There is a Campfire Chef in All of Us

[GUEST BLOG]: I’ll never forget the time my girlfriend, Zara, and I set out on our very first camping adventure together. It was early in our relationship and what made this trip so memorable for me was enjoying the tranquility of the outdoors while sharing a campfire-meal with the woman I would marry a few years later.

Few things bring people closer together than breaking bread around the table, but there’s something magical about the warmth of a campfire under a canopy of stars that forms bonds not easily broken.

I believe that there is a campfire chef in all of us. All it requires is the desire to make a great meal and some preparation prior to venturing into the wild. With that in mind, I’ve outlined a few principles to help bring your campfire cooking skills to the next level.

Preparing ahead means more time to kick back.
Prior to your trip, I recommend planning out each daily meal at a high-level. Once that’s done, determine what ingredients you’ll need to prep beforehand. If a recipe calls for chopped veggies, try chopping them up to size ahead of time, and while you’re at it, double or triple the amount if you think you’ll use the same ingredient for multiple meals. Toss each ingredient into a sealable plastic container and you are ready to go.

I prefer to make my own marinades and sauces. They can infuse so much flavor and added complexity to meats and veggies, and given their versatility they can be used for multiple meals. Think along the lines of a special BBQ sauce and other condiments, or a chimichurri. Mix the sauce ingredients at home ahead of time and place them in a Ziploc bag or in a tightly closed container. In the cooler, store these separately from the proteins and if you’re marinating at camp, combine the meats with the marinade before they are ready to go onto the fire.

If you want to try something bold, pastry and pizza dough keep well when stored properly. One of my favorite crowd pleasers is a campfire-style pizza. Make your favorite dough at home then wrap it in saran wrap before storing it in a sealed container to prevent any moisture from seeping in. Place it in the cooler until is ready to be used. If you really want to save time and don’t mind using processed foods, it is ok to buy a pre-made dough from a local grocer to bring along with you.

Trail meals or backpacking food require a bit more organization and preparation. Unlike car camping, when hitting the trail for multiple days at a time, we strive to maximize our gear, streamline our food supplies, and reduce the amount of weight we carry on the journey. This is where dehydrating food comes really handy. If this is the type of adventurer you are, you’ll want to cook the meals at home, dehydrate them, and pack them properly before heading out to the trail.

Preserving perishable items.
We all know that some food can stay fresh longer, so in addition to having a great cooler, choose your proteins wisely. For example, if I decide to prepare a fish or seafood at camp, I’m going to want to cook it on the first night. That way it doesn’t sit in my cooler for too long and risk the health and safety of those who will eat it. Lastly, if you are going to drive for a few hours and worry about the ice situation, dry ice is worth using for this.

Preserved foods are your friends.
I love making salumi at home and often bring some along with me in the outdoors since it is already preserved. Salumi, or charcuterie, does not require cold storage, but one must be mindful not to leave it out during a summer day because it can spoil if it gets too hot. Much like salumi, canned and pickled foods are great additions to any meal because they also don’t need to stay in a cooler, and let’s face it — they bring an awful lot of great umami flavor and texture to a dish. Chop up a pickled chili pepper or a lightly pickled cucumber and toss it into an egg scramble or salad.

Respect the fire and know your temperatures.
Having a bit of backyard grilling experience really helps to understand hot zones and distance that food should be from the fire. But the bottom line is that hot coals are what you want to use for cooking your food, not the flames. Coals are hotter than flames and as an advantage they provide consistent heat and can allow you to better control temperature. Flame-cooking is inconsistent and can often char the exterior of the food and never even heat the middle, which can make sense for a thinly sliced flank steak, but not for a chicken breast.

You’ll want to establish a great, roaring fire well ahead of mealtime and keep adding wood with the intent to reduce them into a large collection of hot coals. You can control the temperature by how you distribute the coals inside the fire pit, and by the distance you place the food away from the coals beneath your the grill grate. The closer the food is to the heat source, the faster it will cook (such as for searing meat). The farther away you place the food, the slower it will cook (great for veggies or a slow-cooked stew).

