Regardless of where or when we camp there are a few common traditions that occur each trip. One starts each morning around 9:00 am as campers emerge from tents and trailers everywhere. The smell begins to waft in the air as bacon starts to sizzle on camp stoves and grill throughout the park. Fellow campers begin preparation for the ritual of breakfast, a ritual that only exits at the campground. We rarely cook bacon on any other occasion, but when we camp it is a standard item on the grocery list, one that is expected in the same way as smore’s and spider dogs.
Living in the Vancouver area, I well aware of how expensive it is. It is not uncommon to hear people talk about moving away to get more housing “bang for their buck”. That is, until, we have a string of sunny days and then we are all reminded of why we will never leave.
This week was one of those weeks. The sun was out, the sky was blue and we had the time to get out and enjoy several areas of Greater Vancouver. From snowshoeing, to scenic walks, and campfires by the river. Greater Vancouver really does offer it all. Here is a summary of the week! Continue reading
Since I started this blog in December 2014 I have seen some amazing dutch oven dishes. It has made me want to acquire some cast iron cooking pots and certainly a dutch oven. I came across this handy cooking chart and can’t help but wonder if it is really this easy. For those of you who use a dutch oven can you please confirm this in the comments and share links to any yummy recipes.
Hang on tight, here we go!
Back in June I did post on my “girls camping weekend” and I have always thought it would be fun to do a rebuttal post about my take on “guys camping habits”. Now this is all meant in fun so men grab a cold one and settle in….
Food: Steak, bratwursts and bacon top the shopping list and not necessarily in that order. Red meat is a staple in the male camping diet and trying to tackle a 2 inch steak on an under powered, under sized propane BBQ is a necessary challenge on every mans list. How these fat laden pieces of meat turn out is not important. What is important is that you have them at each meal, regardless of your intestinal discomfort.
Mr. Fix it: I have noticed that whenever we camp the men must fix something. Our last trip they repaired; a camp chair, sewer hose, hot water tank and water filter. It is an interesting ritual to watch. One will start a job and soon the others have halted everything to give their opinion and offer their assistance. Even the simplest of jobs become group therapy. The camping chair they fixed this trip was in no way safe to occupy but it was left set up, as if to pay homage to their effort. It was interesting to see the even chair made its way back into the RV at the end of the trip, like an injured family member returning home.
Tarping: Sometimes I wonder if the men in our lives hope for rain. The joy they get when they are require to tarp a campsite is like watching small children enter Disneyland. They each pull out all their ropes, tarps, pegs and ladders and gather together to plan the best way to protect their families from the showers that ensue. Questions such as; where will the low point go, how should pooling dips be avoided, and which tree will provide the most height, are all debated at great length until decisions are made and the challenge is complete. This tarpping fetish is proven when you see that my most popular post ever is one that features a gadget to make this job easier, Skyhooks.
Campfires: Chopping wood and building a fire is another male ritual that is fun to watch. Yes, we woman are more than capable of completing this task, but why? It would be like turning off the television right before your favourite sitcom. Listening to men debate the best way to build a fire, teepee vs. log cabin, and then watch as they bring out a blow torch big enough to ignite a forest, only to beat their chests with pride as the fire burns for the evening.
Bonding Time: During a camping trip men who have never golfed will golf, men who have never fished will fish, men who don’t smoke will puff a cigar, and men who only drink beer will bring out the rye. I can’t really explain why but it seems to happen on each trip. I have yet to see a fish enter the camp site but it doesn’t deter these determined warriors. Rye flows like water even when their wives complain about the snoring that will inevitably result. Cigars are smoked to rave reviews even if they are not inhaled. It is all part of the male ritual that is fascinating to watching and entertaining to listen to.
Regardless of the differences in habits, men and women seem to survive in these small camp environments that we call home. The ritual events that occur during these trips provide hours of stories for future campfires to come. Camping is one of the most memorable vacations a family can take regardless of whether you are chopping wood or floating in the lake. The point of the journey is to get outside and enjoy life.
For the purpose of this post we were generously provided Skyhooks to help with the male tarping tasks. These hooks help to make tarping at high level so much easier and quicker. Watch for a full review on Skyhooks shortly.
I always find lunch the toughest meal to prepare. The kids are hungry and I don’t feel like cooking. On my next trip I am going to try this make ahead pizza log and see how it works out. I plan to make this for lunch so I will take it out of the freezer the night before so it is thawed in time.
- Roll out your pizza dough into a rectangle. You can make your own or use the refrigerated pizza dough.
- Add in 1/2 cup of tomato sauce,
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
- any toppings your family likes.
- Starting at one end roll the dough up like you are making cinnamon rolls and pinch all ends to create a seamless log of pizza goodness.
- Optional: throw a little parsley on the top for a pop of color!
- Wrap it in foil and freeze it.
- Thaw prior to cooking
- You can cook it on a grill or just put it in the logs for a total of 25 minutes, flipping often.
- Once it is done, cut or pull it apart and serve.
It is only May 16 and British Columbia has its first wild fire. It is in the Kamloops area, which is typically hot and dry, but this is even early for them. All reports say we are in for a hot dry summer which, for campers means one thing, campfire bans! Luckily it is not on yet, but if we keep getting weather like this, it won’t be long.
For those who camp in BC here is the link to the Ministry of Forest so you can keep up on the forest fire risk and the Provincial Fire Bans.
As a frequent camper I have always felt very confident in our ability to follow campfire rules but a few years ago we were caught off guard. One evening we were at a fire with a group of friends. We finished with the fire and after pouring several buckets of water on it we headed to bed. That evening the winds kicked up adding oxygen to the smouldering embers. Our friends woke to a bright red light and looked out to see the fire had started back up and a plastic camp chair had been blown into the fire. Luckily nothing was damaged but it was a scary reminder of how dangerous an improperly extinguished campfire can be.
Here are some tips to help you avoid the same experience.
- Allow the wood to burn completely to ash
- Pour water on the fire until ALL embers are drowned, not just the red ones.
- After the hissing stops, keep pouring. It needs to be cold to the touch!
- Saturate the embers and ashes around to ensure you have soaked them all.
- Give the logs and sticks a scrape to get any embers off.
Here is a link to how to make a Swedish Log Candle. It is great for cooking over and burns for hours. You can cut the log ahead of time and take it with you.
Simple as that!
Thanks Pat Owens for the great article link! Please send me anything you think other campers can use, I am happy to share it.
A s’more is a traditional nighttime campfire treat popular in the United States and Canada, consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. Wikipedia Continue reading
For the fisherman!
For the Hunter!
For the Gun Lover
For the S’more Lover
For The Cowgirl and Cowboy. Inappropriate but I couldn’t resist