DIY Outdoor Gear
Tin Can Backpacking Stove – April 17, 2020
It’s time for our first #tryityourselfthursday with our DIY Outdoor Gear Team! This week, learn how to make your own backpacking stove. This DIY is made of household materials and is super lightweight on trail!
Materials: short-sided tin can & a hole punch
Step 1: Attain a tin can with short sides. This might be from cat food, like Riley’s or some other can. You will want to wash out the can and peel off the label to remove any flammable materials from the can.
Step 2: Choose your hole-punching tool. We used a school one-hole punch, but you could use a pocket knife, safety scissors, or can opener if you can’t find a hold punch. We’re all staying at home, so use what you have!
Step 3: Punch holes in a zigzagging pattern, keeping them near the top of the can so you can fill it later with fuel. These holes are for oxygen to reach your fuel once there is a pot or pan on top.
Step 4: Use your stove! This set-up uses denatured alcohol as a fuel source, which can be found in hardware stores in the paint aisle. NEVER use other fuels, such as white gas.
Good luck! And remember your #LeaveNoTrace principles when using your stove in the outdoors.
Suet Bird Feeder – April 23, 2020
- Collect ingredients -1/2 cup Lard or Rendered fat -1/2 peanut butter -1/4 cup add ins (sunflower seeds, raisins, oats, millet, bird seed)
- Melt lard and peanut butter in microwave. Stir in other ingredients.
- Line recycled container or dish with parchment paper and pour in mixture.
- Put in fridge or freezer until solid.
- Break out of mold and transfer to netting (I used the mesh that garlic/onions comes in). Attach string and hang!
- Wait for birds to come! Check out apps like Merlin Bird ID to figure out what birds are coming to your feeder.
Note: Suet is a great sources of quick energy for birds, especially when it is chilly outside. Suet can be kept out in warmer temperatures but it may melt and attract unwanted visitors #tryityourselfthursday
Square-bottom Stuff Sack – April 30, 2020
This week for Try it Yourself Thursday learn how to make a simple square bottom stuff sack for convenient gear storage! #diy #myog
You’ll need a sewing machine, fabric, and string to start. Make sure to practice sewing on a scrap piece of fabric if needed and stitch over (back stitch) your fabric ends so they don’t unravel.
1. First cut the fabric into a rectangle (I did 10” x 18” for a 4” x 4” x 6” stuff sack) and sew 2 reinforcement strips to each corner as shown.
2. Then, avoiding the reinforcements, fold in half and sew a straight stitch along the open edge.
3. Now fold the top over once and stitch down, then fold again and sew to create a channel for the cinch string.
4. Now fold the bottom corners to the middle on either side of the fabric and sew to create the boxed bottom.
5. Finally, feed your string through (attaching a safety pin to the end helps to shimmy it through), add your cordlock if you have one and tie it off.
Congratulations! You now have your very own DIY stuffsack
Credit to Joe B. on backcountrybanter.com for his video guide titled “How To Make A Stuff Sack (Step By Step) – DIY Gear Tips”
Original Video: https://youtu.be/CfYNEKoM7tw
Cook Kit – May 7, 2020
Good evening on try-it-yourself Thursday!
This week we’re sharing a DIY Cook-Kit idea from YouTuber IntenseAngler, an avid believer that outdoor gear does not have to be expensive to be effective! His video highlights a trip to the thrift store and a cook kit assembled for less than $4 out of pocket!
Because we can’t go to thrift stores to assemble our own version, here are some soothing photos of a cook kit in the Grand Canyon brewing a dreamy pot of instant coffee ☕️. In his video IntenseAngler bought…
– Cook pot (stainless steel storage container -$0.99) – Nested cup (stainless steel water bottle- $0.99)
– Alcohol stove (aluminum water bottle- $0.99) – Stuff sack (panty hose- $0.68)
His total purchase… $3.65!
