Ingenuity in the outdoors

I firmly believe that ingenuity is much more important than money when it comes time to pack for your backpacking trip. For example, you can spend $30 on that sweet new .5 gram titanium pot holder from MSR, or you can do as I do and bring a bandana and use it wet to grab your pots and lids. Sure, i love going to the store and looking at all the sweet new gadgets that people have come up with, but left to my own devices i can get by with what things i bring along. Does anyone else have any new and clever ways of using things to save money and a few pounds? I'm sure on a site like this one there are lots of great ideas out there. Please share your favorite.

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i love making liquid fuel stoves out of soda cans...
not my idea, it's on the site somewhere
110100101108 years ago
some stuff from my trips with mates : light fire with piece of foil and rechargeable battery light fire with flash circuit from camera (and not damaging the camera in the process using long wires. we converted the camera back to normal camera at the end of the trip) dry wet matches with incandescent flashlight (put them inside the place with the lamp) use a thread and motor from electrical toothbrush (who the hell brings one to a trip ? well one of our mates did !) to make electricity and recharge our flashlights connect 2 wires to a dinamo flashlight and power 3 extra flashlights from the dinamo (the wire in the air was an issue but at least we saved some battery life) things i allways pack with me : some electrical stuff tools hard core electrical wires - both as wires and hooking stuff cable ties phosphorescent glow in the dark plastic stars
Instead of foil, use steel wool. Much better. Some motors are not reversible as generators, so be careful with that toothbrush thing. And most toothbrush motors are very small, and use a very small amount of current. You would have to add a diode to prevent the battery power from powering the motor in reverse. It would also take a very, very long time to charge...
you dont take steel wool to the outdoors. you do take foil to make the spuds the key here is to spin it fast and use diodes to block reverse current (its allready kinda rectified by the motor itself but you need diode to avoid the batteries discharging when motor outputs 0) for speed we used a thread and hooked it in 1 turn on the pin of the motor (below the gear to prevent it from slipping) then pulled it fast in the forward direction (the backward is useless if you have 1 diode and not 4) for diode we used a green LED from key chain toy (it kills some 2.5 V but still works) this did fill the batteries enough for the 'end of the day' before we lit the fire. this was the last night of the trip so we did not need full charge
When I go camping I take steel wool. It's very good at cleaning things.
mackamitsu8 years ago
I use a frisbee for a plate/bowl, I have a KFS set from my army days, I spent the money on a good sleeping bag and a gortex bivi bag. I also carry a tarp for shelter from the sun/rain. It also makes for a good water collector. I cannot say enough about a good multi tool, and soon I'll be adding an "ible on how to make a survival chain saw which blows the doors off of a wire saw.
purduecer9 years ago
Some friends and I were dayhiking a mountain trail once, and we ended up walking down the entire trail in total darkness. In desperate situations, the LCD screens from your camera/cell phone can provide some minimal light. Maybe a good tip for the day hiker.
ledzep5679 years ago
lol same here(due to lack of willingness to carry a lot) i use my Utica sportsman standard WWII issue knife with leather sheath(got it from my grandpa, its been sharpened 3 times since its creation and its still razor sharp) a small LLbean forest green backpack from my grandparents(also my school bag) a small OD green blanket(its only true purpose is to keep animals off on me, i just sleep in my clothes),a metal pot with handle, a spork, and a windproof "zippo-esque" lighter. but i also have a 6 pound .22 that conveniently needs a certain rare specialized 20 dollar clamp to mount a sling onto... therefor i do not have a sling. and plus its North Carolina, the temperature isnt too bad. like right now, its 74 degrees with a breeze!
HAL 9000 (author)  ledzep5679 years ago
Wow, I would be right with you, but its 30 or 40 degrees and wet at night here. That sounds like a really sweet knife. I have a swiss army knife (a real one) and a small gerber that i take with me, but maybe ill have to look for the one you're describing.
The temp here has been nice for the last couple of days. The end of last week was cold though.
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