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Travelling Skillets second stop in Louisiana

March 8th, 2015 by ironcooker

On Our last post the skillet had made its way to Louisiana.

It has made its second stop in that state at Julie Courville, where she
11051243_10205849759864274_1304795927_nhas made cat head biscuits.11026605_10205849759984277_1328626729_n
she made her grandmother’s self rising biscuits in the travelling skillet.
It is always nice to see recipes being used by family members that have been
Passed down like this
On Tuesday this little skillet will be sent on its way to Andrea Itzkowitz
In Missouri.

Posted in Iron Cooker Updates | No Comments »

Travelling Skillet Update

March 4th, 2015 by ironcooker

Our Skillet has made its way into Louisiana

11023184_10205815332203604_157510717_nPeggy  has received the travelling skillet in Louisiana this week and cooked this pizza in it.11040247_10205815331923597_201206205_n 11016743_10205815331803594_1068047341_nThe skillet has a delay in Michigan for a few months but we are excited to have it on its way again From Peggy herself

11016597_10205815331763593_1949914179_nHere are my photos of my deep dish pizza Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Onion, Olives, Pizza Sauce and tons of mozarella cheese. Very simple and delicious. Perfect size for one.

The skillet has already been sent on its way to another stop in Louisiana and we will be posting a new update real soon on its progress.


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Autumn Rain Got You Down? What You Need To Hike When It’s Wet

October 10th, 2013 by ironcooker

Autumn Rain Got You Down What You Need To Hike When It's Wet
We’ve just stepped into autumn, which means we’ll all start trading sun for rain a little more in the coming weeks and months.  It’s tempting to just stay inside and enjoy a hot drink instead to venturing outside.  But if you want to watch the colors change, get in some of the crisp fall air, or simply refuse to let a little bad weather keep you from enjoying your hikes, then I’ve got a few tips for you.

Gear Up, the Right Way
Gear Up, the Right Way
When you’re looking for the right gear, that doesn’t mean you need to be on top of the trends.  The first and most important thing is to dress for the weather and the climate.  A lot of the time, that can mean something as easy as dress in layers so you can regulate your own temperature.

If you’re in a particularly wet climate, you can dress down right with a quality, impermeable rain jacket with a moisture-wicking shirt (like Under Armour), waterproof boots, and rain pants.  No matter what you do, you can’t expect to stay completely dry—that’s just not going to happen.  But you can manage just how soaked you get—it’s an aim for a realistic win.

And then from there, scale it back depending on moisture and heat.  Warm, humid hiking is maybe the most challenging.  A rain shell isn’t going to help, so the best you can probably do is to wear a shirt that breathes well and keeps moisture off of you.

Keep the Feet Dry
Keep Those Feet Dry
So long as you keep your feet mostly dry, you’ll be doing alright.  But you might have to go with something a little outside of your ordinary hiking boots.  Grab some really high quality waterproof high-tops.  We’re talking about ankle-height or better—those are sure to keep you dry even when you’re walking through the occasional puddle, and give you support when you’re walking on slippery pathways or muddy trails.  Alternatively, you can use a waterproofing spray on some older shoes.

For socks, a solid way to go is the double layer.  Start with a thin pair of socks, and then pull a thick, woolen pair on top of those.  Alternatively, if you expect to be walking in some heavy downpours, invest in pair made from a water-resistant fabric.  And if you’re walking in a warmer climate, just wear what you’d normally wear.

You can get around blisters and chaffing by applying a lubricating lotion or personal lubricant first.  While Vaseline works perfectly fine, many hikers prefer something like Hydropel.

Enjoying the Experience
Enjoying the Experience
If you’re suited up, then by now you’ve done all you can to get around being soggy and uncomfortable.  You can still try for speed if you want, but with the new surroundings, you might just refocus on the distinct beauties of a rainy day hiking.

Notice the distinct paths that falling water takes and where it settles.  Changing and falling leaves make for a unique and transformative spectacle, especially when highlighted by moisture.  And when it’s particularly cloudy, even the most subtle and dull colors can become more pronounced against a grey backdrop.  If you’re a photographer, you’re sure to find some great picture opportunities this time of year!

Do you have any tips for hiking in the autumn weather?  Do you have any favorite activities for this crisp fall air?  Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Posted in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

All about Sleeping Bags: 4 Factors That Help You Get Some Rest

September 16th, 2013 by ironcooker

All about Sleeping Bags: 4 Factors That Help You Get Some Rest
Are you ready to start looking for a new sleeping bag?  We’ve all been there—taking an inventory of your gear of the next season, you go through the shed, garage, and attic, and pile everything in one place.  Your tent is cozy, your cookware is in shape, and your boots still fit well, but your sleeping bag is worn out.

