Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Survival of the Fittest... or the most prepared

So my man's birthday was Saturday. I wanted to post this before since I was getting so excited about the present I got him but of course that could spoil the surprise. 

Trev and I are both really into camping and being in nature. As well we believe that you can never be too prepared. He loves survival gear and techniques. So keeping with that theme I decided to make a bit of a disaster/camping kit of things he might not have yet. (He has quite a few things) 

First of all a week or so ago I was at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and found a nifty little camping stove that folds down super flat and is great for backpacking off the beaten trail. I loved it and actually bought one for myself. The stove is super light and only about 100 grams and less than a cm thick. I got it since neither him or I currently has a small little stove I had been looking for one anyway. I will still probably go out and get one of the propane or gas ones, but this is a good one when we don't want to carry that fuel. 

Because of it's portability and lack of fuel this stove is a perfect stove for survival in the wilderness. Promptly after I purchased one for myself I went back to the store and picked up one for him as well. 

I was really tempted by the Platypus water filtration system but it's a wee bit out of my price range for now. http://cascadedesigns.com/platypus/filtration-and-storage/gravityworks-filter/product I am sure that one of us will get it eventually though. I have heard great things about it and it filters so fast!

The second thing I found for him was a survival booklet that it very detailed in everything you need to know about survival. It has info about different climates, their vegetation and animals. What you can eat and what you should avoid. Different trapping, hunting, shelter, fire procedures, etc. The best part of it is that it has very clear and concise pictures for all of these and the plant pictures are all in colour. Together with the book and the stove I picked him up a new flint/magnesium strip for fire starting. 

On Pinterest there have been a few neat camping/survival things floating around so I decided to try a few of those out. Firstly there is a good method for fire starters. Apparently you can take cotton balls or swabs and douse them with petroleum jelly and you have instant fire starters that last a few minutes. Now normally in the past I have always used the dryer lint in the egg carton method with paraffin on top but these are so much easier to produce that I decided to whip some up for him to use. 

The second thing I made was the spices and first aid ointments in straws. You take the straw and cut it in pieces. Then with each piece you take needle nose pliers to the end of it to hold it steady, hold the tip over a flame or candle, then pinch the melted plastic with the pliers so it seals the end. After this you fill the little tube with spices or ointments for first aid. You then seal the other end of the straw the same way. 

I know these are not the most environmentally friendly method, but they certainly cut down the weight in your bag for various containers and allow you to have single portion packages without spending the big bucks buying them. I especially liked them to make little Polysporin and peroxide packets since the store bought individual packages are expensive and even more wasteful with their packaging. They are also really convenient for the spices since then you are only packing a tsp or two for your meal. Afterwards I labelled them all with a permanent marker. Also I tried to keep each item in a different colour of tube so that if the names wear off, they still appear different. 

Lastly I made portable toothpaste blobs. Take a sheet of saran or tin foil, etc. and put a bunch of blobs of toothpaste on it. Let it dry for 2-4 days. When done, remove them from the sheet and put them in a Ziploc with a bit of cornstarch or baking soda so they don't stick together. When camping and it is time to brush, you take one of these out, chew it a bit to moisten and then start brushing. It is really good for backpacking since it reduces the load in your bag. This would be good for airplane travel too since you only need to bring a blob or two on the plane instead of getting the special tube under 100ml. 

Packets of spices

Completed gift satchels

Stove and book

Lemon vanilla bean cupcakes with lemon buttercream for the party
After all of that I packaged it in a nice little box as shown above. I think all said and done it turned out quite well.