Category Archives: Camping

How To Make Jerky For A Reliable, No-Fuss Food Source

Learning how to dehydrate meats (or create ‘jerky’) is a good skill to have for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Jerky can last for up to a month at room temperature, requires no preparation to eat, and is lighter than regular foods since the moisture has been removed. It’s great for hiking and fishing trips, or spending a lot of time outdoors without the equipment to prepare food.

This advice applies to most meats, including chicken, beef (roast is best), and turkey.


1)      A working kitchen, with a fridge and a stove, and various utensils.

2)      2 lb of the meat you would like to dehydrate. Go with the leanest cut you can find, as fat will go rancid and reduce the shelf life of your jerky.

3)      A marinating sauce. Olive oil and salt is popular, as is the Soy/Worchester/garlic/salt and pepper mix, but feel free to experiment and find one that works for you.

4)      Ziploc bags for storage


1)      Slice your meat into as thin strips as possible. A great idea is to go to a deli, and have it sliced into 1/16th of an inch strips. The thinner they are, the better your jerky will be.

2)      Trim off any excess fat with a knife. This will make your jerky last longer.

3)      Put your strips into a bowl with your marinating sauce. Mix it up.

4)      Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.

5)      Put the contents of your bowl into a pot or sauce pan. Put a stove burner on high, and boil for five minutes to kill all bacteria.

6)      Lay your meat slices onto a paper towel, and let them drain.

7)      Place your meat slices onto the racks of your oven. Set the oven to 160 F, and keep the door open an inch or two to help with air flow.

8)      Cook the meat for 6 to 12 hours. You want all moisture to be removed. You’ll know when it is when the meat cracks, but bends and doesn’t snap.

9)      Remove your slices from the oven and let them cool completely.

10)   Put your slices into an air-tight Ziploc bag, to keep it fresh for as long as possible. Your jerky will be good for a month at room temperature, and can be frozen and last up to 6 months.

Good luck and stay prepared!

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Becoming A Backpacking Samurai

Backpacking is an outdoor activity that allows you to experience the great outdoors at its finest. Whether you enjoy hiking in the mountains, through forests, or along lakes or rivers, backpacking is the method for bringing along everything you need to survive in the backcountry. That means packing all the necessary food, water, sleeping gear, cooking gear, and other camping supplies to keep you comfortable while on the trail. Unless you want to carry several hundred pounds, you will want to limit the weight of your gear as much as possible. That is what becoming a backpacking samurai is all about.

Minimalist backpacking, which is what the title is alluding to (becoming a backpacking samurai), involves limiting the weight of your gear to the extreme. That means doing without a lot of comfort items, such as sleeping pads and extra clothes. Every piece of gear needs to serve multiple functions, and needs to be as light as possible. To become a backpacking samurai, follow the below tips when packing and planning your trip.

  • Down sleeping bags are generally lighter than synthetic sleeping bags. Substitute a down sleeping bag to save a few ounces in this category.
  • There is no such thing as lightweight water. Water is heavy. To save weight on how much water you carry, plan your hike along a river, stream, or lake, and only carry what you need, and then filter and refill your bottle when you need more.
  • It is always a good idea to pack enough food for your entire trip, even if you think you can catch your dinner at that high mountain lake you are hiking to. Rather than packing cans, go with mylar pouches. Dehydrated foods weigh less than MREs or other food items with water since they do not have any water weight.
  • Lay out your gear, and ask yourself if you really need an item. If the item serves more than one function (cook stove for cooking food, boiling water, melting snow, etc.), it is more worthy of coming along.

These are some tips to help you lighten your load when planning and packing for a backpacking trip. Follow these tips to become a backpacking samurai, and go to for more information on gear choices.

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An easy dessert to cook while camping

For most people, cooking while camping can be time consuming and stressful.  If you are bringing kids along, finding food they will eat can be the hardest part of your trip.  While everyone will probably enjoy eating smores for one night while camping, it’s not the healthiest dessert you could be cooking over the fire. One great (and basically effortless) dessert you could be making instead are ‘banana boats’.

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All you will need to make banana boats is:

Bananas (one per person)

An assortment of your favorite candies or other additives

Tin Foil

A knife

Hot coals or hot remnants from your campfire

To make the banana boat, you will need to leave the banana in the peel.  You will take the knife and slit the banana from the stem to the bottom of the banana.  Be careful that you do not slit through the bottom side of the peel or all the contents will melt out of it.  Also, have the slit on the side of the banana that will continue to face upwards even when you are not holding onto it.

Next stuff the banana with any food or candies that you enjoy.  This can be anything from peanut butter or nuts, to little marshmallows or broken up pieces of candy bars, like Snickers.  While chocolate is always delicious to add, it may be too sweet for some people.  This is because the banana will caramelize from the heat, making it extremely sweet all by itself.

