Monday, October 21, 2013

Travel Towels - Get One

Maybe I am the only one who has seen a sham wow commercial and wanted one for camping, but they are heavy. I have invested in some REI multitowels and gotten way more than my money's worth out of them. The 36X16.5" is 4.3oz. I also got a PackTowl Ultralight which is only 1.8oz for the 36X20.

The REI multitowel feels more like a shamwow would - it's soft and absorbent, vs the PackTowl which is more like a squeegee on my skin. That said, the PackTowl dries much faster hanging from a tree branch or across my tent or even hanging from the corner of a bunkbed in a hostel!

Travel towels are an important part of my hiking and camping pack for several reasons. Listed below are just a few:
1. While couch surfing you don't need to dirty someone else's towels for a shower or quick rinse
2. If you come across a stream/lake/river on the trail you can dry quickly
3. Most campgrounds don't have towels
4. You can dry yourself and gear off before settling into your tent
5. If it is long enough you can use it to secure bulky gear atop your pack
6. It can double as a pillow
7. With a quick swipe of your knife you have tourniquet strips

I tend to go light and take the Ultralight with me and I have just the large, not the XL or XXL.

Travel towels vary in cost but a good one will last you several years and many adventures (if you're livin right!)

I also posted on my other blog about hang drums. I suppose that a travel towel large enough could provide some travel cushion for the drum.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hot Water Without Electricity

This is only one way to do it, but he does a sufficient job in explaining the basics of how and why it works. I've seen a few of his videos and while I think there are some basic safety issues overlooked, he seems to master the basics. I think most of us could figure out alternative ways to do this, given his basic explanation.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Lively Music App

I have a wicked collection of bootlegs for having the unfortunate timing of my birth being later than allowed me to collect them live.
I also have grown up in the digital age, and as is more aptly named, the digitized age.
I love live music and have spent many hours with my tape recorder/digital voice recorder/cell phone in the air trying to capture a few minutes of a great show as a keepsake for later. The result is never as magic as I hoped for and the recreation of the experience falls flat.

I just found a solution. It's called Lively and is available on Windows phones, iphones and android phones. It looks like they are working on other devices too but for now seems to be limited to mobile.

Lively has set up a system where they use (legal) high quality video and sound equipment to capture entire concerts and you can download the whole thing for the price of the album. Since you can share video from your phone it makes it easy to recreate the concert in your living room (or your buddy's living room) - and you don't get a charlie horse in your arm - and you don't have to worry about security confiscating your camera.

Their commercial is not the best, but it does a good job explaining it:

I already downloaded The Lonely Forest concert and am beyond impressed with the results.  I am hoping that they hit the folk festivals. There are a lot of shows I would like to go to but between my last year of school and how much a lot of these shows are it would be a decent substitute to get the concert this way!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Michael Asimos : Fishing on the Road

I saw this really nice fly reel this morning: at Abel's Reels and it got me thinking about how much I love fishing when I'm on my adventure.

Sometimes I like to rough it in a different sense and not bring any main food prep items. I will, of course, pack emergency food like high protein bars, but I like to try my hand at fishing when location and temperature make getting lucky probable.

Along with checking the fishing reports for the immediate areas I'm gonna be in, I try to camp along the river or lake so that I don't have to travel far to get started. Plus I really like the sound of rushing water, crickets, frogs and birds.

I always have the emergency line and hook in with my kit, but I have never used it. I've used something similar to the Ronco Pocket Fisherman (see right) with a little success. It's fairly lightweight and so small that it fits inside of my pack easily. I have a small bait kit that I put together after I read the fishing report and figure out what all I need to bring.
The Pocket Fisherman isn't the most comfortable to hold all day though, so if you're wanting something that is lightweight and won't wear out your hands, I recommend the Ultralight Fishing Rod and Reel Combo at 4.55 oz. I've had it handle some hefty bass and trout with no problem at all.

Do you have a favorite rod and reel combo for backpacking?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mike Asimos : Preparing Dehydrated Foods for Camping

When you're focused on planning a backpacking trip, a few things usually take priority - namely your tent and sleeping bag requirements, trail maps, first aid and food. Unlike car camping, food weight, ease of cooking and taste all play a factor, as does cost. Some meals can be so expensive and others are cheap and taste awful. I have used a dehydrator in the past with good results and wanted to pass on some tips to you.

