instructional video

instructional video

Mountain House food packaging styles

I’ve been planning out our summer camping and backpacking plans and doing some meal planning. I frequently do freeze dried meals for backpacking trips. Especially if it’s a long haul that I know I’m going to be super tired at the end of the day. It’s hard to beat the speed and ease of a freeze dried meal in those circumstances.

I’ve tried a few different brands but generally I go with Mountain House meals. I know what I’m going to get and enjoy what they offer. I noticed a while ago that there are a few different packaging styles that they offer. I decided to order one of each style to see what the difference is. Sometimes it’s hard to get a good idea just based on a website.

I put together a video of my thoughts on the comparison. Hopefully it helps you understand the difference and figure out which style will work best for the trip you’re going on.

Let me know what you think!

- John

instructional video

Two knots and a tarp...

I've put a lot of thought and trial into wilderness shelter building. I love lean-to shelters and wickiups and debris shelters, but the truth is they take a lot of time and even more energy. And there are just going to be some terrains where they are not feasible. That doesn't mean my boys and I haven't made them and enjoyed every minute of it. But in a pinch it's hard to beat a quick tarp shelter. In this video I show how to teach kids one of the quickest ways to put up a shelter and it only takes two knots and a tarp. 

This is the first in a series of videos I'll be doing about teaching kids essential outdoor skills. I'd love to hear what you are teaching your kids and what you want them to learn! Please leave a comment to let me know. 

When I teach my kids a new knot we always tie it several times in a row. Then in a hour we tie it again. Then the next day we tie it again. The absolute best way to make them permanent in your mind is to practice. That's why I created the Colter Co. Know Your Knots practice rope kit. Two high quality climbing ropes make knot tying a pleasure and makes the learning process easier. The knot guide comes in the form of one of our Know Your Knot bandanas. It has 16 essential knots AND serves all the purposes of a bandana at the same time. If you've got a young one picking up the skill of knot tying, this is a good way to get them excited and help them make their skills permanent. 

instructional video

DIY Wilderness Fire Starter

The stage between getting that initial timid flame and a fully established fire can be one of the most challenging. It's where a lot of fires go out. Especially in wet conditions. This video will help you get past that danger zone consistently with just materials you can find in nature. Never worry about getting a fire going again! 

instructional video

How to build a fire when it's wet.

Fire building has long been a passion of mine. It's a foundational outdoor skill. It can save your life! But when it's not saving your life it can just plain make a camping trip. Who doesn't have fond memories of sitting around a campfire watching the embers glow. 

There are conditions that make it hard to get a fire going and in the Pacific Northwest those conditions are here most of the year. It's almost always wet here. I'm going to share a few tips and tricks to help get a fire going in the wettest conditions. 

In this video I'm using flint and steel (my favorite method of fire building), but these principles hold true for however else you want to get a flame. 

I also talk about char cloth and ferro rod as a fire starting method. It's a more modern version of flint and steel. It's a very reliable and powerful fire starting method. We have two kits in our shop that make an excellent addition to any gear list. 

The Colter Spark - Ferro Rod Char Cloth Kit:

The Colter Fire Piston: 

Both come with char cloth kits and provide long term service in fire building. Great to throw into a day pack, bug out bag, or survival kit.