Everyone knows how important it is to level the camper and we all do it. But I also am a bit OCD when it comes to leveling the picnic table. Unlike some states and even some higher end campgrounds, Indiana State Parks and most private campgrounds provide a picnic table that is not anchored down in concrete. And, especially in Indiana, you never have a perfectly level picnic table.
With that said, I spend a bit of time initially setting up the picnic table by placing short 2x4's under the feet and use a small carpenter's square to get the top as close as possible.
But then, when using our Coleman gas stove or our electric flat griddle, or the electric skillet, it's still not completely level, at all the best attempts.
Well, when cooking eggs especially, who wants their eggs to slide around? Or off? So years and years ago, I took some 1/4 inch plywood and cut into small pieces to use to fine tune the flat griddle to a perfect level, both directions. Place them or stack them under the feet of the griddle until perfectly level. .... But, even that, after over 35 years of camping with my wife and kids, it's not truly perfect.... until about 2 weeks ago when an idea hit me .....
Shems! Yes, Shems! The same ones a carpenter would use to make cabinet counter tops perfectly level, or cabinets, or even wall framing. So, I picked up a package of shems from Ace Hardware (I wasn't near a Lowe's when I had this brainstorm) and tried them. And 2 weekends in a row, they work great! A $2.50 package of 20 short shems ... and ... why didn't I think of this sooner!
So, today, we are at Shakamack State Park (Indiana) and I thought I snap some photos of my preparation for breakfast! And ... eggs did not slide! Perfectly level on top of a rickety picnic table:
Eggs did not run all over the griddle. Nice! AND yummy!
Another tip? What do you do with the bacon grease? Try using a can opener on the top of a Pepsi or Coke can and cut off the top. Pour the grease in the can. Once it turns hard, throw it away. Or save it and use for additional cooking or flavoring. Or save it, remelt it, and pour it over your wood in the fire pit to start a campfire!
So, if you use a portable cooking device on top of a picnic table, including a Coleman stove, the shems work great to keep the pot from sliding round on the Coleman stove top too.