I am off to Scotland next weekend for two weeks and today I have been filling my Nalgene bottles and pots with spices, herbs, ground coffee, milk powder, corn flour, instant chai tea, olive oil, soy sauce and whisky – enough for one. Doing this saves weight and space in my packing. It is too easy to just fill the boot of my car when going off on my own to time share.
I bought this Light My Fire spice box in the summer in Scotland, but I only found it again this morning when I went to sort out my camping food tin.
The spice pot was in in a sale box for a pound as the packaging had been lost. There are markings on two of the sections – “S” and “P” but as I use salt and pepper packets from cafes I have put sumac, in the “S”, smoked paprika in the “P” and garam masala in the third. All of these spices are very useful when I am camping or backpacking as they are “shake over” rather than “cook in” spices so I can easily jazz up my food.
First thing at Woodhall Spa – I had early morning coffee at this camp instead of tea
Menu for the weekend
Tinned Mackerel in Teriyaki sauce
Arrival at Woodhall Spa Camping and Caravan Club site
Milicano coffee stick and cakes (the warden gave me some milk as they had sold out of 1 pints – otherwise I would have bought some)
Sesame flavoured Japanese noodles
I let the noodles cool down then I added a small packet of mixed pitted olives in herb oil and a salad dressing sachet that Mum had left over from her dinner on Friday
Chinese sesame dessert
Peach tea (cold)
Tea and breakfast biscuits
Apple Pop Tarts
Fresh coffee and more tea
Nescafe 2 in 1 coffee
Nutrigrain breakfast bar
2x decaf coffee sticks
Hot chocolate drink
I also had my Backpacking Brew Kit, packet of glucose tablet and some SiS Go Hydro tablets.
lunch in the pouring rain – getting a little shelter under the trees
Chinese sesame dessert
I got this from a local Asian supermarket – there is no other way to describe it, it is black custard. It is very sweet and tastes strongly of sesame. I like it as an alternative to instant custard.
It was a warm humid weekend so I carried 2.5l of water and used nearly all of it. I carried a pack of SiS Go Hydro tablets, which I made up in my 500ml bottle, which I refilled as required from one of my other bottle – I had three bottles of the electrolyte drink. I made tea at lunch and drank nearly all the rest of the water – and it was probably just enough for the conditions.
Once I was at the camp site I was aware how much fluid I had lost during the day so I made sure I had plenty to drink – stoping to make a drink before I even put my tent up.
I walked until about 1pm on Sunday I carried 1.5l of water. I used one of my electrolyte drinks, made hot chocolate whilst I waited for Diana to arrive and drank most of the rest.
Read about my water choices here.
HTC Wildfire – MP3 player and ePub reader
This is the first full weekend away using this “retired” mobile phone as an MP3 player to replace my iPod Nano. It worked really well. I listened to an audio book all day Saturday and Sunday morning whilst I was walking and at the campsite I read for an estimated four to five hours. The 2.5Ah battery gave out about 20 minutes before Diana picked me up on Sunday, so it lasted the weekend. I had the original 1.2Ah battery with me so I swapped them and carried on reading. If I am away for any longer I will need to take my 20Ah Power Pack with me to charge the HTC. (Read my Backpacking Geek.)
I still used my iphone for my photos, photo editing, blogging, navigation etc, but not using it to read my books on meant that I only used one of my 2Ah emergency iphone batteries. I have used both of them on previous weekend trips.
This is an article I wrote last week, but I forgot to post it – here it is, just a little late!
I have a small beaker with a lid in my lightweight cooking kit, for rehydrating food in and to use as a mug when I am using the titanium mug as a cook pot. Unfortunately on my last overnight trip I noticed that a small crack has started to develop in the bottom of the beaker, so I guess it will not be long before it starts leaking. I’d like to find a replacement but it took a some searching to find this beaker, as I wanted one that fitted inside my titanium mug and had a convenient, comfortable drinking lip. I bought this one in Cornwall.
In the mean time I shall use a Light My Fire cup. There was an issue though, can I rehydrate a packet of noodles in it?
Noodles for lunch on my Spires and Steeples walk, last Monday, seemed like a good opportunity for a test.
Testing the Light My Fire mug
I had to crush the noodles quite small to get them to fit in the mug – this was easily done in the packet before opening them.
Crushed up, dry, Pork flavoured Japanese noodles (100g).
Adding the water and stirring the stock in had to be done carefully as the mug was brim full.
With the lid on, I left the noodles for about five minutes to soak up all the stock.
Success though, the mug is full but the noodles are completely rehydrated.
There are a couple of good reasons to use this mug:
- it is more stable than the current beaker – less chance of knocking it over and spilling food and drink in my tent
- the sipping lid will keep my drinks warmer, longer
- the lid, unlike the beaker, is not water tight – at the moment I put the sealed beaker into my sleeping bag using it as a pot cosy, I will no longer be able to do that
- the volume is smaller than the beaker
I think this will make a good addition to my lightweight kit, because of the extra flexibility.
Black Combe Wild Camping
This wild camping trip had been planned for months – the only issue was we chose the time over the Bank Holiday weekend when the weather was not splendid! However even with the wet, we had a great weekend.
The route and site we chose for this camping trip was one I had checked out last January and it did not disappoint.
There was a suitable parking spot reasonably nearby – with a short walk from there to the start of the path, some care has to be taken as there is not footpath and the road is narrow. There is a car park at the actual start of the path, which is much safer for both the walker and the car driver, but unfortunately the local parish council prefers to see it empty overnight.
