Friday, August 26, 2011

Innovations and the Lowly Bleach Bottle

Innovation is the Ultralighter's best friend.

A common technique for teaching innovation involves the use of one lowly empty gallon jug, I personally prefer the bleach bottle for this.

Everyone has a bleach bottle at some point in time. If not, you can use an empty laundry soap jug, a milk jug or other bottle, preferably with a built in handle. It helps individuals get creative to add this feature.

Think of as many ways as possible to use the jug. An obvious starting place is to store clean water in case of power outage. In winter, don't fill the jug all the way or it could burst if the water freezes. I use laundry soap bottles for storing water only meant for washing. Seems it never looses that slightly soapy taste, no matter how many times it gets rinsed.

Ok, that was easy. Another way is to cut a square out of the middle front panel, and make a bird feeder. Screw the cap on so it sheds the rain. Hang it by the handle.

Cut the bottom off and turn it upside down to create a funnel.
Cut either end off at a wide angle, leaving the handle to create a scoop. Use at the beach in the sand, or in the garden, for cat litter, to bail water, etc.

Cut the bottom off and use to protect delicate seedling transplants in spring.

Cut the top off to create a bowl, or wash basin. Add some holes to allow drainage and it becomes a planter. Decorate with magic markers for a cool kids project. Cut  evenly spaced 3 inch slits into the sides to weave colorful cloth or yarn and it becomes an art project.

Fill with sand or pebbles and create an anchor for tarps or tie downs.

Cut 3 x 6 strips out of the bleach bottle to create trail markers. I saw that on the northern section of the Appalachian Trail. Makes sense. They last forever, easy to install, exact dimensions and never fade.

Cut them into exact height to use for drawer deviders. I would go with a rectangluar soap bottle. Round is ok, but the colored bottles might be cuter.

Ok, you got the idea. By cutting off the things we don't need, we fashion what we already have (and might have thrown away if not recycled) into valuable items. We decide the correct demensions and end up with custom gear.

Ultralighters take this same approach when paring down their gear, designing new stuff, and reworking camping equipment to function for long trails.

I've been invited to share my passion and teach some classes this fall. This is going to be a lot of fun for me because I've been doing this a long time and it never gets old.

No comments:

Post a Comment