Saturday, 27 October 2018

Cheap and simple DIY blacksmith forge

For a while now I've been wanting to make some items for campfire cooking with my cast iron cookware, but I didn't have a forge so I decided to make one!

Now I wanted to make this as cheaply as possible so this is what I used;

1. Sand
2. Plaster
3. Disposable BBQ
4. Hand crank BBQ blower
5. Washing machine waste hose 
6. Steel tube

I only had to buy the BBQ (£1.99) and the blower (£1.80) as I already had the other items

First I removed the grill from the disposable BBQ and emptied the charcoal out for later, this tin tray would be the basis for my forge

Then I took the small section of steel pipe from my BBQ blower and I wrapped it in clingfilm and with my penknife I cut a small opening in one side of the tray that this could be passed through

I mixed equal amounts of dry sand and plaster until the mixture was uniform in colour before adding water and mixing again until I was happy with the consistency

This mixture was placed in the BBQ tray and shaped to form my fire bowl ensuring that the small steel pipe section wasn't obstructed as that will be for my air supply

The next day the mixture had set so I removed the small section of pipe and clingfilm and set a fire using the charcoal from the BBQ, then I connected the blower to the fire bowl with steel pipe and the washing machine hose which was a perfect fit!

After a few minutes I was able to heat a 10mm steel allen key to a nice cherry red colour which I was happy with so I declared the forge a success

I had an old pump for inflatable air beds that also fitted the washing machine hose so gave that a go too and it was much better

So it is possible to make a cheap working small forge from these materials that are readily available but add a small electric pump if you can for a much improved performance

Take care

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Cleaning wood burning stove glass

Wood burning stoves are a great addition to any home, you have a heat source independent from the national utility grids.

Many have glass doors so that you can enjoy watching the flames which is much better evening entertainment than your television!

Even if you only use good quality seasoned timber you will get a build up of tar on this glass and will want to clean it occasionally.

Many companies have developed various solutions that usually cost about £5 for a litre bottle.

This isn't expensive but in my opinion it is unnecessary.

Glass is naturally non stick so all that's required is a mild abrasive, simply place a piece of kitchen towel paper into water before dabbing into your ash pan so that it has ash stuck to it.
Then wipe across the stove glass, the ash will lift away the tar then simply use a fresh kitchen paper towel to wipe away the residue to have wonderfully clear glass so you can enjoy your next fire to the full.

I hope this has been of help to you and will save you wasting money, take care.

Thursday, 18 October 2018


Now that you're all set to hunker down and ride out a minor situation for a few days it's time to consider longer term situations.

If we are faced with a crisis that extends beyond a few days into weeks or longer resources will quickly begin to run out.

Bushcraft is the term for the skills and knowledge people have learnt and passed on over the centuries for survival prior to the technological age we now live in.

The ability to recognise and make use of your surroundings outdoors to;

- build shelter from the elements
- various ways of firestarting
- hunting and gathering wild edibles
- traditional craftwork to construct items to make life in the wilderness more comfortable

Not every bushcrafter will be a prepper, but every prepper should know some basic bushcraft.

Learning these skills is fun as well as practical as they will serve you well in an emergency situation and it helps to preserve our historical traditions.

The more you know the less gear you need is a common mantra so expand your knowledge and skill set then get out there and practice!

Take care

Monday, 15 October 2018

Every Day Carry (EDC)

Everyday carry or E.D.C. as the name suggests is the items that you always have with you whenever you leave your home.

For the past several months my E.D.C. has been;

1. Intey 10 in 1 multitool - this multitool has several common uses as well as the ability to process wood for firewood or shelter building.

2. Swiss army pocket knife - absolutely essential item everyone should have one in their pocket.

3. Cotton bandana - can be used as an emergency bandage or face mask.

4. Ferrocerium "ferro" rod - a means of igniting a fire is crucial and ferrocerium or "ferro" rods create sparks over 3000⁰C that are guaranteed to start a fire and are weatherproof.

5. Paracord bracelet - looks good and is a easy way of carrying over 2m of paracord for multiple uses from shelter building to trapping.

6. Vaseline - the tins reflective lid makes a good emergency signal mirror, the "wonder jelly" as its inventor originally called it can help start a fire and prevent skin dryness and cracking.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Shelter from the storm

We've touched on water purification or storage and the importance of having at least 72 hours worth of food storage at home for short term crisis.

Luckily you already have excellent shelter from the elements in your home, so for the vast majority of situations staying at home conserving your water and food is the best way to survive most situations as help is likely on the way.

But what if it isn't? 😟

There may be situations where your home isn't viable as shelter in the case of extreme events such as volcanic earthquake, tsunami and volcanic eruption as happened last week
(Friday 28th September 2018) in the Palu Bay area of Indonesia that had all three, as you can see in the linked video below;

Thankfully these events are rare but even in the more geologically stable parts of the world its important to have shelter from the elements to avoid heat stroke and hypothermia etc

As this blog is called Prepared Camping its obvious that I and my family enjoy time camping and we have several tents and probably more camping equipment than we actually need!

But you can get adequate shelter from simple items such as a waterproof poncho, tarp or even the environment around you from empty buildings and bridge flyovers in an urban setting to cave or debris shelters in more rural areas.

