Tag Archives: backpacking

Seven Spices for the Road

One thing I learned as my time as a grunt–EAT WELL.

I have to laugh when modern-day explorers or weekend recreationist complain about the lack of variety in food. Stud, when I deployed out- we only had 12 choices of meals for an entire deployment. If you could see me squeezing my thumb and index finger together, you might mistake it for the world’s smallest violin…actually its 10,000 lbs of compressed give-a-crap.

This last week I was sorting through old…really old stuff as I was reorganizing the garage. I found my collection of spices in a 30-round magazine pouch. Each spice neatly packed in what we now know to be highly hazardous 35mm film canister. When its MRE’s, box-nasties, or the odd K-Ration, a guy has got to add something to make things in best case different–in worse case…palatable.

Inside the ammo pouch I found the following spices I threw in my ruck and still use for the backcountry-


OK- not a spice, but a main ingredient for all grunts. It can make the most rancid field ration go down good. Perfect for powdered eggs and “Cookie’s” special chow. Still use it today for most of my meals.


Spices up anything from lame potatoes to hot cocoa. I used it extensively when working with the Germans in the late 80’s. Was great since everything was based on potatoes.


I picked this up from the Brits- and though not a huge fan, I like it in some of the boil and serve meals for backpacking. Some say with sugar it is good for post meal deserts. OK…not going to try…


We used to get served sludge in place of coffee. I swear there has to be some kind of machismo or street cred for making the absolute worse coffee. I faked two habits while serving. One was smoking and the other was drinking sludge. The first was because you could get a break from guard duty or out of formation to go smoke. I carried cancer sticks to either get a chance to get off post or to socialize with the locals. The second vice, drinking sludge was a survival mechanism in cold weather. A warm cup of crap will heat the insides. It definitely goes better with cinnamon. Grunts don’t do creme and sugar.

Also great with oatmeal. The rations were so bad on a deployment one time that I ate oatmeal for nearly every meal for 45 days. My nickname was ACME…for the brick company

Italian Seasoning

Great for any pasta you bring with you to add to the mix or the stuff packed in an MRE. Will do wonders for camp food as well.


I became addicted to Garlic while stationed at Ft Dix, where ticks were horrible. I ate so much that Vampires and Vixen’s alike repelled me. Great for unsalted potatoes.

Taco Spice

Yep, the stuff you mix with ground beef for a fiesta meal. I will add this to anything meant to be consumable. Great for taking to Asia when you need a different flavor in your diet.

Taking extra spices with you is a way to make some very creative meals. It will also make you very popular when your crew is pushing the same foods down the gullet everyday.

Post Scooter’s Camp Check In

What an amazing camp we had this year. So thankful to be a part of it!

Months of planning and prep work – coming to the beginning of the end for us Friday morning as we re-packed the trailer, I practiced my presentations- and then headed out for set up in Emmett. We made it back to the house around 10 pm– in time to make a few modifications, in bed at midnight and after unrestful night we headed back to Emmett at 5 am. On our feet, answering questions, running seminars, breaking down the camp, late meal with friends, and back to Meridian and unloading the rigs and in bed around midnight again….yes I slept all day Sunday!

I brought in a new face to my seminar, Travis Rosenbury. Travis understands the philosophy of AIQ and is part of my advisory group. I have a whole bag of experts I could bring in for this from the survival standpoint- Travis has the people skills I needed to compliment the demonstrations. He was a great addition.

255 kids- and lots of questions from parents- in fact- enough that we did a parent’s seminar during lunch!

I have lots of updates to make in the next few weeks– we are going to go through each question we had and make an individual video for it– plus a special video on what goes into a kids pack.

New stuff this year:

We introduced fire puck- specifically to parents. Huge hit- I probably could have sold 30-50 of them!

Signal mirrors this year we had our participants using it on an appropriate target — Jeff our knife guy. (Jeff and I have a seven-year banter going on– makes it fun for the kids)

Increased the interaction of participants on water purification.

A move away from the magnesium block to more modern fire strikers.

Up next– I have to get sponsors on board– Fire Puck was a great start for us–they donated demo material and I already have reports this morning of residual sales at Home Depot.  Now if I can get SPOT locator, Light My Fire, and either MSR or Katadyn on board with their product– we will have a healthy start.

We have also decided that this year we are going to do something different with our survival classes. I have never accepted a dime for providing training. We still have a few private sessions open this year. From this point forward we are requesting a donation to Hunt of a Lifetime to do our survival course. This is a great cause to support. I am not the guy to take a kid on a hunt, but still want to bring awareness and raise money for this organization. If you already booked- I won’t hold you to it, but would appreciate something if you feel lead to do so.

Again- a great camp and I was impressed with how nice the kids were this year and how involved the parents were. This was also a great year for me as I really got to know the other volunteers around me– what an awesome group Scott as brought together!

Badges of Courage

So looking at one of my packs tonight I suddenly realized how much of a pack rat I truly am. I think I knew that but then I realized how much of a geek I am for patches, stickers, pins, and post cards from places I have been to. I love ordaining my water bottle with stickers of cool places, my backpacks are covered with patches of travel conquest, and my journal is littered with postcards, paplets, and ticket stubs.

I think this started when I was young. My family got me started on postcards and keychains. I have one of the coolest collections you will find. I still like grabbing a post card to go in my journal. I also love sending them to my kiddo when I am on the road. In todays cyber.connected world they are so out of the norm. As far as keychains….I like to snag one every now and then to throw on my pack for a little mojo.

Water bottle stickers are fun for Abby. It gets tough sometimes to find them though. Still fun to have to hunt for them with her.

I guess I like collecting the stuff because its a more of a reminder for me….and I have been stopped a few times with comments of where others have been in common. So maybe not badges of honor….but badges of a life well lived.