The benefits of dehydrating your own food are control over ingredients and freshness factor. Overall, if you buy your items in bulk or use items you already have in bulk in your pantry it can also be more cost effective. It requires no refrigeration once it has been dehydrated and the weight is minimal.

The best fruits to dehydrate are bananas, apples, strawberries, peaches, cherries, pineapple, mangoes and blueberries.

The best vegetables to dehydrate are corn, peas, green beans, onions, mushrooms, carrots and broccoli.

There are plenty of other resources for meats, as I have very little experience with it mostly cause I'm afraid of getting sick, but I know that beef and turkey are supposedly easy.

Every item has its own levels of water and therefore need different amounts of time in the dehydrator but I have never seen a dehydrator that didn't have instructions for different foods.

Things to remember:
Cut the food items into small bite sized pieces.
Lay the items next to one another in a layer, but not touching while dehydrating
Place dried items into bags/containers that will allow you to remove all air from them.

I personally use Ziploc bags and press the air out. I also dehydrate shortly before my trip is happening. Then I bring one Tupperware to mix/rehydrate everything in and am able to reuse the Ziploc bags next time.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mike's Drinkify Suggestion!


I am astounded on the daily by technology.
I found and put in the Grateful Dead just to see and their soundtrack and suggestion were equally impressive.
Two kinds of gin and lemon juice plus they played "big boss man".

Don’t listen to Grateful Dead alone. We suggest…


  • 12 oz. Sipsmith Gin
  • 12 oz. Lemon juice
  • 6 oz. Blackwoods Gin
Combine in shaker and strain into cocktail glass. Serve. Stir vigorously.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vegetarian Camp Cooking

Grateful Cead Black Bean Burger
Grateful Dead Black Bean Burgers

I found this article about Grateful Dead Black Bean Burgers at the Tupelo Honey cafe, and it inspired me to both share and comment on vegetarian camping foods.
Most people associate camping with a lot of meat (what about the hot dogs, Mike!!) but in fact I have had great success with vegetarian cooking in terms of flavor and not having to worry about food storage bacteria problems. Many freeze dried foods these days are vegetarian and fruits and veggies will often stay fine in your pack without needing ice.

REI has some pasta and beans kits that just need a flash of rehydration and they don't weigh as much as something already cooked in sauce and a tin can will.

The recipe above could be modified just a bit, pre-formed in a wax paper or aluminum casing and heated up once you get your camp fire going for a nutritious and filling meal.

Head over to the article above for the full scoop, or shortcut here. If you repost, please give credit via the site linked above!

Grateful Dead Black Bean Burger 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup peeled, shredded carrots
  • ½ corn, frozen, or cut from 1 large ear
  • ½ cup diced roasted red bell pepper
  • ½ diced poblano chili
  • ½ cup diced Vidalia onion
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup firm tofu
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 8 artisanal hamburger buns
  • lettuce and avocado for serving (optional-not in original recipe)
  • Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the carrots, corn, bell pepper, poblano, onion, celery, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure the garlic does not burn. If it starts to, turn the heat down some. Remove pan from heat and let veggies cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Place tofu in a food processor and puree until smooth. Place in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine beans, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Place 2 cups of bean mixture at a time in the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Once coarsely chopped, place in the large bowl with tofu.
  4. Add panko crumbs to the large bowl and mix the tofu, bean mixture, and panko crumbs together. Form into 8 patties.
  5. Heat Canola oil in a heavy bottomed skillet on high heat until oil begins to bubble. Put patties in oil and cook about 5 minutes per side, until outside is crispy.
  6. Serve on rolls with mayonnaise.
Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Summer is Here

Really trying to get a grasp on what bands are coming up. Someone suggested -- does anyone use this? I think that Google Plus has a lot to offer but it doesn't seem like anyone is using it the way I need right now. Either that or I am not using it right?

Ever since high school I associated June with graduation. Unfortunately, I have a few more Junes before my college is over.

My friends Kenneth, Michael (the other Mike) and Porter who all work at night clubs that are musically themed. They seem to meet a lot of cool people that way. I'm not sure how that would jive with my class schedule but it is something I have been thinking about. This town is so small.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Drilling Your Own Well

I saw a youtube video on how to drill your own water well using PVC pipe and hoses. With the hard red clay we've got around here, it would most likely take longer than this guy took, but it's nice to see that if you can score some basic supplies, you can make it work in an emergency situation or if you wanted to stay off grid for awhile especially in the heat we get around here.

