Kitchen Setup

10:37 a.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I was wondering what everyone uses as their kitchen setup, and whether you just boil water, cook, bake or all.

My kit includes:

Coffee can wood-gas stove

fancy feast alcohol stove

*Coleman sportster depending on conditions (where trail time does not facilitate wood stove, or during harsh weather)

MSR Alpine 2 pot stainless steel set w/ lid and pot gripper

WW2 metal canteen cup

Fork and spoon from my my old military mess kit (I really like the large spoon, what is with all of the backpacking spoons being so tiny?)

I typically only use the wood-gas stove , unless conditions are bad and then I will use the alcy stove. I do a little bit of everything as far as cooking goes. I use some dehydrated meals, some real cooking, some baking.

The wood-gas stove is great for baking come to find out. I use my MSR pot set and lid as a makeshift dutch oven. I will prepare my meal and put it in the pot and invert the lid and put it on the pot. I will get a good fire going in the wood stove and then immediately dump the coals onto the top of the lid. I will then restart the woodstove as fast as possible and place the pot on top of the stove. I have found this to work great for any baking recipie that takes 20ish minutes. When you need longer than that it works best with a real campfire so you have better access to coals.

I love how I can adjust the heat from the wood stove by controling how much I feed it, so I can boil if I want to or just simmer.

The cat can stove is really just a back up incase of bad weather, and I usually use it to make my morning cup of coffee and breakfast. Sometimes I will use the wood stove for this too, it just depends on my time schedule as the wood stove takes a little longer due to having to fully extinguish it and scatter the ashes etc.

I use a canteen cup as my main cup and dish/pot. I make coffee in it, I make soups and oatmeal in it, boil water for my dehydrated meals. It's a great little piece of gear that has been under constant use since 1942 when my granpa was issued it, and is no worse for wear than if it had just been sitting in a basement. This thing is the definition of durable.

I use my MSR pots for actual cooking, and use the msr pot lid as a fry pan for bacon , fish, eggs, lots of things. I don't pack light when it comes to food.

Cleaning is easy enough. I carry a small bottle of dr. bronners soap, and a small scotchbrite scrub pad. As long as you pay attention while cooking you usually don't end up with a burned on mess. Cleanup for me usually takes 2 mins or less.

I have an MSR XKG EX stove but I don't really use it anymore. I had it when I lived out west and spent alot of time above treeline. A super great stove, just not what I need anymore so I transisitioned to a wood-gas stove as my primary.

So let's hear it, what do you carry, and what kind of cooking do you do.

12:40 p.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I use an MSR 0ne quart cook pot with sealing lid and folding handle. I eat with a nylon spork and have a folding knife. I eat directly out of my cook pot. I used to have Sierra cup but lost it a few years ago hiking thru thick brush in Alaska. I used to keep it on my belt to use to drink fresh water from streams and springs in the wilderness.

I cook with a MSR Pocket Rocket stove with one 4 oz butane/propane mix canister for about one to two weeks of cooking. I only bring the meal of rice or pasta to a boil after presoaking it in cold water. then turn off the stove.

I prepare at home my own instant rice by cooking the rice then drying it, which makes it soak up and rehydrate easily in camp without cooking.

I use lots of pasta dishes, mainly macaroni, cheese and tuna mixes. I don't boil/simmer the pasta for 20 minutes, but presoak it in cold water for about 30 minutes, then bring just toa boil on the stove. I generally use stor bought Mac&cheese that I have repackaged into Ziploc bags. I rarely use any powdered milk or oil, except for the oil the tuna may be in.

I repackage all my foods into ziploc bags and re-use the bags till they wear out.

Usually I carry a scotchbrite pad (actually 2, as I use them also for potgrabbers when they are dry) I dont carry soap and just use regular cold water.

My stove,spork,lighter and pot scrubbys fit into my cook pot

I use Aluminum or steel Sigg bottles for liquids.

I rarely cook on an open campfire anymore. Tho I do like to have one in my wilderness camps when condition are good and fire danger is lowest.

When close to a supermarket like when in National Parks, I like to also buy fresh vegys of potatoes,carrots and especially onions, also sometimes bell peppers, fresh seasonings like cilantro and sometimes mushrooms. I like all of these items sauted, starting with the onions and peppers, then adding the carrots and potatoes.

I usually carry salt and pepper and some sage for most dishes.

Sometimes I use a Campbell's soup can stove with for I carry briquettes in a ziploc bag, useing one or two per meal. I described it in an earlier post.

