Tag Archives: shelter

  • Sleep Like the Bees in a B-and-Bee Shelter

    Sleep Like the Bees in a B-and-Bee Shelter

    Every once in a while I come across something so clever, I really wish I’d invented it. Like these ninja bread man cookie cutters. Seriously.

    My current discovery is this: portable, hexagonal, stacking shelters modeled on the architecture of a beehive for strength and efficiency of space. Called B-and-Bees, this Belgian brainwave comes equipped with convertible sleeping/seating space, luggage storage, and even power. They can be stacked at least three high (as near as I can figure out from their Dutch language blog), with metal stairs for access and a zippable canvas flap enclosure.

    The B-and-Bee is currently being marketed as a solution to the problem of muddy fields created by an abundance of tents setup for music festivals. This is a fine idea, though the author of the Gizmag article, “B-And-Bee shelter looks to comfort festival goers,” puts my feelings on that narrow scope into words when he writes, “One can't help but think that the company is missing a trick marketing B-And-Bee solely toward festival organizers, as it could perhaps be useful in other areas too, such as in natural disaster situations, for example.”

    Indeed, it looks like someone is already on top of that. Ecofriend.com reported on these hexagonal emergency shelters (with solar power, no less!) all the way back in 2010. We don’t know if they ever took off, or if B-and-Bee will tap into this market, but we sure love the idea!




    Photo Courtesy of B-and-Bee image gallery/Press Kit

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: shelter

  • 10 Must-Have Items for Camping

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     10 Must-Have Items for Camping

    When the weather warms and nighttime comes late, camping calls. Camping trips can provide a much-needed change of pace and change of scenery for families always wired in or on the go. But if you’re what you might call “indoorsy,” the thought of packing up food, clothing, warmth, and shelter so you can leave your home—with its ready access to food, clothing, warmth, and shelter—might sound daunting, no matter how idyllic it might sound to sleep under the Milky Way.

    Do not be daunted. With a few pieces of the right equipment, camping under the stars can be easy to arrange. And you and your family can be one step closer to living a life of comfort outside your comfort zone. Here are ten camping essentials that will help you finally make friends with the great outdoors.

    1. Water. Any outdoor experience will require you to be well hydrated, so easy access to water is key. Most maintained campgrounds provide clean water access for campers, but you’ll need containers to trek the water from wherever it is to where it needs to be. Water carriers vary from handheld water bottles (Emergency Essentials 32-oz yellow water bottle), to backpack containers (Blue Camelback Cloud Walker 70-oz Hydration Pack), to multi-gallon containers that can serve your whole family (Reliance 5-gallon Collapsible Fold-A-Carrier).

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: The Reliance Fold N Filter

    2. Food. Camping families are hungry families, so high-quality, tasty food should be your priority. But outdoor living begs for simplicity. Look to easily prepared foods like the Emergency Essentials MREs and Mountain House meals for delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts.

    Here are some ideas:
    Breakfast: Serve up Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Ham, Red, and Green Peppers with a side of Mountain House Granola with Blueberries and Milk for a warm, filling start to the day.
    Lunch: After a morning of walking, hiking, or fishing, your crew will be ready for a satisfying lunch. Try Mountain House Chicken Salad Wrap Filling with Multigrain Snack Bread for a hearty sandwich. Serve something like an Oatmeal Cookie for a post-lunch snack or dessert.
    Dinner: When camping, the evening meal is a time for friends and families to share the highlights of their days’ explorations, while settling them in for a night outdoors. Meals like Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, MRE Italian Bread Sticks, and Mountain House Garden Green Peas will open mouths for food and conversation.
    Dessert: End the day with a sweet treat like Mountain House Raspberry Crumble or a MRE Fudge Brownie with Chocolate Chips, and you may find yourself dreaming of happy things, no matter what the temperature is outside.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Mountain House Pouches

    3. Stove. Cooking over a campfire can be exciting and tasty, but bringing a portable stove, like the Stansport Propane Stove, will allow you to prepare a wider variety of foods with more predictability and less work (win, win, win), giving you more time to explore and enjoy (win, win!). (Quintuple win!)

