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07/23/2020 09:21AM  
I am always looking for ways to make life in the BW a little more organized and easier. I am sure that everyone here is as well. I am also a fan of those "life hack" things you see floating around the net (though most of them are stupid and don't work). I put a few of mine favorites below.

Blue Barrel Pillow Case Bags
Instead of just throwing all of the food into the food barrel I started using old pillow cases as bags to separate out items. Produce in one bag, breakfast stuff in another, lunch foods in another. I find that they are super light and are worth carrying just so the food barrel is a little more organized.

Cheap-o Carabiners for Everything
I keep something like 25 of those cheap Coleman carabiners clipped to my pack at all times for my group to use. We use them for everything; clipping clothes on a line, tying lines to trees, make-shift fish stringer, easy water bag hanger... and so much more.

What are your BW specific "camping hacks" that work well for you?
 
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smoke11
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07/23/2020 09:53AM  
Basketball net for a anchor is a great one I learned on here.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
07/23/2020 11:47AM  
^^^ What Smoke said. ^^^
 
Duckman
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07/23/2020 12:09PM  
A classic is duct tape around a nalgene. Besides being bulky, every time I've taken a small roll of duct tape, it ends up destroyed or unusable by the end of the trip.

One of my other staples is using the little five hour energy bottles for frying oil.
 
07/23/2020 12:27PM  
Yep, there's an old thread of like 100 posts on this a while back.

Basketball net anchor or other mesh bag type thing. Duct tape wrapped around my Nalgene is another, both mentioned already.

2 way radios that double as weather radios.
 
07/23/2020 12:54PM  
A 8 -10ft bow rope to hold on to during portaging. With practice allows you to portage without holding on to the gunwale. Great for single portaging with a pack.
 
07/23/2020 02:48PM  
Softball with an eye bolt for getting para cord up high enough to hang your food.
 
07/23/2020 02:58PM  
Duckman: "A classic is duct tape around a nalgene. Besides being bulky, every time I've taken a small roll of duct tape, it ends up destroyed or unusable by the end of the trip.


One of my other staples is using the little five hour energy bottles for frying oil. "


At first I read this wrong and I thought that your BWCA hack was to use five hour energy as your frying oil. I was intrigued to say the least until I re-read the post.
 
andym
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07/23/2020 03:17PM  
Picked this up here: put the TP and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in a plastic container at the foot of the trail to the throne. Take it with you and put it back when you are done. This makes it easy to know whether someone is up there and keeps hand sanitizer handy for everyone to use. We started this on a trip with 6 of our nephews and their father. That made my wife the only woman and she didn't want to count to 8 every time she wanted to head up that way.
 
07/23/2020 05:51PM  
We've also always done the TP at the latrine trail start. We store it in a ziploc anyway when it's in packs....so we just set the bag in camp where the trail starts. Take it back with you no matter if you need it or not. Put it back when you're done. No issues walking back when someone is already there
 
07/23/2020 06:33PM  
Duckman: "A classic is duct tape around a nalgene. Besides being bulky, every time I've taken a small roll of duct tape, it ends up destroyed or unusable by the end of the trip.


One of my other staples is using the little five hour energy bottles for frying oil. "

An alternative to consider; pull 3 feet of duct tape off. Fold the last 4 inches back on itself sticky side to sticky side. This 8 inches will be un-usable, but then keep folding back over 4 inches at a time (fold carefully to keep straight). Will give you about 28 inches usable you can pull off as you need. It’s flat, can go in a zip lock sandwich bag to keep dry.
 
07/23/2020 08:24PM  
Take a Thermacell to repel mosquitos, start it, place at the thunder box as soon as you wake up. Half hour later when business needs to be done, you have a bug free area. Also learned that on this website.
 
Duff
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07/23/2020 11:42PM  
A pink lighter on a guys trip never mysteriously disappears.
 
Gaidin53
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07/24/2020 12:16AM  
We put a paddle on the path to the latrine. If the paddle was across the trail, the facilities were being used. If paddle was alongside not blocking the trail, the bathroom was available.