Whilst walking with my three year old son we placed some branches against this fallen tree to make a little den, if we actually needed a shelter we would simply continue placing small twigs then cover with dead foliage and moss and you have a simple debris shelter with very little effort.

This would provide cover from the sun and a prevailing wind and depending on how thick you constructed it could even be reasonably waterproof in under an hour, this can then be improved by building a fire for warmth and cooking etc preferably with a reflector wall behind it to better direct the heat towards your shelter.

During colder periods or if fire making will be difficult keep your shelter low and small as you're trying to minimise loss of body heat.

So get outdoors and start practicing some simple skills that are also great for entertaining your little ones! 😉

Take care


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

How to make a paper briquette, free fire logs!

Part of daily life in the modern world is receiving junk through your letterbox, from free local newspapers to sales leaflets.

But you can recycle this waste into something useful.

If you have young children they will love the messy play whilst helping you make free paper briquettes or logs for your fire! 😉

You can view the video I made showing the process here;

The process is simple, you start by shredding or tearing the the paper and soaking in a bucket of water until its completely saturated.

A paddle mixer and a drill help speed up getting the paper into same consistency as paper mache, its not necessary just more fun! 

Once you have made your paper mache mix simply scoop it out and if you have a briquette press fill it and compress to remove as much water as possible, if you don't have a press just squeeze it and form into block shapes by hand

Leave the bricks to dry for a couple of days or if the weather is poor store indoors where its warm and dry like an airing cupboard for about a week to fully dry out. 

Once dry simply start a fire as you normally would with appropriate tinder and kindling and add your free  recycled paper fire logs

Take care


Thursday, 4 October 2018

INTEY 10 in 1 multi tool review

For the last few months I've had this little multi tool as part of my E.D.C. (Every Day Carry) I bought it from Amazon but I've also seen them for sale on eBay for around £10 to £15 

The 10 tools are;

1. Knife
2. Saw
3. Flathead screwdriver
4. Phillips screwdriver
5. Bottle opener
6. Can opener
7. Plier grip
8. Needlenose pliers
9. Wire cutter
10. Carabiner

It is packaged with a 600DD cotton carry pouch that has a nice belt loop for wearing on your hip or attaching to a pack. You can see a video of the various uses here;

Click here to find the Intey 10 in 1 multi tool on Amazon, please note this is an affiliate link and as an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases on this link but you will not be charged any extra, I have not been paid to review this product

I've been pleasantly surprised by how good it was for most tasks, only the can opener was a sub par performer for what I would expect from a multi tool but it still worked!

It's no leatherman but for a fraction of the cost is a value for money tool.

Take care


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Swiss Army Volcano Ranger Stove Review

This military surplus aluminium three piece set comprises a water bottle that nests between the cup and stove itself.

I really like this set for hiking as you don't require any fuel you simply use whatever dead wood and pine cones etc you find wherever you decide to take your break.

Its widely available online and you may find it at various army surplus stores priced from £10 to £18 depending on condition, as new or previously issued.

You can see a quick video I did showing it in use here 👇  

Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed that my set has some modifications, whilst it worked fine I decided to try some alterations to my set which I feel have improved it.

Firstly the bottle that comes with it is fine but I didn't like the push fit cork stopper so I swapped this for a cheap bottle with a screwtop cap.

Next to aid airflow I drilled additional holes in the cooker and found a sink drainer cover that fits inside to allow the air to get under the burning twigs to help create draught. The opening for adding more twigs etc was fairly small so I widened it slightly as well.

Lastly to speed up water boiling time I fashioned a lid for the cup from a tin can that was a perfect fit, and the ham made a great sandwich win-win!

It burns very efficiently producing little smoke so is excellent for stealth or wild camping.

All in all it's a great little set that I recommend you buy if you see it available as its exceptional value for money 👍

Take care,


What's your emergency?

Before we consider the end of the world as we know it (T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I.) lets talk about the vast majority of situations where help will be coming...

Sadly an extreme weather event such as a winter storm, earthquake, hurricane or tsunami will affect somebody in the world almost every week as we know from the 24 hour news cycle that's barely stopped telling us of one disaster before switching live to the next.

Often in these situations help arrives in the area affected quite quickly such as the cave divers from the UK and Australia that found and rescued the Thai youth football team trapped underground in a flooding cave.

People should be prepared to last at least 72 hours in case of a short term crisis, with 24 hour shopping and home delivery many people live day to day so that even a small event would cause severe disruption for them if the water supply or power failed for example.

Previously I mentioned about simple water purification by filtering and boiling, in most UK houses there is a large header tank in the roof space that ensures you can continue with essentials for a short time before you'd run out of water.

So your first prep should be to ensure you have adequate food supplies in the house, dried foods like rice and pasta have incredibly long self lives as do tinned goods which are as fresh to eat five years after the day they were packaged!

Often buying in bulk results in some substantial long term cost savings too, and with shelf life of five years you don't have to worry that you wont eat it before it spoils.

Its recommended that women have 2000 calories a day and for men its 2500, there are many quick and simple recipes for high calorie, high protein meals using canned goods such as spam or corned beef added to staples such as potatoes (fresh or also canned) 

In this video I made a simple corned beef hash using the Swedish army surplus M40 mess kit;

Camping Tick List

The Sun is out and many people will be heading outdoors for camping trips or other activities but its a good idea to do a little preparation...