Camping Headlamp Diffuser (Lampshade) Video

I have created a video on the Headlamp Diffuser (Lampshade)  I wrote about in the last post.

Camping Headlamp Lampshade Take 2

If you follow this blog you may notice I that some  posts are experimental projects . This was the case with the Head Lamp lampshade made from thin plastic cutting sheets (link). I thought it was sort of an interesting idea, and I actually continued to play with the concept event after the blog post, until I stumbled across the Monte Bell Crushable Lantern Shade, which is basically a small stuff sack that you slip over your headlamp and it diffuses the light. Once I saw that I realized that the cutting sheet derived lampshade was kind of silly, and was able to move on to some other things. 

Recently one of those other things to trying to teach myself sewing. Looking for some practice projects, I remembered the stuff sack lampshade. After a couple prototypes here is the result.  Like I said it is just a basically a small stuff sack, but it really is successful on two fronts. It does a great job diffusing the light and a very easy project to practice sewing on .

Camping Headlamp Diffuser

Camping Headlamp Diffuser

The next two pictures try and illustrate the difference the lampshade makes. The first shot is the naked headlamp pointed at the greatest book ever , “The Golden Book of Camping”. The second shot has the lampshade on. Note the much more pleasant and evenly diffused light.

Camping Headlamp Lampshade Without Lampshade

Camping Headlamp Lampshade With Lampshade

But even these photos don’t show how well this little sack takes the harsh headlamp and makes it much more friendly and useful.

Making it

As I mentioned, I am just learning sewing and this is not a sewing tutorial. In addition to what I have described below you might want to search youtube for tutorials on basic sewing (if you are a beginner like me) and making a stuff sack

It looks like the Monte Bell is made from polyester tent fabric (30 Denier according to the description) . My version is made with something called non woven polypropylene. If you are not familiar with this material, it’s most common use is in the making of reusable shopping bags.  If you happened to have a white reusable shopping bag , you are all set, just start cutting. If you need to track some material down , it is sold under the the Oly Fun brand name. One of the nice things about this material (besides that it does a very nice job of diffusing light)  is that since it is not woven, it does not unravel and there is no need to hem. 

Besides the non woven polypropylene and the usual sewing supplies, the only other thing you will need is a something for the draw string. I am using paracord.

The only thing slightly unusual from making a typical stuff sack (besides the diminutive size)  is that I have doubled over the material to increase the diffusing effect.

On with the instrutions

First start with a piece of 7 X 9 inch material

Sewing Headlamp Diffuser Step 1

Fold it in half horizontally. Pin the material to keep it from moving and mark a line ¾ of an inch down from the fold to mark the sew line for the drawstring channel . Cut out some 45 degree cuts on each side of the drawstring channel which will make the openings neater.

Sewing Headlamp Diffuser Step 2

Sew the drawstring channel (Just a straight line ¾ inch from the fold.) and then remove the pins..

Sewing Headlamp Diffuser Step 3

Fold vertically and pin in place

Sewing Headlamp Diffuser Step 4

Sew along the open side and bottom, then remove the pins.

Sewing Headlamp Diffuser Step 5

Thread the drawstring, turn the sack rightside out, and you are done!

Sewing Headlamp Diffuser Step 6

Patriotic Coleman Stove

A while ago the Mrs. bought me home a grungy, rusty Coleman Stove (a 413).  I thanked her and put it in a pile of things I might get to one day, but recently inspiration hit. After some elbow grease and a wire brush removed most of the rust and dirt, I busted out the masking tape and the spray paint. The result is what you see here.

 First I did the top, just trying to do I pretty accurate American flag...

Coleman Stove decorated with US Flag

On the rest of the case I just went a little more artsy,  but tried to keep with the theme...

Patriotic Coleman Stove

OK I did not do the little stars on the flag with masking tape.. Found the almost appropriatly sized stars at the craft store and laid them out on the proper grid. ( )

Laying out the stars for a US flag

And I made it so that it "flew" correctly when the stove is open.

American Flag Stove

Happy Memorial Day!

Custom Camp Box

Recently a customer who bought a Camping Kitchen Box contacted me with a request. Could I make a companion storage box? After some hemming and hawing on my part, I agreed to come back with some ideas. The final result is displayed below.

I do get a lot of requests asking about customizing the Camping Kitchen Box. The writer loves the idea of the Camping Kitchen Box, but they want to know if I can change some of the dimensions If they want to make it taller or shorter that is easy, but if they want to change the width or depth , that is more difficult. For the top and bottom, I use some special tooling that is not easy to change, so to change width or depth I would have to recreate it. I don't usually say no to special requests, but when it comes to width and depth the price I will quote is usually more than folks are willing to pay.

Note that on this box, the standard top and bottom pieces are used (the top having a hole of course), so I got to use most of my usual tooling, and the customer got a reasonably priced solution.

If you are Interested in something custom I am always willing to listen.


