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[pct-l] Dehydrating and alternative bug repellents

I'm dehydrator obsessed!!! I had and entire freezer full of dehydrated 
food before Christmas for my 1998 hike.  Here are my observations.

Whenever drying a leather (fruit, spaghetti sauce, whatever) use a 
aerosol oil spray (Pam) on whatever tray surface you are using.  The 
$15 solid trays you can buy work great, but are too expensive.  I used 
wax paper with a little spray and it works great!!!  If you don't 
spray the paper, you can throw it away.  I never got the plastic wrap 
to work.  I could never get it sized properly for my dehydrator.  And 
the edges always curled up preventing the leather from drying 

For snack veggies, I like white corn and peas. The white corn is 
sweeter and complements the peas better than yellow corn.  At home it 
tastes so so, but on the trail its pretty grubbin' either right out of 
the bag or mixed in with some ramen noodles.

A trick I use when dehydrating fruits is to put berries on the top 
rack and let them drip down on everything else.  My favorite is 
strawberries on top, then pineapple, then bananas, and the bottom with 
an applesauce leather. Yumm.

I don't know of anything that re-hydrates better or is more satisfying 
than homemade chili.  It only takes about 10 minutes (or less) of 
soaking.  Add a little instant rice or pasta and you are set.


To avoid applying too much DEET to my skin, I will put my shirt in a 
large zip lock bag with a few drops of DEET and let it marinate 
overnight.  It works pretty well for a few hours.

My fiancee (wife in 8 days!!!!) reacts violently to mosquitoes.  We 
have tried every repellent under the sun.  The active ingredient in 
Skin So Soft is citronella oil.  You can get the citronella oil at 
most health food stores and many bath oil shops.  I did some research 
in an old camping book (pub 1921) and they had several recipes for bug 
repellents.  The most common ingredients are citronella, lavender 
(only REAL lavender $$$), eucalyptus, peppermint, and camphor spirit. 
 Be warned, citronella and lavender mixed together smell pretty bad. 
 A homemade bug repellent of equal parts citronella and lavender mixed 
with glycerin (available at the drug store) and a little DEET for good 
measure proved moderately effective in low density mosquito areas.  I 
wouldn't want to try it in the Sierras.  Both of these oils evaporate 
quickly, so you will need to reapply often.  Also, putting in a little 
antiseptic and/or anti itch cream in the repellent will soothe the 
bites you do get.  Although less effective than DEET, homemade 
repellent sure tastes a lot better than DEET.

Another tactic recommended in my old camping book was to create a 
"dope" to keep the bugs off.  The idea is to cover yourself with a 
thick layer of goop that both hides you from the bugs and protects you 
skin from their bites.  The author believed this to be the most 
effective method of bug repulsion.  But these dopes are not for the 
faint of heart or the quick to bathe.  The book talks about leaving 
these things on for 3-4 days at a time.  The recipes usually contain 
the ingredients I listed for repellents mixed in a base of Vaseline 
and/or pine tar (ugh).

The book also had some great ideas for tarp tent configurations!

Ted D. Williams

Class of 98

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