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Stansport Stove

    4. Utensils. So easy to forget, but so helpful to have. A three-in-one set of sturdy utensils, like the Basic Chow Set, can be useful for prepping food, cooking food, and eating food. Take it from the sadly expert: sticks are not nearly as effective.

    5. Light and fire. A little light at night can transform a campsite from spooky to cozy. You can choose from a variety of portable light options, including personal gear like the Princeton Tec Quad 4 LED Headlamp (great for night reading in your tent or finding your toothpaste) or the High Uinta Gear Pathfinder 9 LED Flashlight, or community lights, like the Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Lumen Rechargeable Lantern. If you’re going to light a fire, to roast marshmallows or to warm you up on a chilly night, then bring Fire Lighters, which are reliable, easy to light, and require little or no kindling.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Fire Lighters

    6. Sleeping bag. Perhaps the most critical piece of equipment for a restful overnight excursion is a comfortable and warm sleeping bag. Bags like the Slumberjack Latitude Mummy Bags (available in regular, long, and for 0-degree Fahrenheit and 20-degree Fahrenheit weather) are designed for reliable coziness.

    7. Tarp. According to expert campers, a tarp is many times useful due to its versatility and water resistance. You can use it under your tent as ground cover. (Tip: A tarp used for this purpose should be a few inches shorter than the width and breadth of your tent, so any water dripping off your tent will absorb into the ground and not drop onto your tarp and slide toward your tent.) You can position it above your cooking, eating, or lounging area, to keep off rain or to limit sun exposure. And, if you’re really adventurous, you can erect it over your sleeping bag and gear and camp without a tent at all!

    8. Tent. If you’re inclined toward a more comfortable arrangement, a quality tent can provide you with protection from the elements (and mosquitoes!) and much-needed privacy. Mid-size tents, such as the Slumberjack Trail Tent 3, provide ample space for the gear and sleeping bags of three adults, while not being hard to erect or heavy to carry.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Slubmerjack Trail Tent 3

    9. Toilet paper. When in need, campers can use certain leaves, pieces of clothing, or rocks (sandstone is not recommended), but you may find your bathroom experiences to be much less memorable if you remember to pack some good old-fashioned toilet paper. One roll can do wonders.

    10. Assorted plastic bags. Making friends with the outdoors means leaving it better than you found it, so remember to bring a few garbage bags, kitchen trash bags, and gallon-size zip-top bags, to store your empty cans, discarded wrappers, leftover food, and wet clothing. The right-sized plastic bag can help prevent a soggy, smelly end to an otherwise successful camping adventure.

    With these ten must-have items, your camping trip can be easy to arrange, happy to experience, and satisfying to remember. Go camping! The beautiful world is waiting.


    --Sarah Brinton

    What else do you consider a must-have item for camping? 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: outdoors, camping, shelter

  • Caring for your Tent

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    Caring for your Tent

    In a survival situation, your tent will protect you from the elements and may be your primary form of shelter. So the last thing you want to find during an emergency or camping trip is a tear, broken pole, or mildew growth because you didn’t clean or store it correctly. Help your tent last for years by learning how to properly care for it.

    Things to consider before you use your tent

    • Set up your tent. Learn how to set up and pack your tent before you go camping. You can set it up in your yard or a park to practice. Not knowing how to properly set up your tent can lead to broken poles, rips, and other damage, especially if you end up having to set it up after dusk. Knowing how to set up your tent before you get to your campsite will save you time and will decrease your frustrations.
    • Inspect your tent. After setting up your tent in the yard, inspect it. Determine if any pieces of the tent are missing, learn how to put on the rain fly, and make sure your tent anchors are in good condition. Try anchoring your tent. And make sure to have extra anchors with you in case it gets windy during your campout.
    • Get a seam sealer. Purchase a seam sealer and seal the outside seams of your tent fly and floor. Yes, your tent will already come with the appropriate seals for each section. However, sealing the edges again is an extra precaution. Seam sealing will help reduce leaks in your tent if it rains.
    • Waterproof your tent. As an extra precaution, make sure to waterproof your tent before you go camping. You can purchase waterproofing sprays at home improvement stores.


