Readers' Best Advice: Camping Tips

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One-Gallon Washing Machine 

To wash clothes during a two-week trip last summer, I took a one-gallon zip-top bag and put about two quarts of water and a small amount of Dr. Bronner’s soap in it, then added the clothes. After shaking the bag, we rinsed once. The soap doesn’t foam up too much, and it gets rid of the stink.

Kevin “NCBACKPACKER” Scrubbs, Mooresville, NC 

Lunch Break 

In the Canadian Rockies, we always pack our tents wet, then dry them in the sun while we have lunch on one of the passes. It’s often too cold and damp to do it in the morning. 

Larry “dayhiker9” Risch, Portland, OR

Double-duty Stake

Snow stakes make great trowels—they’re sturdier than the orange plastic ones, and about half the weight. The narrower shape is also easier to use in rocky, rooty soil. 

“River Runner” 

Flexible Flask

I carry my whiskey in a Platypus bladder in my backpack instead of a Nalgene bottle. It saves space and collapses as it’s emptied. Knock on wood, I haven’t sprung a leak yet. 

Bryan Bradley, Buffalo Grove, IL

Simmer Solution 

Canister stoves often create a hot spot in your pan and make temperature regulation difficult. Here’s a fix: Scientific supply houses, such as Fisher Scientific (fishersci
.com), sell pieces of wire gauze used to support lab glassware over a Bunsen burner. The gauze is made from a special alloy of nickel, chromium, and iron. Simply place the gauze over the stove’s flame to disperse heat uniformly over the bottom of a pot. Now it’s possible to sauté and even gently simmer sauces and stews without burning the food. A five-by-five-inch piece fits perfectly on my stove and costs about $26. 

Roger K. Pihlaja, Spring Park, MN