Top Opening Camp Camp Box

Top Opening Camp Camp Box Side View

Top Opening Camp Camp Box inside

Top Opening Camp Camp Box Back side

Headlamp Lamp Shade

When I switched plastic colors (to neutral) I took a picture with it lit up from the inside (inspired by this). I started thinking about making a lantern / lampshade for my headlamp out of some of the corrugated plastic.  After a couple of unsuccessful attempts. I came to the conclusion that it was the wrong material for the job, but I was not ready to give up on the idea.  It turns out that I had the perfect material just sitting in my Camping Kitchen Box... plastic chopping mats. After trying some more complicated designs,  I ended up with a dead simple cuboid design.  

Headlamp Lapshade made from cutting cutting sheet

I am not planning on selling these, as they are very easy to make. The cutting diagram is below and the video shows how easy it is.


Head lamp tools and materials

Everything you need to make your own Headlamp Lamp Shade


  • Dollar Tree 11 X 14 Flexible Chopping Mat You get 2 for a dollar. These are thinner than your typical cutting sheet but just right for our purposes.
  • 5/8 inch velcro dots


  • Pencil
  • Box Cutter
  • Straight Edge


The cutting sheet cutting diagram

The cutting diagram... easy peasy!

New Color for the Camping Kitchen Box

The Camping Kitchen Box is now being made in white...or is white the absence of color?  If you want to get really technicall, it is not even white, it is "Opaque". Why the change? Well no one has ever said "Gee I really love that blue".. since it was time to order a new batch of plastic so I decided to mix it up. 

The Latest and greatest Camping Kitchen Box

While I am showing off the new box I figured it would be a good time to take a look back at the previous versions of the box, which are pictured below.  The first version of the Camping Kitchen Box was made out of yellow (or maybe beige?) plastic. It was very innovative, but there is always room for improvement. The big changes between the yellow box and blue box pictured below were to the top and bottom which now feature one piece construction and and are essentially mounted upside down from their previous orientation. Both of these changes made the box more structurally sound.

During the time I was using blue plastic, the design has evolved some more. The big changes were using one piece of plastic to form the back sides and doors, and a new drawer design makes them more functional and  aesthetically pleasing. The current white box is being built the same as the last blue one made, but rest assured the improvements will continue.  

The Blue Camping Kitchen Box


the orginal production box

Happy Camper Radio and

Today I would also like to shine some link love in two places, Happy Camper Radio and

Happy Camper Radio is a podcast about camping hosted by Skip Huber (who is no relation to me, the proprietor of this web site, Kurt Huber).  So far it is the only camping podcast that I have been able to make it through a whole episode and in fact I keep going back for more. Camping is probably a hard thing to podcast about, but Skip has a great broadcast voice and an enthusiasm that can make anything sound exciting. As far as content, on the  About page, Skip describes his podcast as follows…. “Happy Camper Radio was created for the purpose of encouraging and promoting family oriented style camping.”   which pretty much nails it.

Skip occasionally has guests and on the most recent episode he had the owner of talking about his products. Deluxe Camping currently has two main products... a camping sink based on the 5 gallon buckets with a primer bulb and a camp shower using a garden sprayer. The techniques of using these technologies are well known and used by avid DIYers , but the proprietor of Deluxe Camping have taken these designs to an extreme level of refinement. is worth checking out, maybe to purchase thier products, or for inspiration for your own projects.

The Deluxe Camping Sink



How Light is the Camping Kitchen Box?

Image from the Golden Book of Camping, my 1971 Edition

The most unique feature of the Camping Kitchen Box, compared to other chuck boxes, is its weight, which is only 12 lbs. How much lighter is the Camping Kitchen Box compared to other boxes? Below I compare the CKB to a home built chuck box, and then some popular commercial  chuck boxes.


The Home Made Chuck Box

REI recently had a blog post  with plans on how to make a chuck box out of ½ inch plywood. There are hundreds of chuck plans out on the internet, but these particular plans are good for making a direct comparison to the CKB, because the final dimensions (28” X 21” X 16½” )  are  a  good match up with the Camping Kitchen Boxes Dimension (25" X 22½" X 17") and they both are designed not to have their own legs. The weight of half inch plywood depending on woods species, glue and other factors, so it  can weigh anywhere from 40 to 50 lbs for a standard 4’ X 8’ (32 square foot) sheet.  If you take the cut list for the REI box and add up all the dimensions it uses 26.5 square feet of plywood. Using the low end of 40 lbs per square foot that makes the weight of the box at 33 lbs before screwing and gluing it together and adding hardware. By the time all is said and done, this chuck box can easily weight almost 3 times the weight of the CKB!

Commercial Chuck Boxes

Below is a comparison on some other commercial  chuck boxes and the CKB. These are weights without legs. I have also added the outside dimensions and a rough calculation of interior space based on those dimensions, and for fun divided the weight by the interior space so you can directly compare each box. A higher volume / weight number is better.


Chuck Box 


W X H X D (Inches)


Square In.




