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Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:32 am
by Wandering Daisy
There are some tricks to stretch out your fuel when doing actual cooking.

First is to have "cozies" for the pot. With these I find that even food that says 10 minute cook time, can be simmered for about 2 minutes, then put in a cozy, and let sit 10 minutes, and turns out fine.

Second is to have a good yet light wind screen. Mine is home-made from what probably was a reflector cone for candles. Anyway, a friend who is a junk recycler found it and made me a wind screen. Also carefully look for a wind-free cook site.

Third is to solar heat water. I do this for evening meals. First thing I do when I get to camp is to fill a 2-L platypus, and then lay it on a black surface (usually a stuff sack) facing the sun. It is amazing how much warmer the water gets for only an hour in the sun. Also amazing how much fuel is used just to bring the ice cold water up to barely warm. Obviously this is not possible for breakfast, so I bring quick-cook breakfasts but can use longer cook food for dinner.

Fourth, most stove burners are best slowly heated up to save fuel. So, instead of turning it on full blast, just turn it on a little, light, and then give it a few seconds to warm up and then after about 1 minute, crank up the valve.

I cook and use about 1 oz. fuel per day, except more if I cook fish. I have a solo cup but rarely use it. In my experience, the larger small titanium pot )believe it is a quart) actually boils water faster than the long skinny solo pot. I take the medium gas canister for a 1-week trip; large one for a 10-12 day trip. I have a Sno-Peak stove and it simmers very well.

I do not use soap on dishes. I just rinse them out. Next time you use the pot, it gets sterilized anyway once the water boils. Food sticks and burns less if you put in a good tablespoon of oil when cooking. I use both olive oil and margarine.

My big problem with freeze dry meals is that chunks are fragile and bulky, so if you have to squish 10 days food in a bear can you end up with mush. Also FD stuff is very expensive. I really do not find that cooking while backpacking that difficult. Yes, you do have to keep an eye on what you are cooking and stir occasionally. Regular dry food is also more like what I eat daily, so I have less digestive issues.

My cook stuff (all titanium) for a week is 1.6 pounds; medium pot and lid, cozies, sporke, Sno-Peak stove, 12.8-oz medium fuel can (7.8 oz of fuel in the can). Of course, the fuel weight goes down each day. Cannister fuel is heavier but very convenient.

If my husband goes with me, I bring the next size titanium pot and we communally eat out of the one pot.

I got the tip here on this forum, and it works, to wrap fish, oil and spices in foil and then steam it in a pot with a tiny bit of water and simmer.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:26 pm
by markskor
Your choice of stove depends on what type of cooking you will be doing, what season, and how high you go.
If just boiling water...
- Cat stoves - work OK...a little slow for me...not hot enough to cook fish...not legal some sections Sierra due to fire regulations as no shut off valve.
- There are plenty of Jet Boil type options and easy to just boil water. However they are a bit heavy and (IMHO) ungainly - (the Windburner specs show 15.5 oz ?). Cannot simmer/ do soups unless you like heavy clean-up...tipsy...cannot cook fish...useless on cold mornings (cannot invert gas canister).
- Pocket Rocket types - easy, small, light, cheap, fast boil times... tipsy, also cannot invert gas canister, cannot use a windscreen.
- White gas...the staple for years past, but unless going high or cooking /boiling water for a larger group, outdated.
- Remote Canisters...low, stable, windscreen-able, good simmer, has a generator loop that allows you to invert canister on cold enough to cook fish... heavier than Pocket Rocket types.

FWIW, I fish and like to cook...carry the MSR Windpro...1.7 liter aluminum pot...10 inch Ti frypan.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:19 pm
by neil d
Some pretty good stuff here. I really like WD's suggestion of pre-heating water on a dark rock, will need to use that.

I have all manner of stoves, and typically bring a Jetboil or first-gen Snowpeak Giga. With the Giga I have the GSI Haulite Minimalist 0.6L pot with cozy. I really like this setup because it is quite small and light and always works consistently. Favorite use for the Giga is hot water for coffee/tea/instant soup, don't really cook with it.

