I alluded to a post about my “kitchen” in my post yesterday about “Food on the Trail”. That inspired me to actually write this post, as I have been planning to for some time now.
This is my “kitchen” for a 1-person backpacking/hiking trip. If I go hiking with my kids and we cook on the trail, I obviously will bring more than just my cup/bowl combo, an possibly even borrow some gear from friends if I need to. If car camping – imagine this time 100… hibachi grill, over the fire grill stand, pots, pans, etc… because I do not have to carry it on my back. Once spring gets here and I get out camping with the family, expect more posts in that area, but, since it is winter, and all I have done are day hikes and backpacking trips for the past few months, guess where my posts are focused? 🙂
Anyway, without further ado… here is my backpacking “kitchen”.
All of the below gets packed up and stowed in an REI Ditty Bag, along with my non-snack food. Which makes it easy for bear-bagging at camp, since it is all together.
NOTE – Do not just bear-bag your food, bear bag any trash that smells like food, or, any of your cookware – that also has the remnants of food on it!
Stove – MSR Pocket Rocket
I bought this as soon as it was featured in Backpacker Magazine years ago, and have not been disappointed. Lightweight (3 ounces), powerful, and completely affordable at ~$40. Screws right onto any isobutane fuel canister, and lights easily. No pumps or anything like that to worry about breaking. Get the gas going, and ignite it with a lighter, stick (on fire), Bunsen burner, candle, magnesium fire starter, explosives wick, flamethrower, whatever you fancy. Pictured in the top photo on this page is the plastic case for this stove, which keeps it safe, so you do not bend or break any important parts.
I’ll include this here, as there is no other reason to have it, is I either carry an 8 fluid ounce canister of isobutane for 2-day trips, multi-person cooking, or one-plus night winter trips (lots of snow melting!). Otherwise, I bring a 4 fluid ounce canister for fuel.
Cookset – GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist
If I recall correctly, I purchased this about the same time as my MSR stove, as I wanted something all-in-one, as the Pocket Rocket fits inside this cookset just fine. In fact I think I also read about this in Backpacker Magazine… possibly even the same issue!
What is not pictured to the left, but is above, is the carry bag, which also doubles as a camp sink. I have ditched the original spork that came with this as well (see below for what I use now). I love this thing – and so does everyone else that sees mine. The base-weight of the system is 10.8 ounces, so it is very lightweight, and the lexan lid for the pot helps make pouring a breeze as it has a pour notch carved into it.
This also comes with a 14oz insulated plastic mug/bowl, which I use as my coffee cup in the morning, or a bowl for whatever food I am eating. This nestles right into the bottom of the pot. If I am carrying a 4 fluid ounce canister of isobutane fuel, I take off the insulator and wrap that around the canister to reduce rattle inside the pot, as that also fits right in there.
The one drawback of the pot, is that the rubber housing will indeed burn if put into a camp fire, so, you’ll need something to be able to pick it up with, if you ever lose that, as that will get hot otherwise.
Utensils – Vargo Titanium Eagle Spork
Cheap – in price at about $10, strong (it’s titanium!), and lightweight at half an ounce. It is 6” long, which makes it slightly messy getting down into the bottom of a Mountain House meal, but hey, you’re not trying to be all clean and pretty out there. It also has a semi-useful carabiner attachment at the top. I say semi-useful, as it is very small, so, I hook it on the draw-cord of my GSI Soloist carry sack/sink, rather than on the outside of my pack where it could easily come off. Price-wise, it comes in about the same for most titanium sporks on the market.
Utensils – Tool Logic SLPLY Pocket Knife/Multi-tool
This is my current go-to pocket knife, which I almost always have on me, unless I am either at the airport, or on-site with a client. I love Tool Logic’s multi-use knives. I carried their SL3 for years before it was recently lost. So, this is not specifically carried in my “kitchen”, but I use it as my knife when preparing, cooking, or eating meals on the trail.
And that is my “kitchen” on the trail. Small, lightweight, portable, rugged, and, it works.