I’d be worried with the bag technique. I might forget the TP when leaving camp. That would be bad! Pretty sure we couldn’t forget a missing paddle.

Duct tape on a Nalgene I read about here and use. If I ever need an anchor, I’ll definitely use the basketball net trick.
 
mjmkjun
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07/24/2020 06:29AM  
Duff: "A pink lighter on a guys trip never mysteriously disappears."
LOL!
 
Minnesotian
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07/24/2020 07:57AM  

A Clothesline with clothespins built into it using only rope.

Tie one end of the rope to tree A. Wrap the rope around tree B. As you are walking back to Tree A, wrap the rope back around itself a lot of times. Back at Tree A, tie a Truckers Hitch or something that can really sinch down the line. Now, you will have a clothes line with clothespins built into it.

Been doing this for years. On a recent camping trip with some Boy Scouts, they were in amazement.
Here is a website I found that have a picture incase my explanation doesn't make sense.
No Pins clothesline
 
07/24/2020 09:14AM  
This is a great idea!
 
NordSteve
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07/24/2020 11:10AM  
 
NordSteve
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07/24/2020 11:47AM  
 
merlyn
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07/24/2020 02:27PM  
Anti-fogging spray for your glasses. I don't have a brand name but it's the same spray you would use on snowmobile helmet visors or scope lens. Paddling in the rain with glasses is a real problem and this helps a lot.
A thin board, plexi glass sheet or thin rigid foam board about 30" long to put on your lap as a table. Beats balancing your plate on a log, rock or your lap while eating. I use a piece of 1/4" foil backed foam insulation, works great.
 
jhb8426
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07/25/2020 12:12AM  
RT: "...Instead of just throwing all of the food into the food barrel I started using old pillow cases as bags to separate out items."

My old Boy Scout handbook said that a pack is just a bag of bags. I would consider a blue barrel a pack, as well as any other food pack, and pack accordingly.
 
giddyup
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07/25/2020 10:19AM  
I put my vehicle keys in the fridge with the perishable foods so I don’t leave for my trip without my cold stuff. (Also, do this every evening when I pack my lunch for work in the morning).

For the cooler tripping weather, for people who sleep cold....heat water in the evening to very hot. (be careful, it’s very hot ;)). Pour into your Nalgene bottle. I take my extra pair of smart wool socks and pull one up from the bottom of the bottle and pull one down from the top over the first one. It stays warm all night long in my sleeping bag and I have nice toasty warm wool socks to put on in the morning before I get out of the tent.
 
07/25/2020 11:16AM  
We always pack a "take-home-bag". Each person packs a bag for the trip home, with clean clothes, shoes, toiletries. Then we rent showers somewhere near the take out. We used to rent at Seagul Lake outfitters, however at some point, they stopped letting us do that, unless we were outfitting with them. So now we often rent showers from the RV park on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, just south of town. They're like $3 or $4 but well worth the expense in my opinion. It's feels so good after a long trip. Then we eat at Sven and Ole's.

I watch other drivers/passengers faces when they drive past me on the freeway. If there is something loose on my trailer, or going wrong with a tire etc, they will be motioning to me.

Check your canoe straps, tires, and trailer wheel hubs at every stop. I was with my father when two canoes got loose on the gunflint trail. It's just luck there was no motorcycle behind us. I've read cases of people getting to their destination, and they are short a canoe. That has to be an awful feeling.

I like the underseat storage by granite gear. We keep one on each end (for balance). It's nice to have a place to put little stuff like bug spray, bungee deeley bobs, etc, so that it's not loose for portages. The storage has a little removable cutting board, which is nice for cleaning fish too.
 
07/25/2020 11:54AM  
Where good hanging trees are scarce, (Lake One on sites we have used) We take 5 gallon pails with lids to keep food on the ground. Duct tape the lid on and i do not see any real issues. Going in, we use one of the buckets to carry water filters and a few items to keep dry. In camp, food trades with the filters while there and filters return as we leave.
 
