Blue Barrel Dos and Don'ts

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Sep 13, 2013
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Long Island, NY
I just picked up 30L and a pack/harness to carry it with and I'm looking for best use suggestions. I also ordered some barrel organizing bags to split up breakfast, lunch and dinner meals inside of it.

My plan is to take the barrel out of the pack and stash it each night after making sure it's clean to avoid pests of all sizes.

Any best ways to use it?
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
The bags actually tend to decrease usable space..with a little barrel like that sometimes it's better not to overorganize.

Critters aren't attracted as much to what you do as to what the last guy that had a blue barrel did. You'll have a rodent problem if the last barrel they saw was left open for a while.

Never wiped mine off. but then again I have never had fresh food in it. Nor Dunkin Donuts.. the food of bears.( I kid you not)

Don't leave it in the sun. Ka boom.. Surprise. Sometimes its hard to open in the AM in cooler weather..suction.

Best ways to use it? Table. Its kind of uncomfortable as a seat.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
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Red Lake, Ontario
Not sure why you would remove it from the harness every night.

I don't hang my food but if it makes you feel comfortable put your barrel on the ground away from your tent and stack the pots and pans on top of it. If a large critter knocks over the barrel the pans clanging may scare them off, or at least wake you so you can do it.

A good harness makes all the difference in the world.

Plastic grocery bags work as great organizers as well, and are cheap if not free.

The handles work as paddle carriers over portages, but make putting it on and off awkward, for me anyways.

Double bag liquids if you take any. A leaky olive oil jar will make a mess of absolutely everything.
 
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Jul 11, 2014
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Ontario Canada
I give mine a swish with a little bleach and water after a trip. We take some fresh food. We go ziplock crazy, and keep it clean. I've kept it in our vestibule overnight, but usually stash it away from camp overnight. It makes a handy card table.
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
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Well, I've heard of folks mounting a cutting board in the lid to of course cut things on and shim it up some for more comfortable setting. If I ever did that believe I'd make sure I could keep it clean between the cutting board and the lid. (trapped food smells)

I did put two long strips of yellow duct tape on two sides of my barrels just so they couldn't be confused with someone's else's.

When my barrels were new the metal bands had some sharp edges; I took a fine file and gently dulled all of them. (cuts and scrapes)

It sounds almost silly but just playing with packing the barrels, trying various ways and you will find several tricks to get more in them securely.

Red's point above about the olive oil is sure true, that's one of the advantages I find using a camping box to pack things that could leak. The box is always is in the up position.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Oct 27, 2012
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Ottawa, Canada
I use some good quality mesh bags to sort the three meals and snacks. As a door prize, I won a great Alder Stream canvas kitchen kaddy that holds all cooking and eating utensils. It rolls up nicely for packing and slips over a barrel so everything is handy and off the ground at meal times. Lids on my barrels, have a large duct tape "T" as lids get easily mixed up and I don't want someone else's lid with a bad seal.
Ted
 
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This kept me up last night.. Why I didn't post then instead of not sleeping?

Cotter pin. The latch can be undone by a strong coon so put a cotter pin through the holes on the latch and rim that line up when the barrel is closed.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
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Long Island, NY
So many great suggestions. I like them all. Thanks to all of you.

I figured if I remove the barrel from the pack I'll keep the pack itself clean and food odor free. I can't stand the thought of vermin chewing up my new pack so I'll take the extra precaution.

I did read about the cotter pin somewhere so I rigged this one up with some dummy cord. I hope it's enough to thwart the 'coons efforts.

Pinned.jpg
 
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Minden, NV
I have often thought about barrels but never owned one. I use a heavy plastic Rubbermaid container for a grub box. I have learned more on this thread than all other posts about barrels combined.
 
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Aug 1, 2011
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Ontario
I find a shower curtain hook is more secure than a pin, and if you are the hanging type you can clip your garbage bag to it
 
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I just picked up 30L and a pack/harness to carry it with and I'm looking for best use suggestions. I also ordered some barrel organizing bags to split up breakfast, lunch and dinner meals inside of it.

