Just in time for May 24th weekend, Downhome has compiled a guide that's jam-packed with all the essentials to make you a happy camper! Below you'll find steps to making a perfect boil-up, some outdoorsy gear, and fun "May 24th trivia" - for a quiz around the campfire! Snap some photos from your May 24 weekend and submit them to us for a chance to appear in an upcoming issue of Downhome!
Making a Perfect a Boil-Up
No trip to the woods or the pond is complete without a "mug-up" or boil-up in the great outdoors. Along with your rod and tackle, here is what you need to bring with you.
• Waterproof matches (or a Fire Starter - see "Cool Camping Gear," below)
• Some kindling from home (newspaper, straw, splits etc.)
• Dry boughs to fuel the fire. Red ones ("blasty boughs") are already dead and very dry. When lit, they make a satisfying crackling sound and give off a woodsy scent.
• A boil-up kettle. You can make one from a clean, empty juice can. Cut the cover cleanly off and drill two holes on opposite sides of the rim. Thread heavy wire (such as a straigtened coat hanger) through the holes and twist ends to secure; this is the kettle's handle.
• A long, sturdy stick for lifting the homemade kettle on and off the fire, plus heat-proof mitts for pouring.
• Fresh water for boiling (brought from home)
• Tea bags or instant coffee
• Sugar and milk for tea, if using. Or combine the two into one by bringing a small tin of sweetened condensed milk.
• Mugs and spoons
• Sandwiches, bread and jam, Vienna sausages or other portable outdoor snacks. Bring along some tin foil, too, to wrap a freshly caught and cleaned trout. Toss it on the fire and then enjoy freshly cooked "catch of the day."
• A plastic bag for all your garbage - always take it home with you for proper disposal.
• Before you leave your boil-up site, make sure your fire has been completely doused with water and buried in dirt. You don't want to reduce your favourite spot to ashes by carelessly starting a forest fire!
Cool Camping Gear
Before you take to the tent this May 24 weekend, take stock of what you'll need to make this camping trip your best yet! A quick search of the Internet will yield thousands of the latest, most innovative products designed to enhance your outdoor experience. Here are some of our online finds:
Don't be stuck in the woods with soggy matches that won't produce a flicker for your campfire. Instead, pack a fire starter that won't fail, even in the worst weather conditions. The Blastmatch Fire Starter, the company claims, generates a stream of sparks three times the heat of a standard match and will light in the wind, rain or snow. The Fire Starter can be operated with one hand - and has a safety feature that curbs accidental ignition.
Upon arrival at your camping destination, your kids will be thrilled to receive a "gadget" of their own. This headlamp, especially designed for children, will make walking around a dark campsite much easier, and will provide enough light for a bedtime story. The headband is designed to come apart under pressure, so if the child catches it on a tree branch they won't be in any danger. And don't worry if your child is a little forgetful - the lamp automatically turns off after one hour.
As bars of soap turn into soggy cakes, keeping clean while camping can sure be messy! But Pocket Soap was designed to alleviate this problem. One tin contains 50 dry, thin "leaves" of soap - so having to save the same, slimy bar won't be an issue. The company claims the fragrance-free soap can be used as a body wash, shampoo, dish-washing detergent or laundry detergent - all in one tiny tin!
Handheld Water Purifier
The SteriPEN is a portable water purifier that uses ultraviolet light to destroy waterborne viruses, bacteria and protozoa. The company claims the product can purify up to 16 ounces of water in just 48 seconds and thus is perfect for campers or hikers.
When packing camping equipment into the family car, don't forget about one very important member of the family: your dog! If swimming or boating is on your camping itinerary this May 24th weekend, consider investing in a doggy lifejacket that will help keep your pup afloat in case your furry friend finds himself in trouble in the water. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry!
May 24th Trivia
How much do you really know about this annual statutory holiday and the pop culture that has become associated with it? Print the questions and answers for a fun quiz around the campfire.
1. In the 24th of May song "The Pits," by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, the youngsters are travelling to the gravel pits in the trailer. Where is the wife?
2. Whose birthday do we officially comemmorate every May 24?
3. What is the "spirited" nickname for this long weekend?
4. For much of the 1900s, the Newfoundland Railway maintained a specific train run every May 24th weekend. What was the run called?
5. What percentage of provincial campgrounds typically begin their summer season with the May 24th weekend?
Two bonus questions! May 24th in world history:
1. What U.S. landmark bridge opened on May 24, 1883?
2. On May 24, 1830, Sarah Josepha Hale's poem about a girl and her fleecy friend was published. Name the poem.
1. In the trunk
2. Queen Victoria of England (1837-1901)
3. May Two-Four (as in a 24-pack of beer)
4. Trouter's Special
5. 57% (8 out of 14)
B1. The Brooklyn Bridge
B2. Mary Had a Little Lamb