instructional article

A buchcraft meal in a tube


I came across a fantastic book called "Camping and Woodcraft" by Horace Kephart. Published in 1957. It is jam packed with amazing traditional outdoor skills, gear and ideas. I recommend checking it out!

One of the things it mentioned is a food called Erbswurst. Which translates from German to mean pea sausage. I know, it sounds terrible, but hear me out! It's a mix of fats, and split pea flower squeezed into a sausage casing that was used heavily by the German soldiers during WWI. You can cut about an inch off the sausage and boil it to create a rich pea soup. And because of the high fat content it's very shelf stable. It's really an ideal survival and bushcraft food. It doesn't take up much space or require much prep work to make. 

I decided to try this idea out, but I wanted to make a few adjustments. First of all, I decided to use lentil flour instead of pea flour. I prefer lentil soup and it's slightly higher in nutritional value. 

I also adjusted the ingredients slight because I had a hard time finding hard fat. It's the pork fat that holds it's form and gives sausage its structure. I replaced the hard fat with regular pork fat sliced off a pork chop at the meet department of my local grocery store. 

Here's my complete recipe: 

Linsewurst (lentil sausage)

- 1/2 lbs. bacon
- 1/2 lbs. pork fat
- 1 lbs. Lentil flour
- 1/2 onion
- 3 teeth garlic
- Salt and pepper as desired


colter co erbswurst

I began by putting the bacon, fat, onion an garlic in a food processor and turning it into a paste.

colter co erbswurst

I put that paste into the frying pan and cooked it until it the fat rendered out and the onions and garlic cooked through. 

colter co erbswurst

While that was cooking I put the lentils into our Blendtec blender. It turned them into a nice powder pretty quick. There are other ways to do it. A grain mill or another heavy duty brand of blender will do as well. 

When the bacon and onion mixture is nicely browned add the lentil flour. Mix it together well and be ready to work with it while it's still warm. It will start to set up once it cools and that makes everything more difficult. Because I didn't use the hard fat, it made the final product more soft and easier to work with. 

colter co erbswurst

Traditionally this mix would then go into a sausage casing. I didn't have any laying around and did really want to do that anyway, so I make my own casings out of vacuum seal bags. The long term storage of these in a freezer is my end goal and these bags made sense and are super easy to make custom sizes and fill. I used a funnel to force the mixture down into the make shift casing. 

colter co erbswurst
colter co erbswurst

Then I just sealed them up and blamo! you got a lentil sausage!

colter co erbswurst

I did a little backyard field test to see how it turned out. I mixed 1 tablespoon of mix for each cup of water. So each tube would be about 6-8 servings of soup! I boiled it for about 5 minutes to give the lentil flour a chance to turn into a nice broth. It was very satisfying and hearty. 

colter co erbswurst

In the end, I think this makes a fantastic base for wilderness improvisation. I might try a version with different seasoning, and a version with black bean flour instead of lentil. I plan on using it to add fresh foraged plants to on my next outing. I think a hand full of sliced nettle leaves, or a thistle root boiled in this could be pretty amazing! 

This soup is great to use in connection with our Forager bandana. It identifies and explains 7 common edible plants. Several of which would work nicely in this base. I will be using both this year with my kids to help them gain more knowledge and appreciation of wild plants. 


Please let me know if you have any experience with traditional Erbswurst. I'd love to hear it!

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 article

Trail Ramen

Ramen noodles have long been a staple in my backpacking menu plan. When I was a kid a $0.35 pack of ramen was fine by itself. And they are a perennial hit with my kids. The last thing you want is to hike 3 miles into a lake and have a meal your kids won't eat. But now that I have a palate that is more sophisticated than a 9 year olds they can leave a little bit to be desired. So I've been adding things and trying new options for the past few years. Here are a couple winners that I have come across. They also add nutrition to an otherwise pretty empty meal. Another win for hiking food for kids. 

1. Summer Sausage Surprise

Okay, so it's not really much of a surprise. There's diced summer sausage added to it... I have tried adding different forms of protein to increase the benefits of this meal. I started with chopped up beef jerky. Beef jerky is fine on it's own, but when it's added to an already plenty salty soup it doesn't really do much for me. Plus unless you boil it for quite a while it stays pretty hard. So I decided to add diced and sautéed summer sausage. I liked it much better than beef jerky! I also like to add freeze dried veggies to the mix. It's nice to add texture, flavor and nutrition. 

Note: You may notice that I went with spicy ramen and spicy dehydrated veggies. Yeah, that was a bit much. One or the other would have been fine. 


I will also point out that a super easy way to cook ramen on the trail is in a freezer ziplock bag. It's like a home made mountain house meal. Just put the ingredients in and pour the boiled water over it. Be sure they are freezer bags and not regular! Those will just melt. For ultra easy clean up just eat out of the bag and zip it up when you're done. Mess contained!


2. Coconut Curry Chicken Ramen

I made these last year and they were amazing! Super easy and tasty enough to consider making them at home, not just on the trail. They are creamy and have added protein and fat. 


1 - Package of Ramen noodles (throw away the spice packet that comes with them)
4 - Tablespoons Coconut Milk Powder
1 - Teaspoon Yellow Curry Paste
1 oz - Package freeze dried Chicken 

Put the dry ingredients into a cup of water and bring to a boil. Once that starts to thicken a bit add the noodles and freeze dried chicken. Cook until the noodles are soft and remove from heat. If you're feeling fancy you can garnish with peppers and cilantro like in this picture. I did not...


I'd love to hear your favorite way to church up Ramen on the trail! Let me know what you do. 


Backpacking meal ideas

Holy cow! I just came across a huge asset for backpacking meal planning. I don't know if you're like me, but I'm always looking for ways to change things up in the food department without adding weight. This site put together an amazing list of food ideas broken down into categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, freeze dried, snacks, drinks, ultralight, vegan-vegetarian, cheap and spices. 

Each product is broken down to show caloric info to make planning for your trip even easier. It's one stop backpacking meal idea shopping! I'll be bookmarking this page for future use for sure...