Hanz, instead of using the (pricey) barrel organizers I just use four different colored stuff sacks – breakfast, lunch/snacks, dinner, stove and cookware, with each one sized for its contents (lunch/snacks and dinner are more voluminous than my breakfasts and stove/cookwear).

When I repack the barrel after a meal I just put the next-up stuff bag on top for easy access.

Even stuff bags are somewhat unwieldy if they are so big and full that they’re hard to get through the barrel opening, so that the start of a trip I stick some things in loosely to fill the nooks and crannies.

I much prefer the 30L barrel to the 60L (we have both, and resort to the 60L on 4-person family trips). If my food storage needs surpass what I can fit inside the 30L I’ll bring either a smaller 3 gallon gasket sealed bucket or carry the no-odor stuff in a small dry bag, with everything later consolidated into the barrel when there is room.

I have minicel padding set inside the concavity of the barrel lid. It makes a nice side table or ottoman.

And of course the blue barrel folding tabletop. Cooking atop this is kinda squinchy on space.



This makes for a much nicer kitchen countertop.

 
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Joined
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Hah! I love the table top, that's great.

I had to google shower curtain hook - I've had shower surrounds for too long I guess. I agree, that's a nice deep hook style.
 
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Hah! I love the table top, that's great.

Hanz, that folding tabletop was another evolution of design ideas, and once election season is over I’ll be making a lightweight version from discarded candidate campaign signs.

The evolution of that idea:
http://www.canoetripping.net/forums...cussions/diy/482-blue-barrel-folding-tabletop

I’m pretty sure that by using two sheets of Coroplast I can get the weight under a pound. Cooking in the dirt or blowing sand holds no appeal for me.

 
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Okay Mike, I whipped up a quick and dirty folding coroplast sign tabletop. I'll post photos in a week or so after field testing :)

Thanks again for the idea.
 
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Okay Mike, I whipped up a quick and dirty folding coroplast sign tabletop. I'll post photos in a week or so after field testing :)

Hanz, I’ll be interested in your design and what you think.

The little net bag that hangs from the edge of my table is the solution to my mealtime nemesis – the little tear off bits of plastic or paper from oatmeal packs, Via coffee packs and other prepackaged foodstuffs. I hate seeing that wee litter on the ground at a site, and I hate chasing it around when the wind grabs it even more. I just put the trash in the net bag and then empty the bag once the meal is done.

BTW – Rob mentioned putting yellow duct tape on his barrel to make it easier to distinguish from other folks barrels. I put High Intensity reflective tape on mine, and on my smaller 3 gallon containers and anything else that I stash remote from the site, so that they are easier to find at night or in dim light.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
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Whelp, I made the table too large. It had too much "extra" hanging over the sides and it was too tempting to use that space and render the table top unstable so I sliced it down the center mid trip and we used the halves as personal "lap tables".

I took (literally, lol) a roadside coroplast sign and sliced it down the center. I then taped it back together using a duct tape hinge and added some aluminum foil as a heat reflector. Then, just for overkill, I also added a square of reflectix silver insulated bubble wrap stuff. Gravity is all that kept it on top of the blue barrel.

When not in use it was folded in half and slid down into one of the packs between the pack liner and the pack itself.

In use:

LowsLake09_2014-18.jpg by Hansen.Dougie, on Flickr

LowsLake09_2014-17.jpg by Hansen.Dougie, on Flickr

I realized that the MSR Dragonfly really needs the factory provided windscreen/heatshield around it to operate as efficiently as possible.

Overall the coroplast table is a good idea that needs some more tweaking to work well for me. Good thing I live near a busy corner and it is an election year :)

My only gripe with the blue barrel is closing it up proved tough to line up properly. I'm sure I'll get better with some more practice.
 
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