Other than pasta and rice, potatoes and onions, I eat instant oatmeal (the fruit and cream varieties) instant hot cocoa, sometimes but rarely instant coffee mixed with equal amounts of cocoa, sometimes instant cider, I drink a lot of Gatorade instant. I like crackers like Triskits,Wheat thins, and Better Cheddars with sardines or bulk jack cheese as midday snacks.

Supper is usally my biggest meal figuring that it has all night to digest, I often eat a very light breakfast and wait till midday to munch on something.

11:58 a.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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I currently use/carry a GSI Dualist Cookset, which is a 1.8L pot with two integral bowl/mugs with these two (what I would call) flimsy collapsible sporks. My stove is an MSR Whisperlite. I take a small multi-chamber plastic shaker with salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian seasoning. I would

I am pretty boring when it comes to cooking in the woods. I pretty much just boil water for the dehydrated meals, pasta, rice or ramen. I do boil for coffee too. I would however like to get more creative with my cooking, which is why I like the Camp Kitchen section on here. Lots of good menu ideas!

I have been wanting to get some better/nicer utensils but am weary of getting anything metal because I don't want to mess up the coating on my pot.

12:20 p.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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D&G said:

"I have been wanting to get some better/nicer utensils but am weary of getting anything metal because I don't want to mess up the coating on my pot."

I started using a small wooden spoon for cooking in my teflon pan, it is very light, and sturdy even when hot. I got the idea from a website about bushcraft skills where they showed you how to whittle your own spoon or small spatula. I also took a wooden spoon and used a fine toothed wood saw to turn it into a spork, but the thickness of the wooden spoon didn't allow it to work very well as a spork.

12:24 p.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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That's a great and remarkably simple idea. I don't know why I didn't think of doing that before. I really don't mind keeping the little sporks for eating, I just wanted something better for cooking with and I think the wood spoon will do just fine!

12:01 p.m. on July 26, 2010 (EDT)
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I like that wooden spoon idea. I think I have seen that same bushcraft site, and have wanted to make some, but just haven't gotten around to it. I really like the "Light My Fire" brand sporks, they are strong, lightly flexible, and stand up to heat well. They have two ends- on is a full spoon, the other a fork with a knife edge on one side.

My kitchen set up is comprised of:

For winter I use an Optimus Nova+, For summer I use DIY pressurized alcohol stoves, and of course an aluminium windscreen regardless.

For cookset, If I am hiking with and cooking for multiple people I use MSR Blacklite Gourmet cookset (2L, 1.5L, Frypan, and 1 lid). If I am going solo I will just use my small SnowPeak Ti one person cookset

salt/pepper/spices in tiny plastic shakers

small bottle of olive oil, and another of sugar

two pot grippers

two LMF brand sporks, MSR folding spatula

matches, lighter, etc

green soft scrub pad


packtowels/shamwows (use these to nestle/protect pans also)

I also use stainless water bottles, which are great as cooking gear as you can put them directly in a fire or on a stove.

3:48 p.m. on July 26, 2010 (EDT)
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My cooking gear:

Snow Peak- LiteMax Stove

REI- Ti Ware Nonstick Titanium Pot

Light My Fire- Spork

Guyot Designs- Squishy Bowl and Cup or Snow Peak- Titanium Double-Wall Cup

GSI- Compact Scraper

11:43 p.m. on July 26, 2010 (EDT)
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A question for gonzan and SE Hiker - you both like and include as an integral part of your cook kits the Light My Fire sporks. As gonzan mentioned, the "knife" of the spork is a serrated section on the side of the fork end.

(1) so how do you hold that chunk of meat in place while cutting it? With real cutlery, one uses a fork to hold it in place while cutting with a dedicated knife. I would contend that having to use your SAK, Bowie knife, rescue knife, etc while holding the food to be cut with the fork end of the spork is redundant, and says having the "knife" as part of the spork is just plain silly.

(1a) I have tried using the "knife" part of the spork to spread peanut butter, jam, etc - it does a very poor job.

(2) If one has soup as a preliminary dish at dinner (which requires a spoon), followed by some main course and dessert that calls for a fork, then the spoon end, which becomes the "handle" of the fork is gooey and covered with sticky stuff from the soup. Are you telling me you wash your sporks between courses?

