School’s out for summer. So it’s time to pack your backpacks and hit the great outdoors! Whether it’s a day trip to a favorite park (southeast Michigan is packed with great hiking destinations – and bike riding trails, too) or a weekend getaway with family and friends in the woods, these simple camping accessories are staples.
Adapted from classic scouting gear, a sit-upon is handy to have during your trip to give you a dry, clean space to sit during mealtime, story time or, more importantly, s’mores time.
- Marine vinyl
- Drill punch
- Piece of scrap wood or cardboard
- Lanyard lace
- Start out by cutting two 15-inch squares from your vinyl. You can find marine vinyl at stores like Jo-Ann Fabrics – there are so many colorful options! Turn one square over and place on top of your scrap wood or cardboard. This is your work surface.
- Next, take a stack of newspapers about a half-inch thick. Center the stack so that there’s about 1 inch of room on the right and left sides of the square – and just less than an inch on the top and bottom of it. Place the other square on top of the pile, right side up.
- With your drill punch, make a hole every inch around all four sides of the square. Once you’ve done that, go back and add a hole to each of the four corners. Tip: If you’re worried your vinyl is shifting as you work, try holding it in place with heavy objects on top of the piece – or pin together with clothespins.
- When all the holes are made, you’re ready to start lacing. (To stick with our bright sit-upon, we used neon lanyard laces from the kids aisle at the craft store. They come in packs of five to six bundles.) Cut a length of lanyard lace bigger than your square and start lacing the two pieces closed. Leave a 3-inch tail at the one end so you can tie off the lace at the end. Tip: If you run out of lace as you go, that’s OK. Simply cut another piece and knot them together to keep working. Double knot the lanyard lace after the last hole to finish the piece.
- Grown-up campers: If you’d like to make a thicker sit-upon, simply use a taller stack of newspapers and adjust the size of the vinyl squares that you cut.
After you’ve enjoyed a snack by the campfire, it’s important to have your utensils cleaned and ready for breakfast. This simple dish bag will let clean cups and plates dry during the day as you’re out having fun.
- 2 bar mops
- Shoelace (we used craft laces found right next to the lanyard packs we used for our sit-upon)
- Needle and thread or sewing machine
- With your first bar mop, fold over the top of the cloth 1 inch and sew straight across. Repeat for the other bar mop. This is your channel for the drawstring.
- Place the two bar mops together with the wrong sides facing out. Starting on one side, just below the drawstring channel you made, sew all three sides shut. Stop just below the other side of channel.
- Turn the bag right side out.
- Pick one of your shoelaces from your package and feed through one of the channels you made. Tip: If you need assistance pushing the shoelace through, pin a safety pin to the lace so you have something bigger to push through the channel.
- After you’ve pushed the shoelace through one of the channels, pull the lace to give you more slack and push through the other channel. Knot the shoelaces right outside of either channel. Knot further down the laces to make a loop for hanging.
- When you’re done washing your dishes, place them in your bag to dry. Hang from a clothing line or by your tent. If your group has lots of campers in it, try picking a separate color for each person so you know which set is yours!