Four of our favorite camping books.

Spring is still 5 weeks away, and much of the country is still covered in snow. So you may not be camping right now. But if you are like us, the next best think to camping and enjoying the outdoors is reading about camping  and the outdoors.   So here are a few of our favorite books about being outside.   Some of them are easy, fun reads, and some are more serious.  But any of these books can be enjoyed by the fireplace inside, or by the campfire on your next adventure.   Do you have a favorite book you would like to share?   Email us: Bison@pahaque.com or contact us on Facebook or Instagram.

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson  has been described as ” Choke on your coffee funny”   It is really a hiking book more than a camping one, but Bryson does plenty of tent camping  as he and his incredibly unfit friend set out to hike the Appalachian Trail.

awalk in the woods

 

Into the Wild

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer was a best seller, and the film base on the book made it even more famous.   This one is definitely on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Bryson book, as it tells the story of the troubled but intelligent Chris McCandless.  The young man from El Segunda CA walks into the Alaskan wilderness, and never walks out.  Mccandless’ cause of death is still debated 25 years later, and we will likely never know what lead to his demise.   Even if you’ve already seen the movie, you should grab a copy of this book in paperback.  It’s a real page turner, as is anything by Krakauer.

into the wild

Hey Ranger

Hey Ranger is a light hearted book written by a veteran park Ranger.   Jim Burnett collected many stories  the misadventures of campers and other park goers in his 30+ years at the NPS.   Park users get themselves into all sorts of ridiculous situations, but  Hey Ranger is an easy read, and great book  for relaxing in a hammock.

ranger hey

Coyote America

Coyote America  by Dan Flores is a look into the lives of  the ubiquitous Canis latrans.  The book can roughly be summarized as: When we are long gone, the coyotes will still be here.  If you don’t have a great respect for the coyote before you read the book, you will after you are done. Flores will convince you that the  often maligned  coyote is an incredibly intelligent, adaptable animal deserving of our respect.  Attempts by previous generations to eradicate the animal proved impossible, as the coyote always outsmarts and outlives any attempts to beat it, and the species will outlive us all.

coyote america

 

What do you think of our list?  tell us your favorites and tag us on us on Facebook or Instagram.

Cookie Jason’s Grilled Sausage and Green Beans

Happy New Year, campers! Welcome to our first recipe of the year. You all hereby resolve to enjoy fantastic food throughout the year…

This is a great one for chilly nights around an open fire, or at home the around dinner table, or curled up on the couch in a toasty living room in front of a good movie. Because, as always, this is just as easily done around the campsite as it as at home. Play along…

This is a two-step process. First, we grill, then we pouch.

Major players:

  • 1lb bratwurst, Italian sausage, or your favorite
  • 1lb Green Beans, trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 and a half inch sections
  • 1 Medium onion, sliced
  • 6 to 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

 

First, grill the sausage until completely cooked through and set aside to cool. Also, grill the green beans.
Yes, we’re going to grill the green beans. You read that correctly. But we’re not worried about cooking them all the way here. Let’s just get some nice grill marks on those and develop that flavor a bit. They will continue cooking in the next step. Once the sausage has cooled enough to handle, slice it into 1-inch segments.

Now it’s time to pouch; which is my favorite method of campsite cooking. It’s easier to use a disposable aluminum baking pan here. But if you’re using foil just make sure you’re using heavy duty foil and make it double-layered on the bottom. Now simply add the sausage, green beans, and all remaining ingredients except the butter into your pouch and toss to coat everything with the EVOO. Add the butter on top of the mix and close it up. Leave a vent hole or two. If you’re using an aluminum baking pan just cover it with foil and poke a couple holes into it. Let that go on medium-high heat for about 20 to 25 minutes.

(If you’re doing this at home and it’s too cold for the grill outside, sauté the sausage and green beans and then do the rest as above in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, covered with foil in your favorite baking /roasting pan.)

cookie (1 of 3)

A little something extra? Sprinkle the shredded cheese of your choice right on top just before serving.

 

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

 

A little tip from Cookie Jason:

Get yourself a coffee/spice grinder for about $15-20 on Amazon and grind your own pepper. You can get whole peppercorns in the spice aisle. I like the multi-colored ones (which are just the peppercorns picked from the plant at varying maturity). I get mine by the ounce at Sprouts. I also add a bit of whole cumin seeds to mine, as you can see here. (I highly recommend this. You won’t be able to taste cumin in there, but it does slightly alter the flavor profile of the pepper. Give it a try.) Freshly ground pepper makes a world of difference. Pour it into a spice jar and use it on everything you like pepper on. An empty spice jar works great here, like one that garlic powder came in, for example.
~You’re welcome

 

 

It was a massacre

Last fall, a few of us were at a mountain bike festival  called Grinduro in the small  logging town of Quincy California.  The town of less than 2,000 welcomes the event which benefits the Sierra Butte Trail Stewardship.  The SBTS is a 501c3 non-profit that builds trails in  in the Sierra Butte portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These guys build trails for  just about every form of trail fun including, motorized OHV trails, hike, bike, horse, and  multi-use trails.   But we aren’t here to talk about Grinduro, Qunicy, or the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  We are here to show you how important it is to properly set up your tent.