Hey, a plain old spoon works for 99% of backcountry meals. Frankly, I wouldn't have any Light my Fire sporks, except they hand them out by the dozen at the OR Show for free. Now, one of the nylon sporks, which are True Sporks (a spoon with the bowl cut into small tines), like Gary P mentions work very well for backcountry food. However, when Barb and I plan a real Backcountry Gourmet outing, we take Real Silver eating utensils (haven't figured out what else to use all that sterling we were given as wedding gifts 40++ years ago).

5:21 a.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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..when Barb and I plan a real Backcountry Gourmet outing, we take Real Silver eating utensils (haven't figured out what else to use all that sterling we were given as wedding gifts 40++ years ago).

That reminds me… Back in my youth, when fires were still permitted in the South Lake/Bishop Pass drainage, we were informed by an inside source of a major trail facelift effort, which included replacing many of the wooden trail signs and posts. This information served as the basis of what turned out to be the most extravagant feasting I ever experienced in the backcountry.

Two of us arranged participate in the maintenance effort, and bribed the trail crew to let us lighten their load of the old wooden signs. They ended up giving us several horse loads of lumber. We stashed the wood, and spent the next three days scaling Mt Goode (south face), and a couple of rope routes up the west face of Cloudripper. The next weekend we met up with the rest of our group, and set up using the outfitter’s camp site on the northwest end of Long Lake, taking advantage of the well established camp and fire pit. It took two trips from the trail head to hike up kit and provisions to our destination. Our group of eight was coed, all college buds. The following Monday we prepared a feast, facilitated by the wood we cached: Prime rib, roasted ducks, mashed potatoes, all the fixin’s, and all the trimmings, champagne, coat, tie, and cocktail dresses (at least a few of us anyway). Desert was camp fresh apple cobbler, served with a tasty cognac by candle light (a dozen candle lanterns), with stogies serving to spark up a fine night around the camp fire. Alas plates and utensils were the standard backcountry kit, an oversight I assure you. The remainder of the trip was more sundry, but very enjoyable. When it came time to leave, we scattered the ashes far and wide, and left the camp in better shape than we found it, hiking out both our trash, and a twenty gallon bag worth of trash left by others.

Ah the energy of youth.

I still like to eat well on the trail, but nothing that would warrant sterling service, fine china, and crystal stemware, let alone a sport coat!


10:07 a.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey again!

my kitchen set up is pretty quick and simple but I thought I would share anyways. I/my family dehydrates mostly all of our own food so we often just boil water for cooking purposes.

Thus my kit consists of:


Titanium Spork

Small Tupperware Bowl (super light, super cheap, works great)

Cup, (pretty thin walled steel) just havent gotten around to paying the money for a titanium, not a ton of weight saving for the cost XD

Half a sponge (just a really cheap sponge, bought at the dollar store :)

Salt n Pepper

Cozy (we made cozys with some insulating material and felt to help in the rehydrating process of our foods, just boil water, pour into ziplock and stick in the cozy for about 10 min and our food is still piping hot when we remove it.

That is all that I usually carry, I dont think I am forgetting anything, and if I am i will certainly add it, as far as cleanup I find that just water and the sponge work just fine if we do end up cooking anything in the pot.

12:43 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I am happy to answer your queries about the LMF spork. I am curious though why the subjective preferences of others may prompt cynical derision? I am not offended or threatened at all, just curious.

But to answer:

1) I really don't care that much about the "knife" edge of the fork, but I have used it while eating to sever a food item into smaller chunks, just as one often might with a normal fork. The more acute edge just makes using it in that way easier. It makes "fingerless" eating of food items like cheese, fruit, vegetables, etc. much easier. For a cooked meat that requires cutting to eat, I will certainly use one of my real knives that I carry. Of course, at that moment, the acute fork edge is redundant- but that doesn't mean it is not handy in other instances. Also, I virtually always take two of them, as I often cook multiple items or have others with me. It is not infrequent that someone forgets their own utensils and I like to have the extra. So most of the time I have two of them available if I wanted to use one to hold a critter down, and the other to hack away with ;)

1a) I don't think that the sharp edge of the fork was designed with the intention of providing a good "spreading" surface, or at least I have never tried to use it that way. I find that the spoon side works brilliantly for everything I have wanted to spread.

