Saturday, April 30, 2016

Crafty Camping Creations - Tree Table

When you're out on a camping trip, working around the campsite, setting up, taking down, cleaning up, cooking food, you often wonder if there's a better way to do things. We're constantly on the lookout for a better way, better tool. One of the things we discussed this past summer was having some sort of a table.

I did pick one up at Cabela's in Phoenix, Arizona. But it's a heavy one and if we're doing a long trip with a lot of portaging, we'll probably leave it behind.

I imagined a piece of fabric that would be suspended between two trees. Somewhat like some of the existing wooden tables built at some campsites.
It's really nice to get stuff off the ground. Things get dirty, stuff gets tipped over, foreign objects get dropped into things, especially if you're walking around.

I saw the fabric as being stretched in a way that would make it stable and have a pocket flap along one edge. The other edge could have a ribbon of hooks to hang things too. It would be lightweight, easy to pack.

Without further ado, here is the alpha prototype version. It didn't work quite as expected. I decided to stabilize the length of the table with my walking poles. I created a casing area to hold the poles, obviously this would only be one usage of the poles, not a permanent solution. I also haven't added the ribbon with hooks on the other side.

Basically the whole table is just a rectangular piece of fabric doubled up and folded in a way to get the pockets. I created two casings to hold my trekking poles, extended to the 125 cm length. I also ran a string of paracord through each of the 2 casings and tied loops on the ends. Then I took two bungee cords to suspend the table between two trees.
Here's a view from the other side without the pocket.
It also needs some way to prop it open as it tends to fold on itself, much like a hammock. In the photos above, taken in a local park, I found small sticks on the ground that I broke into the right length and stuffed at either end. Maybe we could whittle a couple of twigs into the role on the trip. Hmmmm.

I'll have to brainstorm a little more with LT. He hasn't seen it yet. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New Toys for 2016 - Part 1

Each year we fine tune our travelling gear. Keeping an eye on the internet, Facebook, blogs, articles, to see what others suggest and deciding if we might want to try that too. So far this is my list of new gear to try out for the upcoming season.

On a vacation to Arizona in November I went to a Cabela's store for the very first time. It was quite the experience. Before I even entered the store I heard a woman in the parking lot, who was carrying her newly purchased handgun in the box (they didn't even give her a plastic bag), discussing with a stranger the pros and cons of the particular model she'd chosen. 

The store was huge, I found my way back to the camping gear. Most of the stuff is meant for people that get to their camping sites in large motorboats or on ATVs with trailers. In other words, it's not lightweight. I still bought something, a table. I find it tough when cooking that there's so much stuff strewn around on the ground. I don't think this table will make it on a long trip with a lot of portages, it's a bit heavy and bulky. But it will definitely make it on some shorter trips.
It came with its own bag
It will hold up to 125 pounds, including 2 beers
This table has an interesting design feature. There are straps that are tightened at each of the 4 corners. It gives the table its strength. This table was around $15 US.

At Costco last weekend I picked up a down throw.
In its stuff sack
Out of the bag
We've been looking for a way to keep warmer during the spring and fall. I didn't want to invest $300 in a new sleeping bag. I may sew some velco on the corners of this and on my sleeping bag so the two silky fabrics don't repel each other. This throw was $29.99.

I took out my sleeping bag and laid it on my bed then checked the size of the throw with it. I might just fold it in half, sew the bottom and one side, then put a couple of velcro tabs on the top to keep it over the sleeping bag in place. 

A perfect size to go over my sleeping bag!
I sought advice from a friend at work, he has experience as a professional photographer, to get some tips. He suggested a polarizing filter. While I was at the camera store getting one the strap below was on sale and is perfect for my small camera. I've dropped it in the drink before and this strap will ensure it at least floats.
New camera gear
I have my Christmas presents too that are new for me this year. First and foremost my new hammock! But I also have some new drybags, a neck wrap, a clearbag (for the map) and hot chocolate from Godiva.

I have a whole post on my new dehydrator, the Excalibur.And I still have that $100 gift card to Algonquin Outfitters to spend!