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Cook Kit Options

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Cook Kit Options

Postby Adrn » Fri May 15, 2015 8:05 pm

Hi HSTers,
I would like some advice. I'm in the market for a backpacking cook kit. I already have a Ti mug that I use, but would like to get something like a pan for cooking trout. I was looking at the GSI stuff such as the soloist, dualist, base camp kit. These are nice but I would have to chop the fish into steaks. I want something that I can pan fry the fish in. Otherwise I could bring some extra foil to steam it.
Do I go with aluminum, stainless, other? Ideal size?

Will anyone please share some personal experience on this subject?

Thanks for any info you can give.
Adrian



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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby markskor » Fri May 15, 2015 10:54 pm

A tough decision on what frypan to purchase as there is nothing currently available out there for backpacking which, IMHO, hits the sweet spot... a balance between being "big enough", and one with acceptable weight, cost, and finish. Yes, there are plenty of lightweight, regular kitchen type, non-stick, Teflon fry pans out there - large enough for cooking whole fish except they are too heavy, and there is that chemical danger of getting the Teflon coating too hot - (over 450º and you get carcinogenic Teflon).

Also something to consider in this quest is what source you will be using for heat. Are you cooking fish on camp fires/hot coals only/ restricting yourself to below 10,000 feet elevation, or are you also cooking trout above timberline where a serious heat source would then be required? If the latter, then you will also need a solid, secure, hot stove capable of holding a larger frypan stable, and additionally, one having a wider flame pattern. Pocket rocket (stove over the canister) stoves work well for boiling water when using smaller pots but when using a wide frypan - one holding fish - a bit tipsy... as well as too small a flame pattern to heat a larger pan evenly. Thus, along with frypan selection, you have limited choices of stoves too - a remote canister type (stable - see picture), a white gas burner (but then there is weight, the gas spillage issues, noise, and that horrid smell of kerosene), or a Jetboil type (but this last choice limits you to poaching, not frying.) BTW, alcohol stoves are pretty much useless up high for cooking fish - (just not enough heat to cook chunky, fat trout) when higher up Sierra.

Thus your question should really be: If cooking trout at altitude - What cooking system is best?

My current solution, when cooking up trout dinners where fires not allowed, is the MSR Windpro canister stove or similar - (remote canister - sits low, stable, wide flame, windscreen), a 10", solid- titanium frypan - (4 - 5 oz.), and finally, cooking the trout in the frypan using aluminum foil packets...big enough, light, no Teflon fumes, and no cleanup. BTW, good luck finding a similar frypan as I found/bought mine on-line from Japan - 15 years ago...no longer offered. You could also use a rather heavy, Teflon-coated frypan and replace it yearly when the coating goes south, (or kills you first).
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Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby Rye_Tyler » Sat May 16, 2015 12:59 am

Mark brings up a lot of good points. I've been using a MSR Duralite, 5.4oz with a Windpro or a Giga canister stove. A quick look shows it's no longer in REI's line up though..
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby rlown » Sat May 16, 2015 11:06 am

And now for the kicker to that pic and comment by Mark! That's my teflon pan he's cooking the foil wrapped trout in. His pan is sitting out of frame down to his right, empty. :D :D

Chain Lks 2010 058.JPG
Fun in the backcountry kitchen


Teflon won't kill you unless you breathe the fumes from the smoking pan. This happens if you're not watching your temp. I like Mark's pan (am I in the will? probably not)

But, I get a new Teflon pan every few years and am just as happy, fish-cooking wise. GSI Pinnacle. Comes in at a pound, but worth every ounce.

Adding this as an example, not an endorsement:
http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3657957&emssrcid=PPC%3AgooPLAs%3AgsiEverything_Else&adpos=1o5&creative=60862021245&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KEQjw1duqBRDPlLKsuJCUiuABEiQAxgHwJ3VKtAlm1Rqx12HB5tJfsGPA2t4-wGOHOi-IanaS5LUaApkO8P8HAQ
There are a couple models of the pinnacle..

Russ
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby markskor » Sat May 16, 2015 12:41 pm

This photo above taken at one of our past Old Fart trips...5 experienced and ancient Sierra hikers, getting together to fish and tell lies. Yes, I am the one cooking foil trout packages in this photo using Russ's Pinnacle Teflon 10-inch (one pound weight!) frypan...my (just used) 10 inch titanium is the one just off my right knee...same size. BTW, if I cook - (Pretty much always with these clowns), do not have to do any dishes afterwards. Also notice the roll of aluminum foil sitting to my left, and the small nalgene holding olive oil...spices are there too...lots of good gear/ stoves/ etc scattered about our kitchen here - lots of options evident - all proven and well used.

