The Splitter Cooking Multi-Utensil Have a look at this handy gadget on kickstater looks a handy gadget. This popped up on my instagram feed the other day. I like the look of it as I have a deep belief that each item you carry has to be multifunctional.
Although I wouldn’t carry this whilst out on a multi day hike when using freeze dried food.
The Splitter Cooking Multi-Utensil would be handy if you where cooking fresh food over a fire as the spatula would be needed.
Although saying that you could just take the Spork to eat out of the freeze dried bags.
The Splitter Cooking Multi-Utensil
Full Windsor, an outdoor accessories brand out of Los Angeles, released The Muncher not long ago and with it gave us all the perfect tool for chowing down around the campfire. But how do you get your food to your plate so you can chow down by the campfire? The answer is The Splitter, the latest product from the company. Like The Muncher, The Splitter is a multi utensil. Unlike The Muncher, however, The Splitter offers you food prep tools, not food eating tools. It contains a spatula, spork, and, thanks to some ingenuity, a pair of tongs. Best of all, this thing is built for camping, meaning it’s lightweight, easy to pack, and super durable. You can back the project on Kickstarter and expect to receive The Splitter early next year.
I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing my 3×3 tarp with a DD Hammocks Superlite Tarp. A tiny bit smaller but weighs in at 460gms.
A perfect tarp for backpacking to keep the weight down. The DD Superlight Tarp has 19 attachment points like their other tarps which allows it to be set-up in literally hundreds of different ways (see my post on Tarpology)
It can be used as a hammock tarp, set-up on the ground as a ‘tent’, group shelter and many more uses!Weighing only 460g and packing up very small it is ideal for anyone looking to cut their pack weight down to an absolute minimum.
Made from strong ripstop nylon with PU 3,000mm coating (completely waterproof even in the heaviest storms). Like all of their tarps it is fully waterproof and taped along the central seam.
The Superlight Range is more expensive than their other products due to the higher cost of using the lightest materials.
Size:3m x 2.9mColour: Olive Green, Coyote Brown, Sandstorm Yellow and Sunset Orange.
(exc Pegs & : 4 x Pegs & Guy Lines, Stuff Sack).
Ive used this tarp a few times now and it has replaced the standard 3×3 DD Hammocks tarp in my Day Bag due to weight and size. Also it goes in my multi day bag as an alternative to pitching a tent.
The DD Hammocks Superlite Tarp is used if I get caught in the rain for a shelter to make some food or a brew. I carry 4 lightweight pegs, a ridgeline and 4 guy lines if I’m in the forest.
If I’m hiking along the coast then I will take hiking poles to help erect a shelter. Carrier Bags can be handy on the beach to fill with sand / pebbles to help with the guy lines.
Lightweight multi use hammock and tarp tents. I like the idea of having a choice of whether to hang between the trees or ground dwelling when there are no trees or weather and environment puts you on the ground.
You have the ability to adapt and also being lightweight you are not carrying items that you won’t need.
To be able to deal with these scenarios my kit is as follows.
This then gives the ability to hang or ground dwell. In the hammock setup you won’t feel the cold on your back as the sleep mat will be used in the hammock with the sleeping bag.
In the ground setup with your can setup a a-frame tarp using a ridge line if you have anything to tie too or you can use your walking poles and guy lines.
Another option for Lightweight multi use hammock and tarp tents is the hex peak setup but this leaves the tarp open on the front but utilising the poncho as a door you can overcome water egress. In this setup there is plenty of space in side to keep out of dripping rain but it is vitally important to setup with the rear of the shelter facing the wind.
There is an option for a fully enclosed tarp tent, this will stop any water egress apart from running water underneath but down fall is it will heavily condensate up due to no air flow.
So using this setup you have the ability of both hammocking and ground camping. If you had the DD jungle hammock you could lose the poncho as the base of this hammock is waterproof but I like the idea of having the poncho if the heavens open whilst walking, using it as a temporary shelter whilst stopping for lunch etc or using it as a door with the hex peak setup.
This setup with the rest of your lightweight kit shouldn’t bring your weight over 10% of your body weight.
