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What is the Healthiest Fuel to use for Cooking When Camping?

What is the Healthiest Fuel to use for Cooking When Camping?

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Different camp fuels we will consider, Alcohol Fuel, Gas Canisters, Chemical Solid Fuels, Wood. Wood is the least healthy camp fuel. Alcohol is the cleanest burning camp fuel and gets our vote.

Inconvenient as it may be, there is no one single camp fuel that is the “healthiest” option for cooking food—things like what you are cooking, how you are cooking, and even what you mean by “healthy” all factor in this discussion.

No camping fuel is inherently dangerous to your health in the sense that your health may be at risk, but the way you use it can make it unsafe. If you stick your hand in the flame or lock yourself in a near-airtight room and light yourself a roaring fire, you’re going to have issues. But for the more typical—and sensible—ways a camp fuel might be used, they’re mostly equal in terms of danger to your health. Mostly, we’ll talk about wood shortly.

In general, alcohol is considered the most environmentally friendly, which may fit your idea of healthy. On the other hand, gas fuel will give you more bang for your buck in terms of carry-weight, and for long treks through rough terrain, it’s understandable to consider weight-reduction a significant factor in a fuel’s “healthiness” rating.

We’re going to take a closer look at all of the common fuel types used when cooking out in the great outdoors. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will at least be able to make an informed decision on which camp fuel you want to use, whatever your criteria for healthy is.

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Different Camp Fuels

The natural place to start is with an overview of what camp fuels we’re dealing with. We’re limiting this post to common fuels using in camping settings, so you won’t see any “old engine oil” or “gasoline” here. You can use things like that to cook with… but you shouldn’t.

Alcohol Fuel

Used exclusively in alcohol stoves (don’t squirt your alcohol fuel over a campfire!), alcohol is a versatile fuel since multiple different kinds of alcohol can be used. The stoves that use it are often extremely compact, lightweight, so simple that they can be made at home, and the fuel itself is easier to get hold of than the more popular gas. The main downside to alcohol is that it contains less energy than some of the alternatives, which means you have to carry more of it to get the same amount of use. It also means that cooking times take longer since an alcohol stove cannot achieve the same heat level as, say, a butane hob.

That being said, it is an incredibly efficient fuel (depending on which stove alcohol you buy); it may not carry as much energy as propane, but it uses all of that energy, burning so cleanly that the flame is often invisible. Of course, invisible flames represent a risk of accidental burning, which you should factor in if you are looking for the safest fuel. Still, alcohol is by far the safest fuel in terms of exhaust gasses. We wouldn’t recommend lighting your alcohol stove in an enclosed space, but if the fumes coming off of your stove are a concern, alcohol is probably your best bet.

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Gas Canisters

Gas stoves are the most commonly used thanks to their efficiency, heat, and portable nature. Gas comes usually comes in canisters of varying sizes, is light, and can get a lot of use out of a seemingly small canister.

The main advantage of a gas stove is that they burn quite hot, meaning you don’t have to wait as long for your water to boil, and you don’t have to carry enormous amounts of fuel to ensure you’ll be able to cook your food. You can also control the level of heat you are getting through the use of a control valve, which will usually be part of the stove you are using.

On the other hand, the canisters are not something you can easily refill, and you can only buy them from specialist outdoor stores or stores in areas where there is a lot of camping, so the store owners have decided to stock up on this popular product.

Compared to other fuels, gas canisters are light, making them ideal for backpacking, and the stoves that use them can range in size from a substantial grill that could feed a small group to pocket-sized stoves that screw directly on to the gas canister.

Gas canisters are the best option when considering cost-effectiveness, but they do put out more fumes than alcohol stoves. Not so much that you should be worried about using a gas canister stove on your camping trip, but if we’re talking about safety, it’s worth mentioning. Another thing worth mentioning is that there is a risk of explosion with these canisters.

