Posts Tagged With: useful camp gadget

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

Self-Standing Garbage Bag Holder

Simple Self Standing Trash Bag Holder

Simple Self-Standing Trash Bag Holder

Getting that garbage bag off the ground has all kinds of advantages, but sometimes, you can’t hammer sticks into the ground to make the easy three stake holder. There might be any number of reasons. The ground’s got too many rocks. The ground is rock. You’re in a parking lot or on the sidewalk during a fundraiser. You’re indoors.

In these cases, to hold up a trash bag (when there is no trash can), you can simply lash three Scout Staves or similar poles into a tripod and lash on some short cross pieces to keep it stable. All that’s required is seven lashing ropes, one for a Tripod Lashing and six for Square Lashings. For the poles you need three 4′ to 5′ sticks for the tripod legs, and three short sticks for the tripod leg supports.

Note: The Tripod Lashing is tied below the middle of the longer sticks. The length that the sticks extend on top of the lashing will be determined by the size of the bag your holding. Also, to secure the bag on the holder, and too shorten or lengthen the amount the bag hangs, you can fold the top of the bag as much or as little as you like over the three upper leg extensions.

 

 

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Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen

CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS, FURTHER INFORMATION AND ILLUSTRATIONS!

After assembling the tripods and lashing on the braces, Scouts lash on the cooking platform on a Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen

Scouts cut a couple of burlap bags before adding a layer of mineral soil to make the cooking surface.

CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS, FURTHER INFORMATION AND ILLUSTRATIONS!

 Lit charcoal chimneys are placed on the cooking surface and monitored.

Pouring out the Charcoal. When the coals are ready, they're spread over the cooking surface of the Chippewa Kitchen.

CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS, FURTHER INFORMATION AND ILLUSTRATIONS!

Foil food packets are cooked over the coals on a Chippewa Kitchen

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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

Camp Clothing Drying Rack

Small Clothes Rack

Designed very closely along the lines of the Simple Camp Table, this is an easy solution to how to dry wet clothing and towels at a long-term camp.

  • 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.

A large camp clothing drying rack can be built using four 6′ x 2″ spars, or a smaller one with four 5′ Scout staves.

Attaching the long line to the rack ends

Build the framework. For each side of the rack, lash two poles with a tight Shear Lashing. Make sure the distance where they intersect at the top is the same for each pole.

If you’re making a larger rack, strengthen the sides by connecting the poles with a 4 or 5 foot cross brace, lashed on with tight Square Lashings. This will form an A-frame for each side. (For a smaller rack, all you’ll need are the Shear Lashed staves forming two inverted ‘Vs’.)

Set up the supporting line. What holds up the sides of the rack and serves as the highest drying line is a long rope. A 50′ x 1/4″ manila rope works great, but most any long cord will be fine. Drive in two narrow pioneering stakes, one for each side, extending about ten feet beyond the length of the drying rack. The larger the rack, the longer this length can be.

Attach the long rope to each rack side with a an Open-Ended Clove Hitch around the top of one pole, right where they intersect. The distance between each side is the length of the drying rack where wet clothes and towels will be hung.

Larger Drying Rack

Raise the rack. After the Clove Hitches are in place, lift up one rack side and secure the end of the long rope to the corresponding stake with a Taut-Line Hitch or rope tackle. Repeat this process with the other rack side. Tightening the ropes at the stakes is what keeps the drying rack firmly in place.

Add some lines. Adding more lines increases the capacity of the rack to dry more and more wet clothing and towels. Tie additional ropes or cords to the rack sides at lower heights, attaching one end around the pole with a Clove Hitch or Two Half Hitches, and the other at the other pole with a Taut-Line Hitch. To increase the rack’s stability, you can heel in the butt ends of the rack sides an inch or two into the ground. This will keep them from shifting when the additional lines are made taut.

NOTE: For a very sturdy drying rack, replace the single stake at each end with a 1-1 anchor, and then, instead of using shorter lines secured only between the rack sides, use long ropes or cords, attaching them with a Clove Hitch at the poles, and then around each 1-1 anchor with a tight Taut-Line Hitch or rope tackle.  If you’re using manila (which has a low stretch factor) as your long rope, and you’re getting a decent strain on the line, there’s no reason you can’t just secure the rack to the stakes with Roundturns with Two Half Hitches.

A Better Clothes Drying Rack

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Garbage Bag Holder

Simple and Convenient!

Simple and Convenient!

Mighty useful in the camp kitchen!