With the Storage container, he fashioned a pot lid from cutting a Monster energy drink can and fit it to the pot top 🥘 With the water bottle, he cut it n half with a saw and added a silicone ring to the edge (I think a thick rubber band could serve the same purpose!) for a coffee cup ☕️ From the aluminum water bottle he fashioned an alcohol stove… check out our post from 2 weeks ago to learn how to make one from a cat food can! 🥫Snipping off the end of his pantyhose he made a stuff sack… or check out our post from last week to learn how to sew your own! 💰
Beyond IntenseAngler’s ideas to create some of these essentials, we believe many other items for the Cook Kit could be pretty easily thrifted. Eating utensils, knifes and small cutting boards (depending on your trail food preference), tupperware to eat from, a sponge to cut off the scrubby part…
To view this video check out IntenseAngler’s “Being Creative” cheap outdoor gear video on YouTube!
Hammock – May 14, 2020
Here’s another #tryityourselfthursday!!
With the weather warming up for Spring, we’re all craving a way to spend time outside. A hammock is a great option for this because you can also take it on camping or backpacking trips to relax off trail or to your climbing site to take a laid back break in between ascents. Check out these linked tutorials for information and tips on sewing your own hammock! These talented YouTube creators have great videos you can reference or follow along to while creating your own hammock. If you try this out, tag us in a post so we can see it! Happy 7th week!
“ULTIMATE SUMMER CHILL SPOT – DIY YOUR OWN HAMMOCK”, @thesorrygirls: https://youtu.be/YxkfhtUx5kQ
“How to Sew a Gathered End Hammock for Backpacking | Rip Stop by the Roll”, @backcountryexposure: https://youtu.be/4mg7TVhqNmQ
Virtual Hikes – April 24, 2020
Check out this article discussing ways to engage in the outdoors while social distancing, pros and cons of virtual hikes and includes some really cool tours of national parks!
How to Build a “Psychological First Aid Kit” – May 1, 2020
Read this article by Tracy Ross, published to Outside magazine in April 2020.
Online Wildlife Cams from The Wild Center – May 15, 2020
Happy Friday from the Online Resources team!
If you’re still feeling cooped up from the quarantine like we are, it might help to check out one of the Wild Center’s live habitat cams from the Adirondacks in upstate New York!
The Wild Center, located near Tupper Lake, NY, aims to both educate about and conserve the environment in this incredibly diverse and fragile area of the world. They have cameras set up in a variety of locations, including views of the Racquette River and the summit of Whiteface Mountain.
As a suggestion, you might let one these scenes play out in the background on your computer or TV to provide some calming ambiance for you home or apartment.
That’s all for now,
have a wonderful weekend!
Indoor Rock Climbing Vocabulary and Calls – April 21, 2020
Thinking of hitting your climbing gym when it opens up again, but feeling kind of rusty of your belay command?
Here is a reminder for you!!
8 Helpful Knots! – April 15, 2020
Do you know these 8 helpful knots for hiking?
How to Dig a Cathole – May 12, 2020
It doesn’t take much to dig a cathole.
Alumni and Student Spotlights
Shannon Haupt, Class of 2016
[Part 1] Happy Monday! This week, we will be introducing our first alumni spotlight. Check out this awesome Outdoor Programs alumnus and what she’s been up to since graduating. #distancednotdivided
Please meet Shannon Haupt! She graduated from K in 2016 as an Anthropology & Sociology major with concentrations in Public Policy and Environmental Science. While at K, Shannon worked in the Outdoor Programs gear room as well as interning with us during the summer. She was an Executice Board member of the Kalamazoo Outing Club and a LandSea Trip and Logistics Leader more than once. She boasts about memories of teaching Jory about the modern world and countless games of ERS with other outdoor leaders.
What stories do you have to share with Shannon? Have any questions for her? Shoot them out in the comments. Come back throughout the week to check out what Shannon has been up to since graduating. We’ll share a bit about her time on the Pacific Crest Trail in Wednesday and highlight her work in outdoor education and sustainability in Detroit on Friday.
