If we need something these days, anything at all, we head straight to the shop and buy it. Whatever happened to the good old days when we got a bit hands-on and made stuff for ourselves?
Sure, a store-bought item usually looks flashier but, seriously, when did we campers attain the need for the fanciest gear? Making your own stuff is all part of the charm on a camping trip and it keeps the kids entertained as well.
So let’s take a look at a few creative ways you can make do with what you’ve got, in order to cook up a feed out in the bush. It’s all about letting your creativity take the stage, and showcasing your ingenuity to, well, yourself.
DIY CAN STOVE
If you’ve got two empty soft drink or beer cans, you can make a stove using the two bottom halves. Simply cut both of them in half, insert a bit of cloth or cotton wool inside one of the cans and fit the other half a can (bottom up) inside the first can.
Then poke a hole or two in the centre of the top can so you can fill the stove up with methylated spirits and poke several more holes around the top outside diameter of the can for the burners.
To light it, simply pour some of the fuel on top and light it up. Once it starts to boil, it will ignite the fuel inside and, hey presto, you’re in business!
FORGOT YOUR SPOON?
Every now and then desperate times call for desperate measures, like when you forget your spoon and it’s time for a coffee! Granted, you’d have to be pretty desperate for a spoon to actually do this, but you never know.
Simply grab an empty soft drink bottle (1.25L works well), and cut it in half. Then cut your spoon out down towards the bottom of the bottle. Try and cut as close into the bases centre as possible as this area is thicker, and gives the spoon a bit more rigidity. It also gives it a nice curve.
DIY FIRE STARTERS
Kick this one off by cutting an old toilet roll or similar into 3-4 pieces. Then grab a few cotton buds or even lint from your clothes dryer, and smear a decent chunk of petroleum jelly into them before jamming them into the cardboard toilet roll pieces. And that’s it, they’re ready to go!
These things will put a flame out a good 2in high, and will burn for up to 15 minutes.
For easy lighting, ignite it from a bit of cotton bud that’s not covered in petroleum jelly. Keep a few of these bad boys ready to go and they’ll make you look like a pro the next time you go to light a fire in front of your friends and family.
This one’s more for fun than anything, but the kids will love it – for the first few minutes, anyway. Simply curl a bit of fencing wire up at the end so the snag can fit through. Make sure the handle is long enough so it doesn’t burn your hand, but you’ll need fairly heavy gauge wire to ensure it doesn’t sag too much. Another idea is to stick the ends in a log and give them a turn every few minutes.
Sick of losing your tongs? This one’s a cracker! Simply grab an old belt or strap, and wrap it around a trunk or log. Adjust it tight, and hang a few wire hooks from it. If you choose a pre-cut log you can move it around. Hang pots, pans, tongs or any cooking utensil you can think of, and the top of the log can even act as a bench or chopping board! How’s that for fancy?
SILENT SPICE STORAGE
There’s nothing worse than having the spice jars rattling around in the back, plus those old round jars aren’t exactly space efficient. One simple and insanely cost effective alternative is to simply empty the spices into plastic resealable sandwich bags. They’ll take up less than half the original space, they won’t rattle and you can carry as much as you want.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #99 April 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!