I always say try to fit work around your life and not the other way around and with me working a shift pattern which is different to friends that enjoy the same mentality towards life and same interests it is rare that we get the time to catch up and head out for a micro adventure.
This night was one of those rare occasions when the planets where inline and we could do a Micro adventure wild camping on a beach.
So a late start we got the beach around 19:00 with a few dog walkers still about we assessed the area to find there was a bit of ground swell and the tide had been nearly up to the cliff so sleeping on the beach was a no go.
A little while later we had found a space within the bracken that we could setup our tents and get stuck into our micro adventure wild camping on a beach.
Micro adventure wild camping on a beach
Camping on the cliff
I had planned to hammock camp but brought a sleep mat on the off chance I would be able to hang so used my 3×3 tarp to make a shelter to sleep in.
This setup is really versatile but does leave the opening at the front open to the weather.
I had thought about this the other day and quickly had a go at developing a door using my poncho which worked really well so I am happy to use this setup whilst walking the lakes later in the year.
I thought I would take this opportunity to try a product I was sent from a company in Sweden called Sjö och Hav that produces eco friendly products such as mosquito repellent, soaps and shampoos that are perfect for use in an outdoor environment actually in any environment as they are all biodegradable.
I’ve seen many of these kettles posted by people in Scandinavia on Instagram and always thought they look great and then a few months later there is one in the hands of the postman.
They are designed and made in Norway by a company called Eagle Products The produce some fantastic outdoor products and have resellers across the globe. In the uk Ray Mear’s Woodlore is a reseller. These kettles come in 3 sizes 0.7l, 1.5k and a massive 4l. A well proven, solid and durabable kettle made from stainless steel. The lower section and base of the kettle is copper coated to ensure an efficient heat distribution and heating process over a stove or flame.
This kettle features two handles for a more secure and stable fixture when cooking over a fire. It can be used suspended above all types of outdoor heat sources, including a stove, bushbox and over a camp fire. The kettle comes in a nylon bag which will prevent the rest of your kit getting black with soot. These kettles can be purchased online from www.woodlore.co.uk
What is a micro adventure? In short it’s simple it’s a micro adventure, these micro adventures are simple to organise, cost effective, normally local, challenging, builds new skills, confirms friendship and family bonds, new and easy to organise.
In a busy urbanised world it is easy for us to get sucked into that 9-5, tech controlled world where we sit armchair surfing, becoming keyboard warriors, ooze and criticise YouTube videos of people doing just what this blog post is about finding the time to fit in micro expeditions into our busy life. Look at it on the flip side we work say 9-5 that means you have from 6-8 to do something so you are fitting your work hours in to your adventure time. Finish work head to the beach, cook some food, watch the sun go down, sleep on the beach, get up and head to work.
I’ve mentioned before the need to get out and use the outdoors to our benefit our mental health and this is one way to do it. I recently read an article in the magazine ‘bushcraft and survival skills’ written by Dr Catherine Calderwood ( Chief Medical Officer of Scotland) staying there is increasing evidence that outdoor activities and learning outside the classroom increased academic attainment and improves well-being.
Like I said it strengthens family bonds and friendships, give yourself some ME time or just adjust your usual dog walking into something different.
So what is a micro adventure?
It can be almost anything from a paddle down the river with a stop for lunch, fishing, hiking, wild camping, geocaching, primitive fire lighting the list is endless.
There are plenty of books / YouTube channels about micro adventures available so here are a few ideas of what there is to do but the main thing is tailoring what you do to what you can do within these urbanised time / money constraints. You should look at a micro adventure as a espresso short, full of flavour and only half the size of a Americano.
Here’s a few micro adventures.
Pack up your bag the night before
One of the best things we do in the summer is cook Polish Sausage over an open fire. This is typical summer micro adventure in Poland, spending the warm summer months sitting around the fire grilling smoked sausage and washing it down with some fantastic polish beers.
