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.
This section under constuction. Please check back for more stuff.
7 Days of Food
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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
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 .
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Combine grated carrots, raisins, mayonnaise and milk in a nice glass bowl. Mix well. Chill. The salad, I mean.
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.
Blend the margarine and sugars together. Stir in the flour and oats. Spread over the above apple recipe. Bake as directed.
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.
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.
Combine apples, raisins, celery, sugar and mayonnaise and milk in a nice glass bowl. Blend together well. Chill before serving.
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.
Combine cabbage, raisins, mayonnaise and milk in a bowl. Mix well. Chill.