Plantnet: The App Every Forager Should Have

If your family is like mine, then you enjoy going for a hike. One of my favorite things while out is looking for wild edibles. I can identify some plants, but I’m no expert. This makes my wife nervous since she doesn’t always believe me when I say, “I know what I’m putting in my mouth.” That’s where Plantnet comes in.

 

How Does It Work?

Plantnet uses the camera on your smartphone to take a picture of the plant you want to identify. Then it searches its database to find the closes match. Once the plant has been identified, you will have access to different pictures, a direct link to the Wikipedia page and a list of other familiar names.

I know what you’re thinking. What if I’m deep in the UP driving up the backside of Mount Arvon and I need to know if the leaf I used as toilet paper was poison ivy or something else. Well even if you don’t have signal, Plantnet will save the picture for you to look up later when it is available.

The app is split up into eight categories. Five of which are continents with sub-sections.

  • Europe and West Europe
  • America with, Canada, USA, Central America, Caribs, Amazonia, Tropical Andes, Martinique
  • Africa includes North Africa, Tropical Africa, Reunion, Mauritius Island, Comoro Islands
  • Asia and Eastern Mediterranean
  • The islands of Oceania-Pacific, New Caledonia, Hawaii, and French Polynesia

That means no matter where your adventure might take you, Plantnet will be with you.

 

Plantnet is available for both IOS and Android users.

Overlanding With An Infant: Tips For New Parents

In April of this year, I was blessed with my first child, Magnolia. Being an active family in the past few years, we didn’t quite know how to include our now three-month-old. After asking around for advice and not getting much, I decided to share our experience so other new parents can have something to look to for ideas.

Plan a Short Pre-trip

Typically every summer we plan a trip to Michigan’s UP. But we didn’t feel comfortable taking a five to eight-hour car ride with an infant. Luckily my parents are seasonal’s at a campground only two hours from where we live. This provided an excellent opportunity to get away for the Fourth of July weekend and see if Maggie would be okay.

The trip going north went smoothly. When we were about forty minutes from the campground, we had to pull off the highway for a feeding. This was expected since she didn’t want to eat before we left. Once we got there, It was nice to have friends and family to help watch her. It gave us both a chance to enjoy the sunshine and water. Being able to escape the heat into the A\C was really helpful. (Also a nice change for us.) It made it easy to keep her from overheating, and made a great spot for naps. Going home went alright, we left late after a day of fishing. While stopping for food before jumping on the highway, she started crying. After we calmed her down, she was okay for a while. Then she got hungry. Pulling over in a rest area to feed her, we noticed a storm in the distance. No matter what we tried we couldn’t get Maggie back down, and had to push through the storm with a crying baby for one hour. Something we’d like to try during a more extended trip is, doing a big feeding before we leave. That, combined with frequent planned stops, should (hopefully) make for a smoother ride.

Pack Lite

Even though we didn’t use everything we brought, it doesn’t mean it won’t be packed for the next trip.

  • whole pack diapers
  • two packs of wipes
  • sunscreen (used)
  • hats (used)
  • five outfits (used)
  • pack and play (not used)
  • bouncy seat (used)
  • playmat (not used)
  • sun tent (not used)
  • frozen breast milk (used)
  • nursing cover (used)
  • blankets (used)
  • baby monitor (used)
  • baby Tylenol (not used)

Know Where You Are

Going to the family campground was a great first outing for us because we know where everything was. No matter where you are at, it is always good to know where the closest hospital is. Another thing I would say is useful, is to know would be where the closet store is. Even though we brought a full pack of diapers and wipes, I wouldn’t want to chance running out.

Babies are unpredictable. When it comes to taking them out on the road, always prepare for the worst. As long as you are prepped for any occasion, you and your family can still have a fun and relaxing time outdoors.

Lynxx Chainsaw Review

Lynxx chainsaw

When it comes to gathering wood for a fire, what’s the first thing you grab? An axe? A hand saw? Maybe it’s a high-powered 2 stroke chainsaw fit for a logger. What if I told you there was an option that can process wood as fast as that 2 stroke, but that is no louder than an idling rig. In this review we are going over the Lynxx 40 v Chainsaw ($179.99) from Harbor Freight.

