All you really need to have a great time camping is good friends, a sweet campsite, and plenty of Pale Ales. But if you’re looking to impress your friends on your next outing, here are a few of our favorite little camp hacks.
Turn Your Headlamp into a Lantern
All you need is a Nalgene or an empty translucent bottle, like a gallon water jug. Simply strap your headlamp around it, turn on, and voilà. Extra credit: add a carabiner or bit of string to hang it from a tree or inside your tent.
Make the Most of your Nalgene Bottle
Speaking of Nalgene bottles, drinking your favorite beverages out of them is just the start. Fill one with piping hot water, stash it in the bottom of your sleeping bag, and you’ve got a makeshift heater. Use it as a roller to soothe your sore calves or throw in some ice to make an icepack. Or leave the eggs at home, and instead crack them into the bottle, whisk, and you’ll have scrambled eggs in a bottle. Bonus: whatever you do, wrap a few feet of duct tape around it for quick access to everyone’s favorite adhesive for field repairs.
Keep Your Beer Cold
No room in your fancy cooler for all your beer? Don’t fret. If you’re camping near water, throw them in a bag, add something heavy to weigh it down, and then leave it a few feet below the surface. If you’re really desperate, consider burying them—or at least stashing them under a shady shrub or tree. However you cool down your Sierra Nevada Pale Ales, be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and leave your campsite just clean as you found it or even cleaner and less disturbed.
Start the Campfire Quickly
This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Dryer lint stuffed into a toilet-paper tube and cotton balls coated with Vaseline both work well. So do those tricky can’t-blow-them-out birthday candles floating around in your junk drawer. Don’t have any of those? A bit of hand sanitizer will also get things going, and Doritos make great kindling.
Turn a Beer Can into a Stove
Alcohol stoves have long been a favorite of ultralight backpackers. Using aluminum cans for the stove and alcohol for fuel, they’re cheap to make, easy to operate, and featherweight at less than two ounces. All you need is a few simple tools, some rubbing alcohol, and a little know-how. Here’s how you do it.
- Two empty 12-ounce Sierra Nevada Beer cans
- Pocketknife or multitool
- Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, 90 percent solution or stronger
- Toilet paper or cotton balls
Step 1: Prep the Cans
Take an empty 12-ounce can and, using a box cutter or pocketknife, cut away all but the bottom 2 or 3 inches of the first can, preserving the base. (Slicing away the top and then cutting down the side to the desired height is an easy way.) Next, do the same thing with the second can. Then place some cotton balls in the bottom of one stove and nest one can-butt inside the other, top inside bottom.
Step 2: Make the Burner Holes
Using the knife on your multitool or an awl, make a series of pinholes around the upper rim of the stove and one larger one right in the middle of the top.
Step 3: Prime the Stove
Pour a small amount of the alcohol through the big upper hole—an ounce will burn for about 10 minutes, depending on wind, temperature, and other factors. Stuff a piece of cotton ball or toilet paper down the center hole, pour a tiny bit more fuel on top of the stove, and light, allowing the stove to “prime” or warm up.
Step 4: Get Cooking
Use a pot-stand or assemble a few rocks to support your cooking pot. When the stove is warm, place a rock or penny over the center hole (so the flames will rise through your ring of pinholes), and you’re cooking! Once your meal is hot or your water is boiling, simply snuff the stove with an overturned pot to extinguish the flame.
Important Safety Reminders
Anytime you’re cooking with fire or a stove, choose a safe spot that’s free of brush and other flammable material. Also, remember to check the regulations of your destination before using your new stove. Because they don’t have an “off” switch, alcohol stoves are included in burn bans, and some recreation areas prohibit their use altogether.
This summer, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. wants you to Enjoy Outdoors with car camping, a backcountry overnight, or just by pitching a tent in your backyard. However you decide to enjoy it, make sure you stock up with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale—the Official Beer of Camping— for the adventure.