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!
After learning the knack of a few methods of fire lighting I’ve decided to remove the ‘good ole faithful’ ferro rod from my fire lighting kit and replace it with a more traditional method.
I took my son a few years ago on a bushcraft course with woodland ways and they showed us many different fire lighting methods, it was great for my son and also helped me out by improving my technique.
I had ago at igniting a spark using flint and a steel striker but have never got around to adding one to my kit.
So I discovered beaver bushcraft through the magic of you tube when I was researching methods and techniques and what a fantastic selection of goods they produce and sell.
2 days later a great little steel striker, flint, charcloth and amadou arrived at Home.
I am very impressed with the items they sell. I have been looking for a brass Hudson Bay tinder box for ages and much to my delight they also sell these.
The Hudson Bay Tobacco Box had been used as a tobacco box and a tinder box too. When exposed to sunlight, it was possible to ignite a fire through the sixfold magnifying glass lens.
The lens was hidden underneath the small lid. During twilight and darkness the tinder material (not included) stored underneath was used. A day off arrived and it was out into the woods with the dog to have ago with the flint and steel. Using a piece of charcloth (charred cotton) on top of the flint the steel is struck downwards to create a spark to create an ember on the charcloth to put in my nest of dried bracken and birch bark.
Once the best of tinder is alight it’s then easy to start your fire. Great products would definitely recommend a visit to their website.
Some photos from beaver bushcraft website.
I mentioned in previous post the need to balance out life for the sake of everything (your family, work and yourself). It is very important to give yourself the time to reflect on things going on and take some time to wind down and relax to keep that balance in equilibrium.
I work full time as an EMT for the ambulance service where I work varied shift pattern of nights and days sometimes in a fast moving environment and sometimes quite traumatic mentally.
I also work as an on-call firefighter where we are only called to duty through a paging system this means that for 90 hrs in a week I need to be available for fire calls.
Along with everything else: running a house etc I still find the time to unwind and process some of the jobs that I have attended.
For me, getting outside with my Day pack full of my items that I can use to make camp, build a fire, brew a coffee and whittle a spoon is the way I unwind.
Throwing up the hammock amongst the trees and laying back and processing some of the incidents I have recently attended allows me to better myself next, look at my mistakes and stops me from dwelling on traumatic jobs.
There is definitely something about being outdoors assisting with depression (not that I suffer with depression) but is this due to me balancing out life and giving myself ample time outdoor?
Just the other day I was refuelling the car before heading out for the morning and the sudden whiff of the diesel took me back to a life changing event in my life where myself and my wife where nearly killed in the Asian Tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004 so most of that morning was used contemplating that traumatic event, how we were so lucky and how that event has lead to me doing what I do and being who I am.
Ever had that experience when sounds and smells take you back to a place or event in your life? Well, this ‘trigger’ is a in built animal instinct which can trigger that fight or flight instinct. The smell trigger warns a animal of a danger perhaps scent of a predator or scent of rancid or poisonous food where sound warns the animal of a possible danger. The sound of screaming takes me back to that event standing on the beach in Sri Lanka.
How do we deal with these triggers? Well through my own experience they will always be with you it’s about processing those warning signs and realising that they are now a inbuilt warning system. Due to work, I go through traumatic events on a weekly basis and it’s learning how to process them and use them to your advantage.
Black humour is a way of emergency service staff processing the events we deal with if you where to walk into any crew room and hear the black humour you would think what a messed up load of people we are but this is a coping mechanism.
I generally spend my ‘me time’ during the week when the wife is at work and the kids are at school. This allows me to balance time with family and giving some time to myself which I feel is needed for everyone.
I’ll go out with the dog, walk along the river stalking some pike, spend some time contemplating whatever has been happening or what I’m planning. Creating little adventures / goals is a great way of giving you some downtime from day to day chores that will assist in you reaching your goals.
Plan what you want to do. Micro adventuring doesn’t needs to be expensive but set aside a un-used bank account and setup a standing order and put what ever you can afford into it weekly and soon funds will be to help you reach your goals.
Enjoy the planning, follow this site for further posts on micro adventure ideas.
We are all limited with time due to work, family and other time consuming things, so utilising what precious time we all have to spending it with our families which then gives great memories and also teaches the little ones a thing or two.
I have recently been spending more of the little spare time I have more effectively by creating little micro adventures for us all to enjoy.
Micro adventures are a great way at utilising time for yourself giving you more time to really relax and unwind by doing things instead of wasting that precious time.
So I plan micro adventures for myself and also for the family. Not every member of the family will enjoy the same adventure. So as I work shifts I plan ‘me time’ when the wife is at work and the kids are at school.
Turn a dog walk into a lunch and a coffee in the woods or on the beach.
Even if you haven’t got a dog a walk out will do great for your mentally. I have a Day bag I use which houses everything I need for a micro adventure. I carry a tarp, fire lighting kit, wood gas stove, pot, water bottle, coffee making kit, snacks, length of paracord, knife and my wood carving tools.
I’ll then walk the dog and spend some time just relaxing between the trees making a brew and pretending that I’m good at carving.
Even throw up a tarp and practice fire lighting skills, the last dog walk out I took my youngest and we lit a fire using Birch bark and a fire steel so he learnt how to use natural tinder to light a fire.
Micro adventure can be anything really: geocaching, foraging, animal tracks, wood carving, paddling down the river, outdoor cooking etc.
We regularly go to the beach after school and will cook our meal on the beach just to be outside.
Fishing is a great way to get out and spend sometime outside. I will carry a fishing bag and walk the dog along the river and spin for pine whilst walking along. It’s not always productive but get to see loads just standing there and walking along the river
A jetboil in my bag and some coffee adds a little more to the adventure.
So with a few days off and after a night hammock camping I took the dog along the beach from Walberswick to Dunwich along the Suffolk coast.
It was a beautiful day off shore wind and se was calm. Stopped half way along his behind the dunes and used the jet boil for a coffee break and just enjoyed being outdoors.