You might not know about all of the options that you’ve got in a sleeping bag purchase—it’s quite a piece of technology!  It’s possible you’re familiar with some of the obvious points: that a sleeping bag can differ in weight, size, how comfortable they are and even their durability.  And of course, you should buy a bag that is right for your trip and the environment you’ll be staying in.

Here’re a few other things to consider in your next sleeping bag purchase.


Sleeping Bag ShapesSleeping bags come in a few different shapes with their own characteristics.

  • Rectangle: The most popular shape, rectangular sleeping bags are roomy and widely available.  They come in single and double sizes, where a double is large enough to sleep two.
  • Cocoon/Mummy: A form fitting, lightweight style that achieves roughly the same temperatures as the rectangular type.  This is one of the favorites of experienced campers because it’s easy to pack and carry and it’s comfortable in even intense conditions.
  • Tapered: a roughly trapezoidal shape, these bags are wide at the shoulders and narrow at the bottom.  Another style that experienced campers often go with.


Sleeping Bag MaterialsSome sleeping bags are made from different and exceptional materials.  Keep an eye out for these types:

  • Flannel Lining: flannel lined sleeping bags are soft against your skin, but warm up on contact.
  • Nylon: Nylon sleeping bags promise good ventilation and quick drying.  If you’re in a wetter climate or conditions, or if it’s warm and you might sweat at night, then this is a good option.
  • Poly-Cotton: A durable material that will stand up to extreme terrain and conditions.


Sleeping Bag FillingYour sleeping bag may actually be filled with certain materials.  It’s important to be aware of what’s inside so you know how to handle and clean the sleeping bag, or if it’s preferable for certain environments.

  • Down: The same down that’s in so many pillows and blankets, this is a natural filling that can get comfortably warm.
  • Hollow Fiber: Makes for a light sleeping bag that’s easily compressed and makes packing a breeze.
  • Common Fills: Some other common fills include cotton, polyester, and synthetics which are often easier to care for than down.


Sleeping Bag Stitching There are two specific patterns to keep in mind when you’re looking for a sleeping bag.  Quilted stitching is the pattern that separates out all of the small pockets of fill with thread between them.  The second is tubing, where the fill is divided into big pockets instead of smaller squares.  Both patterns are meant to keep the fill well distributed within the sleeping bag.

Are you ready to go grab yourself a new sleeping bag?  Do you have a question about what you should buy for a special camping trip?  Leave your questions in the comments below!

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Posted in Family Camping | No Comments »

Hikers: How To Hike Faster (Without Training Til You Drop!)

July 31st, 2013 by ironcooker

Hikers: How To Hike Faster (Without Training Til You Drop!)
Outdoor hiking is a time that should be filled with amazing views, new adventures and good friends. You may be surprised in a group hike that many hikers walk at different speeds. And though you might feel like you’re in good shape, you might find yourself straggling behind others in your group. Being left in the dust of other hikers is no fun and it slows down the pace for everyone else. Don’t worry, there are ways to ensure you are not left on the trail. You can actually teach yourself to hike faster without training harder.

Find Your Head Space

Find Your Head SpaceThe first thing to do before improving your time is to put yourself in the right frame of mind. Set aside the worry of the tough terrain and long hike so you focus more on the adventure itself. You can visualize yourself going faster and looking ahead at the finish line. Don’t stare at the steep terrain worrying about your steps. Set goals that you know you can reach. It may seem difficult at first, but visualize yourself hiking at a high speed and reaching your destination with a happy heart.

Don’t Forget Form

Don’t Forget FormYour form when outdoor hiking is an integral part of your speed. If you walk with your back hunched over or your hands at your sides, the hike will take you longer. Shorten your stride and make sure you maintain your posture. Always look ahead and swing your arms to help you move along the trail. Don’t let your arms hang for too long or they will swell. Breathe deeply, find a rhythm in your steps. Singing in your head can even help keep a good pace! Take time to realize how your steps aligns with your breathing. This will help you work at a faster pace without using too much energy.

Lighten Your Load

Lighten Your LoadLighten your load to speed up. You don’t have to put everything at the camp in your pack. Even a few ounces can hold you back during your hike. Bring only the necessities with you in your pack. Make sure to include an adequate amount of food and water. Ensure the duration of your hike works in coordination with the weight of your pack.