It is also possible to place some foods directly into the fire without even using a grill, e.g.: Hobo packs (bundles of cut-up ingredients wrapped in foil packets and cooked right on the coals) and Japanese foil yakis, or cast iron pots. You can even place a great steak directly onto the hot coals for an awesome, ashy sear.

Sometimes you’ll need to improvise.
The beauty of campfire cooking also revolves around being resourceful, and this could mean making up meals with the ingredients that you may have at hand. For instance, whisk up a few eggs with a little cream and shredded cheese, add some diced up greens and previously caramelized veggies, add salt and pepper to taste, pour mixture into a skillet on the fire, and you have yourself a frittata for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

If we ever go camping lakeside or along a river, I always bring a few fresh herbs and lemon just in case we catch something.

Foraging can also factor in while creating great meals. From picking berries, to wild greens, and mushrooms alike, these ingredients are bountiful in the wilderness if one knows what to look for. Having said that, foraging is a completely different category on its own and one must be extremely careful and knowledgeable when determining what is edible and what is not. It is important to have deep experience in identifying wild edibles before consuming them, especially away from civilization. If you’d like to add this skillset to your repertoire, I highly recommend that you join a local foraging group or mycological society to learn from the pros.

Stay inspired and go all out!
Over time as we become better campfire chefs, the desire to get out there and cook will keep you thinking about how to bring your favorite campfire meal up a notch. If you are like me, it might even become an obsession. I like to keep a small journal in my gear where I can take notes on what failed and record ideas as to how to improve a dish the next time around.

Once you’ve acquired the basic skills, and as your confidence improves you’re ready to take on more challenges. Think about some of your most memorable meals and try to deconstruct them for your outdoor kitchen.

Maybe your favorite restaurant makes a delicious Jambalaya or Rabbit Paella. How about a rustic peach cobbler? The possibilities are endless, be creative and take risks. Grilled oranges? Sure! Steamed clams? Absolutely.

Stay inspired and look for ways to amplify your outdoor meals and motivate your pals to do the same. Include them in the process by distributing tasks in the kitchen while enjoying a great bottle of wine. Just remember: don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the adventure of cooking in the great outdoors.

3000 Acre Kitchen is where Jaime shares his adventures in cooking outdoors. Whether it is while camping in a secluded forest, hiking up a volcano or just grilling in his own backyard, there is great joy in making these meals satisfying, flavorful, and memorable.

Creating Custom Sheaths

[GUEST BLOG]: Recently a friend asked me to make a leather sheath for his Leatherman Charge TTI.  He was looking for something that he could wear to give his Leatherman a little extra class.  Having some previous leatherworking experience under my belt, I agreed to give it a try.

My main goals were to make something compact and low-profile. After considering the pros and cons of various designs, we decided on a wet-molded leather sheath, which would grip the contours of the tool, and allow it to be held securely in place without the need for a retaining strap.  We also decided on using a metal belt clip, so that the holster could be put on without having to unbuckle the belt.  I used vegetable-tanned cowhide leather, which molds nicely, and also responds well to tooling/stamping. While I was at it, I decided to also make a similar sheath for my LED Lenser F1R flashlight.

Here’s a summary of how I did it…

6 Oz vegetable-tanned cowhide
Thin pigskin leather (optional, for lining interior of sheath)
Metal belt clip
X-small double cap rivet
Braided, waxed, nylon thread
Leather finish
Leather dye

Stapler or thumb tacks
Edge beveler (optional, to tidy edges of leather)
Awl or thonging chisel
Rivet setter
Vice (optional, to hold leather during stitching)
2 Harness needles


