Born into a family with southern ties and then growing up in the desert, its not any news that iced tea would often be a drink of choice. Now that I have been told by the doc that I have to drop all sodas or die, well tea has been a great substitute.
However, hot tea has really been difficult for me to adjust to. It wasn’t until I was working in Scotland and spending evenings with one of my closest friends did I grow an affinity for the stuff. The damp nights along the coast were quickly forgotten as we sat in his living room drinking tea.
Fast forward several years and I found myself creating various herbal teas with plants in the back country. Simple things for enjoyment like pine needles diced and brewed as well as a few more concoctions to draw out congestion or treat tummy aches while camping and backpacking in some of the most remote areas of Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon. All this was done on an as-needed basis in a canteen cup one serving at a time.
This last two-years however, all that started to change. As I began spending more time just sitting in a single spot for reflection, doing simple outdoor projects, or nature observation I began to really want a tea pot. It kind of consumed me. Thinking it was just a passing fad for me, I put it off all last winter. As I started working on more projects and then doing my Kamana studies I decided to pull the trigger and buy one.
I opted for the GSI Glacial Stainless Steel Kettle. For under $25 I had a decent kettle that didn’t have any rubberized handles, would’t rust, and could sit over a fire all day so I could produce several pots of hot water for any occasion. I use it to not only brew tea, but to heat water for cleaning, washing, cooking, and disinfecting. I have also used it to heat water for applying to leather when making a sheath in the field and I want to form it.
The stove might be a bit bulkier than most like, but I throw my tea bags and other drinkable items into it for storage. My next 120 project will to make a small canvas or cloth bag for it. It is definitly one of my highlights when I get back to my tarp site after tracking or collecting wild edibles.
Other than when I’m out bush crafting, I know as we enter the ski season and Abby is out on the slopes, I will be back at my Jeep with the stove cranked on high making a brew and waiting for her return.
Below are a couple of recipes I use for tea along with several pre-made teas I pack along in my kit. I did not include wild medicinals. Please seek out a professional mentor to teach you these areas. We use Weed Woman Herbals in Meridian, Idah as one of our sources of training and education in this area.
AIQ Emergency Mix (Hypothermia Treatment)
(32 ounces of H2O)
- Two packs instant oatmeal
- Four tablespoons sugar
- One cup orange powder mix or
- Four packets of hot chocolate mix
- Regular packet of Tazo Chai tea
- Crushed Pumkin spice
- Two tablespoons instant orange mix
- one teaspoon honey or packet of honey from a diner
Pine Needle Tea
- One tablespoon fresh light green pine needle tips
- Five to six mint leave (make sure you properly ID
- One teaspoon (or to tast sugar)
Adding a tea pot has made my time in the woods and on the road much more enjoyable and forces me to slow down and simply observe.