[Part 2] of our weekly spotlight on Shannon Haupt ! If you missed our post about her time at K on Monday, check it out!
After graduating from K in 2016, Shannon along with fellow K grad Amanda Ullrick hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from April-July 2017. Beginning at the southern terminus of the trail outside Campo, CA and finishing up in Ashland, OR, the two hiked a total of 1300 miles, about half the length of the PCT. Amanda filmed, edited and produced a documentary about their trip and presented it that year as her SIP!
Shannon AKA Gramps (trail name) shared some of her favorite trail magic ✨ food or goodies left for hikers by the folks that live near the trail. Gramps came upon a huge box of books in northern CA, a gold mine for an avid reader on trail. One of her favorite reads from the trail was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
When they got to eat meals in town, her go-to was biscuits and gravy. And when on trail, is was biscuits and gravy flavored lays chips, with a side of Tuna Mac for sustenance.
Tune in Friday to hear about Shannon’s life post K and post PCT, living in Detroit and working in outdoor education and sustainability!
[Part 3] Final Alumni Spotlight post of the week!
After Shannon hiked 1,300 miles on the PCT, she moved to Detroit and worked as an environmental educator and community organizer around air quality and development issues in the city.
She worked as an AmeriCorps Green Schools Coordinator that facilitated after school groups in Detroit Public Schools. These groups took on different environmental and sustainability projects in their schools. The photo below shows some of the great work her students and coworkers did while she was there. Shannon also volunteered with the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center.
Last summer, she relocated to New York to start her first year of law school. She is currently finishing up her spring semester remotely like many of us! In her free time, she enjoys gardening, bird watching, and going for looooong bike rides. As Shannon reflects on her experiences with outdoors programs at K, she fondly recalls the development of her most treasured friendships and the really great role models she met along the way.
Thank you, Shannon!
Drea Gutierrez, Class of 2016
[Part 1] Here we go with our second alumni spotlight! This week, let’s meet Drea Gutierrez, class of ’15!
This was shared with us from Drea about her time at K:
“My name is Drea. I majored in Biology at Kalamazoo College, and graduated in 2015. If I were to go back in time to Spring Quarter Week 3 at Kalamazoo College, I would likely be walking around Lilian Anderson Arboretum with some friends or cycling on the Kal-Haven trail or maybe helping plan one of the Spring-time trips to Sleeping Bear Dunes by doing some food portion calculations for the growing number of people interested in participating. Typically, the level of interest meant more leaders needed to be recruited, which would be a fairly easy task to check off as there were many willing members who were ready to explore Springtime Michigan after a long winter. The Kalamazoo Outdoor Programs has influenced much of the interests I have today, including backpacking, climbing, cross-country skiing, and long-distance trail running. I loved being involved in the outdoor programs because students have access to resources for planning their own trips and essentially transforming ideas and requests into memorable trips to places like Sleeping Bear Dunes, Red River Gorge, and Joshua Tree. Due to my participation in the program, I was able to develop the confidence and skills to put together safe and organized outdoor trips with friends. This is rooted in the experiences I had from being involved in the trip planning process and collaborating with the many seasoned outdoor leaders involved in the group, including Jory Horner, Sara Stockwood, Ross Greedy, Yvonne Thoits, Charlotte Steele, Emma Dolce, Shannon Haupt, Anika Sproul, Abram Farley, Sarah Werner, Nino Nocita, and my hometown pal Pat Gailey to name a few.”
What memories do you have from past KOC trips? Comment below! #alumnispotlight #distancednotdivided
[Part 2] So it’s time for part 2 of our spotlight on alum Drea Gutierrez ! Here’s what Drea has to say about her time following graduating K in 2015.
