Posts Tagged With: Boy Scout Camp Gadget

Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack

Very Functional Camp Kitchen Gadget

Very Functional Camp Kitchen Gadget

Background and History. Washing mealtime utensils on a camping trip can range from using paper plates (no washing) to “Philmont-style” (lick ‘em clean and sanitize in boiling water). Through the years, Scouting has come up with a variety of “dish washing assembly line” configurations. For a wide range of field applications, the three container approach has proven itself tried and true.

Here’s the method featured in the current edition of the Boy Scout Handbook:

  • 1st container: Wash Pot  (hot water with a few drops of biodegradable soap)
  • 2nd container: Hot Rinse Pot (hot clean water)
  • 3rd container: Cold Rinse Pot (cold water with a sanitizing tablet or a few drops of bleach to kill bacteria)

Here’s the method featured in the current edition of the Fieldbook:

  • 1st container: Wash Pot  (hot water with a few drops of biodegradable soap)
  • 2nd container: Cold-Rinse Pot (cold water with a sanitizing tablet or a few drops of bleach to kill bacteria)
  • 3rd container: Hot-Rinse (clear, hot water)
A Scout Patrol Using a Ground Level Dish Washing Assembly Line

A Scout Patrol Using a Ground Level Dish Washing Assembly Line

On many overnight camping and backpacking trips, this approach has been adapted, sometimes combining the second and third containers into one 8 quart pot. In all cases, the initial step is to clean or scrape off as much excess food as possible into a designated receptacle, before placing anything into the 1st container. Most often the final step, is to let all washed items air dry on a plastic sheet. Even when wash basins are used on front-country, “car-camping” trips, the whole production frequently takes place right on the ground. This is always the case when there are no picnic tables, limited table space, or when tables are being used for other things. Improving the campsite, making it more comfortable, making kitchen tasks more convenient, being resourceful and using one’s ingenuity is what creating camp gadgets are all about. That’s why the Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack was devised. 

The wash basins are supported underneath by two Scout Staves.

The wash basins are supported underneath by two Scout Staves.

Two challenges. 1) Drawings for dish washing rack designs are common. But, until you make one and try it with full containers of water, it’s difficult to realize what the main challenge really is—to keep the containers from crashing down because they’re too heavy! Depending on the containers used, an average wash basin won’t have enough of a lip to hold it in place or is just to flimsy to keep it’s shape when filled with water. That’s why lashing together a framework alone usually won’t suffice. Therefore, in addition to the framework, this design includes a bottom platform made up of two Scout Staves for the basins to rest upon, which solves the weight issue. 2) The next challenge is one that’s common to many a pioneering structure, be it large or small. How do we keep the rack itself from falling over? We overcome this basic concern by bringing into play the same stability solution used in making a simple camp table. It’s exactly the same concept that keeps a monkey  bridge erect. Like the table, we connect two upright A-frames with a rope, and using the same rope, we anchor them securely in place on either side. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 10    5′ Scout Staves
  • 14    6′ x 1/4″ lashing ropes
  • 1      20′ x 1/4″ lashing rope
  • 2     narrow pioneering stakes
  • 3     wash basins (For convenience, the wash basins we used were very inexpensive and easy to find. Purchased were three 18 qt. Sterilite basins from Walmart.)
Make two identical A-frames.

Make two identical A-frames.

Make the A-frames. Because the rack will be holding around nine gallons of water, approximately 18 pounds, the lashings for this project need to be especially tight.  An easy way to assure you’ll have well-lashed A-frames is to first Square Lash the tops at 90º and then the ledger to one leg, also at 90º. This will create some strain on the lashings when the other leg and the other end of the ledger are lashed together, yielding a nice tight A-frame. (Careful it’s not too tight.) With these Sterilite wash basins, lash the ledger in place about 28″ from the top of the legs. Since all we’re using are Scout Staves, in this design one side of the ledger will purposely extend out much farther than the other on each A-frame—a place to hang some towels (or whatever).

Support the A-frames with the rope attached to the legs and anchored to a stake on each side.

A rope attached to the legs and anchored to a stake on each side.

Connect and stand up the A-frames. Tightly lash two staves to the outside of the legs of each A-frame, about 20″ from the top. The front and back edges of the wash basins will rest on these staves. Hammer in two stakes about 12′ apart where you want the rack to be located, and position the connected A-frames between. Halve the 20′ lashing rope and approximating the midpoint between the A-frames, secure the rope to the top of one leg with a Clove Hitch, and pulling the rope to the other A-frame, repeat the process on the top of a leg on the other side. Tie the ends of the rope to the stakes on either side, securing the ends tightly with Taut-Line Hitches. (If preferred use Roundturns with Two Half Hitches.)

Add the two-stave basin supports. The A-frame ledgers will now serve to do something more than keep the A-frames’ legs from shifting. They’ll now also support the two remaining staves that assure the basins stay put! Lash these two staves parallel to one another on top of the ledgers, on either side of the rack.