    Caring for your tent while camping

    • Always fix/clean rips, tears, and stains ASAP. Taking care of smaller problems (like a little tear or a small stain) immediately will save you from having to deal with bigger problems later on.  If you take care of problems right away, you’ll extend the life of your tent.
    • Bring a tent repair kit. A roll of duct tape, needle and thread, and a wash cloth (to clean off your tent) will go a long way in helping you to fix issues with your tent when they come up. Remember, duct tape is less effective when it’s wet or cold; warm it up before using it to repair a rip. Duct tape can even repair poles and ripped pole sleeves.
    • Set up your tent in a smooth, flat area. Do not place your tent on top of rocks, roots, or uneven ground. This can cause damage to the bottom of your tent, and the holes can cause water and bugs to get in.
    • Get a “Footprint” or tarp. A footprint is a piece of plastic (similar to a tarp) that protects the exterior floor of your tent. It is a separate groundsheet that’s placed under the main groundsheet of the tent. The footprint stops water from gathering under the floor and creating water damage. It also protects the bottom of the tent from damage. If a footprint isn’t available, a tarp can work just as well, too. Note: your footprint or tarp should be small than your tent. Larger tarps that go out past the edge of the tent can collect rain water.
    • Protect your tent from excessive sunlight. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can fade and weaken the fabric over time. Leaving your tent in sunlight during a brief camping trip is fine, but setting it up in your backyard for months in direct sunlight can cause damage. Do not to leave your tent in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
    • Take your shoes off. Before you get into your tent, take off your shoes to avoid bringing dirt and water inside. You can use a plastic bag and one of the built-in pockets inside your tent (if you have one) to store your shoes in, if you don’t want to leave them outside. Also, keeping a broom inside the tent will help you brush any unwanted dirt back out of the tent if it happens to blow in.
    • Do not keep food inside the tent. Animals like to chew through tent walls to get to your food.
    • Set up your tent away from your camp fire. Do not set up your tent close to your camp fire. Sparks and embers from the flame can get on the fabric of your tent and can create holes. 


    Cleaning your Tent

      • Wash your tent after each use. Clean your tent with warm water and a sponge. Do not use soaps or detergents to wash your tent because they can break down the waterproofing element on the fabric. If you must use soap, use a non-detergent based soap like Woolite that you can purchase at your local grocery store.
      • Use a damp cloth to wipe poles. A damp cloth can remove saltwater which can cause corrosion. Make sure the poles are dry before you store them.
      • Dry out all parts of your tent before storing. Never store a wet tent. Lay out your tent or put it on a clothes line to dry. Wet tents encourage mildew growth. If your tent does mildew, wash it with warm water (do not use detergent soaps or chemicals). If the mildew growth is bad, contact the manufacturer for additional tips.


    Storing your Tent

    • Store your tent inside. If you store your tent in a garage, storage unit, or basement, it may be easier for rodents, bugs, and water damage to ruin it. Instead, store your tent inside your house in a closet or another indoor storage area where pests and water cannot reach it. Also, be sure to sweep out your tent before you store it inside.
    • Be careful when storing your poles. As you take down your tent, make sure to fold shock corded poles (poles that use a bungee cord-like material to help lengthen the poles) at the middle rather than pulling on the ends. Since shock cord is retractable, you may want to play with it, but tugging whipping, or snapping the poles together can cause them to weaken and break. 


    In the market for a new tent? Check out our selection of tents and emergency shelter options.

    What are your tips for caring for a tent?




    Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Care Instructions





    Posted In: Equipment, Insight, Shelter and Temperature Control, Uncategorized Tagged With: survival gear, shelter

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