/ Weight


Corrugated Plastic

28 X 21 X 16.5




Kanz Field Kitchen

Aluminum & Plywood

25.4 X 19.4 X 15




My Camp Kitchen Outdoorsman

Birch Plywood

28.625 X 18.25 X 13.75




Camping Box Classic Chuck Box


31 X 15 X 17







Camping Hand Washing System

DIY Camping Hand Washing System

There are many solutions for washing your hands while camping. One solution that seems to work well is what I call the “Fuel Bulb Primer with Five Gallon Buckets Systems”, or FBPWFGBS. (OK I really dont call it FBPWFGBS, but I did spend a couple moments seeing if I could pronounce it) . This system uses 2  five gallon buckets, one as a water supply and one to catch the water, and a fuel pump primer is used to move the water.  The video below gives an overview of the system.

This system has several advantages over just using your drinking water jug to wash your hands. First it is more efficient with water. You pump what you need and no more, as opposed to opening the tap on your water jug, getting your hands wet, and then letting the tap run while you soap up. By the time you are done rinsing you have a nice puddle of wasted water by your feet.Second it is more sanitary, instead of opening the tap on your drinking water with your filthy, germy hands, your foot gets the water flowing safely.

Making Your Own

There are some commercial examples of this system out there,  like one from Tye Works ( or the Wishy Washy from Partner Steel ( These may seem a little pricey, but like most do it yourself projects, by the time you add up the cost supplies and the value of your time, the satisfaction is in the creating, not the saving.

Camping Hand Washer


Below is my parts list. Some of the materials I already had, so I just guessed at the cost. You can see that it adds up quickly.Most of the parts came from Lowes, with the exception of the fuel primer pump which was purchased at Walmart. I don’t actually have the fuel filter, but it seems to be a common part of the  commercial setups so I have included it for price comparisons.


Fuel Primer Pump (⅜ inch)


Flat Aluminum Stock ⅛ X 1” X 36”


¼ “ X 20 X ¾  SS Pan Phillips Head Machine Screw(2)


¼ “ X 20 SS Wing Nuts (2)


6’ X ⅜” Inside Diameter Vinyl Hose (2)


Zip Ties


Hose Clamps (2)




In Line Fuel Filter





Tools Required

Hacksaw - For cutting the aluminum stock.

File - for cleaning up the burrs on the aluminum stock

Power Drill - for drilling holes use a ¼ inch bit for the bolt holes and ⅛ inch or whatever is appropriate for your zip ties

Screw Driver- For the hose clamps

File - For cleaning up the cut and drilled aluminum stock


Create the Bracket from the Aluminum Stock

Below is the cutting diagram for the aluminum stock  The 36 inch inch bar is cut into 2 pieces, one 12 inches long and the second 24 inches. This can easily be done with a hacksaw

Cutting Diagram

Drilling Holes

The diagonally placed holes are for the machine screws and wing nut that will eventually hold the two pieces together. If you are using ¼ inch hardware like I specced above then the holes should be ¼ inch. Note that you probably want to cut the bar first then stack the bars and drill the holes so that everything lines up later.

The 3 sets of perpendicular holes are ⅛ inch and are for the zip ties that hold the vinyl tubing in place. Make sure you have zip ties that fit.

Finally use a file to clean up the burrs from the cut and the holes, and round the corners slightly to cut down on the jabbyness of the pieces.

Bending the Bracket

There is not an exact plan, just follow the picture above. The general goal is to create spring like tensions with the curves.

I bent the ¼ Inch aluminium stock using a combination of my hands, a vice, a pipe and a hammer. The bar was wrapped or hammered over and around the pipe to make the bends One thing that you should pay attention before you make the bends is the way that the holes that will hold the pieces together are lines up. Once you have the pieces bent , assemble them with the machine screws and wing nuts. Note that you can adjust the tension by disassembling the bracket. tweaking the bends and reassembling.

The Rest of the Assembly

Well at this point you are 75% there.

Cut the vinyl tubing into two 3 ft pieces and attach it to each end of the primer bulb, using your hose clamps. Paying attention to the flow of the primer bulb  pump.  Attach the tubing to the bracket using zip ties.

The end that goes into the supply water needs something to keep the end of the hose weighted down. I used a piece of ½ inch 90 degree PVC connector. The hand washing stations that you can purchase appear to use fuel filters that fit on the ⅜ inch hose. Anything that sinks in water and can be attached to the end of the hose works.

To increase the longevity of the primer bulb / pump you will want to keep it off the ground by attaching it to a board.  I went one step further and built a hinged housing with some 6mm corrugated plastic that I have plenty of.

Final Thoughts

That’s it you should be good to go. Note that the parts used to make this (specifically the primer bulb and the fuel filter if you used one) are NOT food safe, so this is not designed for dispensing drinking water or any other beverages.

Raccoon vs Camping Kitchen Box

Johnathan Aulabaugh, who did the review for Living Over land, let me know via Facebook that a raccoon worked his way into the camping kitchen box. For Jonathan's picture of the perpetrator, follow the link below, and don't forget to like us!


Raccoon decided he wanted our food.

Posted by Johnathan Aulabaugh on Sunday, June 7, 2015
So yes, you can store food in the Camping Kitchen Box, but it won't keep the determined critter at bay!
For more of Jonathans pictures can be found at