Granted, it is a very small risk, and in the few instances it has happened, it has usually been the result of not being used correctly, but the risk is there. You could accidentally ignite alcohol, but it wouldn’t explode.

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Chemical Solid Fuels

Solid fuels are solid materials that burn, like wood. Unlike wood, chemical solid fuels are treated or manufactured to give them better properties for burning in a stove or campfire. They will typically be easier to light and burn for longer than a natural fuel of the same size.

In terms of safety, when transporting, chemical solid fuels are safer than gas or alcohol due to not being as easy to ignite, and there being no risk of explosion.

Chemical solid fuels like this usually come in small pieces, like pellets, and burn hot and quick. They do leave a bit of a mess behind, so that is something you will have to deal with after you have finished cooking.

Wood

Nature’s own fuel source. Wood is obviously not the easiest thing to carry due to the amount you would need to equal one of the above options in energy output. Despite wood being the primary source of fuel for fires for tens of thousands of years, it is actually not that efficient, and burns much less hotly than chemical, gas, or alcohol fuels.

Another aspect that often gets overlooked about wood is that it needs to be “seasoned” in order to burn properly. This dramatically reduces the chance that you will be able to find suitable firewood just lying around. Unseasoned wood—that is, wood that has not had a season or two to dry out—will not only be harder to light but will burn much less hotly and produce a lot of smoke. Unless there is a store selling firewood where you are camping, the only way to guarantee you will be able to get seasoned firewood is by taking it with you, and wood is by far the least portable of the camp fuel options listed in this post.

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Alcohol Gets Our Vote

All things considered, we think alcohol is the healthiest camp fuel you can use for cooking. It may be a little bulkier than gas canisters, but there is no risk of explosions, and it is friendlier on the environment thanks to its incredibly efficient burning process. Furthermore, alcohol is a sterilizing agent, which may come in handy when out in the wilderness.

And if you find yourself in a one-road town in the middle of nowhere, you’re far more likely to be able to purchase more alcohol for your stove than a replacement gas canister. Just be sure to observe proper safety measures when using alcohol stoves. Remember, the flame is much less visible than with other methods, so don’t assume it has gone out just because you can’t see it.

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Final Thoughts

Ultimately, there isn’t much to separate alcohol and gas canisters when we are talking purely about which one is healthiest; either is fine. But from a convenience standpoint, it is hard to argue against the gas canisters. You get more fire from a smaller amount of space, and much more control over that fire when it is lit. Not to mention, it can burn much hotter than any of the other alternatives.

In short, even though we think alcohol is probably slightly healthier when it comes to cooking your food, gas canisters are probably the better all-round package. And us picking alcohol is in no way a statement that gas canisters are unhealthy. As long as you cook your food properly and safely, you should be just fine with either.

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Top 15 Portable Camping BBQs

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Portable BBQ’s To Go ☞

Few things go together as well as camping and barbecue. There is something about the smell of char-grilled food together with the sights and sounds of the great outdoors that can make anyone want to pack up their things, sell their house, and move to a remote cabin in the mountains. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but a good camping BBQ certainly goes down well with most people.

Get the right One For You!

Choosing the right barbecue for your camping trip can be a bit of a task, given the sheer number of options there are on the market these days. From well-established brands to new players, from the latest in high-tech gadgetry to the simplest of designs. The only single attribute that any good camping BBQ should have (besides the ability to barbecue) is portability. A huge, multi-grill barbecue with accompanying pizza-oven is great and all, but you don’t want to have to lug something that weighs more than you do out into the woods for a short getaway!

But fear not, we’ve put together fifteen of our favorite portable BBQ picks for you to choose from. We’ve included plenty of variety here, so there should be something for every occasion. So, in no particular order, here are our top fifteen portable BBQ suggestions.