  1. Molding The Leather - I wrapped the tools in plastic wrap to protect them, since they were going to be used as the “mold” to form the leather around.  Then I cut a couple oversized pieces of leather, soaked them in hot water for about a minute, and patted them down with a towel.  I placed the leather over the tools on a piece of wood, and began working it around the edges.  The leather wanted to pucker around the corners, so I cut slits to help it conform to the shape of the tools.  A bone creaser and modelling tool helped shape the leather around the edges, and I used pins to hold leather in place while working other portions. I let the leather dry completely before moving on.
  2. Tooling – To prepare the leather for tooling, it had to be “cased”.  I dampened the area with a sponge and waited a few minutes until the leather returned to it’s normal color. Then I used some stamping tools and a plastic hammer to tool a tree design into the leather.
  3. Dying/Antiquing – I cut a piece of leather to use for the back of the sheath, and trimmed the excess leather from the front piece.  I applied a black dye to the tree, and then used a gel antique to cover the entire surface of both pieces.
  4. Belt Clip and Liner – I cut a slit in the back piece to allow the belt clip to be attached, using a single rivet.  Then I used contact cement to glue a thin lining of pig skin, just to prevent the clip or rivet from scratching the tools.
  5. Bringing Things Together – Using contact cement around the edge, I glued the two pieces together and did a test fit of the tools, before trimming the excess leather from the back piece.  I cleaned up the edges using 400 grit sandpaper, applied some gel antique, and hand-burnished by dampening the edges and rubbing them with a piece of denim.
  6. Stitching - I used a hammer and thonging chisel to punch holes through the leather.  After that, I used two harness needles and some braided nylon thread to stitch the two halves together, using a saddle stitch.
  7. Finish - The last step was to apply a finish.  I used a homemade beeswax mixture to finish the sheaths.  I warmed the leather with a heat gun, and kept applying the wax until the leather would no longer absorb it.  After a quick buff with a towel, the sheaths were finished!

Cam Bergerman is a craftsman who embraces the DIY ethic, to create items ranging from longbows to sea kayaks, using natural materials such as leather and wood whenever possible. To see more of his work or to contact him, check out his facebook page at, or on Instagram @cams_stuff

10 Things That Made Me Fall In Love With The Great Outdoors

[GUEST BLOG: RJ BRUNI] It seems like a constant theme or trend is that everyone is spending as much time as possible outside enjoying nature. Although many see it as a trendy statement I can assure you that it is for good reason. Here are 10 facts that me made fall head over heels for the outdoors.

1) You Will Be Challenged
There is no better feeling than finally conquering the mountain that has beaten you down time and time again. The satisfaction is surreal! Whether it be the last step on a summit or even the challenge of just getting out and hiking for the first time it will leave you completely thrilled and satisfied. I remember my first summit took my best friend and I 3 tries, finally completing it was one of the best feeling in the world.
RJ Bruni Photography

2) The World Will Somehow Seem Different
Being bundled up in a sleeping bag looking up at the unpolluted stars will get a person thinking. Yesterday’s problems all of a sudden don’t feel as important.
RJ Bruni Photography

3) Friends Will Make The Journey Even Better
Nature has an interesting way of bringing people closer together and showing who your true friends are. There is nothing like climbing a mountain knowing that your partner, holding the rope beneath you, has your life in their hands. That great deal of trust will show you how important that person is to you and your life, not only at that very moment but each and every day. Plus what’s better than having a best friend beside you to dream about the next adventure with?
RJ Bruni Photography

4) It Will Leave You Addicted
I can testify first hand that once the seed is planted the craving to be outside doesn’t go away easily. You will find yourself daydreaming about those mountain top sunsets or diving into an alpine lake. That desire to keep exploring is the same desire that has lead all great climbers or any other outdoor athlete to do extraordinary things and accomplish the undone.
RJ Bruni Photography

5) It’s a Refreshing Escape From The Day-To-Day
Spending time outside gives you the peace to get away from your daily routine and clear the mind. The world likes to throw constant schedules, problems, tasks and all the rest of the stresses that come along with life at us and I like to look at being outside as the only place to escape the chaos. Not to mention it is the best time to take a much needed break from technology and the never ending notifications.
RJ Bruni Photography

6) The Freedom
Unlike the city there’s not many rules in the outdoors. If you want to hike your bike to the highest mountain or strip down and take a “nature swim” in a lake, go for it! There’s nobody there to judge and definitely no tickets be handed out! So go float your tube down the river, jump off the biggest cliff, and climb the tallest mountain you can find, just be safe and smart doing it.
RJ Bruni Photography

7) Your Fears Will Be Overcome
I believe if it makes your heart beat 100 mph and your hairs stand on end…it’s something worth doing. Just because something scares you that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, there is nothing more rewarding than facing your fears head on. “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
RJ Bruni Photography