SummerSkin
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07/25/2020 10:11PM  
I got sick of my Nalgene rolling around in the canoe, especially after a hard day of paddling/portaging with muddy water and fish slime slush in the bottom of the canoe.

This year, I bought a Nalgene koozie off of Amazon and cut a small slit in the bottom. Ran a long piece of Velcro through the slit and secured it underneath my canoe seat.

This worked WAY better than I expected in keeping my Nalgene secure and clean. So well in fact that my paddling partner is planning on making one for himself.
 
SummerSkin
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07/25/2020 10:16PM  
For “business” we no longer bring TP, we bring those capsules that expand into wet towels when moistened. Smaller, easier to pack, biodegradable, and more sanitary. Then clean hands with a single anti-bacterial wet wipe.
 
mjmkjun
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07/26/2020 05:52AM  
It's less of a hack; more a nifty gizmo.
Three of these inside my blue barrel has helped tremendously. color-coded: toiletries & towels, foodstuff, extra ropes/whatnots/odds & ends. So nice not to have to dig down for that something that inevitably lays at the very bottom of the barrel. Yep, they are a bit pricey but so well-constructed!
 
Savage Voyageur
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07/26/2020 08:06AM  
Love those figure 9 cord tighteners.
 
Northwoodsman
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07/26/2020 08:31AM  
SummerSkin: "I got sick of my Nalgene rolling around in the canoe, especially after a hard day of paddling/portaging with muddy water and fish slime slush in the bottom of the canoe.

This year, I bought a Nalgene koozie off of Amazon and cut a small slit in the bottom. Ran a long piece of Velcro through the slit and secured it underneath my canoe seat.

This worked WAY better than I expected in keeping my Nalgene secure and clean. So well in fact that my paddling partner is planning on making one for himself."


Can you post a photo?
 
n2outdrs
 
07/26/2020 09:23AM  
Regarding the waterbottle Koozie...
Did it stay during portage or did you remove it each time?
 
4keys
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07/26/2020 10:07AM  
My water bottle has a loop built into the lid so I attach a carabiner, which I then hook onto a bdb that stays attached to my seat. Yes, the bottom of the bottle rests on the bottom of the canoe but it stays in one spot.

Instead of bringing a strainer for your spaghetti / tortellini noodles, just take a ziplock bag and stab it or slash slits in it, then pour noodles in. Hold it over a pot or you'll end up with noodle water everywhere. Started doing this when I forgot a strainer and was worried about loosing noodles if I strained with the pot lid.
 
fishonfishoff
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07/26/2020 11:16AM  

Tree table. Eliminates the mess and clutter of a campsite. "Less bending over for the older people, myself included!"
FOFO
 
brulu
member (48)member
 
07/26/2020 01:12PM  
merlyn: "A thin board, plexi glass sheet or thin rigid foam board about 30" long to put on your lap as a table. Beats balancing your plate on a log, rock or your lap while eating. I use a piece of 1/4" foil backed foam insulation, works great."

I have done something similar, but I cut mine to be exactly half the size of a standard USFS fire grate (I cut to 12" x 16", the grates are 16" by 24"). They convert the fire grate into a nice table (when you are not having a fire). Keeps things from falling down between the grates and provides a nice stable platform for a gas stove. I sometimes bring 2, so I can have a half table or a full table. They can also be used as lap trays as merlyn points out, or as log-seat pads, or on the ground as a surface to sort gear or food on to keep it out of the dirt.

The only negative is that they are not necessary and can contribute to bringing too much stuff.

Bruce
 
trailrunner
 
07/26/2020 01:28PM  
We use 3-gallon clear Ziploc Big Bags to organize our food pack. One bag we pack with breakfast items, one for lunch & snacks, and one for dinners. You can easily see what's inside and just grab the bag you need for each meal.
 
brulu
member (48)member
 
07/26/2020 02:00PM  
The following are more useful the more frequently you go on trips. Maybe not worth it for just once a year or so.