Specs

  • 40 v lithium-ion battery
  • 2.5 Ah
  • 60 min charge time
  • Weight 13.35 lbs

Features

  • Chain oiler
  • Chain break that cuts power to motor
  • Tool-less chain tentioner
  • 14 inch Oregon bar and chain

Personal Thoughts

Lets get right into it. This saw is great, but like everything it has its down falls. When it comes to cutting soft and dry wood, this thing is a dream. But if you happen to cut through hard or wet wood, the battery is going to drain faster. This isn’t a problem if you have a power inverter, or a spare battery.

Something that I was a disappointed about is the lack of a proper case. A bar sheath is included, but with out a case that covers the entire saw, space inside the vehicle will be taken up to keep it safe.

I enjoy knowing that anytime I come across a downed tree on the trail, I can hop out of the truck, pop a battery in and take care of it. No tapping into my fuel reserves or fussing with mixing oils. Just pull the trigger and its instant power, that is if you haven’t hit the chain break. And the fact that it uses a Oregon chain and bar, a brand that is found in almost any hardware store, is great for that unexpected break down when you’re far from home.

Despite everything I don’t like about, this saw has become the number one tool I use when overlanding. No matter what I’m doing, where I go, however long I’m gone for, it comes with me. Because you never know what you’ll encounter when out on the trail.

Purchase Link

Camp Chef Camp Oven Review

Imagine you’ve been on the trail for hours, searching for the perfect spot to camp. Finally, you find it, the best campsite you have ever seen! There is just one thing that could make it better, cinnamon rolls! This is something we’ve been able to do, ever since we got a Camp Chef Camp Oven two years ago. With the addition of the Camp Oven to our overlanding arsenal, the on-trail menu has expanded tremendously.

camp chef camp over inside
The inside of the Camp Chef Camp Over.

Fuel and Power

The oven is fueled by propane, either with a 1LB or a larger tank, when combined with an available hose. Using a 1LB tank has its limitations, only letting the oven get up to 350F for 7 hours. While using a larger tank will allow it to reach 400F. No matter what tank size you use, the oven will still produce 3,000BTUs/hr and the two brass range burners will do 7,500BTUs/hr.

traditional stove burners
The top has traditional burners for cooking on.

Accessories

bulk tank hose adapter allows you to extend cooking time with a larger propane tank. The deluxe oven carry bag provides a weather resistant cover, with padding to keep things safe. The mountain series steel griddle and outdoor oven pizza stone give you alternate cooking surfaces. These last two turn the range into a flat steel griddle perfect for eggs and give the oven a flat surface great for bread and pizza.

Personal Thoughts

After owning this oven for as long as I have, I feel like I can share my honest thoughts on the product. First off, I haven’t been nice to it. Saying that it has held up surprisingly well. The only casualties were two of the rubber feet breaking off. It was nice to find that Camp Chef does offer replacement parts on anything you could break. You can find a parts catalog here.

Something I wish we had purchased was the Deluxe Oven Carry Bag. As of now, I let it bounce around in the bed of my truck, and it would be nice to have some protection for the oven glass. I did buy the Bulk Tank Hose Adapter, and I don’t think we could live without it. It’s been great not having to worry about how many 1LB tanks I should bring along. Especially on a week-long trek on the back roads of the Upper Peninsula. With one 20LB tank, we made two meals a day and heated water for coffee and tea for nine days!

One thing we’ve noticed that’s kind of annoying is that the oven seems to take forever to heat up. Depending on the weather, you may be waiting an hour or so for the oven to heat to temperature. This is more prominent when you are trying to use a burner and the oven, at the same time. What I’ve also noticed is the thermometer is slightly off, and it can be a little inconvenient being unable to set the oven to a specific temperature. You may need to cook your food slightly longer in the oven to make up for inconsistent temps. But in the end, it is camping, and I usually don’t plan on making anything that needs to be in the oven for more than 30 minutes.

All in all, I do enjoy using the Camp Chef Camp Oven over a traditional camp stove. The ability to make things like garlic bread, pizza rolls, or even cookies on a cold night, makes our on-trail home feel more like a real home.