I have a pretty sweet portable water filter that I take on backpacking treks just in case. I know there's all sorts of ways to guess whether water is drinkable or not, but I worry that wildlife may have a tolerance for bacteria in the water that I don't have and I'll end up sick. It would be nice to figure out a charcoal filtering solution for something like this for the Asimos family land.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring and Summer 2013 means Music!

While procrastinating doing my biology homework, I wanted to find out if anyone had input around some of the major music festivals that happen annually in the US. Between school and work I will probably only get to travel out of the state for one concert this year, but next year, if reviews are good, I want to try to plan ahead more. Weigh in on which concert you would attend and help me decide which one is worth swimming through a sea of sweaty people slamming monster energy drinks.

SXSW : "Michael, Texas is too far away" says the ever protective Mrs. Asimos. Thanks, mom, but SXSW is probably the most mentioned music festival of my generation (with Bonnaroo running a close second).  Not as much of my style of music as Bonnaroo, but it seems to be sticking around and that means something, right? I'm certainly too late for this concert this year, but maybe next year.

Coachella : Seems to be heavily focused on electronica - a nice shift from my usual folk-based selections. It's all the way in California, but with as many acts as they have I'm certain to find either good people or good dance sessions. And let's face it, there are some really wicked camping spots along the way to the west coast to take advantage of!

Bonnaroo : Bonnaroo is my favorite concert event yet, though as you can probably tell by this post I haven't been able to make many more. Weird Al Yankovic is there this year which is just, well, weird, but the lineup makes my soul happy and I know I'll see a lot of my brothers and sisters there from past shows. What is better than good music and great company?

So thoughts? Thoughts for me to pass along to Mrs. Asimos? Great campin spots nearby any of them that may sway me hard to new lands and adventures?

Peace out!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wilderness Survival

I am going to keep my political views on the Dorner case to myself. I did, however spend time thinking about wilderness survival when I realized he had probably retreated into the Big Bear wilderness.

I have a copy of an old military field manual (21-76) which focuses on wilderness survival and escape. Even though it adds to the weight of my hiking pack, I can't imagine another instance of a time where I may need it more than when I'm alone on a wilderness trek.

The pages which focus on how to get fresh water using condensation and how to build simple lean-to's, and how to tell which way storms typically blow based on the condition of the branches have long ago lost their crispness because I'm not sure that I'll be in the mood for reading on the basics if faced with an emergency.

 I have read "into the wild" and other books of that nature, but I struggle to think of a book that has so much vital information crammed into it.

Does anyone else know of any survival manuals that they don't like leaving home without?

-- Mike

Monday, January 28, 2013

Best day packs for shows and camping?

Flash 18 Pack - Mike Asimos
I know that day packs range from $30 to $300, depending on all of the features. I like to check our REI when they have outlet sales (or whenever I can make it up in the Charlotte area) and I have gotten some nice packs. I have an older military rucksack too. Some of them have water bladders and others don't. I have noticed that if the straps aren't padded enough and I'm carrying water bottles, other heavy items, I feel some real shoulder strain as the day goes on. This is the case with my Flash 18 pack.

I struggle with breathable material vs waterproof. Smells, spills, etc all seem to happen during the most inconvenient times.

Do you have a favorite pack? -- Mike

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Easy Fritos Chili Bags

I've seen a few folks post this idea and wanted to share it.

You know those little Fritos bags? Get some for camping or, in my case, any time.

I cup of chili for one fritos bag. Heat up the chili, and pour it into the bag. Mix. Add some cheese. Good to go.  You can always add salsa, sour cream, etc- just don't make the mistake I did of putting too much chili in the bag

Usually I will bring one can of chili for 2 bags and you can also use doritos chips or whatever.

Picture from

It's easy to make in a dorm room if you've got a microwave and cheaper and more satisfying than a fast food run.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Home with the Folks

I suppose if I was going to have to miss out on a weekend of my usual, a cold weekend was smart. I don't know how people live in colder climates. It's in the 60 degree range here and I'm rocking the long sleeves. Good thing I got a lot of new shirts for Christmas from the folks. Plus hand me downs form my uncle mean that I get old concert shirts that are still in decent condition.

Alright. Mom made meatloaf. I'm gonna gravitate to the kitchen.

Peace everybody,


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


The Grateful Dead Archive Online is a super collection of dead artwork, show memorabilia, and a wicked online archive of live recordings from shows. Live at Madison Square Garden in 1979?!