Keys:
I've made a dedicated set of 'camping keys' that just has a Leatherman Squirt, one car key, and one house key. Then I can just grab that when I leave on my trip and I don't have to bring along my full set with work keys and multiple car and household keys. Or alternatively, I don't have to spend any time taking non-essential keys off my key ring before the trip and putting them back on after the trip.

Wallet:
I've made a dedicated 'camping wallet' that I keep stocked with some cash and a photocopy of all my insurance cards. Then I can just add my driver's license and one credit card before I leave on my trip and I don't have to bring along my full wallet or spend time removing/adding non-essential things back in before/after the trip.

Smartphone (I realize not everyone brings a smartphone):
I made an old smartphone into a 'camping smartphone' that I use for communications and information en route, and as a gps tracker during the trip. It has my navigation app with pre-loaded maps, and a limited set of other useful apps. I do have to swap in my SIM card from my regular phone before the trip but then I can leave my more expensive regular phone at home.
 
tarnkt
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07/26/2020 03:07PM  
When fishing with an anchor I use a double sided carabiner to secure it.

Make an overhand loop in your anchor line, clip one side of biner to it, wrap around thwart and clip other side of biner to main anchor line. Really cuts down on the hassle of moving spots and it’s 100% secure.
 
07/26/2020 04:35PM  
tarnkt: "When fishing with an anchor I use a double sided carabiner to secure it.

Make an overhand loop in your anchor line, clip one side of biner to it, wrap around thwart and clip other side of biner to main anchor line. Really cuts down on the hassle of moving spots and it’s 100% secure."


Interesting idea. I like it.

I put a cleat on the thwart in front of me. Works ok.
 
07/26/2020 05:04PM  
NordSteve: "Link to the "older" thread "

NordSteve: " Another good list "

Thanks for the links... I just spent an hour!
 
MikeinMpls
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07/26/2020 08:21PM  
I connected a bike water bottle cage under my stern seat. Keeps a bottle of water handy without rolling around.

Mike
 
MikeinMpls
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07/26/2020 08:24PM  
johndku: "Take a Thermacell to repel mosquitos, start it, place at the thunder box as soon as you wake up. Half hour later when business needs to be done, you have a bug free area. Also learned that on this website."

I just take it with me whenever I need to use the latrine. I find it works fine without the half-hour prep time.

Mike
 
mjmkjun
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07/27/2020 05:31AM  
see following post
 
mjmkjun
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07/27/2020 07:47AM  
mjmkjun: "fishonfishoff: "
Tree table. Eliminates the mess and clutter of a campsite. "Less bending over for the older people, myself included!"
FOFO"

Love this! You've posted pics before. Simple as it is, would you have a pic without stuff on the makeshift shelf? (want to see how you secured the back and curve you cut.)
"

Nevermind. Increased photo size. (meh)
 
IndyCanoe
distinguished member (108)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/27/2020 08:29AM  

Just made one of the fishonfishoff tables for our trip in August to give it a try, should be a nice addition to the kitchen.

One of our favorite hacks is a "Gear Line". Its really nothing more than a clothes line that we hang gear from but we couldn't believe just how much we liked it last year. It helps everything feel more organized and up off the ground.

I'll include a link to youtube video where i got the idea from. We used small micro carabiners that we already had to hang our cups/bowls/pot from the line instead of the hooks that he makes in the video. We already had a utensil roll that my wife made out of a small pc of left over sil-nylon. It is attached to the 15' pc of zing-it rope rope with 2 prusik knot loops .

Gear Hanger Video
 
fishonfishoff
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07/27/2020 11:13AM  

Without all the "stuff"
FOFO
 
07/27/2020 11:44AM  
This is a very cool idea! Thanks for sharing.
 