At PahaQue Wilderness, our tents are made to hold strong in adverse conditions.   I’m sure you’ve noticed the guys lines coming out from each corner, and that the tent will actually stand on it’s own without them.  It can be tempting to get lazy, and simply not bother with the guy lines, but the fact is that those lines are what really keep your tent up through the rough stuff.  We saw a great illustration of this that weekend in Quincy.

The whole Grinduro festival revolves around one long, 65 mile mountain bike ride.   Needles to say, this ride takes a long time and riders are gone for over half the day.   Now when everyone left camp for the ride 8 AM, it was chilly but sunny, and the winds were calm.   As the riders rode away, the temperature rose by over 10 degrees in the next hour.   What also picked up was the wind, and by 10am there were winds gusts well over 30 MPH.   We knew that our Pamo Valley 6 person tent and our PahaQue Rendevouz 4 man tent would hold up just fine.  The tents are made for this sort of thing, and we had properly set up and staked our tents. But we weren’t prepared  for the mess that waited for us when we arrived back at camp.

There were tents every where.  Some of them had blown completely down, some had tipped over but  were held in place by heavy items inside.  Several had blown 100+ feet away to be stopped at a fence, and many tents had bent or broken poles.   ut of course our tents were in perfect condition, standing tall.  Any unlike many others, we were able sit and relax after a hard ride, rather than pack up a broken tent and wonder where  could sleep that night.

 

There are a couple of important lessons here.  The first one is to chose a good, high quality tent to start with.   The second lesson is to make sure you properly set up  your tent, including stakes and guy lines.  A PahaQue tent is made to withstand the strong wind and other elements, and each part of the tent is engineered to do a job, to help keep you and your stuff protected from the elements.

Do you you have a camping story  or photos you would like to share with us?  Email: happytrails@pahaque.com

PahaQue Design for Airstream Basecamp

PahaQue Custom has extensive experience designing, producing, and selling high quality  side tents, awnings, visors, and accessories  for T@B and T@G trailers, A-liner, R Pod, Little Guy, and more.    So when the folks at Airstream needed help designing and producing tents for the new Airstream Basecamp, they knew exactly where to turn. 3-Aistream04-Back-Tent-0003

PahaQue Custom worked closely with Airstream beginning in 2015, before the first Airstream Basecamp rolled off the factory floor.  Work even started before a prototype was available, so the design crew at PahaQue actually used CAD files from AirStream  to build a full scale model of the Basecamp  roof out of plywood. This allowed PahaQue to achieve  almost perfect fit before the  first prototype arrived, at which point final design changes and fit modifications were easy to make.

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Designing an early version of the tent around a plywood replica

The Basecamp tent utilizes a unique attachment that makes it easy to set up and take down, while also keeping out the harshest elements.  But the Basecamp tents are not just functional, they were designed to look great as well.  Airstream campers  have an iconic look, and it was important to maintain that  visual aesthetic.  “We’re pretty proud that we were able to design tents that complimented the cool geometry of the trailer itself.” said Jeff Basford, President of PahaQue.   The Basecamp side and rear tents add a total of 120 square feet to camper, making the Basecamp even more versatile and useful.

3-Aistream08-Both-Tents-Doors-Awning-Rolled0003

So if you love PahaQue Custom and you love Airstream, you are in luck.   You can get these tents along with your Airstream Basecamp trailer at any Airstream dealer, read more about the tents on the Basecamp on Airstream’s website here.

 

 

 

Chef Jason’s World Famous Camp Side Kebobs

Chef Jason’s World Famous Camp Side Kebobs

 

Who doesn’t like kebobs? Warm up with these around the camp fire or on the patio. Just because it is winter doesn’t mean we can’t grill, does it? And kebobs are just plain fun. The key to making these special is in the marinade. Of course there are countless marinades you can do. You can play mad scientist and come up with all manner of concoctions. The idea here is to have fun with it and experiment.