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1. Easy Camp Campfire Tripod Deluxe

Starting simple, this option isn’t the smallest solution to your barbecue conundrum, but it is one of the most suited products for a campfire setting. The Easy Camp Campfire acts as a typical campfire, with the barbecue grill suspended over the top of a raised fire pit. This not only gives you all the benefits of a campfire that you and your friends can huddle around, and a barbecue you can cook your food on, it allows you to keep your fire off of the ground. This is ideal for both safety and leaving the area you are camping in as close to how you found it as possible.

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2. Weber Smokey Joe Premium

For a portable BBQ that’s a little more… well, portable, the Smokey Joe Premium is an excellent choice. This is something of a no-frills offering, but what it lacks in fancy features, it makes up for in robust build quality and stylish looks. It also doubles up as a carry-case for your bag of charcoal and firelighters when you’re traveling, keeping all your barbecue essentials in one neat package! Of course, you don’t get to be this portable without making some compromises in the size department. The grill in the Smokey Joe isn’t going to feed dozens of people—at least not in one go—but for a small gathering with a few people, this will do the job nicely.

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3. Campingaz Attitude 2100

Moving on to something with a little more heft, the Campingaz Attitude is what you might imagine the baby of one of those enormous permanent decking barbecues would look like. In the world of portable barbecues, this one is a little on the large side—definitely more of a motorhome barbecue than a tent barbecue. For that extra size, you get a cast iron griddle, an external thermometer, button-operated ignition, and you can even pile on the features with add-ons like a pizza stone. One downside to the Attitude is that you will need a special converter to use non-Campingaz propane cylinders.

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4. Biolite Campstove 2

We promised you some high-tech gadgetry, and it doesn’t get more high-tech or gadgety than this. The Biolite Campstove 2 is an ingenious system that uses a burn chamber and an electronic controller to regulate airflow. There are multiple attachments for the Campstove 2 besides the grill, such as the kettle pot and coffee press. Campstove 2 even converts heat energy into electricity, allowing you to charge your phone with wood! Now, the grill is very small, to the point where cooking for more than two people may be a struggle. But the ingenious features of the Campstove 2 earn it a mention on this list alone. The fact that it is also an excellent barbecue is just the cherry on top.

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5. Cadac Safari Chef 2

If you need plenty of versatility out of your barbecue, the Cadac Safari Chef 2 is the product for you. This modern-looking little set up provides barbecue, stove, griddle, and hob capabilities thanks to its range of different attachments. Everything is made to a high build quality, but somehow the weight of the whole thing is kept to a measly 4kg. Not exactly something you’d want in your backpack on a long hike, but very portable. You can get the Safari Chef 2 in low and high-pressure versions to suit different gas canisters, and the whole thing folds down into a remarkably small footprint for when you’re not using it and need to stash it out of the way.

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6. Outwell Asado Gas Grill

Sometimes simple is best. The Asado Gas Grill follows a tried and tested box-shaped design to bring you a great barbecue at a very affordable price. It’s not going to set the world alight in terms of features, but sometimes the best barbecue is the barbecue you can afford. The Asado is very light, weighing in at just 2.9kg, and is powered by a gas canister. It does come with lava rocks to help spread the heat around, but you may want to leave those at home if you’re going to be carrying it on foot for any great distance. It can be a bit tricky to put together, but once it is built, there isn’t really an advantage to taking it apart again, so you’ll probably only need to do it once.

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7. Cobb Premier Gas

Sporting a very contained design thanks to an all-covering lid, the Premier Gas is a cylindrical barbecue that makes use of gas and clever design to cook your food thoroughly. And, if you want more than just a barbecue, there are extras you can purchase to add functionality, such as a pizza stone. This is also one of the smaller offerings on this list, so if space is at a premium, this may be the barbecue for you.

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8. Primus Kuchoma 2500W Portable Gas Barbecue

In the realm of portable barbecues, the Kuchoma is a bit of a monster. With a simple hinged lid design and a wide cooking surface to array your various delights on, you’ll be able to feed more of your friends with this bad boy than many of the other grills here. Of course, the barbecue itself is bigger because of this, so bear that in mind when thinking about storage.