Place the basins on the rack. Once you check to see all the lashings are tight, and the central rope is secure and stabilizing the structure, then you’re ready to bring on the basins. Position them side by side and fill them about 3/4 of the way up.

Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack

Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack

The BSA Supply Division’s Scout Hiking Staff is still the best deal on the market for Scout Staves. Item: Number 1443 on scoutstuff.org

Categories: Simple Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Better Clothes Drying Rack

A Sturdy Clothes Drying Rack with Six Sides

A Sturdy Clothes Drying Rack with Six Sides

You’ve got to love this design. It’s compact, it’s sturdy, and it’s ingenious!

This drying rack is based on suspending two concentric, equilateral triangles to make six cross sections for hanging wet clothing or towels during a long term encampment, and there’s no reason you can’t put it up on an overnighter if there’s a practical need. All that’s been said before regarding the advantages of this kind of campsite improvement apply to this simple camp gadget:

  • It takes up less space while drying more wet things.
  • It eliminates the clutter of clothing and towels haphazardly strewn around on tables, tree branches, tent platforms, or overcrowded on a disorganized array of drooping clothes lines.
  • It can be set up in a location where there is the most sunshine.
  • It’s especially useful when camping in an open area with few trees.

Materials (adapt these as you like)

  • 3    4′ x 1″ sticks
  • 3    5′ x 1″ sticks (Scout staves are ideal)
  • 1    6′ x 1-1/2″ to 2″ straight pole for the upright
  • 1    30″ pioneering stake
  • 8    camp gadget lashing ropes (6′ to 10′)
  • 3    15′ lashing ropes
  • 3    small stakes

Two Equilateral Triangles

Procedure

Lash the triangles. Start by lashing together two equilateral triangles, one smaller for the top (three 4′ sticks), and the larger one for the bottom (three 5′ staves). Use Square Lashings. One easy way is to lash two at 90° and then bend them in and tie the third Square Lashing to make the triangle. This yields a nice, tightly-lashed triangle, (but be careful you’re not putting too much stress on the ropes and poles when preparing to apply the third lashing).

Pioneering Stake

Pioneering Stake

Erect the upright. Pound in a pioneering stake and lash the 6′ pole to it securely with two tight Strop Lashings or Round Lashings. Making this upright stand up vertically without moving or wobbling at all is a key to a good and sturdy clothing dryer. So, solidly pound in the stake and make sure it’s as straight as possible. Also, make sure the lashings are well-tied and tight.

Rolling Hitches

Rolling Hitches

Attach the triangles. Lay the triangles on the ground over the upright, first the larger triangle, and then the smaller one on top.

Using Rolling Hitches, tie the three 15′ support ropes to the top of the upright.

Tie each corner of the smaller triangle to a support rope so it will be suspended about 5′ above the ground. Use Clove Hitches which can be adjusted as necessary to assure the triangle hangs evenly and the 4′ sticks are horizontal. Continuing with each of the three support ropes, repeat this process for the larger triangle so that it will hang about 4′ above the ground.

Clove Hitch

Clove Hitch

Tautline at Stake

Taut Line Hitch at Stake

Anchor the support ropes. Hammer in a small stake a couple of feet out, in line with each corner of the bottom triangle. Using the remaining length of the support ropes, attach them to the stakes with a simple Taut-Line Hitch. This will further stabilize the clothing dryer and enable you to make fine-tune adjustments to the way the triangles lay. (You can also just make them fast to the stakes with a Roundturn With Two Half Hitches, or another Clove Hitch.)

Better Clothes Drying Rack

An assembled clothes drying rack at the 2013 Jamboree gets the once over.

Categories: Simple Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tool Rack 2

Tool Rack 2

Please refer to the “sales pitch” provided in the Tool Rack post spelling out all the advantages inherent in building one of these simple camp gadgets. It is a good-looking campsite improvement project, but mainly, it’s got major functionality.

The main difference between this version and the other is with the first tool rack, all the tools are hung, suspended by a cord from the upper cross piece and supported by resting against the lower cross piece. In this tool rack, the tools’ handles are slipped in between two parallel cross pieces. This way, they’re held very nicely in place, and the tools shifting or wobbling around experienced in the first rack is eliminated.

The two racks are also constructed in like manner, again refer back to the Tool Rack post. No need repeating it here. However, in this version, the diameter of the two 6′ uprights need to be a little larger than the diameter of the thickest handle of any tool you’ll be hanging.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Parallel Square Lashings

When you’re ready to lash on the cross pieces, lash on the first higher than the longest tool. It needs to be at a height easy enough to comfortably place the tools on and take the tools off the rack, without needing to reach up too high or bend over. Secure the first cross piece in front of the uprights with a couple of tight Square Lashings, and then secure the second cross piece to the uprights in exactly the same position, but on the other side of the uprights. You’ll be tying a tight Square Lashing here too, and there’s plenty of room to wrap and frap. That’s all there is to it.

