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Just Released!

An Ultralighter's True Trail Stories-Beyond the Journey
This book has not been printed in hard copy. It sells as a Kindle or Nook download for $7.99

New! The Hobo Series Page at Brawnyview Blogspot. I've been working on utilizing recyclables for ultralight backpacking gear. The videos are imbedded on this page for easy viewing.

My new e-book: Everything Except Corn Pasta
--a culinary guide for Backpackers
is full of trail stories, recipes, photos, and information for everyone. Published in 2011, its been a work in progress and includes information from 10 years of trails. I love alternative gear and experiences.
The table of contents is posted on my Brawnyview Blog , June 29, 2011.

E-books are available world wide, with no shipping and handling. They are less expensive than hard copy, and don't take up living space. Kindle books can be read on various devices, including pcs. You don't have to wait for delivery. Within minutes you can be reading your new book.

My Journey to Freedom and Ultralight Backpacking

My Survival Novels-The River Series

Books by Carol Wellman at Barnes and Noble

Book Reviews and behind the scenes details.

The Raisin File

Rai-sin(ra'zen)n.//L.racemus,cluster of grapes// a dried sweet grape.

Out of clutter, find Simplicity.
From discord, find Harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.

ALBERT EINSTEIN's Three Rules of Work

Ok. So I love raisins. I created this page several years ago to spread the word. Now, I'm building this page to help hikers with the food issue. Below you'll find a section called How To which will deal with all sorts of hiker concerns, like using a garcia bear canister, making your own yummy trail suppers without resorting to prepackaged, overpriced meals, resupplying in tiny towns and whatever else comes to mind.

May all your trails be light.

Vital Statistics for Raisins
---per 1/4 cup serving:
Total Fat: Zero
Cholesterol: Zero
Carbohydrates: 31 grams
Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Iron : 6% daily requirements
Calcium: 2 % daily requirements

How To

This section under constuction. Please check back for more stuff.

7 Days of Food

-How to fully utilize your bear cannister.

Many people have never actually used a bear cannister (a garcia bear cannister weighs 2 pounds 11 ounces, when empty). They have a lid which is flush with the top, and opened with a dime or similar object inserted into a slot, then turned to open.

I tested mine for the first time on a short four day backpacking trip on the Bartram Trail in 2004. This preparation was for our upcoming hike in Glacier, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Scapegoat Wilderness, and on downward to Helena; prime grizzly territory.

Glacier has bear boxes at designated campsites, and several camp stores-restaurants, when hiking along the CDT route. So, you actually can get by without a cannister here. Always follow proper cooking/food storage procedures, as outlined by the Park.

However, The Bob Marshall Wilderness has no resupply points. There was 110 miles of wilderness before we would see town food again. Given the difficulty of the trail, and no assurance we would be able to find this nebulous trail, 7 days of food was needed.

I don't ship food to post offices, but eat what I can find in local grocery stores. My list reflects my preferences.
All of this food can be bought in a regular store. Most of it can be found, or substituted in a small convienence store. The main purpose of the list is to give you an idea of calories, protein, and serving sizes, plus packing methods.
There are some unusual items, like corn meal. I think of grains as the meal base. Then I look for the form that cooks and tastes the best. Corn meal is much easier to find and cook on trail than Corn Pasta.
As you may notice, there is no meat in this list. Bring jerky or cheese if you like. Being in grizzly country, I aim towards food with little smell, and fast cooking. Long simmering times would just add more smells to the area.