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9. Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef’s Style Tabletop Grill

With its sleek, stainless steel exterior, you would be forgiven for thinking the CGG-306 was some kind of industrial grilled sandwich maker. You’d be wrong, however, as this sturdy boy is the very height of portable barbecue build quality. It doesn’t have fancy tech, and it doesn’t fold down to the size of a credit card, but for good old fashioned barbecue goodness, this has everything you need.

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10. Cuisinart CCG190RB Portable Charcoal Grill

We know, we know—the last pick was a Cuisinart. The CGG-306 one of the most expensive barbecues on this list, so we thought we’d follow that up with the cheapest, which just so happens to be a Cuisinart also. The CCG190RB is a no-frills freestanding barbeque that features a small shelf built into the legs. There’s not really much else to say. If you need something inexpensive, Cuisinart has your back.

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11. Char-Broil Portable 240 Gas Grill

In terms of barbecue features, the 240 Gas Grill is fairly average. It does what it does well, but there’s nothing remarkable about it. What earned it its spot on this list is the super sturdy frame that it sits on.—no flimsy foldaway legs here.

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12. JiaDa Portable Grill BBQ

This barbecue does feature foldaway legs, but not the flimsy kind. The JiaDa Portable Grill BBQ is an exercise in simplicity, making a great barbecue from sheet metal in a way that folds away to a remarkably compact size when not in use.

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13. Grillerette Pro

One of the more compact designs we’re featuring, the Grillerette Pro, is a charcoal powered barbecue contained in a crockpot-looking housing with an innovative grill plate design that prevents grease from dripping onto your charcoal, thus reducing the amount of smoke your barbecue produces.

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14. NOMADIQ Portable Propane Gas Grill

NOMADIQ has taken an interesting approach to make their barbecue portable. The grill can be carried around like a briefcase when not in use, but when you’re ready to start grilling, the top opens up like a clamshell, revealing a nice, wide grilling surface.

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15. Techwood Electric BBQ Grill

This entry is possibly the least portable barbecue on our list, but the most convenient. This grill is powered by electricity, so you will need to think about where you plan to use it. It comes with a tall base that brings the grill up to a standing height, making it far more comfortable to use without the need for additional furniture.

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What is the Best Firewood When Camping?

What is the Best Firewood When Camping?

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The Best Firewood When Camping

The image of a gently crackling fire surrounded by happy, talkative people is one that very few people will fail to get the warm and fuzzies from. Whether it’s in the woods, on a beach, and even out in the desert, it’s something we tend to associate with good times and companionship, even when if we’ve never done it ourselves! Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a complete beginner in the world of camping, knowing what kind of firewood is best is an important part of the experience since no one wants to spend hours trying to light a fire, only to be bombarded with white smoke. In our opinion, the best firewood you can get is oak.

Of course, there are different kinds of oak, and white oak may be the best option, it’s not the only option. There are also some types of wood you should not use as firewood. For all of this information, keep reading as we take a deep dive into the world of camping firewood.

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The Right Wood

The first thing to note about choosing the best camping firewood is that there are many variables to factor in. We have chosen oak as the best choice, but that may not be the case for every situation. The best wood for a wood stove isn’t necessarily the best wood for a campfire. And the best wood for a campfire that you plan to sit around and enjoy your evening isn’t necessarily the best wood for a campfire you intend to cook over.

Convenience is another thing to consider. While hickory may be better firewood for cooking over, it’s of little use if there is no hickory where you are, and you didn’t bring any with you. In that case, the best camping firewood would be the wood that you can get!

what type of firewood should I use for camping

The point of this section is to say that you shouldn’t be too rigid with your wants and needs when camping. There should be a little compromise when you head out into nature; otherwise, you may as well just stay home. There are things you shouldn’t be flexible about—things like fire safety and using types of wood in our no-fly list below—but when it comes to something like the best camping firewood, be prepared to make do with what you have.

