While dabbling around on the net, I stumbled on this thread regarding Lightweight Camping Tables on the BWCA forums. Seems like some folks have come up with neat plywood tables that setup on trees to get some basic gear off the ground...
deancamp's camping table
okinaw55's suspended camping table
Turns out that there are some commercial versions out there including the Coleman Gear Station complete with lantern hooks...
I'm also familiar with the much more elaborate Mason Kitchen designed by Paul Mason. It's described on his site here. Kevin Callan & crew often feature them in their many canoeing adventure videos. Here's a youtube video link of the gang using it in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.
Anyway, while dreaming about future backcountry trip I thought about the idea multi-purposing the leather tumpline on the wanigan to suspend the lid as a sort of tree shelf. I'm sure seasoned trippers have done something like this before, but I haven't found any pics online showcasing this concept.
There's a spot on the cottage property that has some nice trees and I often set up my Hennessy Hammock to get a bug free afternoon snooze. This time I brought along the wanigan for the experiment. The leather tumpline was slipped off without untying all the knots. The headband was placed over the hammock's suspension straps around the tree. A low hanging branch could've also worked. The remaining leather loops which normally go under the base of the wanigan were used to support the wanigan lid and I ended up with a functional & sturdy elevated table.
Here's a view from the side...
Wanigan lid "shelf" suspended from Tump
Loaded up the shelf with some of the typical gear I might carry. On the left is a Trangia Mini cookset with an extra stainless steel bowl found at a thrift store. On the right is a separate SS kettle I like to use for the constant boiling of water for hot beverages. Can't tell, but there is a homemade alcohol stove underneath it along with the SS plate. My trusty flask of bourbon rounds out the shelf.
Loaded up in the practice camp
Anyway, seems like a feasible way to temporarily rig up some usable work space in camp. Of course, the lid would have to go back on at night to prevent the critters from getting into the food supply. The lid can be easily removed to snap back on at night and the tied tumpline simply slipped back around the wanigan when it's time to break camp. One of the benefits of lugging a cumbersome wooden box on a trip is the flat surface in camp. Put it on the ground and you have an instant bench for food prep & entertainment. Now that there's this hanging shelf option, I'm looking forward to getting some backcountry time with it.