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Random Cool Stuff – May Edition

English: Food dehydrator Français : Déshydrateur

Slightly nicer then mine, but the same brand. Get one ASAP! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t believe May is almost over already. But the good part of a month flying by is getting to share a some random cool stuff I gleaned this month – from the Internet, from books, wherever.

Up first, let’s talk about some interesting things I’ve started to do with stuff out of my foods dehydrator. My two favorite dehydrated foods are jerky and apples. But check this out – there are a few things you can do with jerky and apples next time you go camping … beyond just eating them as-is.

First, the jerky. If you use those dehydrated meal packs, you’ll notice that they’re generally low on protein. Bump that protein factor up by tossing some jerky in there – but be sure to add a bit of extra hot water. If you make a nice jerky in a good marinade, this will also make your camp food far tastier. Speaking of dehydrated camp meals, I’ve heard that some people make complete dehydrated meals at home: If you have some advice, please pass it on – I’d like to take a shot at this, and I trust any advice from a reader more than a random Internet search.

The Swedish FireKnife is a cool piece of gear – it could be a game changer in “Naked and Afraid!”

The same goes for the apples. If you’re making oatmeal, toss some apples in there for extra flavor. Delicious!

Now I’m about to get personal. Ever since I went to the Aboriginal Living Skills School, people have been wanting me to try getting on the TV show Naked and Afraid (this includes many of my relatives, and I am more than slightly disturbed by how many want me to run around naked on TV).

Anyway, I ran across a reference to some of the gear choices Naked and Afraid contestants picked at the start of the show. It got me wondering what I’d pick. Only one of them picked a piece of gear that I use: the Swedish Firesteel. This is a solid piece of gear that I’ve used to start many fires – even at home for my barbecue grill: Like anything, using a flint is a skill, and it’s one you should practice even when you don’t need to. I’ve also started more hand drill fires at home than I have camping, no contest.

You're seeing this ridiculous dog in a bike basket because this is a "random stuff" post. This ludicrous dog was in Hanoi.

You’re seeing this ridiculous dog in a bike basket because this is a “random stuff” post. This ludicrous dog was in Hanoi.

Back to the Firesteel: I think a smart Naked and Afraid duo would be smart to make it one of their choices, with the other person using a small bushcraft knife. I’d suggest resisting the urge to go with a machete, big quasi-survival knife or hatchet. Not even a bottle – there are ways to make water-carrying vessel, one that can endure heat to boil water for purifying; iif you could get the Swedish Fireknife, you’d get knife and flint in one and be able to let your partner grab a water vessel. That’s a pretty kick-ass little knife with a sharp Scandinavian-ground edge. The flat spine and thin-but-strong blade make it great for batoning, which negates the need for an axe. It’s also stupid-cheap, yet very decent, un-fancy quality for frugal folks.

Get one of these. Seriously. (Photo from thehikingguys.com)

Third up – I’ve absolutely fallen in love with my 32-ounce BPA-free REI bottle. It holds plenty of water, and a pair of them are with me on every hike. I had only one problem with them, and that was the wide mouth. One false move, and I’m wearing more water than I’m drinking.

I discovered the Guyot Designs Splashguard, a cool silicone insert that turns many types of wide-mouth bottles into sippy-cups for outdoorsy adults.

But there’s another really cool thing the Splashguard can do: Have you ever had a pair of bottles, one with water that’s disinfected and ready to drink, and one that you just treated with a few drops of iodine … and you can’t remember which is which? Your Splashguard can be the key. The bottle with the Splashguard is ready to go, the other isn’t. Of course, you can also have different-colored bottles. The Splashguard is still a pretty solid way to keep from drinking untreated water.

Let’s take this back to modern times. You know how much you hate the middle seat while flying? Well, one company has a solution to that problem. How likely are you to see this on an airplane anytime soon? I vote “no chance in hell.”

There are so many great ideas out there – like scramble crosswalks and movies that aren’t sequels/prequels/reboots/remakes – that never come into use. Don’t ask me why. It’s just the way of the world. And airlines, especially those based in the United States, take a special pleasure in ignoring any way to make flying better.

That’s all I have for you today. See ya next month!

One thought on “Random Cool Stuff – May Edition

  1. Trevor Stasik

    Hey Justin, did you ever post your jerky recipe? I’m ready to try jerking again. Last time I used the spice and preservative packs that came with the dehydrator. However, I think that there has to be a better way. If you already posted about it, can you put up the link?

    Regarding the spark and tinder topic, my brother uses the Light My Fire Firesteel when he’s camping. It seems to work pretty well for him. Myself, I usually just use matches, but I’m lazy.

    Great post as always!

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