Minor problems can seem major when you are isolated and unprepared at your campsite. Be ready for any camping malfunction with the below tips and tricks.
My gas stove won’t light
Ensure that the gas supply is intact
When your camping stove won’t ignite, you should first check that you haven’t run out of gas. Shake the gas canister; the louder the slosh and the lighter the canister, the less gas there is inside.
- If there seems to be plenty of gas in the canister but it isn’t getting to the burner, tighten all the hose connections to eliminate any leaks.
- Still no luck? Disconnect the hose between the canister and burner and check each junction for blockages. Blow sharply through the hose to clear anything that could be blocking the gas. Join the hose to the connectors and try to ignite it again.
I can’t light the campfire
Use an improvised firestarter
Unless your firewood is completely dry and you build your fire out of the wind, it can be very tricky to get your campfire started. There’s a range of materials that you can use to make kindling and so to get the blaze going:
- Sawdust dipped in melted candle wax and rolled into balls
- Lint from the pockets of your clothing
- Waxed milk or fruit-juice cartons, cut into slivers
- Crumpled up pages of an old guidebook
- Dry wood shavings trimmed from the core of a stick or branch.
Tool of the trade
A firesteel is the most reliable way to light a fire. Unlike matches or a lighter, these metal strikers are unaffected by water and can be used to strike an intensely hot spark onto your kindling.
There’s mold on my camping chair
Freshen it up with a stiff brush
If your camping chair was damp when it went into storage for the winter, it might have developed mold and mildew. This is unsightly and can also destroy the chair’s fabric.
- Use a stiff brush to remove the surface mildew, then scrub any black spots on the fabric with a solution of hot water and mild bleach.
- Let the bleach solution soak into the fabric so that it destroys any mold spores in the material. Rinse with water then leave to air and dry in the sun.
The needle of my compass is sticking
Wash away the static
The movement of a compass needle can be affected by static electricity that builds up in your clothes. Rub a little water over the compass case to disperse the electrical charge. This should free the needle.
My binoculars are foggy
Dry them out to remove condensation
Condensation on the inside of your binocular lenses cannot be wiped off and, if ignored, can lead to mold — a much harder problem to solve.
- Put your binoculars somewhere warm and dry for a day or two. This should evaporate any condensation.
- Alternatively, pop the binoculars in a large, airtight food-storage container or a freezer bag, along with a few cupfuls of rice or a desiccant such as silica gel crystals (available from camera shops).
Make binoculars last
A delicate touch and proper treatment
- Put lens caps on your binoculars when they are not in use. This keeps dust off the lenses and protects against scratches.
- Avoid touching the lenses as your fingers will leave oily prints that are difficult to clean off. To remove fingerprints, rub the lenses very gently with a special lens-cleaning solution and lens-cleaning paper.
- Use a camera cleaner with a soft brush and an air blower to blow dust off the lenses — never wipe them with a paper tissue as you risk scratching the surface.