A quick and easy way to keep your tent in top shape.

Clothes/Gear Line

A little trick that works well for a clothes line is to double up the rope, tie it to a tree, and then proceed to twist it several times (so it has about one twist every five inches or so) before tying off the other end. By doing this it lets you pull a bit of the item of clothing you want to hang between the tightly-wound rope which will hold it snug without the use of any clothes pins or other kinds of clips.

Laundry Day

This was a great request by a reader (thanks peepsnet) and a little talked about item. What do you do about laundry when you're out on a canoe trip or do you do anything at all?

Now keeping it real, you don't have to do laundry at all and sometimes I may skip it myself if I'm on a particularly tight schedule (i.e. lots of distance to cover or fighting bad weather) in which case I'll often resort to just rinsing instead. You're not going to get sick from dirty clothes. The most important thing when it comes to hygiene is to keep clean hands when handling food and after taking care of nature's call.

However, it is nice to clean yourself up and beat your clothes into shape at the same time. And here's how I do it.

If I'm going on a trip that's four days or less I really don't worry about it. I bring two complete sets of clothes and will wear each set for a total of two days. They may get a little on the ripe side but it's still tolerable and a quick rinse will generally do the trick. Now if I'm going for more than four days then I'll go ahead and pack the washing machine. Don't worry, you're not going to break your back with this one, it weighs in at under an ounce and you quite possibly already have several - it's a large ziplock bag. It's best to get as large and tough as you can, I bring a 10.5 x 12" freezer bag.

When you start smelling yourself more than the great outdoors then it may be time to run some clothes through a cycle or two. Due to the size of the bag I'll generally do a single shirt or set of pants at a time or give a days set of underwear a go.

The first step is to give the clothes a first rinse in the lake and rubbing the articles against each other in problem areas. Now this is often enough but if you want to get that springtime fresh scent it's time to proceed to the next step by putting them in the bag and filling it about 3/4 full of water, you want to make sure you still have some air in the bag when you seal it which will allow for a more thorough cleaning during the "agitation cycle".  Once you have the right amount of water add a squirt or two of soap and seal it up (again, make sure you keep that pocket of air in there). As for the soap I use a biodegradable soap called Campsuds but any outdoor bio soap should do the trick. It's the same soap that I use in my kitchen kit so the only extra item I really need is the bag and even for that you can just use any water proof bag you already have with you like your extra clothes bag for instance.

Now you just shake, shake, shake it for a good minute or two. When I'm doing the laundry I'm usually knee deep in the water but it's good to remember that biodegradable soap is only biodegradable when it's not in water. So take it a good ways from shore and dump the suds and water on the ground where it's not going to run back into your water source. Now give it a sniff, if it needs a second treatment then just rinse and repeat. Usually I find one go is good enough and I do the final rinse in the lake.