My 'cooking'' generally consists of rehydrating homemade meals from a ziploc bag. My jetboil is one of the more recent 'regulated' versions with a wide burner that actually simmers quite well. What I really love about the JB for this application is how well it holds heat; I bring water to a boil, add my food, turn it off, and put on the lid. Stir occasionally and juice the heat once or twice as needed. The combo of the diffuser on the bottom, the cozy, and the lid really retains the heat and minimizes fuel use.

For cleanup I just boil a small amount of water and swish it around, perhaps wipe a bit with the corner of a hanky. No soap required.

Someone inquired about the functional difference between the Giga and Jetboil. My only real complaint about the Giga is that the feet are slippery on the bottom of the pot, really have to be on a level surface and be careful. The windproof system of the Jetboil is really superior, I have not used the Giga wind screen system.

Finally, I will say that my favorite stove to use is still an MSR Simmerlite running white gas. I like the process of assembling the stove and of course lighting the thing on fire to get the fuel vaporized. And that robust little flame and characteristic hiss are quite comforting! But too heavy for most trips, now relegated to snow camping and canoe camping.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:43 pm
by bobby49
For many of us, the stove only needs to work for one person and in summer conditions. Most of the time, I have only 8-14 ounces of water to boil. I have one of those tiny 0.9-ounce BRS butane burners that works perfectly. Plus, the way the pot supports fold in, the whole thing will take up only one corner in my empty mug for transport.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:57 am
by Wandering Daisy
Not sure if this is the right place to post this. Twice, Coleman fuel canisters have failed to burn on cold mornings. They worked fine in the afternoon, but not if around freezing. I had to eat trail food for breakfast and then cook breakfast for lunch. I suspect the problem is under-pressurizing. At any rate, I will never use them again.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:09 am
by bobby49
In the past I found that Coleman butane canisters had an inferior fuel mixture as compared to the other U.S. brands (MSR, Gigapower, etc.). Coleman tends to fail around freezing temperature.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:51 pm
by SSSdave
No one likes a beat up old MSR Whisperlite anymore...wahhhh!

On my 6 day backpack last week all I cooked was 4 Mountain House freeze dried meals, a Knorr broccoli cheese rice dinner, and a couple Lipton chicken noodle Cup-of-Soups. Stove works, I know how to repair all manner of the ways it fails, so no worries. And that is otherwise an issue because if a stove won't heat food, that is a trip disaster. At trip end fuel bottle was still half full. Not an issue as I'd rather have more fuel for insurance than run out. Sure I could shave a few ounces but that is trivial compared to all my other carrying weight that was about 56# for this little 135# pack mule.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:50 pm
by rlown
Wish my friends knew how to clean a stove. Their's broke down. We separated but my stove was fine as I test all equipment before I leave.
Cold Mountain house and no cooking trout above fire level. Sigh. I'm not too proud of my friend who dumped fuel because their stove didn't work. :(
Yes, I gave him grief over that. Had a spare stove head that I asked him to carry; denied. Sad.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:57 pm
by Wandering Daisy
I used liquid fuel for years and years but I have never liked the smell of carrying liquid fuel so I now use butane. I caught my fuel bottle on fire once! :eek: But then I have also blown up a butane canister. My pack weight for my last 6 day trip was 25 pounds including 1.5 pounds of water, so the "few ounces" I save with butane is worth it to me. I have never had problems with the canisters, other than the Coleman brand. I do "real" cooking so I take a medium canister which lasts 7 days. If you only boil water, some people actually get by with a small canister for a week. But I do agree that there is nothing wrong with the old fashioned Whisperlite. I liked the Optimus.

The downside of the butane, is a big box full of cans with 1-2 days fuel left. They become car-camping fuel, but it seems I will never use them up! I really do not worry about running out because you can most often build a small cooking fire if needed. I did not do that on my last trip where the Coleman can failed, because I was going out anyway.

Re: Camping Cookware Opinions / Experiences / Cautions Needed

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:37 pm
by bobby49
With my current cooking over butane, I figure that I use one ounce per day, on average.