These sausages can be brought a your local Polish deli, my favourite and the best ones I think are called Slanska. Lay the sausage and cut just through the skin diagonally then turn the sausage and cut diagonally again to create little squares, flip the sausage do the same on other side then stock them on you stick you have whittled and heat them (as they are hot smoked) so they go crispy. Serve in bed rolls with Sarepska (polish mustard) and pickles.
This is so frowned upon I. The UK but pretty much everywhere else swimming in rivers and lakes is as normal as waking around them. The issue in the UK is knowing where is safe to swim. Regularly in the summer months whilst dog walking or paddling we will all end up in the river. One of my most memorable camping moments was in Sweden whilst heading to the Klarälven we camped one night in the Glaskogen Park. I was woken early morning by the sound of Wolves in the distance. I got up lit a fire and had a early swim whilst waiting for the Coffee
This sport is so adaptable to what you can afford, what you want to do and time constraints. If you don’t have space, money and time to make it cost effective then find somewhere locally to where you are where you can hire canoes / kayaks to head out onto the water for a true micro adventure.
Take your lunch with you and stop somewhere and cook a lunch. My two love to use the Kelly Kettle to cook some noodles on the river bank
Simple day out try different methods of lighting fires. From a bow drill to magnifying glass. Get the family involved, have a competition in who can do it the quickest.
This is a great game to play with the kids they love finding the little caches especially when they are full of trinkets. Download the app on your smartphone and search your local area for geocaches head out for the day and use your phone to locate the caches. Some can be tricky and you might need to work out some clues to find where they are hidden.
Sleeping on the beach
This is a great one to do any day of the week. I usually pick my two up from school and head straight to the beach for a swim, get the Kelly Kettle out, make some tea and pitch a tent for the evening. There’s always some dry driftwood about for a fire in the evening.
There’s not much needed for this a load of trees, some brush for thatching and a good bit of time. Take some food, open fires I’d keep away from but take a cooler and cook something simple. Our Kelly Kettle gets used a lot for these little adventures. Search online for some plans on different types of shelters.
This is now my most favourite method of camping. It is so versatile and it is so comfy and I sleep so well. You don’t need to spend a fortune on hammock camping kit to start of. Have a look online for a cheap hammock and have a look at my post on hammock camping.
DD Hammocks do some really good priced kit worth having a look at them.
As long as you’ve got the right gear it doesn’t really matter what the weather is and personally I love camping in the winter. You do really need the right gear because there’s nothing worse than being cold or wet this time of the year. A pleasant evening camping in the winter can become a very miserable night very quickly without the correct gear.
Good clothes, warm clothes a spare change of clothes, 4 season sleeping system and a waterproof shelter is a must. Even if you are setting up for a day outside it is a great feeling building a shelter, cooking food and watching the world go by your shelter.
Sunday roast outside
There’s nothing like cooking outdoors and a Sunday roast is a great way to get out and enjoy eating outdoors. Even if the weather is poor, erect a shelter and get the fire going and throw a joint of meat in a ditch oven and let it slowly cook.
Lamb is one of my favourites to cook. Cut 2 onions in half and rest the joint on the onions, out the lid on and place some coals on the lid to evenly roast the meat. Add vegetables after about 45 minutes and let them slowly cook be careful not to cook it to quick or hot from the bottom.
This is one of my regular trips out. Dogs need walking everyday and when I have time I’ll take my pre packed day bag and head out along the river or in the forest and spend some time to sit and reflect, brew a coffee and sometime take my breakfast with me.
There’s something very therapeutic about whittling a piece of green wood into something or even nothing. You don’t need expensive tools. The two knives I carry cost about £25.
There’s loads of videos on YouTube or grab a book and see what you can make. Take your brew kit and sit and have ago with a coffee under the trees.
There’s not many place in the UK where this isn’ frowned upon. If your lucky you will know some places where you can get away with wild camping: beaches and riverbanks are a good first option. The main rule is setup late, leave early and leave no trace.
So many different knives out in the market all for different jobs but what is the best all rounder?
There’s handmade, custom made and off the shelf.
I’ve had plenty of knives and still own a lot of them but what is the best?
