Newspapers Are Not Totally Useless

It’s no secret that newspapers – once our society’s dominant source of information — are struggling to survive in a digital world. Circulation is down, as is ad revenue. Newspapers have a smaller news hole, are reducing their coverage areas and reporters and editors are getting laid off or offered buyouts or early retirement deals.

But wait. Newspapers are still good for something, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.

Next time you go camping, hiking, hunting or fishing, make sure you bring along a stack of newspapers. (Assuming you still subscribe to one.)

Here are 10 things newspapers can be used for in the outdoors:

1. Starting a campfire. Crumple up a few pages, pile on some dry grass and twigs, and light a match. Shouldn’t take but a page or two.

2. When pitching your tent, put down a plastic tarp, and then cover the tarp with a layer of newspapers. The paper makes excellent insulation, keeping your body from cooling off as much at night in cold weather. Having the tarp beneath the newspapers keeps them from absorbing any moisture.

3. But their moisture-absorbing qualities are great for stuffing inside wet boots or hiking shoes.

4. Use dry newspaper pages to wipe out your camp skillet, pots and pans. Makes washing a whole lot easier and wastes less water. If you don’t mind a little ink on your hands, newspapers aren’t bad “paper” towels, either.

5. Newspapers wrapped around a plastic bag of ice slow the melt-rate, keeping your ice chest cooler longer.

6. If a cold front catches you by surprise and you don’t have a coat, a trick I learned from my grandfather is to fold a newspaper page or two and stick it under your hat. (Surely you took a hat along.) You’ll be amazed at how much warmer you’ll feel. If it’s really, really cold, stuff newspapers under your shirt. It’ll be like wearing a coat.

7. Fold a few sheets of newspaper down to pot-holder size and use it for that purpose when lifting something from the campfire like a coffee pot.

8. Wrapped newsprint makes a good funnel for dry cooking ingredients.

9. It’s an old joke, but newspapers are great for wrapping fish remnants in. If you have to carry your trash out, sprinkle some baking powder in the package to lessen the smell.

10. Finally, it you get bored with nature’s beauty, you could break down and read the newspaper.

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