8) Everything About Being Outside Is Breathtaking
There’s no denying that everything from the trees, to rugged peaks, to rivers and lakes, is truly breathtaking. They may not be easy to get to, the hike may be grueling, and it might involve three days of paddling but the hard work just makes the views that much more beautiful and pain goes away instantly. Don’t let the journey ahead keep you from  reaching the top.
RJ Bruni Photography

9) It’ll Keep You Healthy
Most of the time getting from point A to point B isn’t easy, especially if you have a 50 pound backpack to get to the top! Outdoor activities will test not only your mind but as well as your body and trust me… you will feel it in the morning. So get outside, get a workout in, and soak in the vitamin D!
RJ Bruni Photography

10) You Never Know What To Expect
Being outside is truly stepping into the unknown and that’s what I love most. “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong,” and it’s so true. There will always be hardships and tasks to overcome, it’s all about surrounding yourself with people that want to go through those hardships with you and take on the challenge.
RJ Bruni Photography

A man of the mountains at heart, I was born and raised in the Fraser Valley of B.C. Using serene landscapes to draw in my subjects. I aim to inspire a lifestyle of exploration with my photography. Whether it be searching for the perfect moments in the alpine or cruising my mountain bike down summits with my best friends, I truly love everything this world has to offer. It’s the journey that’s gets me most excited.  Through the mediums of video and photography my goal is not only to inspire a life of adventure but as well for people to aim for this world to be a better place.
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Vimeo


XEO 19R Named ‘Best in Show’ By selected the XEO 19R from LED LENSER as ‘Best in Show – Top Gear For 2016’ at the 2015 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, held in Salt Lake City, UT August 5-8, 2015. Gear Junkie’s editors and reporters covered the show to find the best products and innovations in gear design.

The XEO headlamp is the first of its kind with a bright 2000 lumen output in two independently operated LEDs, state-of-the-art technology, and transformative design that allows the user to wear, carry and mount the light comfortably for all situations.

The XEO was created with a new user-friendly dynamic control pad that lets the operator easily adapt the light between settings. Light modes and brightness can be changed with the use of the five intuitive programmed buttons on the top of the light, making lighting favorite activities simpler than ever.

The XEO will also introduce three new advanced features including a USB charger and power bank, OPTISENSE™ technology and an air intake chamber. The remarkable USB charger and power bank will let the consumer use the headlamp battery to charge a phone, GoPro®, or other electronic devices on-the-go. OPTISENSE™ technology uses an integrated brightness sensor to give the light the ability to measure the output needed in real-time and then adjusting accordingly. The air intake chamber was designed to allow air enter into the headlamp as the user moves, cooling the LEDs so the XEO will maintain peak performance and brightness for longer.

The XEO headlamp includes a rechargeable Li-ion battery pack, optional extended power cord and run for up to 40 hours. It is designed with IPX6 splash-proof housing, and is backed by our industry-leading 5-year warranty. The XEO also has a variety of mounting accessories that can be used in a number of original ways: like clip it to a belt or bag, transform it to a handheld flashlight, mount it to a helmet, or even attach it to a bike during a ride.

Our President on the Rubicon Trail

The Rubicon Trail is a 22-mile trail in California that is known for some of the toughest terrain for 4-wheeling tests and adventurists looking for a challenge. Starting in Georgetown, CA and traveling to the beaches of Lake Tahoe, the trail provides beautiful scenery and great camping opportunities… if you can make it.

When we heard that our President, Ben Rivera, had a trip to the Rubicon Trail planned – we had to hear more. After returning from the Rubicon Trail we sat down with Ben to ask some questions and learn all about his experience on the Rubicon Trail.

Ben, how long have you been planning this trip?
I’ve been planning this trip for over 24 years as it has been a dream of mine since I first learned about it. I’ve been building my truck for as long as I’ve worked at Leatherman. In fact, I purchased my Land Cruiser (1984 FJ60) using my second ever paycheck from Leatherman. I absolutely love Lake Tahoe; my family and I go on trips there all the time. It’s a beautiful location with lots of camping, hiking, and outdoor adventures. Plus, it’s not too far from Portland.