The List

Item -- Amount -- GRProtein-- Calories-- Notes
Instant coffee--2 ounces--0 protein--0 calories--one cup at breakfast, one cup at supper
Poptarts--14 ounces(4 double packages,4 breakfasts)--16 protein--1,600 calories--Be sure to buy the frosted ones
Oatmeal--20 ounces (3 breakfasts,4 suppers)--44 protein--1,600 calories--Instant French Toast flavor
M&Ms plain--34 ounces--48 protein--5,040 calories--use for lunch gorp,snacks, makes a great"filler" when packing cannister
Raisins--15 ounces--11 protein--1,440 calories--too sticky to use as filler, but useful in oatmeal and gorp mix
Peanuts--13 ounces--78 protein--1,950 calories--for lunch gorp, add to ramen at supper as garnish, excellent "filler" but may leave salty residue
Pretzels--13 ounces--39 protein--1,560 calories--use for gorp, add small pieces to shoup as appetizer
Ramen noodles--12 ounces (4 packages,2 generous suppers)--32 protein--1,600 calories--creamy chicken flavor, can be eaten raw, or solar cooked, if needed
Cornmeal--6.75 ounces (2 suppers)--8 protein--400 calories--make like a mush, brign bacon bits to flavor, or parmesan cheese
Bouillon cubes--2.5 ounces(6 cubes for suppers)--12 protein--180 calories--tomato flavor,Knorr brand
Hard Candy--9.5 ounces (7 pieces per day)--0 protein--882 calories--great to keep throat moist, sore throats,energy boost
Animal crackers--7 ounces --14 protein--840 calories--use for gorp mix, I had the room in my cannister, so I threw them in
Instant mashed pototoes--5.25 ounces--12 protein--480 calories--can be used to thicken soup, or an instant hot or cold meal

Total Stats
154 ounces, or 9.625 pounds
314 protein, or 44.85 per day (World Health Organization recommends 40 per day for Adults)
17,562 calories (2,508.85 per day)
This 7 days of food can be stretched to 9 days by diluting and rationing, and every bit of it fits into a standard garcia bear cannister.

The Method

The first step is to remove all excess packaging.
Using high quality ziplock bags, repackage the oatmeal, raisons, ramen noodles etc.
I bring a couple empty quart ziplocks so that every morning I can pack my "lunch" out of this mass of goodies. I carry my lunch in a brawnygear belt loop pouch during the day. If it is not gone by supper, I use it for dessert.
My bear cannister came with a heavy plastic bag liner. This is a great way to keep all the filler clean, and hold down food smells. Keep this bag.
Place the poptarts(keep in their wrappers, but discard the box), ziplock bags of oatmeal, grains, and raisons into cannister which is lined with a thick plastic bag. Bust up the ramen noodles to make a more condensed package.
Place each bag of food stuff inside cannister, forming tight layers.
Once you have all the packaged food items in cannister, pour the peanuts and M&Ms into it, and shake so they fill in all the holes.
The grains make good trail items because they don't leave many gaps in the packing process. However, you'll find you can put alot of calories in the cannister loosely by using nuts and candies as filler, and following this method.

Unpacking for meals:
Have a clean bag ready so that as you look for the breakfast fixings, you can carefully scoop aside the gorp mix/peanuts and m&ms and lay on the plastic bag, or in your clean, dry, cooking pot.
Using a spare ziplock bag, use this time to ration out lunch, which you will carry outside the cannister while you hike during the day.
As you repack the cannister, plan what you'll need for supper, and be sure that it is near the top. Replace "filler". Lock securely.
By keeping meals simple, and as the days go by, you will find this gets easier.
Be sure to lock the cannister so the lid doesn't pop off while hiking after each use.

How to Make and Bake Stuff

Product Review - How to Shorten a Sleeping Bag

Kotey 35 Degree Sleeping Bag by Eureka

I was invited to test and review this sleeping bag. It arrived on Tuesday, January 26th,2010 and I immediately opened the shipping box.

First, I removed the plastic bag and tag, then weighed it on my gear scale. It weighed 2 pounds 6 ounces in the compression stuff sack. The stuff sack itself weighs 3 1/2 ounces. I will use a silnylon stuff sack on the trail instead, and save 3 ounces carrying weight. The compression stuff sack seemed overkill to me, although it did make a tidy package, useful for anyone with a small backpack of under 2,000 cubic inches.

This bag is not available in a short or woman's size. It will easily fit a 6 foot tall person, so I intend to perform a simple reversible modification before actually testing in the field. This will help me sleep warmer. See the video below for complete instructions.