When you are finished stuffing your banana to your hearts desire, wrap the banana in tin foil.  If you have a lot of people, you may want to mark the wrapped bananas with permanent marker so they don’t get confused with each others.

Next place the wrapped bananas on hot coals or the hot remnants from your campfire.  Again be sure to place the banana so that the slit if facing upwards or all the goodies will fall out and melt on the banana peel.  Leave the banana on the fire for approximately 15 minutes.

Be careful if eating them directly after removing them from the fire, they will be extremely hot.  While they may not be the healthiest dessert (raw fruit would be healthier) they are fun for the whole family to make and experiment with the different additives.


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The Ten Essentials of Outdoor Survival

The Ten Essentials list was first created in the 1930s, in an article that appeared in the newsletter for the Mountaineers. Its goal was to put together a list of the 10 most important items an outdoors person should have on them at all times. It came up with a definitive list that, while not covering everything (no list of 10 items can), lays the foundation for preparedness in the outdoors.

The items are:

1. Strike anywhere matches- important because with most matches, if your striker gets ruined your matches are basically useless. Strike anywhere matches offer you a lot more flexibility. Place them in a waterproof case, with a piece of emery board for a striker.

2. Fire starter- put some of this in your fire proof case. In some conditions, it will be impossible to get a fire started without it.

3. A map- seems self-explanatory, but many a bad situation could have been avoided if people just thought to have a map on hand.

4. A first aid kit- Always essential for treating wounds and injuries. There are many for sale, but for information on how to build your own (and learn how everything works in the process) check out the related article here.

5. A compass- For navigation. Make sure you know how to use it.

6. A flashlight- Another essential item. Have extra batteries and an extra bulb.

7. A pocket knife- a multi-use, Swiss army style knife.

8. Sunglasses- useful in both sunny and snowy environments.

9. Extra food- gives you energy, keeps your head clear, and helps ward off hypothermia.

10. Extra clothing- a rain coat and wool hat at the bare minimum. A rain coat will help you dry, and can be used to build a shelter. A wool hat keeps your head warm, where a large amount of body heat is lost. You cant go wrong with some extra socks, either. And that is the Ten Essentials list.

Good luck and stay prepared!

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Camping and Outdoor Cooking Safety

There’s nothing better than venturing into the great outdoors and cooking traditional food filled with authenticity and natural flavor. It’s a chance to get back to the basics while achieving tastes that you can’t get in any fancy kitchen. Camping trips are simply incomplete without great food, and it’s your responsibility to explore as many tasty options as possible. While enjoying yourself should be a priority, you have to remember that it’s not all fun and games. There are basic elements you need to address in order to preserve the safety of your entire family. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to anything camping related, and this fully applies to outdoor cooking as well. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind the next time you go camping.

Set up a Safe Cooking Space – it’s absolutely essential to finding a good place for your gas or charcoal grill. You should have a firm surface that limits the likelihood of tipping. Some smaller grills don’t handle weight well so you have to be careful about where you put them. It’s far better to find a sturdy model anyways so that you get a full barbecue that can accommodate your entire family. Most importantly, don’t make the drastic mistake of attempting to barbecue inside your tent!

Clean Your Equipment – it’s important to be familiar with your equipment and maintain it properly in an outdoor environment. Make sure to read instructions carefully and ensure there are no loose bits and pieces, especially if you’re working with a gas model. Keep it well stored at all times and make sure that you clean it after each cooking session so that you don’t get unwanted leftovers in your next meal.

Food Safety – you won’t have the luxury of working with modern refrigerators so that means you have to be more diligent with basic food safety. Keep your coolers separated and well-stocked while teaching your kids about basic food handling practices. There’s nothing worse than catching a bout of food poisoning while camping, so you have to make sure to keep uncooked meat separate from everything else. And if you have thawed anything from your cooler, make sure that you cook it right away rather than putting it back inside.

Cook your Food Thoroughly – you might be tempted to rush the process because everything smells so good. Just make sure that you have patience with your grill so that all of your food is cooked evenly. Barbecuing is actually a pretty simple process and thanks to modern gas grills, all you really have to do is let your meat sit until it’s done. You might even want to bring along a meat thermometer if you’re cooking larger cuts of beef or chicken.

Careful Precautions – common sense always wins out in any camping environment. Something should go without saying, but it’s always good to remind yourself of basic safety practices. For example, keep your barbecue well away from dry areas and always be aware of the danger of forest fires. Keep water or a fire extinguisher handy in case things get out of control. Also ensure that when you’re done, your coals have died and there are no errant sparks that can cause potential problems.

Keep the Kids Away – a campsite can get pretty chaotic if you happen to bring your children. This is why you need to know where they are at all times. Designate a cooking area and tell your kids to stay away until you’re done. The last thing you need is one of your children running into your portable charcoal grill and potentially harming themselves. Don’t worry, they’ll get their chance to participate as they grow older but for now keep them away from the grill.

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