Test Endurance Levels

Test Endurance LevelsGetting to your preferred speed isn’t done in a day. You don’t need to approach the 25 mile hike on one of your first adventures. Choose a shorter route (below 10 miles) and map out your hike. Try to climb more than 1000 feet when you have the chance to teach your body endurance when climbing. Remember, hiking is all about the adventure, and you really only need to build your endurance so you can see all the sights of nature and to stay with your group.

Find a Familiar Track

Find a Familiar TrackChoose a familiar trail and try to beat your personal best time. Use a stopwatch to measure how long each trip takes. Some hikers use a heart monitor as well. Keep a journal so you can note what is working for you every time you’re out on the trail. You can test different weights in your pack or different breathing techniques that may let you travel faster. Listen to music, stay conscious of your breathing patterns, and figure out what works best for you every time you’re on the same trail.

By using all of these techniques you can increase your speed without training harder. Are you ready to increase your outdoor hiking time yet? Do you have any other great ways to improve your hiking time?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

Posted in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

Learn To Pick Hiking Boots

June 15th, 2013 by ironcooker

Learn To Pick Hiking Boots
Are you the novice hiker who relies on the look and feel of a hiking shoe instead of selecting based on actual elements that you will encounter on the trail? Well, choosing inappropriate hiking boots will result in pinched toes, painful blisters or even injuries. Here are some tips to guide you on how to pick the right hiking boots.

Match With Your Hiking Plan

Match With Your Hiking PlanTo select boots that are designed to fit well in your plan, you should choose boots that will provide the necessary support and protection for the most complex terrain that you expect to encounter. What kind of load do you expect to carry? Ideally, boots should support your load comfortably, so heavier loads need to give you more support.

Don’t look at the size of a boot and merely judge its weight. Current technology has produced materials that have replaced the traditional metal shank and other heavy materials so that they’re more stable, better support you and are lighter as well.

Terrain and Climate

Hiking Terrain and ClimateDifferent climates and terrain call for different boots. If you are going to the mountains, you will need strong, stiff soles. You might also have to attach crampons for a better grip on the snow. Steep inclined terrains riddled with mud will need boots that are water proof, sturdier and high cut.

Trail shoes will be ideal for hiking in a dry terrain with clear paths without many rocks. They’re also ideal when carrying a light load.

Find the Best Fit

Find the Best Fit BootYou should feel comfortable when wearing your boots. Hiking shoes are not your regular sneakers, so don’t expect them to be as comfortable. But they still shouldn’t pinch, constrict your blood circulation or cause hot spots. Fitting is best done when the feet are more swollen, like in the evening.

Remember to fit them with the socks that you intend to use in the real hiking. I prefer polyester liner socks that prevent moisture build up and for the outer cushioning heavy weave-wool. Never wear cotton socks when hiking as they absorb water and allow it to build up next to your skin. This build up might result in frostbite when hiking in below freezing temperatures.

Try walking down an incline and make sure that your toes don’t scrape against the front or your feet slide forward– that means your boots are too wide.

Consider the Boot materials

Consider the Boot materialsThe materials that make the boots have an impact on their level of durability, water resistance as well as how breathable they are. Full grain leather is a good waterproof and durable but it is not as light and breathable as nylon boots are. This type is suitable for your heavy loads and extended terrain.

Synthetic leather boots are lighter and dry faster than leather boots, however, they wear out sooner due to stitching on the outside of the boots. On the other hand, split-grain leather boots are lightweight and are more breathable. Their disadvantage is that they are less resistant to water and abrasion.

Every hiker has a story to tell about his/her experiences with their boots. Do you have any tips or tricks? Have you had an experience when you wish you had better boots for your journey?  Comment on this post and share your experiences with us!

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Posted in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

Travelling Skillets second stop in Louisiana

Sunday March 8th, 2015 in Iron Cooker Updates | No Comments »

Travelling Skillet Update

Wednesday March 4th, 2015 in Iron Cooker Updates | No Comments »

Autumn Rain Got You Down? What You Need To Hike When It’s Wet

Thursday October 10th, 2013 in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

All about Sleeping Bags: 4 Factors That Help You Get Some Rest

Monday September 16th, 2013 in Family Camping | No Comments »

Hikers: How To Hike Faster (Without Training Til You Drop!)

Wednesday July 31st, 2013 in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

Learn To Pick Hiking Boots

Saturday June 15th, 2013 in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

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