Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Mystery Mondays: Bungee Cords & Washing Dishes

Happy Monday! I don’t know if you’re aware, but while I’ve only been writing The Outdoor Princess blog a short time, I’ve been publishing a newsletter since 2006! For today’s Mystery Monday’s article I wanted to share with you two tips from the Pitch Your Tent newsletter.

Like clothespins, bungee cords have a myriad of uses around the campsite. Here’s a tip called

The Art Of the Bungee Cord

The bungee cord is a handy tool that every type of camper can make use of. But, for this tip, I am talking about the Art of the Bungee Cord to secure drawers, doors, and other equipment in your RV.

Most RVs come standard with some mechanism to keep drawers and doors closed. They seem to work fine, as long as the RV never leaves the pavement. Have you ever come to your campsite, at the end of a long bumpy dirt road and find that your drawers and doors have opened, spilling the contents all over?

The perfect solution is the Art of the Bungee Cord! I prefer to use the bungees that are a loop with a ball on one end rather than the type with a hook at either end. Just wrap the bungee between two door handles so the doors can’t open! Make the bungee tight enough the doors (or drawers) stay closed, but not so tight as it puts strain on the handles.

Yesterday, the “Royal” Family took a road trip near Williams, Arizona. We were looking for some places to film for The Outdoor Princess Productions when we wouldn’t be able to get by with our studio setup. (Like cooking or pitching a tent — stuff that HAS to be done in the wilderness!)

We found a few great spots but weren’t able to film because it was raining. In driving through White Horse Lake Campground and Dogtown Lake¬† Campground, there were about a million families out enjoying a weekend of camping.

I can live without my fridge, freezer and microwave when I’m camping, but the appliance that I miss the most is my dishwasher! Here are some tips to make cleanups easier:

7 Camp Clean-Up Tips

  1. Put a pan of water on the stove or fire while you eat so that the water will be hot and ready for cleanup when you are done eating. You want the water as hot as you can stand it — it will cool down quickly and the hotter the water, the more germs it will kill.
  2. Bring liquid soap for dishes. Consider finding something that is labeled as a low-water soap to make cleanup faster. Use small amounts, just enough to clean the dishes, so you don’t waste water on dish washing.
  3. Whenever possible, wash dishes outside instead of in the RV. This keeps your grey water holding tank from becoming full as quickly.
  4. Soak stubborn pots and pans while you’re scrubbing plates and silverware. By the time you’re done, the baked-on food should be loose. If you plan to leave it soaking, be aware that the standing water and food can attract bees, bears and other manners of beasties.
  5. Three words: plastic dish tubs. You’ll want at least two: one for scrubbing, one for rinsing. The goal is to minimize water usage (and time spent doing dishes!) and to maximize the cleanliness ofthe dishes so nobody gets sick.
  6. The soapy water-filled dish tub is great to wash hands in. Just dunk and rub! It’ll work even after the water gets cold.
  7. Keep dish soap in a bottle with a tight fitting lid so it doesn’t leak if it tips. The toggle-button bottles (like for shampoo) aren’t recommended since they can open during changes in elevation.

Do you want more great tips like these? Sign up for my free email newsletter at

Set Your Hook

Trout Fishing From Shore

I spend a lot of my free time camping and fishing, but, when I can’t get out and camp or fish, I spend my time searching for great tips that I can bring to you. What I’ve discovered is that there are a on of great tips and information available about how to catch fish, but very little of this information makes any sense, even to me! Too often, really great sites like (yes, that is Berkley, as in PowerBait) have great tips, but they aren’t explained enough and are far too technical.

Here’s a great tip I found on called Shorecasting For Lake and Brown Trout, but it has a lot of terms and techniques in it that I’m not sure you’d recognize. So, I’ve added in some definitions and explanations (in normal English, not the techno-babble that tournament fishers use) so I can share this great tip with you. You might also need this photo to make sense of some of the terms!

All these lures work well for trout.

On larger lakes, trout move shallow where shore casters can target them with spoons and swim baits.

This means that you will cast out and then reel in, pulling the lure towards the shore as you reel in. You should be reeling in fast enough to keep the lure off the bottom. This is a great technique if you:

  1. can cast easily and with any accuracy
  2. are fishing a shoreline that is relatively weed and rock free
  3. are good at getting your line unhooked from snags.

If you’re NOT good at getting unhooked, you’ll need my three part series on the right (and easy) way to get unstuck! If you missed it, it was published on June 10, 2010.

Good areas to fish include mouths of tributary rivers, points, and other access areas like piers. Start by targeting areas closer to shore earlier in the morning and progressively cast to deeper water later in the day to find fish.

You’re looking for areas where you can easily fish the shallows of the lake but can also cast into deeper water later in the day as the trout move to deeper water when the shallow water gets warmer.

Cast spoons in the 1/4- to 1-ounce sizes and 5- 6-inch swim baits, or use thumper-style soft baits on 1/2 to 1-ounce jig heads.

A spoon is a cupped metal lure that swims through water like a wounded baitfish. These can be unpainted or painted metal and have a treble hook attached. When I troll for trout, I use a spoon lure called a flatfish.

Swim baits are artificial lures that resemble a swimming minnow when they are pulled through the water. Mostly these are hard wood or plastic, and are jointed so they move their “tail” back and forth in the water as you reel in, i.e. they “swim.”

Soft bait are those jiggly rubber worms that are also used for bass. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and (new and without hooks) are a hit with kids to play with in camp. If your soft bait lure tears, you can heat a straightened paperclip (on the camp stove) and gently melt the edges of the plastic back together by dragging the heated clip through the tear and pressing the edges back together. (Use pliers to grasp the clip and gloves to protect your hands!)

Jig heads are a small, hard plastic lure with a single barbed hook attached. There are different types, but basically think a round ball with a painted eye on it and a hook sticking out. There are round head, axe head, bean heads and more.

Experiment with retrieve speed and color. Good color patterns to start with are those that mimic natural baitfish.

This means that you’re going to test how fast to reel in and what color of lure you’re using. This is where the science of fishing ends and the experimentation begins- keep trying different combinations until you find the one that catches trout.

If you want to catch trout, and if casting and reeling in aren’t really your thing, then you’ll want to check out my Sure-Fire, Trout-Catching Set-Up for a great way to bottom fish for trout. Did you miss my Sure-Fire, Trout-Catching Set-Up? It was published on on May 6, 2010.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What are your favorite trout fishing techniques?
  • Do you have a favorite lure or bait that you use?
  • Do you prefer to use lures (cast & reel method) or to bottom fish?
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