2) As mentioned above, I usually take two of the utensils with me, so this isn't really an issue for me. However, if I have lent the other, or I only brought one along, I have found that a simple lick and wipe off of the "sticky" end does just fine to allow me to use the other end without mess, stickiness, or ill side effects. I agree, a simple spork does suffice quite well for the majority of meals. However, I like to cook a little more in the backcountry than many, and like having the additional options that the LMF spork offers. Also, and I recognize that it is a purely a personal preference, I really dislike sporks. The bowl of most sporks are an annoying blunt shape. The "tines" are rarely long or sharp enough to use as a real or functional fork, and that jagged edge doesn't allow for sooth or effective spreading either.

So for me there are multiple many reasons I have chosen to use them over other items:

> Real fork end

> Real Spoon end

> The Fork has a convenient "sharp" edge

> Fairly high resistance to heat (for plastic)

> Won't harm non-stick cookware

> Quite rigid yet still retains some flex

> Multiples nestle perfectly together, taking up very little room.

> Weighs less than virtually all other plastic or metal cuttlery, even titanium cutlery.

> Costs VERY little. (or in your case, Bill, nothing at all)

I fully imagine there may be better utensils out there that accomplish all or more of the things I like about the LMF spork, and would be delighted if I have the chance to own one. But for now, my subjective, non-derisive, personal preference is the LMF spork as my main meal-specific utensil of choice.

1:46 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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The only thing I could add to Gonzans post is that if I really need to use the knife I hold the meat with a finger to the dish/ bowl and saw the meat to cut it. Bill I always thought going gourmet in the woods was just bringing smore stuff haha.

11:27 p.m. on August 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Cheap plastic cup.

One quart aluminum pot with lid and handle that must be 50 years old

Homemade pressurized alcohol pop-can stove with foil wind screen.

Water bottle of alcohol.

Salt-Pepper. (the combo shaker must be 50 years old)

Spoon that must be 50 years old.

Cheap store brand disposable plastic container with lid. (I do not like eating all meals out of a bag.)

Homemade cozy made from refleticx? (SP)

Bottle of olive oil.

Very small scubby.

Small vial of bio dish soap.

One quart plastic locking bags.

And a hand towel.

I never ever cook food in my pot. It is for boiling water only.


I do dehydrate all my own meals and probably eat better calorie-wise out than I do at home.

8:44 a.m. on August 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I didn't know we had scubbies here in North America; is yours of the tropical or desert variety? I love the little guys, just so cute, fuzzy, and friendly!


8:48 a.m. on August 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I didn't know we had scubbies here in North America; is yours of the tropical or desert variety? I love the little guys, just so cute, fuzzy, and friendly!


I deserved that..................... :)

8:57 p.m. on August 7, 2010 (EDT)
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When my wife and I backpack together I use a Brunton IB cookset (just the larger pot and lid), Brunton Talon stove, an aluminum foil windscreen, a cozy, a SnowPeak 450ml single wall Ti cup, and a nylon spoon.

When I am solo the only thing that changes is I dont bring the Ti cup and instead bring my SnowPeak Ti Mini Solo Cookset instead of the Brunton pot.

I am also currently testing the JetBoil retractable spoon and the MSR folding spork to maybe replace the nylon spoon.

My cooking style is Freezer Bag cooking of meals we dehydrate ourselves.

Gary pointed out a great way to cook for those who actually cook in their pots. I have a friend that also soaks pasta, etc. in cold water and then just heats it up. He has used the same 4oz fuel canister for over 10 trips doing that.

10:38 a.m. on August 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Tin Man alcohol stove. --- Lexan fork and spoon, handles shortened and holes drilled to lighten. --- Open Country 2/3 liter aluminum nonstick cookpot with homemade lid. --- Homemade wind screen.--- Priming pan and eye dropper. --- Plastic one cup, cup, the type with gradations. --- 12oz. of alcohol at start. --- Pot gripper. --- Mini bic lighter. All nests inside the pot then into a small silnylon ditty bag. I`m just a boil and eat person. I found that even the foods that call for as much as 10 mins. cook time can be brougt to a hard boil and left to sit with lid on till it is cool enough to eat and its good to go.

12:16 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Bags & chopstix

I don't use "freezer bag", since the plastic interaction with heat health concern. I use the thicker "boil in bag" ziplocks found near the turkey roasting bags. These sturdier bags are made for boiling water, and provide a more robust bag to eat from.

I put the bags in a "cozy", then eat with chopsticks.


