if I don't have a full length pad with me, which I would only take on an overnight. The Girl Scouts call it a "sit-upon."

I've rarely built fires, so I can't contribute to the ancient practice of fire-making. Instead, I will at least have an Esbit cooker if I'm just heating a mug of water, otherwise a full-grown gas stove. I have a Leatherman (also fully grown) multi-tasker but it's way too heavy to bring along and most of the tools are useless for what I have with me. But to refuel an old-fashioned Svea stove, I bring a small slip-joint plier to open the fuel cap on the stove. That's about the only thing I can conceivably require a tool for. Nothing I take to the woods have screws, corks, bottle caps or cans that need an opener.

I use a thin insulated lunch bag, which I received when I attended a company function about 20 years ago. It is perfect for carrying (inside the pack) all the little things, mostly cooking related. Then one day I happened to notice that if I cut down the plastic container that kitty litter comes in, the lunch bag fit perfectly inside. The plastic container makes a good basin for washing things, as you don't want to use cookware for washing your face or your socks and, anyway, all of mine are too small in the first place. As another mention, however, have some cold water in there first when you pour in the hot water. The only negative is that it's stark white.

I've mentioned this elsewhere but "para cord" is everyone answer the anything that a cup of tea won't fix. But I have found that I prefer something better, preferably white. White cord will not stain anything if it gets wet and it's easier to see at night (which means it isn't tactical). But so-called para cord is cheap and is still useful. I experimented with some very fine nylon cord once. It was strong and would support, oh, probably well over 40 pounds but it tangled up like crazy. Some things work fine on the floor at home but not so much in the woods among the twigs and leaves and dirt.

A real luxury in the woods is a flat and level surface. I have no solution for that problem, I'm afraid. But another basic problem in the woods is simple cleanliness. One thing that helps a little is to use a pair of cheap cotton work gloves, either drill or jersey. They help keep your hands clean around the fire and the stove and function a little as pot holders as well as handling sticky plants. But my father used to say that wearing gloves too much makes your hands soft.

I expect you all carry toilet paper like I do but I also carry some paper towels for cleaning up the cups and bowls and spoons. "Usually" a rinse with water and a careful wipe down with a paper towel is good enough if your food isn't greasy. But if it is, use my unpatented cut-down plastic basin mentioned above. Detergent is still problematic and my trials and experiments are so far inconclusive. Part of me wants to use GI (army issue) soap but I've never found any for sale, which may not be such a bad thing.
 

tsitenha

Nomad
Dec 18, 2008
384
1
Kanata
I use my Stewart speed stitch awl for all kinds of projects, a smaller similar expedition stitching awl was available some time ago called the Chouinard stitching awl.
They are hard to find by the original company but can be reproduced by using key less chuck drill bit used for hobbyists. They will hold similar heavy needles to the speedy stitcher and it travels well you pack along with some waxed nylon thread cord. Make field mending easily and sturdily.
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
10
Scotland
A trick I learned from a British Army sniper mate that may be of use though I don't like needlessly self medicating is to use painkillers or Imodium to stop you needing to poo so much while outdoors.

Useful when sitting in a high seat all day or heading somewhere where going for a number 2 can be problematic. As it saves all the hassle of waste disposal. Don't over do it as passing "hard pebbles" can be painfull!

That and my old boiled egg handwarmers trick is good in the winter. Boil a couple of eggs before breaking camp/leaving the house and pop them in your pockets. Keep your hands warm for a good while and you've a tasty snack for lunch on the tail. 1 thing - 1 jobs. A good BC ethos.
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
This isn't a suggestion but rather a solicitation for one. What do people do for a ground sheet? Most things I've used don't hold up, at least not in the places I use them. There's always too much stuff on the ground that very quickly pokes holes in most plastic, although I will admit that large black plastic trash bags (bin liners) do well enough for a couple of nights.

In theory, a piece of canvas, such as is sold for painter's drop cloths, should be ideal if properly treated, if someone heavy. Does anyone here treat canvas in an old-fashioned 18th century manner for use on the ground? I've seen references in magazines but I can't seem to find any mention in any that I still have.
 

Mesquite

Anyone for sailing?
Mar 5, 2008
23,588
791
58
~Hemel Hempstead~
This isn't a suggestion but rather a solicitation for one. What do people do for a ground sheet? Most things I've used don't hold up, at least not in the places I use them. There's always too much stuff on the ground that very quickly pokes holes in most plastic, although I will admit that large black plastic trash bags (bin liners) do well enough for a couple of nights.
I tend to use an IPK sheet
 

mountainm

Bushcrafter through and through
Jan 12, 2011
9,990
7
Selby
www.mikemountain.co.uk
This isn't a suggestion but rather a solicitation for one. What do people do for a ground sheet? Most things I've used don't hold up, at least not in the places I use them. There's always too much stuff on the ground that very quickly pokes holes in most plastic, although I will admit that large black plastic trash bags (bin liners) do well enough for a couple of nights.

In theory, a piece of canvas, such as is sold for painter's drop cloths, should be ideal if properly treated, if someone heavy. Does anyone here treat canvas in an old-fashioned 18th century manner for use on the ground? I've seen references in magazines but I can't seem to find any mention in any that I still have.
Try an old builders merchants rubble sack , tyvek is the lighter alternative but not that cheap.
 

Whittler Kev

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 8, 2009
4,303
5
61
March, UK
bushcraftinfo.blogspot.com
This isn't a suggestion but rather a solicitation for one. What do people do for a ground sheet? Most things I've used don't hold up, at least not in the places I use them. There's always too much stuff on the ground that very quickly pokes holes in most plastic, although I will admit that large black plastic trash bags (bin liners) do well enough for a couple of nights.

In theory, a piece of canvas, such as is sold for painter's drop cloths, should be ideal if properly treated, if someone heavy. Does anyone here treat canvas in an old-fashioned 18th century manner for use on the ground? I've seen references in magazines but I can't seem to find any mention in any that I still have.
Have a look on Wilderness outfitters/Dave Canterbury's website or YouTube site as that's all he uses (Canvas tarps) and even uses them to drag firewood back to camp and them lays under them without damage
 

tom.moran

Settler
Nov 16, 2013
986
0
36
Swindon, Wiltshire
This isn't a suggestion but rather a solicitation for one. What do people do for a ground sheet? Most things I've used don't hold up, at least not in the places I use them. There's always too much stuff on the ground that very quickly pokes holes in most plastic, although I will admit that large black plastic trash bags (bin liners) do well enough for a couple of nights.

In theory, a piece of canvas, such as is sold for painter's drop cloths, should be ideal if properly treated, if someone heavy. Does anyone here treat canvas in an old-fashioned 18th century manner for use on the ground? I've seen references in magazines but I can't seem to find any mention in any that I still have.
erm, bivvy bag
 

petrochemicals

Full Member
Jul 30, 2012
3,507
209
westmidlands
That trick works well on birch bark too, but I dislike using it on a regular basis since it it hard on the dge of the knife. My trick for feather sticks is to use a "push-cut", i.e. slicing off the feather. Good to have in reserve for when it does not come easy.
worried about blunting a knife, shame shame shame shame shame.

I too have read the thread from beginning to end.
Like the ash washing up trick, hoodoos tarp clips, and the twisted cord washing line amongs others, and will remember the caymen pepper.

Mine

1) mark the inside of your cup with volume measurements if you have no measuements already.

2)A piece of fine weave cloth sewed together in a cone shape acts as a primary filter, water gatherer, and funnel all in one. Sort of a mill bank funnel.

3)peizo lighters are light waterproof start everytime backups.