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Our Top Choices for Camping Firewood

There is plenty of information to cover beyond the wood itself, so be sure to read to the end before you rush out and buy a pack of firewood or chop a tree down. Before we get into anything else, let’s go over the types of wood we think make the best firewood, starting with our top pick; oak.

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what type of firewood should I use for camping

Oak

You can get oak in both white and red variants (the name, not necessarily the color), but either is fine for getting a nice campfire going. There are several characteristics of oak that make it suitable for firewood, such as the fact that it doesn’t produce a lot of smoke. Nothing can ruin a picturesque camping scene like billowing smoke engulfing your camp.

Another positive for oak is the fact that it burns with a good amount of intensity, and slowly. Meaning you should get a better-than-average amount of fire for your wood.

However, they can be a little difficult to split, so that’s something to bear in mind if you are planning on sourcing your wood in nature. Oak is also great for use in wood stoves and firepits.

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what type of firewood should I use for camping

Ash

Available in either black ash or white ash, this wood burns with a more modest intensity than oak, making it less suitable for cooking over, and considerably less ideal for those more extreme camping trips where you are relying on the fire to keep your toes from falling off!

what type of firewood should I use for camping

It doesn’t produce much smoke, however, and is easier to split than oak. Ash is a great wood to take the chill out of the evening air and give your evening that special camping ambiance. And, even though it doesn’t burn as hot as oak, it will be plenty hot enough to melt a marshmallow or roast a hot dog.

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Cherry

Cherry is another wood that burns with a lower intensity than oak, but it doesn’t produce much smoke and is possibly one of the most pleasant smelling firewoods you can get. If the primary purpose of your fire is to bring a little warmth to the evening and set the mood, cherry wood may well be the best option.

what type of firewood should I use for camping

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Hard Maple

You’re not going to have an easy time splitting this wood if you’re getting it directly from mother nature—that “hard” in the name is not an exaggeration—but this is an easy burning wood with a high intensity to it. It’s not necessarily ideal for cooking due to the higher level of heat, but if you’re looking for firewood that can keep your toes warm on a cold night, this is the one for you.

what type of firewood should I use for camping

What Kind of Wood Should You Not Cook Over
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Woods to Avoid

There are some woods you should steer clear of when you head out on your next camping trip. We could write an entire post on the specific of this, but for the sake of staying on point, we’ll just hit the main beats.

Treated Wood

Any wood that has been treated, painted, or even just spent time around an environment where chemicals might have soaked into it should be avoided. It’s not ideal for you to breathe the fumes of such woods, and certainly not suitable for you to cook food over such a wood—especially if the wood is old and painted, as lead paint was all the rage only a few decades ago.

Fresh “Green” Wood

Green wood can be any kind of wood, including the types of wood we listed above as our ideal choices. Wood needs time to “season” before it can be burned, due to the high water content it stores. Burning wood that is too fresh will not only result in a more difficult time lighting it; it will also produce a considerable amount of smoke.

Endangered Wood

There’s not much to explain here; if a tree or plant is endangered, don’t go cutting it down so you can set fire to it!

Driftwood

In turns out that all that time spent in the salty ocean imbues driftwood with an abundance of nasty toxins that are both carcinogenic and cumulative. It should be noted that all wood releases these toxins when burned, but driftwood has considerably more of it.

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What Kind of Wood Should You Not Cook Over

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Different camp fuels we will consider, Alcohol Fuel, Gas Canisters,...

Top 15 Portable Camping BBQs

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Different Uses for Camping Firewood

As soon as you put the words “camping” and “firewood” together, the most obvious image to spring to mind is a campfire. It’s the most recognizable use of firewood, the most romantic, the most versatile. Of course, there is more than one way to burn a log.

what type of firewood should I use for camping

Whether you are camping in a fancy teepee and you’ve brought along a portable wood stove—or you’re camping in a luxurious motorhome with a considerably less portable wood stove—or even if you are just looking to heat some water for a coffee using a foldable firebox, there are plenty of uses for firewood on a typical camping trip. You could even be camping in a commercial camping ground that has fire pits on every pitch or creating your own fire pit on the beach from a hand-dug hole and some nearby rocks.

