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Backpacker Magazine – November 2008

How to Do Everything - Camping

Find water anywhere, make a fire in five minutes, learn secrets for battling mosquitoes, and more.

by: Annette McGivney


Hiking | Packing & Planning | Camping | Gear | First Aid & Health | Cooking


Water 101 | Build a Fire | DIY Grommets, Windscreen | Master Three Knots | Set Up Camp | Beat Bugs & Bears | Two-Second Tips

FIND WATER ANYWHERE
  • Scout it Climb a hill and look for: stands of water-loving willows, cattails, sycamore, mesquite, Bermuda grass, or cottonwoods; large concentrations of birds in the morning; bug swarms; and cattle trails.
  • Dig a well Scoop out a one- to two-foot hole on the outer bend of a sandy wash and wait up to an hour for water to seep in. Dig several holes to improve your odds. Only getting mud? Dip your bandana and wring it out to extract the moisture.
  • Make a solar still Tie a plastic bag around heavily vegetated branches that are exposed to sunlight. Weight one corner with a small rock so all the moisture transpiring from the leaves will gather there. Or stuff a plastic bag three-quarters full with green vegetation (grass, cactus). Place it on a sunny slope with the vegetation at the top of the incline, so evaporated moisture drains to the bottom. Either way, a quart-sized bag will yield two to three tablespoons in average conditions.
  • Find tinajas These potholes or depressions in desert rock (called tinajas in the Southwest) can hold water for weeks after a rain. Check shaded areas and creek beds–but they can also be found in unlikely places, like the tops of cliffs or mesas. and mesas.

MAKE SILTY WATER DRINKABLE
When a cloudy river is your only water source, try these methods before filtering or treating to keep the grit out of your teeth–and your pricey pump: 1) Strain through a bandana, or 2) let sit in a collapsible jug or cooking pot until sediment settles on the bottom.
video icon
Video Tutorial: Learn how to filter water correctly with our step by step tutorial (80s style).

PRACTICE SAFE WATER CARRYING
Slip a jumbo, nonlubricated latex condom into your first-aid kit: The super-strong multipurpose device can hold a gallon of water in an emergency without leaking.



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Sandi P
May 31, 2014

This is a great magazine when i received it but only got three issues and was charged twice for the subscription.

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This is a great magazine when i received it but only got three issues and was charged twice for the subscription.

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copy and paste dude.

Bill
Apr 03, 2009

Does anyone know how you can print anything from the Backpacker.com?

Backpacker customer service said to contact a company they do busines with in reference to the website. I called and the guy I spoke did not have a clue and/or could not care less!

John Viehman
Apr 03, 2009

A finer compliment I've seldom received, Richard.



I second what Dan said about the taut line vs trucker's hitch. My thinking exactly. I still use the taut line but the trucker's hitch is my knot of choice for cinching something down or making a line taut. I first saw the trucker's hitch demonstrated on a PBS "Trailside" program with John Viehman. Thank you John for opening up a whole new world for me.
Posted: Jan 14, 2009 Richard McFadden

John Viehman
Apr 02, 2009

I second what Dan said about the taut line vs trucker's hitch. My thinking exactly. I still use the taut line but the trucker's hitch is my knot of choice for cinching something down or making a line taut. I first saw the trucker's hitch demonstrated on a PBS "Trailside" program with John Viehman. Thank you John for opening up a whole new world for me.
Posted: Jan 14, 2009 Richard McFadden

You're welcome, Dan. A higher compliment doesn't exist, imho.

Old Scout Master
Mar 07, 2009

A Taut line hitch is to create a taut line as in pitching an old style tent or tarp. It is easily adjusted as say opposed to two half hitches. Last turn is opposite to first two in order to create a good lock. A truckers hitch is to secure a load by creating tension on the line and to release easily. Totally different purposes and both great if used properly{:<).

Patrick Foley
Mar 01, 2009

Sea to Summit makes a solar shower that compresses down to its own little pocket. It holds 10 litres, can be used as a shower or running water for camp chores, is inflatable as a nice pillow, doubles as a dry bag and I can lash it to my pack to tote a whole days worth of water far from the source.
I won't camp without it. Even if I don't shower it's nice to have running water at camp to wash hands/ do dishes...

(The dry bag trick is my favorite... My "Survival Kit" is in a small 2 or 4 liter dry sack. Same reason, keeps stuff dry, doubles as a bucket...)

Kindal
Feb 25, 2009

Great piece, I always love reading info topics like this. It is important to learn because lets face it who wants to carry gallons of water on trips?

The other Anonymos
Feb 24, 2009

I 'gree with anonymos

Tyler O.
Feb 24, 2009

I've found that tying a plastic bag around a healthy branch and then securing it with string works well. The water evaporates and condenses in the bag.

Perry Clark
Feb 24, 2009

The tautline hitch is illustrated here incorrectly. The final hitch passes in the same orientation to the standing part as do the previous hitches.

There is another, more secure, version of the tautline hitch favored by some. This one is well-illustrated on the site "Animated Knots by Grog".

FWIW, I've used the tautline hitch for more than thirty years without problems--when tied correctly!

Anonymous
Jan 19, 2009

Better re-check that taunt-line hitch. Somebody will lose a merit badge.

Rick Woods
Jan 16, 2009

The counterbalance method is ok, but takes more gear. As above, attach a line to your food bag, and a mini-carabiner at the same attachment point. Toss the line over a 15-foot or higher branch. Here's the difference. Find a short stick, about 3-4." Pass the line back down and through the 'biner, and haul the bag up as high as it will go. Substitute a clove hitch around the middle of the stick, ease of on the line and the food bag drops until the stick locks across the 'biner. I coil up the excess line and tie it off above my head, and walk away. The bag will be swaying in the breeze at least 8 feet up. Check local regulations. Hanging anything on a live tree may be illegal. In that case use a canister.

Chris Hvid
Jan 15, 2009

Try the "adjstable grip hitch" - it holds better than a truckers hitch or a taughline hitch and is easier to tie...

http://www.layhands.com/Knots/Knots_Hitches.htm

Anonymous
Jan 14, 2009

The trucker's hitch is very useful and easy to tie, tighten and untie however it does not stay when the rope does not have any load on it and can become tangled and lock itself easily. The taut line hitch is recommended for creating a loop at the end of a rope that you can adjust the size of the loop without having to untie the hitch. I have broken off most of the little plastic tabs that allow you to do this on my rain fly, and the taut line hitches I have tied years ago still work as good as ever.

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