SummerSkin
senior member (89)senior membersenior member
 
07/27/2020 12:48PM  
Northwoodsman: "SummerSkin: "I got sick of my Nalgene rolling around in the canoe, especially after a hard day of paddling/portaging with muddy water and fish slime slush in the bottom of the canoe.

This year, I bought a Nalgene koozie off of Amazon and cut a small slit in the bottom. Ran a long piece of Velcro through the slit and secured it underneath my canoe seat.

This worked WAY better than I expected in keeping my Nalgene secure and clean. So well in fact that my paddling partner is planning on making one for himself."


Can you post a photo?"




I do not currently have access to a canoe seat, but this is the basic idea, with it being strapped in right underneath the canoe seat, out of the way, but quickly and easily accessible:

 
SummerSkin
senior member (89)senior membersenior member
 
07/27/2020 01:02PM  
n2outdrs: "Regarding the waterbottle Koozie...
Did it stay during portage or did you remove it each time?"


It stays there during portage. The koozie is a snug enough fit so that even if the Nalgene is completely full, there is zero chance of it slipping out. (Of course a full Nalgene adds quite a bit of weight when carrying a canoe, so I recommend consuming bottle's contents before portaging ;-)
 
Ducksndirt
member (17)member
 
07/27/2020 01:27PM  
tarnkt: "When fishing with an anchor I use a double sided carabiner to secure it.


Make an overhand loop in your anchor line, clip one side of biner to it, wrap around thwart and clip other side of biner to main anchor line. Really cuts down on the hassle of moving spots and it’s 100% secure."


Got a picture? Thanks
 
tarnkt
distinguished member (361)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/27/2020 02:36PM  
Ducksndirt: "tarnkt: "When fishing with an anchor I use a double sided carabiner to secure it.



Make an overhand loop in your anchor line, clip one side of biner to it, wrap around thwart and clip other side of biner to main anchor line. Really cuts down on the hassle of moving spots and it’s 100% secure."



Got a picture? Thanks
"


A picture would be worth a thousand words in this case but unfortunately I don’t have one.

I tie one of these in my anchor line:



And use one of these carabiners:



I clip one side to the loop and the other side to the line that heads down to the anchor. The thwart goes in between the rope and the carabiner. Hope that makes sense.

Over the years I have made a loop at pretty much every 1 foot interval on my anchor rope. I don’t remember the last time I tied a knot for my anchor.
 
Ducksndirt
member (17)member
 
07/27/2020 03:21PM  
LOL, Yes pictures with knots are a must. Especially when you’re left handed. I have trouble teaching new fire fighters knots cause they can’t figure it out watching me do it left handed. I use a large carabiner on the thwart tied to the end of 100’ of rope. Run the other end through another carabiner on the anchor bag and back to the other side of the thwart and tie it off with a river knot (quick release slip knot). It makes easy adjustment for shallower depths and for moving short distances. If I get snagged up, I’m out the bag and biner, still got the rope. For deeper water just got to take the chance. When time to move just pull it all in and strap coils together.
 
mjmkjun
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07/28/2020 07:18AM  
fishonfishoff: "
Without all the "stuff"
FOFO"

Thanks! To a fella w/ complaining back and spinal woes this is the cat's meow.
 
07/28/2020 03:52PM  
All i know, when you're cutting pancakes for the kids, a pizza cutter works awesome.
 
FishGeek01
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
 
07/29/2020 09:24AM  
SummerSkin: "I got sick of my Nalgene rolling around in the canoe, especially after a hard day of paddling/portaging with muddy water and fish slime slush in the bottom of the canoe.


This year, I bought a Nalgene koozie off of Amazon and cut a small slit in the bottom. Ran a long piece of Velcro through the slit and secured it underneath my canoe seat.


This worked WAY better than I expected in keeping my Nalgene secure and clean. So well in fact that my paddling partner is planning on making one for himself."


This is a great idea! thanks for sharing
 
07/29/2020 09:51AM  
We have light weight stuff sacks in many colors and sizes and always use the same ones for the same things. Red is first aid and goes in the tent pocket at my feet. Yellow is toiletries, goes at my husband or daughter’s feet. Rain gear in blue, water filter in green, cook kit in black, and so on.