What kind of planning and prep had to go into this trip?
We started truly planning a year ago. I sat down with a group of buddies and we all agreed we were going to do it. I had to make a list of changes and upgrades (specific to this trip) that I had to make on my truck to even be able to consider doing the Rubicon Trail.

We spent a ton of time on YouTube, watching videos and learning from others who had done the trail. We analyzed the police and rescue cars thinking if our car was comparable with theirs that we would be fine on the trail. It honestly didn’t look too bad. We were wrong; the trail is hard, very hard.

What unexpected things did you come up on?
The internet lies! Or our perception of it was really off; we really underestimated how radical the trail really is and how difficult it would be for me in my Land Cruiser; the length of my truck is too much. I thought there was going to be a difficult trail and then an easy one off to the side in case I needed to, “go around”. It wasn’t like that, you’re on the trail and there is no off-ramp.

There were moments when I was looking at a goal about 200ft in the distance and I didn’t think I could make it or squeeze through the hole between the rocks. It was always small goals and then look ahead to the next one.  It’s a huge puzzle to solve and you’re always thinking, okay how do I get across this one?  Then before you know it the puzzle becomes, okay why won’t my car start?

What would you have done differently?
I wish my car had a shorter length, more lift and taller tires (I have about 2-1/2” suspension lift and 33” tires). My friend had a ’66 Bronco which had a shorter wheel-base and 35” tires. He did much better than I did. The trail has too many moments when my car was too long to make it through the gap that was in front of us, I would end up high-centered or stuck between boulders.

Would you do it again?
Yes. I have to do it, and I have to make it all the way through the trail. We turned back not too far from the middle of the trail.  Travelers coming toward us told us the hardest part was yet to come, I was running out of power steering fluid, running out of luck, and out of time.  We got a good idea of what to expect when we go back. We heard from others that it gets easier once you are close the finish line on the Tahoe side, after you get through the middle.

It’s almost like there’s an inside joke going around that no one will tell you how hard the trail really is. You have to dive in and experience it yourself. I talked to a lot of people before the trail, even locals along the way, and no one warned me for the radical trail that I was headed for. YouTube definitely doesn’t give you an idea, either.

Which Leatherman did you take?
Signal! It was great, I used it many times. There was one moment when my power steering cap fell into the engine and it was just dangling in the bottom, seconds from falling onto the very dusty ground. I pulled out my Signal and very carefully went down to use the pliers tip to grab the cap before it fell and was coated in dirt that I didn’t want mixed with power steering fluid. Saved the day, that’s for sure.

There was another moment when the starter gave out.  We trouble shot the situation for quite a while after which we narrowed it down to the starter (the battery cables were on and off a lot using the pliers at first…it sure seemed like they were loose).  We ended up taking the starter apart to clean the contacts in the built-in solenoid.  The Signal screwdriver and diamond file were perfect for the task!

What was your favorite part?
Camping, it gets cool at night and the temperature is just perfect. You wake up and it’s so peaceful and quiet. I spent a few early mornings hiking around and finding viewpoints around the trail.

I also really liked the people. It wasn’t very crowded but everyone is there for the same reason. We love 4-wheeling, we love camping, we love the outdoors, and we love the challenge. Everyone is willing to help each other out and help us solve the puzzle before us. As you travel along the trail and see people stuck, you stop and ask if you can give them a hand. It was great.

You could seriously also consider going back to backpack the trail. It’s only 22 miles, and you can explore beautiful spots near and off the trail.  Camping with great people and watching people drive their trucks over amazing obstacles would be as much fun as running your own truck over them.

All in all, it was a good experience?
Oh, absolutely. In total it was a really good time, I got some big scratches and dents on my truck that I’m pretty proud of and it was an awesome vacation outside with friends.

Next time, I plan to make it the whole trail. I want to give myself enough time and a better prepared truck. I’m still working on convincing my son to come with me, too. I’m not sure he understands what is fun about wrecking your truck to accomplish a goal…yet!

Do what you love, longer.

With our SEO headlamp series we want you to get outdoors and connect with nature equipped with the best and most reliable lights you can. We want you be hands-free and able to participate like you would midday.

We want you to hike, ride, ski, surf, run, bike, snowboard, skate, climb, camp, tailgate, explore, adventure, fish, backpack, canoe, kayak, travel, race, tour, navigate, or party… longer.

