Friday, March 30, 2012

The Camping Genius: A Hot Shower in the Wilderness

It's pretty much a rule of thumb when camping in a primitive area that after a couple of days, people start smelling unpleasant and then they start being unpleasant. 

Here's something you can make out of items you can carry in an umbrella cover that will make you the hero of the camping trip and make everyone think what a genius you are.  All you need is some twine, garbage bags, a sheet of opaque plastic, some duct tape, a pocket knife and a hatchet. The branches for the frame can be obtained locally.

This rig is basically a garbage bag sitting in a stick frame suspended from a handy tree. The genius part is using a black trash bag filled with water. If you leave it out in the sun at your campsite all day, when you come back to camp for supper, you can take a hot shower with the water in the bag.

The directions in the link use a double bag arrangement for strength, but here's a new trick I learned.
  1. Take along a net mesh laundry bag
  2. Put the garbage bag in the laundry bag
  3. Fill it with water 
  4. Hang them in the hot summer sun all day.  
When you get ready to shower, suspend the net and bag over your head (or the head of your long-suffering wife), poke some small holes in the bottom to start the water flow and then enjoy a nice warm shower.  Everybody will want one, so bring lots of garbage bags on the campout.

Follow this link to see the assembly instructions with pictures:

If you have to get your shower water from the river or brook, drop a chlorine tablet or 3-5 tablespoons of bleach in the water 3-5 gallons before you warm it in the sun.

Much better than soaping up the river and making the fish sick.

This little trick is so much fun, I recommend teaching the kids how to do this even if there is a shower close by.

Tom King

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fixing Up the Kids Playground - Tetherball/Volleyball Post

Vollleyball / Tetherball Posts

A right proper volleyball pole!
Build a set of portable volleyball posts for your Pathfinders or the church school.  All it takes is a little concrete, a big car tire, a metal pole, some long boards, a heavy-duty drill, some eyebolts, a shovel and a wheelbarrow.  When you are done, you'll have something to string a volleyball net or pair of tether balls to and roll away behind the shed when you're done.

Click on this link to see complete instructions and pictures.

Get the kids to help you make them. It's a great father/son project. I used to have some in my backyard for emergency volleyball games.

Have fun!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rootin' Tootin' Straight Shootin' Christianity

Joseph Bates - Sea Captain/Adventist Pioneer
Adventist men are not as wimpy as one might expect practitioners of the Golden Rule, regular church-goer's and devoted family men to be. After all, we Adventist men marry Adventist women, who are, on the whole, rather more formidable creatures. Marrying an Adventist gal is not a sport for the faint of heart!

I recently moved across the country and joined a local SDA church where a fledgling men's group has recently formed. Today, during our second meeting, it was suggested we think of ideas as to what we could do as a group. One fellow with a pair of sons in tow caught me afterward. I could tell by the way he spoke that his primary concern was about what kind of men his sons would become. Having raised 3 kids of my own, and been active in youth ministries all my life, I share his concern.

It seems to me that one of Satan's primary avenues of attack against the Adventist church (and Christianity as a whole for that matter) is the un-manning of the men of the church. Even in Ellen White's time, this was becoming an issue. Her quote about men (top right), is spot-on today.

Dr. Harry Miller / Missionary,
Physician and Pirate Fighter
It's time we get our collective act together as men of God. Unlike women, men tend to be poor networkers outside of their jobs. We are a little embarrassed to admit we need male companionship and support. It feels a little girly to actually go looking for male friends, even when our wives are practically kicking us out the house and nagging us to make some men friends.

I came up with the idea for this weblog while I was out walking the dog later. I thought it might be helpful to talk about what Adventist manliness looks like and possibly, by initiating such a dialogue, to build some friendships and alliances among Adventist men.

The point of this website is fourfold.
  1. To share stories about the gutsy bunch of males who populate Adventist history. They are a fascinating bunch with as much nerve and testosterone as men of any culture, heritage, race or creed. We're not always as familiar with their exploits as we ought to be. Sometimes our pastors and storytellers seem to be a little embarrassed to tell their stories. I was, however, fortunate enough to hear the stories told and meet some of the rich characters that were the subject of these stories. I think the stories should be told whether its missionaries fighting off river pirates, wrestling anacondas or parachuting into the Amazon Jungle. Our young men need to know what their fathers did in the service of the Carpenter who taught us what it means to be a man in the first place.
  2. To share the often odd skills set that Adventist men need in order to serve in the Lord's Army. As a young Adventist man, I was fortunate to have some amazing men as mentors. I learned how to do things like use an ax properly, safely carry and maintain a pocket knife, make vege-corndogs for Pathfinder fund-raisers or stop bleeding with a bandana and a stick. In an age where communication is lightning fast and can be delivered in-depth with pictures and video, there's no excuse for our young men to be unfamiliar with the man skills many of us old guys take for granted.
  3. To exchange ideas about how to be full-blooded Adventist men. Men's groups in SDA churches all over the country are coming up with all sorts of creative ways to serve our churches and our communities. Where we find a good idea, we should tell about it so others may reproduce these good ideas in their own churches.  
  4. Clyde Peters / Jungle Pilot,
    Skydiving First Responder
  5. To mentor the coming generation of Adventist men. We do that by filling in the gaps in our own education so that we may recapture and hone those skills that made Adventist men skilled woodsmen, wood-workers, builders, craftsmen, speakers, youth leaders and teachers.
The blog is just a beginning. At some point I hope to add some social networking capability, forums, calendars and such. The tools are out there and they aren't expensive. We'll see if this grows to the point that it's feasible. Till then, I'll be tossing out a blog or two a week with useful information, some fun stories and features for and about Adventist guys.

If you'd like to contribute a story or column, please contact me at  Also please add a comment if you'd like. It helps me know what sorts of things are valuable to my readers.

Your fellow soldier for Christ,

Tom King - Puyallup, Washington