My kitchen setup largely depends on the type of trip I’m doing.
Solo Ultralight Hiking:
For solo hiking you don’t need much in the way of cooking kit. I prefer to keep things simple and have been adapting to a one pot, one boil, cook in the bag method. I find I can get away with a small alcohol burner and 1 cup pot for most meals. My food is mainly dehydrated or requires very little cooking by soaking with hot water for 10mins. It saves on fuel (ie. weight) and clean up, without compromising flavor, especially if you dehydrate your own food. Cooking generally follows a pattern of a quick water boil, pour water into the food bag, soak for 10 minutes and eat.
Here’s a look at my Ultralight kit :
- X-lite alcohol stove, with windscreen
- Monster can pot
- Fuel bottle
- Disposable plastic spoon
- Pot cosy
There are a couple of small items that I treasure greatly and love to pull out to make surprise treats for friends after a long or hard day. The first is a simple ultralight double boiler consisting of two pieces that I made from a disposable oven tray. This is my main weapon to ensure victory in the culinary wars of hiking. The looks on friends faces when you pull out freshly steamed chocolate muffins is priceless. Just make sure you share.
The second is a square of cheese cloth for tasty meals like fresh panner (click here for the recipe).
When group hiking you’re going to be cooking bigger meals and it will generally take longer. I haven’t been able to fully convince all my friends of the benefits of dehydrating your own meals; one pot meals or eating out of a bag. And for a reason that I will never understand many of my friends love to cook from scratch in the bush, on a Trangia, using every bowl, plate and pot; and ensure that food scraps are left to solidify in the pots when done. At the end of long or hard day the last thing I want to be doing is waiting 40mins to cook rice on a slow cooker – I want food and want it fast! And I hate the clean up.
In a group situation, an alcohol stove just doesn’t cut it for me and I reach for my trusty MSR whisperlite or Kovea titanium stove. I find that Trangias just take too long for large groups, are difficult to control the temperature and the fuel burns inefficiently forcing you to lug around additional weight because you need lots of fuel.
When I’m hiking with a group my gear is generally larger and there is more of it.
- MSR whisperlite stove
- Fuel bottle and repair kit
- 2 x titanium pots
- MSR folding spatula
- Small plastic cup with measurements
Winter back country snow touring:
For winter there is no alternative other than the MSR. The speed and efficiency of shellite can not be beaten in the cold conditions. It makes quick work of melting snow for water.
- MSR whisperlite stove