There are a few video recordings too.

I've been meaning to write about it sooner, but here it is. With support from UC - this isn't going anywhere any time soon, thank jerry.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Show Tripping Weekend Packing List

I always camp when travelling for a show and the opportunity presents itself as an option. Gimme that sweet quiet away from the energy and noise of the crowds. When I've reached my limit of action and interactions I want to lay my head in the grass and think about the experience and rest and relax under the trees the way we're meant to be.

Since there aren't many shows in SC, usually have to pack something that will fit in the community car without taking too much space but still have what I need. Below is what I usually pack to get me through a weekend, not including what I'm wearing the day I leave.

Mike's Show Trip Weekend (Car Camping with the option to separate if the wind blows me)

Flip Flops
Small first aid kit
2 shirts
1 change of pants
1 change of underwear
1 change of socks
Camel back water bladder
1 package beef jerky
1 ultralight tent
1 ultrawarm sleeping bag
1 headlamp
1 gigastove
1 mess / cooking kit
4 freeze dried meals

I've been researching small solar chargers for my phone but I am not yet sure the trust is there to warrant the expense.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Statistics and Strings

Wo, oh, what I want to know, where does the time go? I know I should be focused on statistics for math, but I'm focused on what shows are coming ie: Yonder Mountain String Band . I should be learning about the President of Kazakhstan for my political class. I know right - kazakhstan - It's real. And instead I want to learn about how to easily make hard cider.

The weather has been holding steady in the low 70's for which i am happy but it doesn't replace the hot days of woods trekking summer and free time that i am sure most kids my age yearn for.

Does anyone else know of any good shows coming this way that I could get excited about? MayB then i could focus on my studies sorta that light at the end of the tunnel thing.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

SEC Champions Crimson Tide v Notre Dame

Can you say blow out? Despite my love for all things nature, I do love some college football, in particular, the Alabama Crimson Tide. I know most kids around here are loyal to their South Carolina teams, but I've always admired their committment to solid football teams. They captured the SEC championship and continued on to be national champions again. Congratulations to their coach and team.

If you're interested in the highlights, there is a great compilation on youtube: blowout

Michael very happy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mike's Camping Food - Foil

Found this great article on 50 things to grill in foil nomnom and a lot of it is for a more sophisticated palette but not all of it, ie: nuts, chicken, roasted veggies. I think if you make them up ahead of time and throw em in a pack, you've got pretty fancy grub to go.

If i'm not backpacking and have access to trunk space i bring my coleman grill and these will cook up fine on a low heat i think.

If only they made compostable foil!

Back to school

I tried to get some tickets to see a show this weekend to no avail. Ticket prices are unbelievable. As mentioned in some google groups posts, they have made premium music available to the elite only, which is a bummer.
Fortunately, there are archives online full of great Dead music to satiate the rest of us.

As one person said, the high ticket prices prevent hoardes of people with no tickets from coming, as a $125 miracle is slim happenin

You can find me on Google + as Michael Asimos if you want to talk about music shows there too cause I'm always open to discussion and rideshares.

For the rest of today i'll be dreamin, but Mike will be in class.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Camping Food

I found some eazy camping recipes on Pinterest of all places. Like fritos pie by just dumping cheese and chili into the bag, mix, eat. It's always cheaper when I travel for music shows to bring my own food and I'm down to chow most of the time >> GROWIN!

At any rate - here's a link to my pinterest board where I have already put some and will put more. Please let me know if you have any easy and portable recipes that you like. I'm gonna make social media delicious!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm Mike and I like to Camp!

I have liked being outdoors all my life. Even with college in full swing I've tried to get away for music shows and always opt to camp nearby. Sometimes the campgrounds if they are close by get noisy but I have found that I enjoy the comradery that comes from people camping vs parking lots that can turn into tail gate parties.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy tailgating for SEC games, but if it's up to me I will alwayz pick the woods.

This weekend I hit Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah National Forest 411). It is one of my favorite places in the world for solo and group camping. It got cold but I got a new sleeping bag for the holidaze that I was ready to test. Thank you Dad!

I also got to test some of my pinterest recipes that I found (michal asimos camping pinterest board ) and the ham and cheese bake was bomb.

I'm excited for winter to be over so that I can go to the west coast for some adventures. Any good show venues folkz can recommend?