As with most things in life, different woods are better suited for different tasks. For example, a large piece of oak will burn for a long time, making it ideal for a late-night campfire that will smolder away long into the night with very little maintenance needed.

Meanwhile, smaller pieces of oak will burn hotter and leave coals that can be used to cook over. Some wood, like hickory, will infuse noticeable flavor into any food cooked over it, while other types of wood like cherry will fill the area with their scent.

Fire Safety

In any discussion regarding camping firewood, it’s worth taking a moment to reinforce the importance of proper fire safety when lighting a fire in nature, or anywhere for that matter. We’re not going to go into the specifics here because fire safety in nature is a topic that would take a full post of its own to do justice.

what type of firewood should I use for camping

For now, all we will say is if you are in any doubt about how to safely build and manage a fire in the woods, on the beach, in the desert, or anywhere, then do a good amount of research before you try. Not only is it irresponsible and dangerous, but there can also be severe legal repercussions if something goes wrong.

Final Thoughts

A campfire, or a fire pit, or a crackling wood stove, can be a beautiful thing when you are camping out in the wilderness—or a commercial campsite. There is an ideal wood for most situations, but if you can’t find that perfect wood, or you’re not sure which wood is ideal for your situation, you can’t go wrong with oak.

And be careful!

what type of firewood should I use for camping

Is S90v Steel Better than S30v Steel?

When it comes to edge retention, S90v steel is far better than S30v...

Knife Facts: Is s110v better than s30v?

What Is s110v Steel? The s110v is a high-grade alloy martensitic...

What is the Easiest Steel to Sharpen?

Whether for dicing vegetables in your kitchen or building a...

Knife Facts: Is 20CV Better Than S30V?

Choosing a good knife is about more than a cool looking handle and a...

Is 440 Steel Good for Knives?

Knives can be one of the most useful tools at your disposal, whether...

Can a Kitchen Knife Be Too Sharp?

When is Sharp Too Sharp If we are considering making the edge angle...

Is There a Correct Backpack Weight for My Body Size?

Finding the Right Fit for You If you are lucky enough to live near...

How Can I Stay Warm in a Roof Top Tent?

Camping and Staying Warm Camping is one of those pleasures that...

What is the Healthiest Fuel to use for Cooking When Camping?

Different camp fuels we will consider, Alcohol Fuel, Gas Canisters,...

Top 15 Portable Camping BBQs

Portable BBQ's To Go ☞ Few things go together as well as camping and...

Is S90v Steel Better than S30v Steel?

When it comes to edge retention, S90v steel is far better than S30v...

Knife Facts: Is s110v better than s30v?

What Is s110v Steel? The s110v is a high-grade alloy martensitic...

What is the Easiest Steel to Sharpen?

Whether for dicing vegetables in your kitchen or building a...

Knife Facts: Is 20CV Better Than S30V?

Choosing a good knife is about more than a cool looking handle and a...

Is 440 Steel Good for Knives?

Knives can be one of the most useful tools at your disposal, whether...

Can a Kitchen Knife Be Too Sharp?

When is Sharp Too Sharp If we are considering making the edge angle...

Is There a Correct Backpack Weight for My Body Size?

Finding the Right Fit for You If you are lucky enough to live near...

How Can I Stay Warm in a Roof Top Tent?

Camping and Staying Warm Camping is one of those pleasures that...

What is the Healthiest Fuel to use for Cooking When Camping?

Different camp fuels we will consider, Alcohol Fuel, Gas Canisters,...

Top 15 Portable Camping BBQs

Portable BBQ's To Go ☞ Few things go together as well as camping and...