Put the electronics down and pick up a stick
Yes, I know that you don’t need bushcraft skills when you’re car camping. That said, it’s still a great opportunity to work on basic skills, and it’s builds confidence in the outdoors. In all of these scenarios I’m using the Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman, which I’ve put a nice edge on. The fact that I can switch over to a bow saw means less gear in the camp box, and less gear I need to carry with me when I’m walking around looking for right fallen wood that will accomplish the job. Here are three basic bushcraft skills that actually come in handy, even at a modern campsite.
Easiest Way to Make a Roasting Stick
You can get as fancy as you want with camp cooking, but it’s hard to beat a good old hotdog roasted on a stick. The 4-in-1 Woodsman can make quick work of this task.
Finding a stick that’s 3-4 feet long is the easy part. Once you have one, sharpen the tip by running from the bottom of the blade to the top while pushing it forward. This extra sliding action makes it easier to sharpen.
Now for the tip many people don’t know – it’s much easier to strip the bark off of a stick if the blade is perpendicular to the stick. People usually continue with the sharpening angle, but that removes too much wood. With a 90-degree angle you can shave the bark off with much more control. One last thing – before you stick a hotdog on, wave the bare end in the fire for 5-10 seconds. This will both harden the stick and remove any possibility of imparting a “green” taste.
*Always check with local regulations to make sure you’re obtaining your roasting stick lawfully.
Craft a Simple Roasting Stick Holder
The best way to cook over a fire is to take your time. Letting bratwurst cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time heats up all of that juicy goodness through and through …the way it was meant to be. Sometimes you have other things going on, so it’s nice to automate this. Here’s how to craft a quick stick holder with the 4-in-1 Woodsman.
Find two dead (but not rotten or brittle) sticks that have a branch. Make sure the main shaft of the stick is straight, because you’ll be pounding this later. Cut them to 8-12 inches in length. You’ll be using one right side up and one upside down.
Find a large log to use as a base, and cut the bottom of the shafts into a point. It’s ok if they’re a little blunt. They will still pound into the ground easily.
Pound the one with the Y facing up just outside the fire pit. Then place your roasting stick in it to “measure” the height you’ll need for the back stick. Pound that one in and you’re ready to go. Make sure your back stick is especially secure so you don’t lose that tasty sausage in the coals!
Make Wooden Stakes for Fun and Profit
Ok, maybe you won’t be able to sell these to anyone, but they come in handy for two reasons: 1) You can always use more tent stakes. Either someone is missing one, or you need more for a tarp you want to put up. 2) It doesn’t matter if you lose one. You made it out of wood that was already lying around, so don’t sweat it!
These are kind of fun to make. Grab several sticks that are about one foot long. If you’re making them for a tent, be sure to check the diameter of the rings or loops on the corner of your tent. If they’re grommets you can always just tie the stake to it with a rope.
Next, make a cut with the saw 1/3rd the diameter of the stick. It’s easy to cut too deep, so for more control pull the saw blade toward you lightly.
Time to finish it up with the axe. Cut a notch down to the cut you just made. This will stop your rope from sliding up.
Next, turn it over and chop the bottom to a point. That’s all there is too it! Put the axe away, throw a brat on your new holder, and kick back. You earned enough survival points to relax for the rest of the night.