Post Scout Skills

How to Clean and Season Your Dutch Oven

posted Jul 9, 2013, 4:17 PM by Troop814 Webmaster   [ updated Jul 9, 2013, 4:26 PM ]

<Dutch Oven

  For a new dutch oven or a dutch oven that needs to be seasoned, wash the dutch oven with dish soap and water.  Use a green scouring pad to scrub you dutch oven.  Thoroughly rinse your dutch oven with hot water to remove all soap.  This removes any anti-rust chemicals and anything else that is adhered to the cast iron.  This is the only time that soap will be used for cleaning.

  If you are using your kitchen oven, wrap a large cookie sheet with a raised edge in aluminum foil and place it on the lowest possible shelf of the oven. This cookie sheet catches oil that drips from the dutch oven so make sure it is bigger than the diameter of your dutch oven.  This will reduce excessive smoking in the oven.

  Thoroughly dry the dutch oven and lid with a cotton towel or paper towels. Place it in the grill for a minute or two to really dry it and heat it up a bit. Use an oven mitt to remove the dutch oven from the grill or oven and let it cool just enough so you can touch it.

  Rub vegetable shortening or kitchen grade mineral oil all over the inside and outside of your dutch oven and its lid.  Use a paper towel or cotton rag and rub the shortening into all the pockmarks, holes, and dimples in the metal surface.

Preheat your grill or oven to 350 degrees. 
Place the dutch oven upside down in the grill close the grill lid. By being upside down, the melted shortening will drain out of the dutch oven leaving an even oil coating rather than a pool in the bottom of the oven.

  Place the lid in the grill also so it bakes along with the dutch oven.

  Bake the dutch oven for 30 minutes. Remember to open windows and temporarily disconnect your smoke alarm while doing this.

  Turn off the grill or oven and leave the dutch oven inside to cool for 15 minutes.

  Using an oven mitt and paper towels, remove the cookware from the grill.

  Use paper towels to wipe off excess oil from the inside and outside of the dutch oven and lid.

  Allow the cookware to cool until you can pick it up.

  Wipe off all excess oil with paper or cotton towels and your dutch oven is ready for use!
By: Matthew V.

How To Pack A Backpack

posted Jul 21, 2012, 11:52 AM by Troop814 Webmaster   [ updated Jul 21, 2012, 12:13 PM ]

When going on a backpacking trip, whether it is an overnight trip or a week-long trip, it is very important how you pack your backpack. There are many different ways and there is no one “right” way, but this is how I do it.
First you want to get all of your items and lay them on the floor and make a check list to be sure that you don’t forget anything. Then pack your heaviest items at the bottom or near waist of your pack so that you are not top heavy, making it easy to lose your balance. The items that you will be using a lot, you want to put at the top of the pack so that they are easy to get to, for example your raingear, first aid kit, water, etc. If you have side pockets on your backpack those are a better place to put some your gear that you might need to get to fast.
When packing your food you want to put it in a zip lock bag so it doesn’t get wet, or so that if something spills it won’t ruin your food. But most important you don’t want the scent of food on the thing that will be in your tent or backpack when you sleep, because it will attract little critters and they could tear up you gear. Your sleeping bag can be packed at the very bottom of your pack or you can strap it or tie it to the bottom or top of your pack. Your sleeping pad will be strapped at the top or bottom or top of your pack as well. Some backpack come with straps on the side so that you can fit your pad in them. If you are carrying your tent or part of it, put it in your pad when you roll it up and carry it like that.
Make sure that once you are packed and at the trailhead ready to go, make sure your waist straps are tight. Because when you are hiking your weight should be carried and sitting on your hips. Tighten your shoulder straps to keep the backpack close to your body and on your back.
Figure 1. Lay out your equipment
Figure 2. Roll tent or your share of tent in your sleeping pad to save space (optional)
Figure 3. Put sleeping bag at the bottom of the pack or tie it to the top or bottom
Figure 4. Put items that you might need quick access to in the side pockets
 Figure 5. Put gear and other items inside your pack
Figure 6. Fully packed
Figure 7. Pack should sit on your hips and shoulder straps should be tightned to keep the backpack close to your back

Fire Starters by Sean D.

posted May 29, 2011, 6:08 PM by Troop814 Webmaster   [ updated May 29, 2011, 7:48 PM ]

Fire starting is an essential skill that Boy Scouts need to learn. Sometimes the weather or the environmental conditions are not in your favor, and you need a way to get a fire going, that is when fire starters come in handy. On my first High Adventure trip everything was damp and we couldn’t get a fire started. I shaved off some magnesium from my magnesium bar onto a little ball of dry kindling that we had saved. By striking the flint on the magnesium we were able to ignite it and got the fire started. I learned how having fire starters with you, while camping, come in handy.

In this article I am going to discuss the following fire starters: cotton balls covered in Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly), cardboard strips covered in paraffin wax (Wax Jerky), magnesium sticks, and fire sticks. Some of these can be easily made at home and some are store bought.

Cotton Balls With Vaseline 



Cotton balls covered in Vaseline is one of the easiest fire starters to make. It is pretty self explanatory on how to make this fire starter.  All you have to do is get a cotton ball and petroleum jelly.


Simply roll each cotton ball in the jelly until completely covered. After you make a few put them in a sandwich bag or small plastic container. To use one place the cotton ball in kindling and ignite the cotton ball. Now you have a fire starter that will last long enough to get your fire started.

Wax Jerky

To make “Wax Jerky” you will need strips of cardboard and paraffin wax, cutout several 3”x 1” small strips of cardboard. Next melt the paraffin wax.

To melt the wax use the double boiler system, get a pot and fill it with water, put a smaller pot/pan over the water. Boil the water and put the wax on the top of the pan/pot and it will melt.

Dip the cardboard into the wax and cover the cardboard in the wax completely, let it dry. After you make a few put them in a sandwich bag or small plastic container. You now have a very reliable fire starter. Light it the same as the cotton balls.  




Fire Sticks
But if you don’t really want to make anything you can always go to Academy, or any sporting good stores, and buy Fire Sticks such as Coleman’s brand. These are square preformed sticks, a little bigger than a pencil, made of sawdust mixed with wax. Light them the same way as the cotton balls.
Magnesium Bar
The last fire starter that I am going to discuss is a magnesium bar. It is a small block of magnesium that you merely scrape metal shavings of magnesium from the bar and gather them into a small pile about the size of a dime on top of your kindling. When you get the magnesium into a pile, you then strike the flint attached to the bar to make sparks that will ignite the shavings. When the shavings ignite they get really hot and set the tender on fire, and it doesn’t have to be dry to work. You can buy it at any sporting goods store. It comes with a little scraper to shave of the magnesium and strike the flint.

These are just several fire starters that I have used that are simple enough for any scout to make or use. Even if you make or buy any of these fire starters, I would recomend buying the magnesium bar as a good back up for starting a fire. All of these fire starters work great and I hope you found the article helpful.    

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