 

Major Players

 

  • Beef cubes – Don’t use stew meat here. London broil is really great, but sometimes I even use New York Strip or rib eye (my personal favorite). Just make sure it’s cut into 1-inch cubes. 4 to 5 per kabob, so you’re looking at about 3lbs for 7 to 8 servings
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tsp for tossing veggies with
  • 1 Tbsp Salt and 1 Tbsp course ground pepper (white pepper if possible)
  • 6 or 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped rosemary (Now, you’re not using the dried stuff in little plastic jars, are you?)
  • Finely chopped (leafy) fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, marjoram, cilantro, etc…)
  • 3 to 4 medium-size button mushrooms per kebob
  • 1 large onion, quartered and layers separated into petals
  • Wooden skewers

 

OK, the fun stuff:

First we’ll start with the marinade. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and rosemary in a blender and blend until smooth. Add beef cubes to a gallon-size zip-top bag and pour in the marinade. Push out as much of the air as you can and seal the bag. Massage contents gently to make sure every piece is coated. Store in the refrigerator or icebox for at least 3 hours and up to 12. Also, soak the skewers in water at the same time, for a good 3 hours. I don’t like handling raw meat at the campsite so I prefer to assemble these at home and transport them in disposable aluminum baking pans covered with foil.  Its also easy to make a few meatless ones for your herbivore friends. 

 

Drain away marinade and discard. Toss mushrooms and onion petals with 2 to 3 tsp olive oil and salt. Use 3 to 4 beef cubes and 3 to 4 mushrooms per kabob, alternating, with onion petals separating the beef and mushrooms. Leave at least an inch of skewer on each end for handling. Cook over medium heat on all 4 sides until browned and slightly crisp. It should be about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle with the fresh-chopped herbs. Let cool for at least 5 minutes. Crowd-pleaser? I think so…

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

Chef Jason’s World Famous Sage Roasted Pork

Time for the first winter recipe of 2018:   Much of the country is blanketed in a
winter wonderland right now, but the warming euphoria of the aroma of cinnamon, sage, pine, and other holiday staples is what really drives the fall/winter season mood in my opinion, and we’re going to use a couple of those here.
Boneless country style pork ribs are my personal favorite. They’re super tender and easy
to grill. But any cut of pork will work just great. If you’re using pork chops, make sure
they’re at least an inch thick. And this will be a double cooking process. Follow along…
Major Players:

  • 3-4lbs preferred cut of pork
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced/diced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely shredded/chiffonade sage. Must be fresh sage; no dried stuff from plastic jars here.
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, or 1 ½ cups fresh ones (roughly chopped)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Start by grilling the pork just until all sides are browned and you have some nice grill marks on all sides. Make sure you coat the pork in a little olive oil and salt and pepper first. You don’t need to cook it all the way through here. The second part of this is done in foil pouches. Pour a little olive oil on the foil and lay the pork down on top. Then simply add the garlic, onion, sage, cranberries, butter, and chopped walnuts over the pork. Seal it up but leave a slight opening for venting. Let it hang out over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pork from the foil to a plate to cool, but don’t you dare throw all that wonderfulness in the foil away. No no no… Drizzle the contents over the pork and serve. Sagey goodness abounds.

Figure 1

sage

Sage chiffonade (cut into ribbons)

Figure 2

pork

Finished Product

How to cook a turkey on a campfire

Thanksgiving is a great time to go camping.   You have extra time off of work, the kids are out of school, and the fall air is cool and crisp.   The only downside to camping may be that you risk missing out on the Thanksgiving feast.  But as you well know,  at PahaQue we love cooking outdoors, and we think that a Thanksgiving meal is even better when enjoyed  outdoors on a camping trip with family.   Of course camping out of a tent , or even camping out of your trailer provides a unique set of challenges when preparing Thanksgiving dinner.    The primary one being: How to cook a Turkey when  when you are camping?  If you have a a large motorhome, you  may not have any issues, but even  a large R-pod doesn’t have enough space to roast a 12lb bird, so we prefer to head straight to the campfire.   Of course there is always the option of deep frying your Turkey when you are camping, but the gear and oil  required for that job is bulky, and can take up a ton of space in your car or your  teardrop trailer.  Not to mention that fact that all of that hot oil can be dangerous.  So we prefer this alternative to  deep frying a turkey, one that is  healthier and less dangerous to boot.  We learned this method from Little Guy Trailers a few years ago.  How to cook a Thanksgiving Turkey on a campfire:

1024px-RoastTurkey.jpg

Supplies you will need:

  • A shovel and rake ( rake optional)
  • A turkey of course
  • Olive oil
  • Your preferred spices ( rosemary, salt, etc)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cheesecloth
  •  A nice big fire

Step 1: Start the Fire

The first step to cooking a turkey on a campfire is planning ahead with plenty of fuel for the fire.  Have a big pile of wood ready to go, and get that fire going enough to create plenty of hot coals.   You’ll need to dig a 2X2 foot hole next to your campfire, as that’s where you’ll cook your bird.

STEP 2: Prep Your Bird

While that  campfire is burning, you can clean and prepare your turkey.   Just clean it up and rub it down with the same spice mix you would use if you cooked your turkey at home.   If you love stuffing, just stuff the turkey as you normally would, and then get ready to protect it from  direct contact with the coals.