“After graduation I went back to school to focus my academic career towards kinesiology and exercise science at University of Texas at El Paso. Moving back to the southwest, I explored the local environment including White Sands National Park and Aguirre Springs in New Mexico. Based on the impact that KCollege Outdoor programs has had on my life, I was motivated to stay connected with people from the KCollege community and was glad I did as I returned to the LandSea program to help with logistics in 2017. Later that year, I explored Big Bend National Park with a fellow alumnus, Shannon Haupt, where we did some desert backpacking. While the ball dropped in New York City to ring in 2018, Shannon and I were fast asleep with bellies full of our holiday feast: mac and tuna. We ran a successful trip, camping and reminiscing fondly on great times spent at Kalamazoo College and the Outdoor/LandSea programs.”
Did you notice that last weeks spotlight Shannon is a part of Drea’s story? It has been so meaningful for us to hear from our alums. Check in Friday to hear what Drea is up to now!
[Part 3] TGIF!!! Wrapping up the week with the cap on our spotlight of Drea Gutierrez!
Here’s what Drea has to say about what she’s up to now. “Currently, I am studying to earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals in Utah. Moving to Utah has opened up many opportunities for outdoor adventure that include camping, downhill and cross-country skiing, trail running, climbing, and cycling within the nearby Uinta National Forest. The great parks of southern Utah (Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, the Arches, etc.) are just three to four hours away, which has made for great weekend adventures. More recently, I ran Zion’s Half Marathon in February as a charity bib to help preserve the park. I also had the pleasure of volunteering with the National Ability Center by assisting instructors to help create safe experiences for people with disabilities who engage in winter sports at Park City Ski Resort. From what I learned from Kalamazoo College and the Outdoor Program, making the time to balance my academic and extracurricular time was essential for self-care, community involvement, and overall well-being.
COVID-19 has changed my current routine, but I have been able to stay active with small bouts of running (even 10 minutes can do wonders for the mind and body). I also give myself one day a week dedicated to a bucket list adventure (Mount Timpanogos summit, Slate Canyon Loop trail run) that I mark my Day of Gracious Living, inspired by Kalamazoo College’s springtime tradition, of course. Any suggestions from you for a summertime trip is welcome. I am all ears. And if you want to contact me to hear more about my story, feel free to reach me at email@example.com. “
Thanks so much to Drea for sharing your story with us! Check in next week to hear from alum Paul Lovaas.
Paul Lovaas Class of 2013
Happy Friday Facebook and an almost holiday weekend! Outdoor programs is wishing everyone a relaxing weekend and we hope you get a chance to get outdoors.
We’ve compiled our weekly spotlight on Alum Paul Lovaas . Here’s what Paul has to say:
“This is me! My name is Paul Lovaas and I learned how to canoe and majored in Biology/Environmental Studies at Kalamazoo College. I’m a proud member of the class of 2013!
At K, I was involved with Outdoor Programs through the LandSea program as a trip leader and as a Gear Room staff member during the school year. My favorite thing about Outdoor Programs was the community of playful people that came together to celebrate exploration and experiential learning each year. After graduation I followed my passion for outdoor programs and became a “camping professional,” eventually landing leadership roles at two nonprofits in Wisconsin – Conserve School and Camp Manito-wish YMCA. I miss the Kalamazoo College community but my memories and lessons from the fair Arcadian hill have helped me form bonds and new communities with outdoorsy (and indoorsy) friends on many new adventures. These days, I’m continuing my work as an environmental educator at Conserve School. One thing I learned through Outdoor Programs was to never rest on your successes. There’s more to learn and new horizons every day whether your on expedition or sitting at your base-camp. Currently, I’m continuing my education by studying to earn my EMT license. COVID-19 has changed my routines but I have actually carved out more time than ever to run, paddle, and bike in my neck of the woods. I find that getting outside multiple times a day is critical to my well-being, even if it’s just to listen to the birds. If you want to contact me to hear more about my story, reach me at Paul.Lovaas.firstname.lastname@example.org”
Thanks so much to Paul for sharing some of your story with us. Happy weekending!