I personally think that you can’t beat a Mora. So versatile, well priced, keeps an edge and easy to sharpen. I have mine in purpose made sheath that also holds a ferro rod.
The other knife I really rate is a handmade Sami Pukko. I purchased two in northern Sweden last year. They weren’t cheap but I love the fact it hangs on my side, razor sharp, really versatile and holds very well. The only adaption I have made to one of them is using a dremel to grind a curved striker on the spine to strike a ferro rod on.
I tend to keep these sharp all the time and just use a Lansky sharpening system to keep them in tune.
Out of all of the sharpening stones / kit this is a brilliant sharpening kit.
It keeps the stones at exactly the correct angle, you have a choice of 4 different angles to crest the correct edge for what ever you are using your knife for.
As stated in my post about when we completed the Fjallraven Classic 2017, gear selection and packing for the fjallraven classic Sweden is something that you will probably do 100 times before leaving for Sweden.
One of the most helpful tips I can give you when packing for the fjallraven classic Sweden is once you have packed your rucksack purchase a cargo bag for it to travel in and also you can leave a change of clothes and your day bag in it so that it can meet you at the finish (this I found very helpful), Fjallraven will take your bag from the start at Camp Ripan to the end in Abisko.
• Tent* – I took a Vango 1 x Man
• Sleeping bag*, preferably three-season sleeping bag – Down is good but if it gets wet it doesn’t insulate as well
• Stove* with a deep pan – good for boiling water for the freeze dried meals – Something like a JETBOIL or Alpkit Wolf.
• Fuel* (included in the ticket fee, don’t forget to bring a bottle if you use petrol or methylated spirit) – Fuel is supplied you should only need one can.
• Sleeping mattress* – Something that packs small and lightweight, I took a EXPED DownMat Lite.
• Map* (included in the ticket fee)
• Magnetic compass*
• Fjällräven Classic Trash Bag* (included in the ticket fee)
• Thermal fleece/mid layer top* in down, wool or a synthetic material
• Long underpants for a dry change ( what I did and I found it worked very well was keep a pair of long johns, base layer and socks in a small dry bag to change into to sleep in).
• Wind and waterproof pants
• Wind and waterproof jacket with hood
• First aid kit (at least elastic bandage, blister pads, compresses and tape). It is recommended to complement the mandatory first aid kit with safety pins, butterfly stitches (skin closures), fluid replacement and pain relief.
• 65-75lr backpack with rain protection cover
• Sun hat/cap
• Trekking socks, preferably in wool – I discovered Armaskin Socks these are the best items I have found to stop blisters, they are a silcone layered undersock and I highly recommend them, they are worn as the first layer with a pair of hiking socks over them. See my other post on foot care.
•Underwear in wool or in a synthetic material
• A change of shoes or flip flops/sandals to give your feet a break – definitely worth taking.
•Trekking trousers, a pair that can be unzipped to become shorts are ideal – it does get warm up there sometimes
• Trekking boots – waterproof is a must it does get quite boggy in places
• Trekking poles – I relied on mine others didn’t use them. Helpful tip: wind gaffer tape around the top of one walking pole, gaffer tape is really a great ‘quick fix’ item and to limit space and weight you don’t need to carry a full reel of it carefully wind it around the top of one of our trekking poles.
• Matches and/or lighter – didn’t use but depending on your speed you may camp your first night in an area with fuel for a fire a lot of the terrain you will cover is above the tree line apart from the start up to Kebnakaise and towards the end near Keiron to Abisko. It is recommended to burn used toilet paper.
• Dish cloth – don’t see the need if you are eating the freeze dried food out of the bag.
• Small towel – had a small micro fibre towel in pocket as I was getting hot on the first day. If you fancy using the saunas en-route then a larger towel would be needed.
• Water bottle, minimum 0.5lt – Water is everywhere, you will be able to stock up along the route.
• Small knife with scissors or a multi-tool – A multi-tool comes in handy or did for me to help me re-stitch my boots.