Step 3:  Protect Your Bird

Once the bird is rubbed and stuffed, you’ll need to wrap the turkey entirely in the cheesecloth, and then wrap the turkey in three to four layers of aluminum foil.  This step is important, as it will protect your bird from the coals.   We’ve always wanted to try getting rid of the cheesecloth, and wrapping it in cabbage leaves.   This is how we cooked our “trail burgers”  back in our boy scout days.  We like the idea, but haven’t been brave enough to try it.  If you decide to try the cabbage leaves, let us know how it goes!

Step 4: Move your bird

Once your coals are ready, take your shovel or rake and put about half the coals in the bottom of the whole you dug earlier.  You’ll want a couple of inches of coals, and you’ll want to spread them evenly across the bottom of the hole.   Then use the shovel to carefully place the turkey on top of the coals, and follow up the turkey with the rest of the coals.   Try to gently cover it as completely as possible, and  its ok to use some of the dirt to build up a little wall around the edges.

Step 5: Wait

Since a 10-12 lb turkey takes around 3 hours too cook, you’ll have some time to relax before you start preparing the rest of your meal.  For anything over 12 lbs, just add 15 minutes per lb to the cooking time.    After you have relaxed and recovered from all that digging, campfire building, and rubbing, you can start preparing the rest of your meal.  Fans of the blog know that Cooky Jason’s  grilles, scalloped potatoes will go great with a campfire cooked turkey.

Step 6: Chow down

When the time is up, use your shovel to carefully remove your bird from the coals.  You won’t want to set it down  directly on the table, as the  bird and the coals will be extremely hot.   We like to set it down on a nice tree stump or flat rock.   Unwrap the turkey, using great care to watch our for steam and hot air escaping from the foil.  Then transfer to a carving board, carve it up, and enjoy!

Thank You To All Our Awesome Customers!

Just wanted to let you know I received the repaired (they look new to me) poles for my 12×12 screen room yesterday,   After sell support just doesn’t get any better than this.  You folks have great products (two screen rooms and two cabanas here) that is exceeded only by your support.
Thanks,
J. Killebrew
Tarboro, NC

We had it up in a storm at a rally in Iowa and ended up with split poles which PahaQue Wilderness promptly replaced, it’s so nice to have such a great product and company.

M. Darrow

When I spend $15 to $20K on the highest quality trailer out there, I don’t mind spending $500 for a quality product to protect it, rather than some cheap tarp that lasts a couple of years. Plus, supporting PahaQue Wilderness is the right thing to do – they provide us with lots of great products.

L. Tylee

January 2017 Recipe

grilled-scalloped-potatoes1

Chef Jason’s World Famous Grilled Scalloped Potatoes

 

Chef Jason’s World Famous Grilled Scalloped Potatoes

I love these. And they’re quite simple to make, even with the extra step of grilling the potatoes first. But that’s important here. Grilling the potatoes takes an ordinary batch of scalloped potatoes to a new level with that coveted grilled/smoked flavor we all love. And while I don’t usually use ANYTHING out of a can, making cream of mushroom soup from scratch is a bit of a long process, so taking some help from the store here is OK every once in a while in my book.

Major players:

  • 6-7 medium-sized potatoes. Russets, or Yukon Golds if you can get them
  • 8-9 green onions, chopped. Or 1 cup chopped chives
  • 1 10oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1 cup for topping (Feel free to use multiple cheeses. Jack, Colby, white cheddar, etc…)
  • 1 cup crumbled (cooked) bacon
  • ½ cup butter
  • 6 to 7 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To start, slice the potatoes into about 1/8 inch slices. Toss them with a little olive oil and salt and grill them over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side. They don’t need to be cooked through at this point. Remove from grill and set aside.

Combine the soup, cheese, green onions/chives, garlic, bacon, and salt/pepper in a bowl. Now at this point you go can go a couple ways. What I like to do is use a disposable aluminum roasting pan. (Dutch oven is great, too.) Select the appropriate size. Spread the potatoes in an even layer on the bottom and cover with the soup mixture. Alternate layers of potatoes and soup mixture until all are used. Distribute some pads of butter over the top. Cover with remaining shredded cheese and place on the grill over medium heat for about 25 to 30 minutes. If doing this over an open fire instead of a grill with a lid, cover pan with foil. Be careful when removing the foil and watch for hot steam. Serve….

The other way is to make up individual foil packets. This batch size will be about 8 servings. Just tear 8 pieces of foil about 10 inches long and evenly distribute the grilled potatoes and soup mixture into each one. Top with butter and close to seal. Same cook time. Done.

*Note: If using an aluminum pan or foil packets do not place directly over flame.

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.