Any major differences in the two fry pans? My Ti pan weighs 1/3 his aluminum pan... mine has lasted 16+ years @ 100 nights out/year - hundreds/ maybe thousands of fish cooked...his pan is used a whole lot less as he seldom hikes much anymore (thinking too old?)...mine cleans up with river sand (or sandpaper at home off season)... mine has no Teflon coating, thus mine a non scratch-able surface. (Cannot hurt Titanium). He replaces his lightly used but Teflon depleted pan every few years...and occasionally breathes in volumes of Teflon fumes...(probably explains a lot.)

Frying trout (using the traditional no-foil method) is always a great way to go too - just a few tsps oil, spices, and easy-peasy...trout dinner magic. You will soon enough discover though that it is the clean-up thing afterwards that sucks when direct frying/ if not using foil. If camping where fires are allowed, still say foil packets are the preferred way over frying - just throw the packs right into the hot coals - no pan needed at all. Just be sure to pack out the trash afterwards.
Whatever works for you.
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby rlown » Sat May 16, 2015 12:46 pm

that's only my second pan in 20 years. Am I in your will yet? :) I do a week or two a year if lucky. Not a pensioner yet.

I don't scrub with sand; it's a heat and rinse deal. One note on whatever pan you get, take something to cover it in your pack. In case it's not completely clear of the cooking smells.
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby Jimr » Sat May 16, 2015 1:27 pm

WOW, what a gear explosion there :eek:
What?!
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby rlown » Sat May 16, 2015 4:57 pm

Our "kitchen rock" is known for being a spread for prep and cooking; hence, the explosion of gear. We do actually clean up after ourselves, so we've got that going for us.

Anyway, back to Mark's comment:
Teflon fry pans out there - large enough for cooking whole fish except they are too heavy, and there is that chemical danger of getting the Teflon coating too hot - (over 450º and you get carcinogenic Teflon).


You can decide for yourself from this article at cancer.org: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercaus ... acid--pfoa

Looks like there is little chance to get cancer from Teflon unless you're making the product. Just don't overheat your Teflon pan... if the PFOA's are mostly gone and you're not trying to melt your fry pan, most likely ok. Fish don't cook well at 800 degrees anyway :)

On general "cook kit options", build your own; Stove, I like mark's, but I'm a white gas guy, a general use pot, a fry pan, TI sporks, lexan cups to eat out of (you can tell i'm not UL at this point). Also depends on how many you expect in your group on what you take.

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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby ERIC » Sat May 16, 2015 6:39 pm

You guys crack me up!
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby Adrn » Sat May 16, 2015 8:45 pm

This is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for =D> =D> =D> The humor interlaced is bonus! Thanks markskor, rlown, rye_tyler. While I was thinking UL, it was not a deal breaker. Right now some trips may be solo as I am trying to get started with what I am calling packfish trips. Would love to "graduate" to 10k or higher trips, but most likely thinking/planning sub 10k. Good advice also on building my kit as I maybe need to just find what works for me. I was truly thinking a combo of using my primus micro stove(pocket rocket?) or hot coals. From seeing and reading how much you use it, the foil will definitely be coming with. Did not even consider needing a wider capacity stove also. Smaller nalgene for oil is nice too. Is a Ti spork/set not necessary or will my LMF plastic sporks or guyot designs 5 in 1 utensils just melt if I cook with them?? As for bringing something to store it in to prevent smells, what do you use or recommend? Also being new to this, I'm going off a lot of standard info I have read up on. I noticed one of your tents really close to your "kitchen". No concern of bears etc??
Thanks again for any and all advice.
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby rlown » Sat May 16, 2015 8:58 pm

I've seen the "plastic" sporks melt. I've had two TI sporks for at least 15 years. You have your knife and your spork; I don't scrape the pan with the spork; I deglaze the pan at the end for juices. Storing your pan in your pack isn't so much about the smell, but about any residuals that get to your clothes. depends on your pack choice. I wrap my pan in the first day shirt :( It's more about the pack and other things in there. The pan gets left out at night if the bear wants to play. They usually don't. I put it on the top of my bear can as a warning.

The wider stove burner really helps with cooking fish, per Mark's recommendation.
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Re: Cook Kit Options

Postby Snowtrout » Sat May 16, 2015 9:01 pm

Don't know if you are looking for a fry pan by itself or a fry pan/pot combo. If it is the latter, I have been very happy with a msr alpine 2l pot set. The lid works as a fry pan, plate and lid. Have cooked trout and quesadillas on it many times. It is stainless steel, weighs about 14oz and holds all of the kitchen gear for my wife and I. I've had it for over 20 years and ever time I look at buying a new pot, nothing I have seen in that size matches its overall versatility: most pot lids are just lids.

I bought the 2l by itself but today's sets come with a 1.5 and 2l pot with the lid sized to work with both.
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