I've let the bag air for two days, so it can regain its loft, which seems minimal. The insulation is a Rteq Microfiber, a new proprietary blend from Eureka. I look forward to checking this out, a highly compressible insulation made of "micro and macro denier solid and hollow core staple fibers".

The bag's construction is very good, and like my Eureka Spitfire tent, has added features: two hanging loops at the bottom of bag for proper long term storage,a small internal stash pocket with velcro closure for gear, and a 3/4 length zipper which fully seperates so that the bag can be used as a quilt with footbed.

I can see this bag being used as a topper in winter conditons over my down bag, as well as a late spring to early fall bag. Please check back for full trail testing reviews.

Test Results The longer this bag is left to hang to regain loft, the better it performs. A May backpacking trip into the National Forest in N.E Georgia yielded good results. The fabric is soft and very comfortable. The bag felt plenty wide in the sholders and not oversized in the torso. Temps dropped to 41 degrees and that was about my comfort level. I do sleep cold. A full length pad would help in achieving warmer results. This is a good all around bag without breaking the budget.

April 13, 2010

A night in the mountains of north east Georgia was a beautiful opportunity to test my new Eureka bag. I brought a thermometer to verify data. I used a full length self inflating pad, in a single wall tent, and slept in fleece pants, a fleece jacket, and warm socks. About 2 a.m I felt the cold seeping in, even though the temperature was only 45 degrees. I am a cold sleeper so for my purposes will consider the 35 degree rating just a little optimistic.

The zipper performed flawlessly, the mummy bag had plenty of room.

The Hobo Cook Set

Make your own free cookset with recycables. My 3 ounce cookset, used on the Appalachian Trail was just a miniture of this system.

Why Not to Cook in Your Tent

Even if one were using a flame retardant tent, Wanda would have to wake up with burning fabric on her face, hair on fire, find and remove the flame from the tent or tarp. No other gear was inside this tent during the making of this film, which would exacerbate the fire.

Thanks for watching.

How to Make Silnylon Stuff Sacks

For a demonstration on how to make your own stuff sacks, including those used in the packless system, click on video link. More how-to films are being planned for my channel at youtube .

Instant Hammock
You will find this step by step video with an amazing way to turn a blanket or other yardage into a cool hammock. No Sewing! Imagine that!

I found an interesting site here for the do-it-yourselfer. I recommend using inexpensive supplies when trying out new projects if you don't have much experience with making gear. The first efforts are not always trailworthy. There are many patterns for "brand names", especially stove products, you've heard mentioned around the campfire.

Once you start sewing, you can accumulate a host of basic equipment. One of my favorite is a flat tarp. Watch this video on youtube to see me demonstrate how to set one up for both one and two people using a trapezoidal floor configuration:

How to Use a 10 x 10 Ultralight Tarp

Surf my channel on youtube for more videos, including how to use no-see-um netting to keep bugs out of your tarp set-up. I did another video using a black 10 x 12 tarp, with more detailed instructions on the Brawnytarp-tent set up. Brawny's Channel

How to Bake With a Soda Can Stove . Rainmaker and I wrote this page in 2002, after I returned from my sucessful AT thruhike. It has receipes for 9 yummy trail meals, all ingrediants can be purchased at your local grocery store. Photos included

Check out the New Slow Burning Soda Can stove (and make your own). Directions, videos, and tests on my youtube and blog: My YouTube Channel
The Female Survivalist

I wrote about the Velco sold with the sticky back on my blogs,
The Female Survivalist and BrawnyView

A couple years ago I tested gluing plain velcro to silnylon using 100% silicone. This procedure worked better for silnylon and no-see-um netting. Once its glued on, let it cure for at least 24 hours before using. Then, take care when seperating the hook from the loop, don't use a rough ripping motion to seperate. This will work for you much longer. Please read the blogs for full product review.

Survival Fire Building


Granted all these recipes can't be used in camp, out of a backpack. But, they are so much fun, I had to include them. Chow time!

