Solo Scientific's $40 Tinder HOT Box Solar Fire Starter is air- and water-tight, uses no fuel, or batteries, and keeps your dry tinder dry in transit. It's machined from aircraft aluminum and wights 4oz. Not much use for getting dry in a snowstorm or thunderstorm, but still awfully handy.
Tom Fassbender says: "The last time the family went on a camping trip, we made Breakfast in a Bag. We always like to have a cooking adventure when we camp, so this time we baked chocolate cake in oranges. The results were predictably delicious."
Make Magazine interviews Werner Strama, who built his own teardrop camping trailer (here's a detailed HOWTO if you want to try it yourself). Strama talks about how he approached the project and the lessons he learned about scratch-building something ambitious and wonderful:
After we decided on the teardrop, I started collecting hundreds of pictures of all the items we believed would be best for our needs: that is, three person sleeping area, a small kitchen in the back, self-powered when needed, very well insulated, for we would be going camping year round to different places, especially hot springs (we have very nice ones in Colorado). Also I needed to keep the costs down so not to be a burden on our finances, and not to fall into the “credit card trap.”
I enrolled my neighbor Denny since he is just an amazing bargain hunter on camping stuff; he was the one who found the old popup camper for free, as well as the stove with the oven, which turned out to be a very nice touch. With the trailer chassis, I set to calculate dimensions and average weights to maintain 12–15% of the total weight on the hitch, which would make sure the trailer would be stable. All it takes is some simple math and three bathroom scales. Then it was a matter of getting the wood, some extra tools, like a router, and a sabre saw to cut the profiles.
How and Why I Built My Own Teardrop Camper Trailer [Goli Mohammadi/Make]
Tom Fassbender went camping with his daughter and cooked bacon and eggs in a paper bag set over campfire coals. He says it was a "mixed success" but the results look tasty!
Police leveling a homeless campsite outside of Kansas City discovered a "hidden community" of transients living in an elaborate series of tunnels, reports KMBC.
Here's a slow, gentle, fascinating demonstration video for the Wedgetail slide-on camper, "built for rough Australian terrain." It's a pretty amazing feat of engineering, with lots of thoughtful features. But what really gets me is in the money shot where the whole thing opens up like some kind of origami trick. Big things hidden in little things! Hell yeah!
Wedgetail slide on camper demonstration (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Cocoon Tree is a 60kg hanging tree-fort. You can gang up multiple, special-purpose cocoons (bathroom, bedroom, dining room) to build a little treetop house, with a safety net beneath. Each cocoon is supported by six guy-wires rated to 1.6 tons each, and is framed in aluminum.
Gizmodo's Brent Rose reviews the TheraPik, a $13, ugly, plasticky bug-bite zapper that actually works really well. It heats up your mosquito (and other critter) bites until the venom's proteins break down, and the itching and swelling disappear.
You put the tip of the Therapik onto your bug bite, then you press and hold down the button. The tip uses light to heat the bite up. You hold it there for as long as you can take it, up to a minute. The burning sensation gets pretty intense after 30 seconds or so.
The Best Part
It actually works! Mosquito bites (the only thing we tested it with) stopped itching within a few seconds of taking it off, and in most cases they never itched again. We are officially stunned.
Here's a long, long photoset of imakethenews and his girlfriend doing a complete teardown and rebuild of a seriously decayed 1975 Serro Scotty Sportsman teardrop camper trailer. The rebuild is clever, sensitive and ingenious, and the result is a an up-to-date but still nostalgic masterpiece.
The $129 BioLite wood burning campstove converts heat to electricity, so you can charge your mobile phone while you boil up your freeze-dried beef stroganoff.
The Art of Manliness makes a good case for carrying tampons in your camping/survival kit, with ten woodlands uses for them, ranging from sterile field dressing to kindling to blowgun-dart fletching. They call it "Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity (T.A.M.P.O.N.)."
Yes, I have a tampon in my mouth — don’t laugh! As a last ditch water filter, you can make an improvised Survival Straw from the plastic housing and cotton from a tampon. As you can see in the photos below, just tear off a bit of the cotton and stuff it into the plastic housing. I find it better to leave a little bit sticking out to make the housing pieces wedge tightly together.
Of course, it goes without saying that a tampon might also be useful if you or someone you know is menstruating.
Hammock-tent-makers Tentstile have a new 5-8 person model -- string it up between a couple-three massive trees and it becomes a treetop aerie, far above the madding crowd of critters and hikers.
Tentsile combines the comfort and versatility of a hammock with the usable space and security of a tent. The ultra portable structure uniquely employs tension forces to provide separation from wildlife, including insects, snakes and other predators but also from sand storms, earth tremors, cold or wet ground, debris or contamination.