The view on the way up.
The first look at the trig point on the summit of Black Combe.
We found an excellent area to camp, over from the trig point towards the edge of the summit.
From here we had great views across to the summits of the Lake District.
click on the above image for a larger version
However once we had taken some time to photograph the view and get a group shot at the trig point it started to spot with rain. This rain became heavier and the visibility dropped to a couple of hundred meters. We each retreated to our one man tents for the evening – conversation was then shouting at each other.
The visibility was no better at sunrise.
Food and Water
As I had to carry all my water up with me for this wild camping trip, I chose my menu so it needed no water in the preparation. All the water I had with me was used for drinks or hygiene. I had planned to take up 2l of water but at the last moment I added an extra 500ml bottle of water to which I added two SiS soluble electrolyte tablets. I am glad I did this as I used this drink on the way up. I made a much faster pace to the summit than the other two, with barely a stop and only one quick photo opportunity. They on the other hand took the much more sensible way up with plenty of rests and photo stops. When I got to the summit I was very hot and I needed the extra water/electrolyte drink.
For my evening meal I made spicy sardine sandwiches with the Warburtons Brown Sandwich Thins which was a great success, I shall use this bread again. It comes pre-sliced which is convenient but even better it resists the inevitable crushing that food suffers in the backpack. However my crackers and breakfast biscuits did not survive so well when Richard turned my pack upside down.
I needed the wind shield for the stove because of the wind
Even in the flapping, windy conditions it was quite safe to boil water for my drinks in the porch of my MSR Hubba tent.
POP tarts and breakfast biscuits make an easy, filling breakfast with fresh coffee and tea. It is something I can prepare whilst still in my sleeping enjoying the view! The only thing to improve on my menu was the bacon bap Richard cooked and brought over to me in the morning, complete with Heinz tomato ketchup.
Two litres of water was enough for this trip – I had planned to have six hot drinks and some water for the walking. This worked out and included using a little water to clean my spoon, pocket knife, plastic mug and teeth. I also used KFC wipes and anti-bacterial hand cleaner for my hands and face.
Star Wars Day
After breakfast we packed away and left no trace of where we camped – inspecting the site carefully for wind blown litter or “lost” kit.
Heading back to the car on Star Wars Day – the visibility only improved once we were below 300m
Other posts about this wild camping trip:
I am off to the Lake District with friends tomorrow for an overnight wild camp. The following is the backpacking food I will be taking.
As we are planning to wild camp where this is no water available, it means that all the water I think I will need I will have to carry in. This menu is designed reduce my water needs to drinks only – no dehydrated food. I am planning to carry 2l of water up into the hills.
The plan is to day hike, on Saturday, down to one of the lakes. Then go back to the car, restock with water, pick up our main packs and head off to our camp site later in the afternoon.
Extra to this I am going to buy a Sausage Pie from the village shop when we leave and add a banana. The plastic bag is for the rubbish and the “hint of lemon” is a hand wipe.
The bread is Warburtons Brown Sandwich Thins, which are pre-sliced. I shall probably eat the granola bar with my first mug of tea at the campsite before the tent goes up.
Just in case I am a bit more hungry than I expect – I am planning to have the chocolate breakfast biscuits with my early morning tea, whilst I am still in my sleeping bag, admiring the view.
Drinks and extras
The small Nalgene bottle contains dry milk powder. The Chrysanthemen Honey Tea, which I get from a local Asian Supermarket, can be dissolved in either hot or cold water.
There are two items not shown:
I have a 60ml Nalgene bottle of fresh ground Costa Coffee and I my Brew Kit.
Why “Star Wars”?
Sunday is May the Fourth.
With the weather forecast for the day being reasonably good, I decided not to waste any time driving but set off to Craigellachie National Nature Reserve – with a plan to go up onto the ridge and walk along the top.
The weather was great and relatively warm (for January in the Cairngorms), I did not need my gloves, hat or jumper nor did I need to zip my coat up until I got out into the wind on the exposed ridge and summits. One thing I did have on though was the new Helly Hansen Lifa Dry base layer Diana bought me – and it was excellent, it kept me warm, was comfortable to wear and did not absorb any sweat when I was warm so when I did need the insulation on the top, it worked.
Have you ever wondered who puts the rock steps in the footpaths? Well I met two of them today.
Rather than get my stove out to make a coffee, I took hot water in a thermal mug, for the first stop. I had a number Octagon Technology emails and texts to deal with – if there is one problem with the titanium mug I normally use is that on a longer break, like this one, the drink would get cold too quickly. But not when using a thermal mug. I had packed it for this trip having recently read a blog of a backpacker who used one to keep water hot for his late night hot chocolate. He boiled the water when he made his evening meal so it meant he could pack his stove and pots away for the night and still have a hot drink later. I bought my thermal mug a number of years ago but it has had little use but I am going to try it out on this trip and if it works out I may pack it for subsequent trips.
Lunch was soup and crackers. I really like the “Squeeze and Stir” tomato soup but I have found it difficult to stir in and dissolve all the paste when I have been making it for lunch when walking and backpacking. I tend to use cup-a-soups which are really easy to make on the trail. But today I had a thermal mug. I put the paste in the mug and half filled it with boiling water. Then making sure the lid was on firmly I vigorously shook it. After about a minute I topped the mug up with more boiling water and I had perfect tomato soup – and once I was finished no messy mug to clean up, I just put the lid back on and packed it away.