Mighty useful in the camp kitchen!

This is about the easiest of all useful campsite improvements, But, beyond its simplicity, it’s just plain functional, adding mucho convenience!

Take three sticks, about 4′ long and sharpen one end of each.

Hammer them into the ground deep enough to stand firm, spaced about 18 inches apart and forming an equilateral triangle.

Now place the edges of a plastic trash bag over the ends of the sticks.

Finally, secure the bag in place with a piece of cord using three Open-End Clove Hitches. Two 3′ cords or a 6′ lashing rope does just fine.

Self-Standing Garbage Bag Holder

 

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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

Tool Rack

Tools are Organized, Accessible and Looking Good

Fundamentally speaking, as long as a campsite is safe and clean, all’s well. However, especially for longer term camps (or when displaying demonstrations of Scoutcraft skills), there’s definitely something to say for the added convenience of a campsite tool rack. Set up in a prominent location (in or near an axe yard), a tool rack serves as a reminder to put tools back where they belong. A place for everything, and everything in its place, especially wood tools, goes a long way towards limiting accidents.

Construction is very simple. Basically, all that’s needed are four poles; two 6′ uprights, and two 5′ cross pieces work fine. The cross pieces are connected to the uprights with four Square Lashings.

Tools are hung on the rack, suspended by a looped cord attached to the top cross piece with a Larks Head.

Scouts attach a 6' stave to a pioneering stake with two round lashings.

Scouts attach a 6′ stave to a pioneering stake with two round lashings.

If the two upright’s cannot be sunk or hammered into the ground, pound in a couple of pioneering stakes and hold the uprights in a vertical position by lashing them firmly to the stakes with a couple of tight Round Lashings.

Click here for Tool Rack 2.

Check out a tool rack rain cover at the bottom of the post.

Categories: Simple Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Forked Sticks and Crossbar

Boiling up some water on a cold morning.

It’s a sight right out of the old frontier, a cooking fire with some game roasting on a wooden spit supported by two forked sticks. It’s easy to make, and the wooden spit is often a crossbar from which pots are suspended for boiling water and cooking food. In the photo to the left, the forked sticks are placed outside the fire ring and Round Lashed to two pioneering stakes driven into the ground deep enough to hold the sticks upright (click on the photo to catch the detail).

As this photo shows, if the crossbar is long enough, one side of the fireplace can be set up to simultaneously cook food over coals on a grill, in a frying pan, or in foil packets. If the fireplace is to be used for a campfire, and the crossbar is not needed, it can simply be lifted off and set aside.

Fire place with straight forked sticks

Fire place with straight forked sticks

This old fashioned camp gadget can also be set up without any lashing, as seen in the photo to the right. Just find a couple of straight sticks with a branch growing out at about 45° and saw them to size. (Procure them in a conservation-minded way!) Sharpen the bottom and the forked sticks can be hammered directly into the ground without breaking.

Once fashioned, these two prepared straight sticks, along with the crossbar, can be reused repeatedly on future “car-camping” outings. They’re a whole lot more portable than other gear that’s carted into a campsite, and very functional.

Notice the water bag suspended from a Scout stave tripod.

Jokes for the cook: leave-no-trace, cooking fire and campsite.

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Chippewa Kitchen

Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen

The Three Phases of the Chippewa Kitchen Cooking Experience

The Chippewa Kitchen can be seen as the indisputable KING of all “camp gadgets.” It’s the ultimate camp kitchen pioneering project, providing a huge element of convenience to a wide range of camp cooking operations. The Chippewa Kitchen can provide a raised surface for food preparation, a nifty place to hang tools and utensils, a framework from which a pot can be safely suspended over a cooking fire, and primarily, a convenient, raised cooking surface for cooking over hot coals.

There are all kinds of Chippewa Kitchens. They come in all sizes and shapes.

3 Chippewa Kitchen Styles

Chippewa Kitchens can be built in many ways. They all lead to more convenience for the cook.

When our troop first started making Chippewa Kitchens, we built them with one 10′ tripod, with one 6′ crossbar, and two 8′ crossbars each of those extending out so that a shelf could be constructed where we’d pour the coals and do the cooking. We’d tie a rope from the top of the tripod and hang an 8 qt. pot over a fire built on the ground in the middle between the three legs of  the tripod. This always worked well, but with all the weight from the earth, coals, food, and dutch ovens, it was a lot less stable. That design tended to make it difficult to keep the tripod from leaning and the crossbar extensions from shifting lower.

