Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

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AlmostThere
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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:39 am

If all you ever do is boil water - which has advantages - namely, no washing up required, and no lingering smells on the cookware for critters to develop an interest in - you don't need a set, just a single pot. Which is lighter as well. This is what I do. Rehydrating meals is the way to go for those of us who don't want to put soap all over the wilderness, spend a lot of time with kitchen chores, or risk burning food in the pot.

If you are a chef, the GSI seem to be the cheaper of the options. I can't really give a lot of advice on cook sets specifically, as I am a big fan (after scorching and destroying a few things over the backpacking stove) of very very very simple things on the trail. The less there is that can go wrong, the happier I am, because things then go as expected.

The stove is a big part of the equation. Most backpacking stoves are like bunsen burners. On, off, not much in between -- simmering is difficult. Burners are often a single point instead of a wide flame pattern that you need for even heat dispersion. Anything you add to help with that will add weight and complexity to the system.

Cooking also means that you need to carry a lot of fuel - I can get through five days with a 3 oz fuel can, boiling once in the morning and once in the evening. If I cooked every meal, I would need a lot more than that. Indeed, on fishing trips where we cannot built fires, I carry the skillet and my fishing buddy brings a second full canister just for frying fish. I have to hold the pan up off the stove a little and move it around a lot to get evenly cooked fish.

So - my lightest kit is a small alcohol stove (several grams), a small titanium pot that holds 2 cups water (4 oz), a cozy (less than an ounce), pot stand (half an ounce) and windscreen (half an ounce). About five ounces of fuel would be five boils.

My heaviest kit is a Primus remote canister outfit with a windscreen, the jetboil-style pot with all the business on the bottom to conserve heat and be fuel efficient, and lots of packaging -- bags for all the individual components. Weighs in at about a pound and a half.

For rehydrating, I take a titanium cup and cozy, and a spork to eat with.

When just rehydrating I take no soap -- rinse out the cup I eat in, sometimes use a little sand, disperse the water far from the water source.

If I happen to be with a group that insists on pancakes and whatnot -- get a bucket of water, walk farrrrrrr away from the water, use just a tiny drop of soap, get out the scrub sponge, clean, disperse, do it again....

You have to decide on what to cook, how you want to cook it, and how much you want to carry. Things that you cook will also weigh more than a bunch of dehydrated meals in ziplock bags -- they will also take much more real estate in the bear canister, resulting in your being unable to take the very small canister that's also lighter in the pack. You will have to carry the kind of canister that I typically take for a week long trip, just for a 2-3 day outing.

All of this to say - study first the different ways to eat on the trail and decide on a method. Just add water meals, or taking food from home. Visit trailcooking.com and read recipes and blog entries. Don't make this decision until you know what you really want. It is much lighter for a lot of reasons to use freeze dried or home dehydrated foods -- storage and prep work changes your needs for cookware. If you truly want light, you have to sacrifice complexity. Obviously the more you take the heavier it is, the more work you end up doing.

I use meals from Packit Gourmet, home made foods, and some ingredients from sources like Valley Food Storage. I eat very well, on trail crew and otherwise. I do not spend big bucks on things like Mountain House - I eat what I eat at home, throw leftovers on the dehydrator in the weeks before a big trip, and keep things both light and simple, because we use bear canisters all the time.
Last edited by AlmostThere on Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.








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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by freestone » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:40 am

Titanium is the best choice according to your list of needs. Most titanium products are made in China with the exception of Snow peak which is Japanese and some say is also a better grade of titanium. If weight were no concern then stainless steel is the best followed by aluminum. Aluminum is my personal choice...light and has good heat transfer properties with a wide range of products to chose from. Trangia is my favorite manufacturer, the shape of their cookware works really well with the flame pattern of my stove so make sure what every get mates well with your stove too.
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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by grampy » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:35 am

I second AlmostThere’s assessment of the LNT (and “work avoidance”) considerations for cooking vs simply rehydrating. Also, yes, titanium is the lightest cookware “out of the box”. However, I have seen a study where the lesser thermal conductivity of titanium (vs aluminum) is taken into account; the slightly longer boil time uses a bit more fuel, so for longer trips (6+ days) the weight advantage may shift back to aluminum cook pots, esp. if you are using a “canister” stove.
If you prefer a canister (isobutane) stove, there is a great deal now at REI - $45 for the Soto Amicus Stove Cookset Combo. The stove (2.9 oz) has good simmer capability and wind resistance, and has a built-in piezo igniter; I now prefer it to my MSR ”Pocket Rocket 2”. The included anodized aluminum cookset (7.6 oz) is a 1.0 liter pot with a 0.5 liter alum. lid (doubles as a bowl) - perfect for 2 people. I bought one for my (adult) daughter and her boyfriend.

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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:39 am

I guess the original poster decided he didn't want our feedback after all? Huh.

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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by bobby49 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:50 am

A small titanium cook pot is extremely lightweight. However, the thermal conductivity of titanium gives the cook pot some limitations. Titanium, in a typical thickness, is great for a small water boiler, but it will have hot spots if you are trying to cook anything real, like eggs. If you had a thicker titanium cook pot to avoid hot spots, then the extra thickness would be adding weight to the whole thing, negating the superiority of titanium.

Aluminum cook pots tend to have that extra thickness to help avoid hot spots. However, some backpackers are determined to melt a distinct hole in the bottom of the aluminum. A hot stove burner can do that.

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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by markskor » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:51 am

AlmostThere wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:39 am
I guess the original poster decided he didn't want our feedback after all? Huh.
FYI, I try to check on every new member - almost a daily ritual.
Using 2 Spam Check programs, this new member's IP and username shows 50+ Spam attacks over the last 2 years. Because of these reasons, I deleted this member and his/her posts.
mark
Mountainman who swims with trout

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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by grampy » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:56 am

:\ Oh well.
to AlmostThere - “Packit Gourmet”, huh ? - do they retail anywhere, or is it mail-order only? Free shipping (with or without a minimum order)?

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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:04 am

Mail order. I can't keep them on hand at home because I would pull them out and use them. They have a good grocery section too, and some cooking gear. I have quite a bit of their stuff from the days that I attempted to be the kind of hiker who used cook sets.

Folks who want a pat answer and don't want to think much about it don't like it when I give them the answers I wish I'd gotten, back when I was the kind of backpacker who just wanted the easy answers...

And spammers, well, sorry to have wasted the time on one.

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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by gary c. » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:54 am

Since this thread has gone sideways anyhow I'll add my own question.

I've carried a pocket rocket for many years and it has never missed a lick. Between my 2.5oz stove and 4oz MSR titanium pot I've been very happy. At the same time it seems like everyone has gone to a Jet Boil at somewhere around 13 oz.

What am I missing?
I know that it heats water fast but could it really save that much fuel?
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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:10 am

I've carried a Snow Peak Giga for 13+ years and keep doing it. Adding the windscreen adds weight, but it does boil a tad faster. Basically those pots with the heavy stuff on the bottom really focus the heat on the pot, making it boil faster, which then results in fuel efficiency.

I do not have a JetBoil and won't, because when the stuff breaks, the piezo fails, or the pot just won't stay lit - as has happened on frosty mornings -- my Giga and I end up heating up water for coffee for everyone.

Were I to pick up a stove right now, not caring about the weight of the thing, I would spring for the MSR Windburner. Needs no windscreen and does not have a flame, but boils the water nicely. Much more efficient in wind than the Jetboil or the other stoves with flame burners. But I have a dozen stoves and will use them because they keep working fine.

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