Movin’ Out By Harry Roberts
A tip from Harry Roberts’ “Movin’ Out” first published in 1975. This is only a thin book but it goes into more detail than most, with exhaustive information about what to look for when choosing each piece of kit, delving into the pros and cons of different stitching and seam constructs and the architecture of pack-frames. Roberts was a freelance photographer and writer spending some time in the 70s as the editor of “Wilderness Camping Magazine”, he was also a certified cross country ski instructor and examiner.
Tip 008 – A Novel Insect Repellent
For those of you who dislike chemicals with strange names, I offer a novel insect repellent technique I learnt from one of my Habitant kin years ago. Take a garlic bud and slice it up into little pieces. Swallow them whole and wait a while–say a couple of hours. Pop a fresh bud about every twelve hours, and the bugs shun you. Perhaps it alters the scent of your perspiration, but if it does, its not noticeable. That’s all right the USDA doesn’t really know why deet works, either.
Interesting stuff, the way I understood it was that bugs were attracted to exhaled breath, which means eating garlic makes some sense. One last bit of foolproof advice, however, is to simply hike with me, I attract mosquitos like no other human, making life very pleasant for everyone else.
Categories: Tips from the Archive Tags: 1970s, Deet, Garlic, Harry Roberts, Mosquitto Repellant, Movin' Out
How To Stay Alive in the Woods
A tip from Bradford Angier, one of the godfathers of outdoor writing. This is from “How to Stay Alive in the Woods” first written in 1956, it is common knowledge how to use a watch to find north, but if we reverse the principle it is also possible to set your watch by using a compass.
Tip 007 – Setting Your Watch Using A Compass
If we are in the United States or Canada and want to set a watch, let us ascertain by compass which way is due south. Then using the shadow to help us keep the hour hand of the watch pointed at the sun, let us turn the hour hand until south lies midway along the shorter arc between it and the numeral twelve. The watch will then be set within a few minutes of the correct local standard time.
Categories: Tips from the Archive Tags: Bradford Angier, compass, How to stay alive in the woods, setting a watch, Tips
Using tree bark to find north, picture from Out of the Fire’s Flickr
A good tip from Berndt Berglund’s “Wilderness Survival.” There are hundreds of ways of finding north but this is the first I’d heard of this method.
Tip 005 – Using a tree stump to find north.
If you find a stump, it’s easy to tell north by looking at the annual growth rings. Annual rings are formed by living cells just inside the bark of a tree. These cells serve as a transportation system from the roots to all parts of the tree. To protect this delicate system, the tree protects the cells from the cooler northerly winds by growing a thicker layer of bark on north and north-east sides of the tree. These facts have been known by woodsmen in many parts of the world. A recent study by one of our leading universities proved this fact beyond doubt.
This book was intended as a guide to North America so I’m not sure this counts for the rest of the world, but it’s still interesting.
Categories: Tips from the Archive Tags: bark, Berndt Berglund, north, tree, winlderness survival
25 Aug 2012 |
Dutch Oven Cooking Temperature
This one is a goody, especially for the outdoor gourmet. It comes from Viv Moon’s Outdoor cookbook. This is my go-to outdoor cookery guide. This particular tip is great for anyone trying to master the dutch oven.
There are various methods around that some camp cooks use to judge how hot the camp oven is, the old, but tried paper testing method being a fairly good gauge.
Paper Test–put a piece of paper such as brown paper bag (not newspaper) inside your preheated camp oven. Within a few minutes it turns:
- dark brown–oven is very hot 240-300˚C [465-570˚F]
- light brown–oven is hot 220-230˚C [425-440˚F]
- yellow–oven is moderate 180-190˚C [355-375˚F]
- pale–oven is slow 120˚C [250˚F]
Hope this helps.
Categories: Tips from the Archive Tags: cooking, dutch oven, pre-heat, temperature, Viv Moon
Joy of Backpacking
A great tip from Dennis Look’s “Joy of Backpacking,” this is a superb book written in 1976. Look is a passionate writer he cares deeply about the wilderness and everything in this book puts the environment first. The book is still as relevant as it was in the 70′s.
Tip 003 – Your Parka Works as a Day Pack.
Have you ever been on a backpacking trip and wanted to take a short day hike? But where will you carry your gorp, water and rain or wind parka? If you didn’t carry a knapsack or hip pack (which most people don’t – too heavy), then it’s rather difficult to hold these items in your hands, or put them in your pocket. Here is one solution
- First of all, some type of parka or jacket is required
- Lay the parka out on the ground and start stuffing the items you wish to carry inside
- When this is completed, zip up the parka, then close the draw cord on the bottom of the parka (this will prevent the items falling out). If your parka has a draw cord on the hood, then do the same
- Roll the bottom of the parka over the items which you have placed inside. Make this roll as tight as possible and bind it with the draw cord from the bottom of the parka
- Take the sleeves and wrap them around your waste then tie then with a square knot. If your parka is made of nylon this not will prevent it from slipping
- Now you have a hip or fanny pack for your trip
- One question: What do you do if you have to put your parka on? (stuff the items in the parka’s pockets)
Categories: Tips from the Archive Tags: 1970s, books, day pack, Dennis Look, Joy of Backpacking, Tips
25 Jun 2012 |
Remembering the declination difference for your trip
A nice tip from Don Geary’s excellent ‘The Compleat Outdoorsman’ (this is the correct spelling which makes me like it even more.) This excellent book from 1981 is an all encompassing guide to the outdoors.
Tip 002 – How to remember magnetic declination.
One way to remember to add (or subtract) the degrees of magnetic declination for an area you are hiking in is to place a piece of tape on the compass telling you what must be done.
To find the correct declination for you area, or indeed, for the area you plan to hike in visit the excellent National Gyphisical Data Center. Even if you think you know it’s best to re-check as it changes year to year. In Maine I get ’Declination = 15° 44′ W changing by 0° 4′ E/year‘.
As it’s a West declination ‘Map bearing + Declination = Magnetic’ so if I take a bearing between two point on a map and translate it to the real world I add 15° 44′ and on the flip-side ‘Magnetic Bearing – Declination = Map Bearing’ if I take a bearing between two points (myself and another) in the real world I should subtract my declination to get the same bearing on the map.
Categories: Tips from the Archive Tags: compass, grid, mag, Tips