Shop the SEO series headlamps.

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Sofi Tsingos: Owner of GT-Moto

Sofi Tsingos grew up following her dad around the garage watching him put together old cars and motorcycles in his aircraft maintenance shop. After many years of building alongside pops, Sofi created a company that thrived off the passion her father had passed on to her from the ground up.

Sofi’s love for motorcycles is contagious, we found her passionate outlook for this industry to be fun, creative, and knowledgable. She was a strong-willed entrepreneur and we knew her story would be perfect to share with the Leatherman family.

“It started in a small two-car garage, packed with motorcycle and hot rod parts.”

Working on bikes wasn’t always an easy afternoon in the garage with dad but she’s never let her passion dwindle. While attending technical school, Sofi struggled with many people telling her she doesn’t fit in or belong in the community she had devoted her whole life to. Although heartbreaking, she never let these little comments steer her away from chasing her dream. She ditched the nay-sayers and continued to surround herself with a community that shared the support and passion she did. From there, GT-Moto was born.

Sofi stands on a strong belief that friendship is at the root of everything she does, and that’s clear to see once you get to know her. While running a business full-time and spending days at a time travelling to meet new people and attend events, she still finds the time to commit to helping support all of those who suffer from cancer.

“I believe a cure is possible and as our loved ones have fought and continue to fight, so shall we!”

To help, in the best way she can, she’s been involved in building custom bikes for auctions to support local community friends, participating in events benefitting St. Jude’s Children Hospital, and donating to causes that spend resources to research cures and giving better quality of life after treatment to survivors.

It was an amazing shoot with Sofi, it was great to meet someone so inspiring, creative, and talented. For more on Sofi, her family, her charity work, or motorcycles, head to her website.

Welcome to the family, Sofi – we’re lucky to have you as a friend.

For more on Tread, visit our website.
Photos by Brandon LaJoie

Leatherman supports the Britannia Classic

Downhill longboarding is a sport of friction. It’s how your wheels grip the tar, how tightly you hold your line, it’s that moment before your breath catches and you realize you’re going to have a new hole in your leathers.

At the Britannia Classic, all the gritty business is left on the track as laughs flow as freely as the shouts of exclamation directed at riders nailing a corner or an absolutely spectacular wipe out that turns the race on its head. This year, we got to participate as we gave each rider a Grind.

Many were surprised to hear that Leatherman had a tool directed at skateboarders and were even more shocked at just how much the tool accurately encompassed all their needs. We’re thrilled we were able to be part of a safe and family friendly event such as the Britannia Classic. It was awesome to witness their hard work pay off and young people to develop their skills and become world class athletes.
For more information on our action sports tools including Skate, Snow, and Surf tools: Visit our action sports page. 

A Leatherman Family

When I was 12 years old and a boy scout all I wanted for Christmas was a Leatherman like my dad. He had one that he used at work as a firefighter and around the house. I thought it was the coolest thing. I did get that tool under the tree that year almost eighteen years ago and I still have it today. I used it on every camp out and adventure that I went on as a scout.

Today I am a scout leader and a father and I still carry the same Leatherman I got all those years back. Now I am passing on the tradition to my boys by giving them a Leatherman like my dad did for me. They all got a Leap this year and it has been a fun time teaching them how to use their tools for everyday tasks like working on a bike or more simple things like cutting paper. I hope that when they get older they have the opportunity to share their skills with their kids too.

Cory L.
Las Vegas, NV

Cory was the winner of one of our Father’s Day Tool Tales prizes. For more information on how you can share your favorite story about Dad and win one of our Father’s Day prizes, click here. Final winner will be chosen on 6/19/2015. 

Bagpipes, Runners, and LED LENSER

LED LENSER had the opportunity to support the inaugural TEDxPortland 6K night run, held May 7, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. This non-competitive, family-friendly route took runners around the Portland Waterfront at sunset and continued into the evening.

The theme this year was “Paint the Town Red.” LED LENSER donated Red SEO 5 headlamps for pacers and volunteers of the event. The power and versatility of the SEO 5 was a hit among the runners and volunteers alike. Watch the video below and see the awesome spirit of Portland, Oregon!