We single portage and one rule is gear never goes on the ground. We take packs out of the canoe and put them right on our backs, and wait at the end of the portage until the canoe is in the water and put them right back in the canoe.

We each have a color scheme, and stick with it in most of our gear, so I know at a glance if it’s purple it’s my daughters toothbrush/sleeping bag/ bandana, etc.
 
07/29/2020 06:42PM  
RRHD: "We single portage and one rule is gear never goes on the ground. We take packs out of the canoe and put them right on our backs, and wait at the end of the portage until the canoe is in the water and put them right back in the canoe."

Nice. Love it!
 
07/30/2020 08:58AM  
analyzer: "We always pack a "take-home-bag". Each person packs a bag for the trip home, with clean clothes, shoes, toiletries. Then we rent showers somewhere near the take out. We used to rent at Seagul Lake outfitters, however at some point, they stopped letting us do that, unless we were outfitting with them. So now we often rent showers from the RV park on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, just south of town. They're like $3 or $4 but well worth the expense in my opinion. It's feels so good after a long trip."

We do this too! We usually swim at the take out point in our trail clothes, and change into dry clothes at our car. Just that feels so great!

We put our trail clothes in one duffle for the way in, and the car clothes in a different duffle for the way out, and leave those in the car with a towel.

We’re putting in at Missing Link this year and I’m really looking forward to a shower at Tuscarora lodge! We’re using a bunkhouse the night before we put in too. Such luxury!
 
dentondoc
distinguished member(1096)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 05:17PM  
analyzer: "
I like the underseat storage by granite gear. We keep one on each end (for balance). It's nice to have a place to put little stuff like bug spray, bungee deeley bobs, etc, so that it's not loose for portages. The storage has a little removable cutting board, which is nice for cleaning fish too."


If your GG bag is like mine, the cutting board is stored in a separate zipper slot on the bottom. I keep a couple of gallon sized Ziploc bags in there for fillets.

On a different topic...over 20 years ago I wound up with a soaked roll of TO ...my only one. Since then, I've used the personal-sized packets of Kleenex when doing my business. One packet goes on my shirt pocket, one goes in my fanny pack (each in a snack sized plastic bag) and the others are safely tucked away in a waterproof bag in my pack (until needed). This way I don't have to go searching for TP when the need arises. Each packet tends to last 3 or more days. I guess it goes without saying that I'm never without a little fire starter.

dd
 
gotwins
distinguished member (160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 09:57PM  


We've started using the wipes for the #2 business the past few years. Don't want to toss them in the thunder box as they are not biodegradeable. So, upon arriving at the first campsite, we pound a canister of Pringles, takes about 3 minutes with the kids. Then the empty cannister goes at the base of the thunderbox to put used wipes in during the trip. When full, replace with a new empty Pringles can. Easy to pack out, keeps the latrine pit free of non degradable wipes!
 
Ducksndirt
member (17)member
 
07/31/2020 03:07PM  
Why not just buy the degradable ones?
 
Ducksndirt
member (17)member
 
07/31/2020 03:08PM  
I saw a video that suggested taking the ashes out of the fire pit and sprinkling over the inside of the thunder box to reduce the fragrance. I can see that acting as a lime substitute that people use in actual outhouses. Anyone do that?
 
straighthairedcurly
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08/01/2020 01:51PM  
I bring a small, cheap blue plastic tarp to use for the cooking gear around the fire grate. I set it next to whatever log (or ground spot) I will sit on for cooking. I can set out the critical items (pots, pot grabbers, food, matches, utensils, etc.) for that meal. It keeps everything within reach and out of the dirt. Because nothing else is blue, all the items are very visible and less likely to get lost. Once we have cleaned up for the evening, I use it to cover some firewood to keep it protected from rain or heavy dew during the night.
 
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