Travels with Charley

The cool camping blog. Trying to find gear, supplies, adventure and activities for the 21st century camper.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tips - Essential Items Lists

If you are a first time camper, either tent or RV, you may be somewhat lost as what to bring on your first trip. Here's a collection of lists of camping items from various places on the 'net. (BTW, I'm not up on any affiliate programs for any of this stuff, yet. I'm not pimping this stuff, yet. Yet.)

Camping in general:'s List
Family Camping Gear

For Tent'ers:

Coleman Products

For RV'ers:

Airstream Forums #1
Airstream Forums #2
Airstream Forums #3
Open Roads Forum
Coleman Products

First Aid kits First Aid Kit #1 First Aid Kit #2

Our essential items include:

Cork Screw
Coffee maker and matching filters
MP3 Player and Radio/Speaker unit


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Another category - Tips

Ok, this new category wasn't exactly a real mental challenge to come up with. But I realized that something fell in between all of the other categories. I'll try to stay away from the typical firecraft and Boy Scout stuff, but if I run across a good one, I'll post it.

Food - Crabmeat devilled eggs!

Devilled eggs have never been my thing. They're ok, but just not my style. However, they are picnic food, and therefore they should also be good camping food. Somebody over at Flickr has posted a nice sounding recipe for crabmeat devilled eggs - these I think I could eat a lot of. If you can boil eggs at camp, you can make these. Good finger food for entertaining. Someone let me know if you try this recipe.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Food - Goat cheese burgers

Ok, here's a quickie recipe that will please anyone, despite the weird sounding title. It's this simple:

Le chevre with herbs goat cheese (find it in your grocers cheese case, not by Kraft)
Garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

Keep the cheese real cold. Cut off a small disc of cheese, about the diameter of a silver dollar, and about a quarter inch thick. Make two thin hamburger patties and then put the cheese in between them, squeezing them shut into a normal pattie. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper and grille up as you would any other hamburger.

The cheese inside adds a really delicious extra rich taste, like creamy cheeseburgers, but without the slice of cheddar. Add toppings as you normally would and enjoy. As you might imagine, wine like Syrah or a rich Pinot Noir goes really well with these.

Grille Care - Quick note

While we're on the topic of grilles, here's a quick grille tip, which I heard about from the beer can chicken guy. Always grease up your grille: do it before you put on the food; after you're done cooking grease it again. If you do this right after all of the food is removed and scrub it down with a bronze brush it cleans up a whole lot easier. After scrubbing grease it up one more time while still hot.

I use olive oil in one of those oil pumper aerosol cans, but you can put butter or oil on a paper towel and rub it down with that.

Gear - Cast Iron Grille

I don't know why I was so enamored with the thought of having a cast iron grille, but I just had to have one. Well, my beautiful and talented wife got me the Lodge Grille:

And I have not been disappointed. It's a bit on the small side, like a hibachi, but there's only two of us so it's fine for a couple of steaks or hamburgers. This could easily cook four hamburgers or four medium chicken breasts. I season the grille with sprayed on olive oil and then scrub it with a bronze brush after we're done cooking and nothing ever sticks.

It's heavy but small and is a fine choice
for when you want to use charcoal. It is great table top cooker, perfect for setting on the end of a picnic table while you cook and chat with people sitting at the table. Just make sure to put a sheet of tinfoil down underneath it. The doors on the front allow you to move around coals without removing the grille and the grille itself can either be used as shown or upside down for hotter cooking.

On second thought...

Well, now, I don't want this to become a gadgety blog. Those are fine, but instead of reviewing all of the new gear out there I want to find the good stuff, and then show how it fits together with the fun stuff.

Eh, that sounded kind of stuffy but it's what I'm trying to get at.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Gear - What is it?

Gear will be anything that you can't eat or change your clothes in, excepting not RV vehicles. This will include cooking devices, clothing, books, websites, electronics, furniture and so on. Now, as of yet, I'm not talking about hard core hiking with a 40 lb pack on your back into the mountains, cause I don't do of yet. For right now this will be about family style camping, around the campfire, typically at a campground.

A new direction

I often search the internet for something I never find: a new way of doing things, or a new wrinkle on an old subject. It happens to me frequently. I hope that someone is bored with the way things have been done for the last 50 years and has something new and fun. I searched like this when digital cameras became so prevalent about four years ago. Now I've been doing it again, this time with camping. I keep hoping that someone has moved beyond the same old dinner in tinfoil trick and come up with new twists.

Well, I of course didn't really find what I was looking for. Yes, there're sites that review hiking gear, and Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools has a section on Outdoors tools (I really like his blog, I hope that this one can be as good as his), but no one has focused on camping. The gear, the shelter, the food, the fun and the destinations. In America. I want to do that, with a modern, fresh look. That's what I want to make Travels with Charley into. I'll try to start with one each of the above topics. First up: Gear.