Fantastic Fruit

1 cup raisins
1 cup prunes

Place raisins and prunes in a saucepan. Cover with water and simmer together for twenty minutes. Stir fruits and water. Let set until cooled. May be eaten like this. If you want to use it as a sauce, blend in blender until pureed. Very effective, the reason it is named Fantastic. Used for many years in hospital settings.

Stewed Raisins

1 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of salt
Whipped Cream

Place raisins, spices and salt in a saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to boil, then cut back the heat, and allow to simmer until the raisins are plump, about 15 minutes. Serve while still warm, with whipped cream.

Hot Cocoa with Raisins

---here is a variation that raisin lovers will appreciate
Put 1/4 cup raisins in a mug. Fill mug with water, microwave for 2 minutes, or until hot. Add your favorite instant hot cocoa mix. Stir well.
As you sip the chocolate, the raisins will continue to send their sweetness and they are deliciously softened. Eat raisins anytime.

Raisin Trail Mix

1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup honey oats cereal

In a large zip-loc bag, combine all four ingredients. Shake well to mix. If it gets hot, the chocolate will melt, and then you can allow this mixture to cool, and solidify. It will make great trail chunks.

Ants on a Log

fresh, raw celery, washed and cut into 3 inch lengths
peanut butter

Prepare celery sticks. Pat dry. Spread the creamy peanut butter on the celery. Lay raisins along the peanut butter. Press until secure. Arrange on a tray. This makes a wonderful snack.

Brawny's Raisin Custard Meringue Pie

1 stick of margarine
1 cup flour
Melt margarine in saucepan and stir in flour. Press dough into a 10 inch pie plate. Prick with a fork in key locations. Bake at 400 degrees, approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven.

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 box raisins (about 8 ounces)
2 cups water
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons cloves
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/4 cup water

Melt butter, stir in flour. Add raisins, water and sugar. Simmer until raisins are soft and it begins to thicken. Stir eggs into the 1/4 cup water. Add to raisin mixture. Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour into prepared pie shell.

With the 3 egg whites, prepare a meringue by whipping egg whites until frothy. Add bit by bit, 3 teaspoons white sugar. When it forms peaks, load onto pie filling. Bake at 375 until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Allow to cool somewhat before devouring.

Carrot Raisin Slaw

2 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup lite mayonaise
milk to moisten

Combine grated carrots, raisins, mayonnaise and milk in a nice glass bowl. Mix well. Chill. The salad, I mean.

Apple-Raisin Crisp

3 pounds fresh apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of salt
topping, recipe below

Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in large bowl. Stir well, add the sliced peeled apples and raisins. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan. Make the topping below. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until apples are bubbling and top is lightly browned. Great served with icecream.

Crisp Topping

1 stick of softened margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white flour
1 cup quick cooking oats

Blend the margarine and sugars together. Stir in the flour and oats. Spread over the above apple recipe. Bake as directed.

Cinnamon Raisin Sweet Rolls

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups flour

In a medium sized bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in the sugar, margarine, salt and 3 cups of flour. Rest for 10 minutes. Using last 1/2 cups flour, knead for 5 minutes, and then roll out dough to a 14 x 18 inch rectangle.

Spread with:
2 tablespoons margarine
1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon mixture
1 cup of raisins, evenly over all.

Roll up lengthwise. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces, laying them down on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.


Mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add 2 tablespoons milk, stiring well to mix. Spread over rolls just as they come from the oven.

Raisin Waldorf Salad

4 cups chopped apples
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
milk to moisten

Combine apples, raisins, celery, sugar and mayonnaise and milk in a nice glass bowl. Blend together well. Chill before serving.

Raisin Chocolate Chews

Melting chocolate, either dark or almond

Melt chocolate in bowl, in the microwave, or in a saucepan slowly over low heat. Stir in raisins, coating well.
Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper. Allow to set until firm, if you can wait that long.

Raisin Cabbage Slaw

2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
dash of salt

Combine cabbage, raisins, mayonnaise and milk in a bowl. Mix well. Chill.