DOUBLE TRIPOD CHIPPEWA KITCHEN. Our more recent constructions consist of two 8′ tripods connected with two parallel 8′ or 10′ platform supports over which we lash the cooking platform. With this design, you can build a cooking fire under one or both tripods and suspend a pot over each. Of course the platform is superb for Dutch Oven use and ideal for foil cooking.

Cooking demonstration on a Double Tripod Chippewa during an outdoor festival.

Looking good and feeling good at Playcard Environmental Education Center during Swampfest.

Materials needed for a Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen

  • 2      10′ x 3″ platform support spars (For a smaller Chippewa Kitchen, 8′ spars work great.)
  • 6      8′ x 3″ tripod leg spars
  • 6      6′ x 2.5″ tripod braces
  • 20-40   3′ to 4′ x 2″ floor spars (depending on the size of the cooking surface required)
  • 16    15′ x 1/4″ manila lashing ropes for Square Lashings
  • 2      20′ x 1/4″ manila lashing ropes for Tripod Lashings
  • binder twine for Floor Lashing
  • piece(s) of burlap or canvas to cover cooking platform

Here’s a procedure to make a Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen:

Build the tripods. Lay three 8′ tripod legs side by side and lash them together with a tight Tripod Lashing. Make sure the butt ends are at the bottom and even.

Stand the tripod up by crossing the outside legs underneath the middle leg.

Repeat this process for the second tripod.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Labelled Chippewa Kitchen Spars (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Lash on the tripod braces. Connect the two outside legs with one of the 6′ tripod braces. Using tight Square Lashings, lash the brace so it is perpendicular to the ground and three feet high. Lash another 6′ tripod brace to each outside leg and connect them to the middle leg with Square Lashings, about two feet and two and a half feet high respectfully.

Repeat this process for the second tripod, making sure the brace connecting the outside legs is again, three feet high.

Position the tripods. Place the tripods so the 6′ tripod braces lashed to the outside legs (the ones that are three feet off the ground) are facing each other. These braces are the ones that will hold up the long platform support spars, which in turn will support the cooking platform. The distance between the two tripods should be close enough so the long platform support spars can extend over each brace by at least six inches.

Lash on the platform support spars. Place the long platform support spars parallel to each other on top of the three foot high tripod brace on each tripod. Space them apart so the shortest floor spar will extend over their edges by six inches on either side. Lash them in place with tight Square Lashings.

Lash on the floor spars. The cooking surface is made up of 3′ to 4′ x 2″ floor spars, depending on how wide a cooking area will be required. These are lashed onto the parallel platform supports with a Floor Lashing using binder twine.

Prepare the cooking surface. Prior to adding mineral soil, and to keep he mineral soil from falling though spaces between the floor spars, spread pieces of burlap or canvas over the platform.

Finally, cover the platform with a layer of mineral soil thick enough to protect the floor spars from the intense heat that will be generated from the coals during cooking.

Double Tripod Chippewa Design

Construction is logical and easy. Burlap is a practical layer between the platform floor spars and the mineral soil.

A Covered Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen during an American Legion Open House

A Covered Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen during an American Legion Open House

Categories: Involved Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Double Fire Bucket Holder

Functional AND good-looking.

Functional AND good-looking.

One of the essential mandates in the BSA’s Outdoor Code is: BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE.

  • I will prevent wildfire.
  • I will build my fires only where they are appropriate.
  • When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out.
  • I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.

In addition to being the height of simplicity, the Double Fire Bucket Holder makes an invaluable contribution towards safety around the fire circle. In our campsites, since it’s always a safe bet to have a supply of water right near our cooking and campfires, why not add some convenience and accessibility, especially because when fire buckets are on the ground, they’re frequently knocked over, inadvertently kicked, and even stepped in!

Useful Camp Gadget

Very Useful Camp Gadget

The materials needed for this ultra simple campsite improvement are two pioneering stakes, a solid stick about 30″ long with a notch on either end to hang the buckets, and two short 1/4″ manila lashing ropes, 6 to 10′ long. In a sensible place near the fire circle, simply pound in the pioneering stakes, approximately 1 and 3/4′ apart. Then, making sure the notches on the 30″ crossbar are facing up, lash it to the two stakes with tight Square Lashings. Fill the fire buckets and hang them on either side. That’s all there is to it. As illustrated in the drawing below, this same design can be used in a variety of ways.  

Whatever the doctor orders.

Whatever the doctor orders.

 

Categories: Simple Campsite Improvement | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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