Back in October, during part of the time we were away from SurvivalBlog, we were practicing our bug out scenario with a group of folks we might join in a TEOTWAWKI  situation. We took our vehicle with camp stove, tent, and significant equipment, but we also took the minimal equipment that might be needed if we were to need to vacate the vehicles, too. We believe in practicing what we preach, so to speak and encourage you to do so too. There is no substitute for experience! Every time we do this, we come up with new ideas for improvement, whether it is for improved comfort, convenience, ease of transport/loading/unloading, better OPSEC, or something else. I personally believe that I have infinite opportunity for improvement and am always seeking how to do this. I just can only handle a little at a time, but I’m open to it. It truly is my desire to become better at everything that is important, and my family’s survival in an emergency (whether a small, personal emergency or a massive global one) is pretty near the top of my “life’s priority” list. (What tops the list is my own and my family’s eternal spiritual security with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through faith in and obedience to His Son and His Word.)
We had a great and adventurous time traveling to and setting up our camp with our friends. We practiced building fires and cooking with them, but I also cooked with the gas camp stove and camp oven. I used some of our freeze-dried food ingredients and meals and also cooked from scratch. Several weeks of bugging out really gives you a taste for what life might be like if we had to live away from “home” long term. I was almost sad to have to go home, but I hadn’t gone through the winter and depleted my supplies. I hadn’t gardened without a tractor. We weren’t under attack. We weren’t simply living with what we could carry on our backs either.
We had some minor health emergencies. Some of these allowed me to put my homegrown herbal remedies and tinctures as well as purchased essential oils to work. In spite of being outside in the sun all day every day, none of our family (including the fairest skinned among us) had issues with sunburn. I’m learning that nutrition has a lot to do with this. My homemade healing lotion resolved the other family’s sunburn and our cuts overnight. Strains and sprains were quickly healed with my infused trauma oil. I’ll write about this at some point in the future. We all got a real taste of what it might be like to be with a varied group of families with young children and also the elderly. Fortunately, we had no serious health crises within our group.
We had great fun on one particular evening when our family prepared a formal feast to share with a few others who we invited to our campsite for dinner. During our bugout experience, some meals were shared but most were handled by individual families or a few families within their own campsights. On the particular evening that we decided to host something special, it became somewhat like our own survival Thanksgiving feast, only without the turkey and dressing. Instead, we had beef, cheese, rice, green salad, and fresh fruit. The climax of our feast was a camp made apple crumb pie. Yes, you read that right. While bugging out, I made and baked an apple crumb pie that was better than the ones I make at home because it was made in God’s beautiful outdoors.
There are so many things that we can do to go beyond survival. It is my philosophy that I want my family to thrive and not just survive, regardless of the world around us. I’m going to be creative and resourceful to find ways to do this. With a camp oven, there are many things that we enjoy at home that can be made out in the wilderness now, too. My little Coleman camp oven looks like it is big, but it breaks down to be only about three inches tall by about fourteen inches square. (I am approximating here, as it is packed away and ready to go whenever we need to bug out.)
Here’s how I made our delicious bugout “Thanksgiving” apple crumb pie, complete with low-quality photos (sorry!).
Steps for Sarah Latimer’s Bugout Crumb-Topped Apple Pie
- Make Sarah Latimer’s custom apple pie spice blend by combining the following (very healthy) spices: (Grinding them from their whole form is always the best tasting but not the easiest, especially when camping, so grind these ahead of time and possibly even blend ahead of time into a container, too; the blend can be used on baked apples or in applesauce also.)
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Roll out single pie crust and place it into pie plate (Pyrex or metal), fluting the edges.
- Peel, core, and thinly slice apples until accumulating 6 cups of sliced apples; place in large bowl.
- Set up camp oven with rack set in center position. I use a Coleman camp  oven as shown in the pictures. 
- Preheat camp oven over medium stove flames to reach about 400-425 degrees (before opening door). (We ideally want to bake pie at around 375 degrees, but because the temperature will fluctuate in our camp oven get it hotter before opening door to insert pie.)
- In a cup, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 4 tsp of apple pie spice blend, and 2-4 Tbsp flour (depending upon type of apples; use 4 Tbsp when apples are soft/juicy and only 2 Tbsp when apples are crisp and dry). Pour this dry mixture over apples and toss to mix well.
- Spoon apples into pie crust, filling the pie edges first and pressing apples down tightly and then filling in the middle and piling them up.
- In a medium metal bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 sugar. Then, add 1/2 cup of softened (not melted) butter and cut with either a large fork or a pastry cutter until the mixture is just small crumbs.
- Spoon the crumb topping over apples, beginning with the edges and filling in the center.
- Sit the pie on top of heavy duty aluminum foil  that is larger in size that the pie plate and curl the edges of the foil up a bit. (The foil will catch over flow from pie but allow heat to rise around the pie plate.)
- Open your pre-heated camp oven and while using oven mits carefully insert your foil and pie plate simultaneously; close oven door tightly.
- Watch the thermometer and adjust heat as necessary to keep the oven’s temperature between 350 and 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until apples are cooked and crust is browned. (You’ll have to open the oven periodically to check, beginning at about 40 minutes.) I believe my stove knobs were generally on medium-low to low during most of the baking time, but your stove may be different.
- When pie is bubbly and browned, turn stove off and remove pie from camp oven. Allow it to cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
I let my oven get a little too hot at one point while I was preparing some other dishes, so the pie had some spots that were overly browned on the back side. It didn’t keep us from enjoying it. It was piled high, spicy sweet, and absolutely delicious!
The next time your family gets the opportunity, practice your bugout protocol and see how comfortable and resourceful you can be. You might even want to try this pie or get even more adventurous and bake homemade bread out in the wilderness!
I have used our camp oven to make breads. It’s best to practice now, as there is not only a learning curve to making things from scratch in a home kitchen but especially to using less than automated tools, like the camp oven that doesn’t regulate the temperature, when out in the wilderness.
So, live beyond survival and look at ways to thrive, no matter where you find yourself!
May God bless you and help you count all of the blessings already around you.