Tip – How many of you have ever tried to drive in a tent stake and didn’t have anything but a rock? I’ll bet there are not a few busted knuckles out there from using that same rock. Am I correct or what? A hammer will do the trick but I’ve hit myself in the forehead with the claw part and that smarts in anyone’s book. And never use a hatchet or an axe to pound in a tent stake; they cause a little more than a headache. Plan ahead of time for that stake-pounding job and equip yourself accordingly.

I learned this little trick from the late Duane Blake, then Scoutmaster of Troop 44 and the year was 1980. We were putting up the adult leader’s tent and I looked around for something to pound with. He handed me a bowling pin. I thought he’d had a little too much sun. He said that the whole troop was using bowling pins for pounding in tent stakes. His reasoning was, you won’t cut yourself and probably the most damage you could do is smash a toe, a finger, or give yourself a headache by bopping yourself in the forehead. A bruise is better than blood letting any time.

It made sense to me. I now carry a bowling pin in my camping trailer when we hit the road for a weekend in the wilds. Check your local bowling alley for old pins. I’m sure they will make you a good deal especially if you frequent their establishment or belong on one of their teams. Drill a hole in the neck to attach a lanyard and by all means put your name on it with a permanent marking pen because they have a habit of ‘walking away’ when you’re not looking.

Tip – When putting up a dining fly or a tent pole guy line always use a doubled bungee cord between each guy line and stake. When the wind blows there is a strain on the guy line and you could rip out grommets like you wouldn’t believe. The bungee cord will stretch and not let that happen. Also if you use manila rope, rainy weather will shrink the rope and again you will have an unnecessary strain on the grommets; the good ol’ bungee will save the day. They can be purchased at Menard’s. The price of the bungee cords will be a lot less than tent repairs.

Tip – Do you have a community wash basin? I hate to wash my hands in what I call ‘soap-scummy water’. To remedy this I use a container that TIDE detergent comes in. It will lay on its side and it has a pouring (faucet) spout. Fill the container with water and set it where the wastewater will go into some gravel and use a bar of bio-degradable soap stuck down in the end of a cut-off leg from a pair of old panty hose. Tie the panty hose to the handle on the container and let it swing free when not in use. It will air dry and be ready for the next camper. Do not put the soap bar on the table as it will retain the water and get all mushy. Hang a towel nearby.


(Got a tip that you want to share with other campers? Drop me a line or e-mail me at and I’ll give you credit for sending it in.

The Waynedale News Staff

Ray McCune

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