Friday, July 13, 2012

5 (mostly) YouTube Inspired Backpacking Hacks To Try

Tomorrow, my Brother, Dad and I head into the woods for a weekend of backpacking and fishing. To prepare, I've been browsing various videos at YouTube for gear/technique inspiration. Here are a handful of hacks that I'm hoping to attempt to try this weekend. Not sure if I'll pull any of them off, but considering that they are almost all zero effort projects, it certainly doesn't hurt to try.

A Front Pocket Fishing Kit - there are lots of examples on YouTube of fishing kits that are super tiny. Turns out, line, a few hooks and a couple of other do-dads really don't take up any space. While this trip I'll be doing almost all my fishing with real gear (Thanks Dad!) I hope to spend a little time trying to make a pocket kit work. Then, I'll have no excuse for not doing a bit of fishing anytime I'm out for a hike and discover a possible fishing hole.

A Blue Diamond Almond Pot - I can forget buying that overprice titanium cook pot and just use this $3.00 hack. Apparently, Blue Diamond Almonds come in a metal tin suitable for cooking with. I picked up a can of almonds (which went into my gorp, yum!) and sure enough, it's the cutest cook pot ever. Sure, it's more like a mug than pot - but it's so lightweight, I've got to give it a try.

A Jiffy Pop Frying Pan - we want to cook pancakes on the trail (the just-add-water mix is easily available), but we didn't have a frying pan to cook it with. David, however, had picked up the classic Jiffy Pop popcorn on a whim. We decided against bringing it, but realized that it should work as an improvised frying pan. This one I haven't seen yet on YouTube, so we'll just have to try it and see how it works.

The Frontier Water Filter Gravity Filter Hack - Like the Jiffy Pop, this is another case of serendipity at work. A while back, I'd picked up a Frontier Water Filter, which usually works by plopping one end into the dirty water, and using a straw to drink through. It was neat enough, but wasn't going to bring it on this trip. That is, until I saw how it can be trivially be plugged into a Vapur flexible water bottle to make a trivial gravity based water filter. And the best part? CVS is selling knock-off Vapur bottles for $1.50. For, that price I don't mind slicing up a bottle or two to give this setup a try.

A Heatsheet Tarp - I'm a huge fan of heatsheets, a sort of upgraded emergency blanket. Thanks to YouTube I've got yet another use for them - as an ultralight tarp. The solution involves duct tape, so how can it be bad?

Of all the videos, I watched, I found Intense Anger's selections to be among the best. Lots of high quality information and well done video work (much of it shot by himself, of himself, in the back country). His series on ultralight gear is really impressive.

OK, enough talk. Let's go into the woods and make stuff happen.

Update: See how these experiments worked out here.

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