By the way, if you’d like to erect a cover over the tool rack, lash another cross piece to the very top, and rig up a tarp, using this third cross piece as a ridge pole.

Protecting the tools from rain and providing a covered area for storage.

Protecting the tools from rain and providing a covered area for storage.

Categories: Simple Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wash Station

This Wash Station is a Great First Class Camp Gadget!

Washing up before lunch.

This wash station is the ideal First Class Camp Gadget! It’s sturdy, portable, and very useful when camping away from washroom facilities. Inherent in its design is a sound approach to a variety of pioneering concepts and skills. When this project’s built with all the lashings tight and all the legs, cross bar, and support pieces properly positioned, it’s a fine example of a well-engineered, highly functional camp gadget. Each of the three legs making up the tripod gets a lashed on support piece, and the wash station’s stability stems from the fact the design contains three triangles.

Scouts sharing the work to lash together a wash station.

Getting it done!

To start, you’ll need six good, straight sticks as follows:

  • 2   2′ x 3/4 to 1″ for the leg braces
  • 2   4′ x 3/4 to 1″ for the back leg and crossbar
  • 2   5′ x 3/4 to 1″ for the front legs

For the lashings, you’ll need:

  • 1   10′ x 1/4 manila rope for the Tripod Lashing
  • 6   6′ x 1/4″ manila ropes for the Square Lashings

You’ll also need

  • bar of soap in a sock with a 3′ cord
  • small to medium-sized towel with a 3′ cord
  • No. 10 can with a bail or 4 qt. cooking pot with a bail.

Here’s the assembly procedure:

The design for making a wash station.

Position of the sticks.

Make the tripod. Using the 10′ rope, lash the two 5′ sticks and one 4′ stick together with a tight tripod lashing. The 4′ stick should be in the middle. Make sure the “butt” ends of all three these sticks are even. Separate the legs and set the tripod up. The success of this project relies on a well-tied, tight Tripod Lashing.

Lash on the braces. Using four tight Square Lashings, with the 6′ ropes lash one end of the 2’sticks to the 5′ legs and the other end of the 2′ sticks to the four-foot leg.

Lash on the crossbar. Using two more Square Lashings, tightly lash the other 4′ stick to the top extended sections of the two 5′ sticks to make a cross bar for the towel and soap-in-a-sock.

Add the soap, water, and towel. Tie the end of one 3′ cord to the soap-in-a-sock and the end of the other 3′ cord to the towel, and hang them on either side of the 4′ crossbar.

Washing his hands before breakfast on a cold, winter camping trip.

Hang the can filled with water to the end of the 4′ stick extending from the front of the tripod.

During the camping trip, change the water as necessary. See that the soap-in-a-sock is not left in the can after use as it will melt.

One of the beauties of using metal containers is that in cold weather, the can of water can be heated in the fire.

Categories: Simple Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simple Camp Table

This small camp table is completely functional and provides a convenient raised surface for personal, patrol, or general use. It’s simple design provides for quick and easy set up, and it is comfortably stable.

Simple Scout Stave Camp Table

Make the table legs. Start by lashing four 6′ staves with Two Spar Shear Lashings, to make the table’s legs.

Lash on the table top supports. Next, to support what will become the table top, lash a straight 4′ x 1″ stick to connect each set of shear legs at about 2-1/2 feet off the ground with Square Lashings. This will form two A-frames, one for each side of the table. Make sure the 4′ sticks are the same distance from the bottom of the legs on both sides.

Get ready to hold up the table. Now it’s time to hammer in a narrow pioneering stake on either side, 10′ away from where the legs will stand (about 52″ apart).

Distance from table to stakes

Stretch out a 50′ length of 1/4″ manila rope so the middle of the rope will lay where the middle of the table will be. Put two Half Hitches (Open-Ended Clove Hitch) around  the top of one leg at each A-frame, about 52″ apart.

Attach the ends of the rope nice and tight to each pounded-in stake using a Roundturn With Two Half Hitches. Tightening this center rope is what keeps the A-frames from shifting and makes this table very stable. If  you secure the table nice and tight from the beginning, you shouldn’t ever have to adjust the tension. Situating the stakes ten feet away from the table will provide optimum stability, but for practical purposes, much shorter distances between the Clove Hitches and the stakes can also work very effectively. In this instance, a shorter center rope can readily be used.

Make the table top. Lay 5′ staves across both 4′ sticks and attach them with a Floor Lashing using binder twine. If you’re using Scout Staves, twelve work well.

Table View at Camp Ho-Non-Wa

Rear View of Camp Kitchen at Troop Site during Boy Scout Summer Camp

Categories: Involved Campsite Improvement, Simple Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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