Monday, September 01, 2008

Singin' the praises of tulle

Design isn't just about visuals; its also about learning it see things differently - not just accept their intended use. Take today's example: tulle. Ah tulle, is there nothing you can't do? Fluffy, frothy accompaniment to weddings and proms galore, this is one of my favorite pieces of outdoor gear.

Confused yet? After my wedding I had several yards of the stuff leftover. What to do with it? At the same time, I was thinking about backpacking and the need to strain noodles on the trail. Hmmm... AHHHH. Tulle! Nylon netting that melts well above the boiling point of water, and weighs as close to nothing as can be imagined. So I grabbed some leftover, washed the starch out of it, and tried it out. The method that works best, as it turns out, is to have enough tulle so that you can wrap it entirely around the pot (take it off the burner first and let it cool a tad) and grab it on the other side, then just turn the pot over over a cat hole you've dug a good distance from water.

Because the ultra-light hikers mantra is that everything must serve more than one use, here are some other things I've come up with:
  • Tea strainer. Nothing lighter or easier to clean up if you use loose leaf tea (I'm a total tea snob) like me.
  • Pot cleaner. Scrubbies can get germy FAST... but if you use just a little scrap of tulle you can dispose of it after use. OR, clean it with some soap (if you use soap on the trail) and use it again; it should keep much less germy than a sponge or scrubby.
  • Bandage wrapping. Don't laugh - it works really well in long thinnish strips to hold gauze pads on, and its still crazy light
  • Mosquito netting. I haven't had to try this one to keep mosquitoes out, but I have made a great light-weight bug catching net out of it.
That's right: tulle. Now more GI Joe than Barbie.

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