• Toiletries – limit these: dry wash, cleansing wipes, toothbrush (cut most of handle off) and toothpaste (find small tube on amazon)
• Toilet paper in a plastic bag with some matches – you should burn your used toilet paper rather than leaving it in the ground
• Head torch – Not needed (doesn’t get dark enough)
• Sunglasses – A must
Other Items for the Fjallraven Classic :
•Camera – I took a GoPro and used my iPhone for photos (I attached a hosing for the GoPro and iPhone clip into the handle of one trekking pole so i didnt need a selfie stick) and navigation (I downloaded viewranger and purchased the relevant tiles for the area and also downloaded the Fjallraven Classic Route.
•Battery Pack for charging phone and GoPro
•Empty Plastic Bottle – I hate having to get out of my sleeping bag in the middle of the night for a pee!
•Sitting mat – these can be found online cheap.
•Waterproof rucksack cover.
•Poncho – Didnt use it but if the heavens did open this would have been invaluable.
•Mosquito Repellent – This is a must there can be swarm in the billions of these little monsters. I get bitten so much and there are so many that i’ve tried and the only effective one I have found was brought in Sweden. Mygga is made with natural ingredients and also has tea tree in it so feels really refreshing when applied after a wet wipe wash in the evening before relaxing and taking in the surroundings.
I purchased this from the supermarket in Kiruna and if i remember they also sell it in the Fjallraven pop up store at check in.
So do yourself a favour and purchase a couple once you return to Kiruna to take home.
•Mosquito head net. Also invaluable a must when the sun lowers and those micro zombies attack.
•Small Trowel. Very helpful for when answering the call of nature.
Energy Drink Tablets
Plastic bottle of Rum
Take your time when packing and really think about each item. If you think to yourself “do I really need this item?” then you probably don’t. The less weight you carry the easier it will be on your shoulders and back and obviously the less weight you will be carrying.
Most importantly your rucksack needs to be suitable for the weather, your shape and the equipment you are carrying. Don’t go out and buy and ‘off the shelf’ rucksack without getting professional advice assisting with fitting the rucksack to you.
Carry most of the weight from the ruck sack on your hips, move heavy items to the bottom of the rucksack and pack the rucksack so you can get to regularly used items first.
Use a liner in your bag something as simple as a refuse bin bag to keep everything dry.
Take small refuse bin bags with you to put wet clothes / dirty underwear to keep the rest of you clothes dry.
A lightweight bumbag will come in helpful to keep snacks, phone and other small regularly used items in, so you don’t have to take your rucksack off every time you make a quick stop.
I’ve had a Dutch oven in my kit room for about 10 years now and dabbled in cooking with it quite a few times.
What a versatile piece of kit the only issue with it is the weight. It’s not the sort of thing you throw in your backpack and carry on a thruhike, it’s the sort of kit that you take with you in a car where you don’t have to worry about walking with it and can take out of the car to your camp.
There’s many Different types but the one most versatile for camp cooking is the three legged Dutch oven.
A camp oven sits on three stubby legs over hot coals or briquettes. It usually comes with a flanged lid (formed with a lip on the outer edge) to keep ash or coals out of the food when the lid is lifted.
Simple as it sounds, a camp oven is a wonderfully versatile piece of equipment. Use it as a pot or sauté pan. Flip the lid over and use it as a griddle.
Or place the food inside the oven and fit the lid tightly over the top controlling the temperature by regulating the amount of embers on the lid.
One of my favourite things to cook in a Dutch oven is a joint of lamb.
There’s many different ways to cook it some people wrap the meat in foil to save the arduous cleaning of the oven but I prefer resting the meat on sliced potatoes and if the oven is really charred inside put it on a high heat to burn any residue of welded to the oven.
Also if the outside of your meat is burning the embers are to hot.
Let’s talk about the lid. The lid is what turns this pot into a oven but also flip the lid over and stick it in your coals and you have a perfect skillet for frying Bannock, cooking breakfast or frying fish.
I recommend adding a Dutch oven to your kit and search some recipes. There’s many books available on Amazon about Dutch oven cooking.
Try a roast chicken then use the Dutch oven to boils down a broth with the carcass and make a great chicken stew with dumplings this is my children’s favourite known as camping stew!