Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fixing Up a USGI Aluminum Canteen

Last weekend I went to the gun show in Valley Forge and found a 1945 vintage USGI aluminum canteen and carrier for $25.  (I remember when they were a few bucks.)  I like the old metal canteens because unlike plastic vessels you can heat water in them.  Plus, compared with plastic canteens, they're just cool.

The canteen and cap were in good shape but the cork gasket was missing.  So, I went to Lowe's in search of a replacement.  I'd read of using a silicone end cap for for pipes as a source for gasket material, but couldn't find any in stock.  Naturally, the store staff was nowhere to be found.

I did find over in the adhesive section some DAP food/aquarium grade sealant/adhesive. (The link is to Grainger.)  I put a layer a couple millimeters thick inside the top of the cap, being careful to keep it off the threads.  Then I let the goop cure for a couple of days.

Tonight I filled the canteen with water, screwed on the cap, and shook it vigorously.  It didn't leak, so I'm going to chalk up this experiment as a success.

One mod I may make is to attach the cap with a snap link to the body of the canteen.  That will allow me to remove the plastic cap and place the canteen over a fire.

A cheaper alternative to the USGI aluminum canteens are the surplus French aluminum canteens.  They appear to have a wider mouth than the US canteens, which could be handy if you wanted to put ice cubes in it, for example.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bannock: A Simple Camp Bread

A traditional camp food, and one that's easy to make without a full fledged kitchen, is bannock.   I just tried my hand at making bannock for the first time and it came out good.  I used the recipe found here.  In case that link disappears, here is the recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • Sometimes people will add other ingredients like cinnamon or berries.
Mix the ingredients well then mix in enough water to make a dough.  I used regular all purpose flout but you could use whole wheat flour for a more nutritious meal.

Since I was making it for only myself I halved the measurements. 

To cook the bannock I used a new 8" cast iron skillet that I bought this morning at the local supermarket.  I first cooked a few slices of bacon in the skillet to start seasoning it, then drained most of the grease and then put in the dough.  It took up the whole pan but I was able to flip it over after about 5 minutes using a spatula.  Flip it when the bottom is golden brown.  Another five minutes or so and it was done.  Check that it's done by poking the center to make sure the dough is cooked.

I topped the bannock with some grape jelly and had it for lunch along with the bacon.  Tasted great and it's filling.

Depending on how sticky you make the dough (which depends on how much water you add), you can cook bannock by making a "rope" and wrapping it around a stick and then cooking it over a campfire.  I've also read of it being cooked on flat rocks heated in a fire.

For camping or an emergency evacuation, one could make up premixed Ziploc bags of bannock dough, sans water, then cook them up upon reaching a rest stop or campsite.  According to the link above, cooked bannock also freezes well.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Improved Hobo Stove

A few years ago I wrote about a hobo stove which I made from a coffee can.  I got home early today from work and decided to see if I could improve it.  I succeeded and posted my results, along with some pictures, here.