I am a big camping fan and it is no surprise that friends ask me for tips on what kinds of accessories to buy, where to go, and how to build and cook over a campfire. I am happy to share my knowledge. It is not difficult to promptly start a fire and to make great outdoor meals. You start with an ideal site for this indispensable outdoor tradition. If there is no designated fire ring, you can make your own where permitted. You can call the forest service in advance to find out what is allowed. When you arrive, make sure your site is sufficiently away from branches and debris. You know about embers and wildfire so you will dismantle your pit as soon as you are done. It goes without saying to clear all flammable materials. Most people cover their fire rings with sand or gravel. To start the fire, gather tinder, kindling, and larger pieces of wood that will help the fire keep going as long as you like. Don ‘t cut branches from live trees. Now you can build either a teepee, log cabin, or upside down pyramid style. The teepee is made from loosely piled tinder in the center of the ring. Add logs as needed slowly. Two large pieces of firewood make up a log cabin. They are placed parallel to one another with room between. Place two smaller pieces on top perpendicular to form a square. Amble tinder goes inside. Add layers making them smaller and smaller. Finish with kindling and tinder. The spaces allow the fire to get needed oxygen. Finally, for the pyramid construction, use three or four of the largest logs placed side by side. Add a second layer of smaller ones and continue getting smaller as you go up. Now you are ready to prepare a delicious meal. I, for one, loved fresh grilled fish. You may bring all the ingredients with you if you want to get fancy. Use cookware designed for campfires and water to douse the flames when the meal is over. Who doesn’t want to end with s’mores? During the preparation process, I like to wear a welding jacket as those roaring flames get pretty hot. I do this particularly on cold days as it keeps me warm while it protects me. It pays to wear something that is flame resistant. I can’t tell you how important this is. I have seen the results of inattention. A welding jacket is not hard to find on the Internet, especially with the help of Twitter, and will generally sell for under fifty dollars. It’s a great deal for the safeguarding you get. Plus, there are usually inside pockets for storage. I always seem to misplace my cell phone and car keys somewhere in the dirt. Ensure that camp guests and children never get too close to the campfire. For s’mores, they can use a very long stick. Taking caution by spending a few dollars on the right gear pays off in the end.
If you are an outdoor junkie like me, no doubt you have been camping dozens of times. There is nothing like the exhilaration of being outdoors and testing your survival skills. I don’t always go deep into the wilds; I like the traditional places just fine. I enjoy boating, hiking, cooking dinner over a roaring fire, and singing songs while drinking beer late into the night. Then it is time to retire in your tent or sleeping bag with the stars as your ceiling. If you adore fishing, it will be one of your primary activities. Give it plenty of time. There is nothing more contemplative and relaxation. Plus, dinner will be sublime. Some of my friends like to come along and fishing is not their thing. When this happens, I bring a soccer ball that I picked after reading a post on my favorite magazine's Facebook page and we play around for hours burning off steam. Then you can fish or relax as you wish. A walk by the lake is scenic and fun. Just remember the location of your campsite. I select one that has enough adjacent space to play soccer with six people. Most of my friends enjoy the game and getting to play makes for a great weekend. The sport is so popular now that sites like www.topcornermag.com are popping up to provide coverage to fans. In the US, fans are developing daily and finding an alternative to baseball and basketball. It is one thing to watch your favorite teams and another to play soccer for enjoyment and athletic toning. I find it ideal for a trip by the local stream. You can’t very well play baseball or basketball. It is easy to kick the soccer ball around in an open area. You will want a campsite that doesn’t get too crowded, of course, and I know some secret places that are not often frequented. Soccer is challenging and dynamic, but most of all I like the camaraderie of the team. I select my camp mates accordingly. I like a little competitive spirit but without fanaticism. This is true for any sport. People in tennis, for example, who throw down their rackets in anger are anathema to me. I don’t like cruelty, brutality, or bad language during my recreational athletic time. We had a participant once a while back who took winning too seriously and it spoiled all the fun. It is never good sportsmanship to be overly invested in any game. For me, a camping trip punctuated by a few games of soccer is all about blue skies, fresh air, good friends, and exercise. If you like to go solo to sleep outdoors, I will count you out. If you are game, you will find that I like to set the ground rules right before we play so that we come to a consensus. To warm up, I like to jog a bit around the camp area. The last requirement for campground soccer is to get a treat after a while. Who doesn’t like a wienie roast? We remember them as kids. Grilling hot dogs is a great way to end a rousing soccer match.
Some say I have a one-track mind about camping and fishing. If you knew the pleasures embodied in these sports, you would agree. There is nothing as wonderful as sleeping under the flickering stars and cooking fresh fish over your campfire. I could go on and on. Today, however, I have a different agenda. I need to consider buying a router table from WoodworkNation.com, an item that is essential to my woodworking shop. Frankly, I have gone way over budget for miscellaneous expenses this year. It is all due to new camping gear. Mine was getting worn out and I also want to try some of the latest innovations in collapsible tents. I also bought a small portable generator which was a real splurge. It will power my night lights, coffeepot, and laptop, leaving me in the lap of luxury while out in the wilds. I think the router table is going by the way side. But I am not giving up hope. I will build my own version. I have skills, or I wouldn’t have a workshop. A table router combo is a powerfully accurate system. It will make my work so much easier and the results so much finer. If I do it myself, I can make it user-friendly and include everything I need in one package. I’ve got the lumber and the woodworking knowledge, so let’s get started. I want a long-lasting router with a 1 ¾ horsepower motor. It must be robust enough to work through even the heaviest wood. I want over 300 square inches of smooth working surface, so I can customize the table just the way I want. I can buy the tools that come with the prefab tables. I know what to get to make my work clean and accurate. These are key words when it comes to quality woodworking. I will make sure I can quickly adjust cutting depths and lock to even microfine levels. The fences are going to be adjustable as well, and extendable, too. I am so excited. I have always craved a router table combo to complete the existing items in my woodworking shop. So here is my list of requirements: a router, a collet, wrench, table, fence, dust guard, two feather boards, a miter gauge, three insert rings, and all the necessary hardware. Attaching all the accoutrements to the table I make will be the last stage of the project. If I complete the router table on time, I will reward myself with an extended camping trip to my favorite lakeside destination. I will take a couple of friends to join me on hikes and help setting up. The weather will require my new tent and some insulated sleeping bags. We will fish as always and cook it up fast at night. You can’t get more fresh than that! I am working hard on my table and the prospects of finishing it soon look good.