- MSR Superfly stove
- Wood stick matches (butane lighters can not be relied on)
- Snow Peak Compact Chopsticks (or throwaway wood/bamboo per meal)
- Freezer bag cozie (
- Pairing knife, small (like to keep food knife seperate from my kike/camp knife)
- REI Ti Ware Teapot (0.8 liter)
- Sea To Summit X-Bowl (Guvot Designs Squishy Bowl, ditch the useless cup in set)
- REI Thermo Mug (with handle cut off)
- SteriPen, Opti

2:29 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Can you, CAL-EE-FOR-NIA, elaborate on your saying that butane lighters can`t be relied upon. I have always used them for all my trips and for most of my life I was a smoker and never did I have a bic, mini or reg. fail on me. I know that if they get below a certain temperature, like most propane they may not light, but not if kept in a pocket close to your body. Once I dropped one in a spring and it wouldn`t work until it dried, but I always take a spare. I also know that if it were matches that had been dropped into water they wouldn`t have fared so well. Thanks Brad.

6:06 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: matches vs lighters

I have read a few posts of lighter failure. Though I Have never had a failure.

I always used in past, I switched back to matches. I'm trying to use up my remaining lighters in car-camping, emergency kits in car & home, and giving them away to people who ask for one.

I actually feel that it is just as quick, gives good flame, and, well, a little "traditional" to strike a match. Matches are lighter in weight, and I can always tell how many I have. Lighters you tend to carry a back-up, so the bulk and weight is more than good quality wood matches.

I also seem to be able to strike and get the flame closer to wear I want it. Lighters seem to me to require my fingers to be closer to the fuel source, and trying to retain the lighter "gas on" lever. I also don't have to adjust the match like I do on the flame adjuster knob.

6:19 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Also consider the 'weight per light' factor. The same can be said for bulk as well.

How much does a mini Bic lighter weigh vs. the number of matches needed to light as many fires as a lighter. Maybe this works out over the life of a lighter to give the lighter the advantage, but how about over the course of a four day trip? Maybe the matches win. Very interesting.

I must admit I don't know the answer, but a Bic lighter will light a lot of stoves, candles, fires, etc.

I personally do not carry matches anymore, just two lighters and a fire steel as a back up. When I did carry matches I carried them in two different places / containers for redundancy.

One trick for lighting fires I use is to get a dry twig of decent length and put anything flammable I might have on the end, light it and you have a long match.

You can use dryer lint, pine sap, white gas, alcohol, whatever you have.

To be fair I do like the storm proof matches, and I do think matches are cool, but I just never seem to need them.

6:32 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I gave up the cigs as well but never had a bic brand lighter ever fail unless it was out of fuel. Two minis are what I carry. For one thing, striking a match and getting it to what you want to ignite is a total PITA in a windy situation. If there is a bit of flame-up with the bic and the proximity of my hand all I lose is hair off of neanderthal fingers.

11:28 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I have had a hard time lighting a bic lighter below 20*. Of course, all I had to do was hold the lighter in my hand for a minute and then it lit right up.

11:40 a.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I have had a hard time lighting a bic lighter below 20*. Of course, all I had to do was hold the lighter in my hand for a minute and then it lit right up.

That's a good point. You have to keep the flint dry as well don't you.

12:29 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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When it comes to fire making, I opt for multiple redundancy.

>I always have a mini bic lighter in my pocket, and another in my mess kit

>I always carry firesteel around my neck on a para cord necklace

> I keep vaseline soaked cotton in my emergency/survival kit

> I have hurricane matches as one of my "emergency" items, as they will light and burn in just about any condition.

>I made sure I learned primitive firemaking and bushcraft well enough to start a fire without matches, lighter, or firesteel even in wet conditions. Unless I am just doing it to have fun, primitive methods would be a last resort- it is just too much work!

I know all of that is overkill, but even if I fall off a cliff into a raging flood stage river, break my leg, loose my pack, etc...I still want to be able to make a fire.


7:33 a.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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Gonzan, do you wear suspenders and a belt?

9:50 a.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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Nope, but should my belt break I can use webbing from my pack or para cord to keep my pants up so I don't freeze or traumatize anyone with the sight of my blinding pastiness. Not having a belt won't get you killed, not being able to make a fire very well can.

It does appear you keep an extra can of snark handy at all times, though.


10:35 a.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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A good sense of humor can be a life saver.

12:10 p.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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I like Gonzan actually have more than one backup for fire prodcution. I carry a cheap plastic "jewel" lighter so that I can used it for my Soto Pocket Torch, which puts out a good amount of heat and works well for many uses (so far-more to come on different topic maybe). I keep some weather-proof matches in a waterproof match container with attached whistle, and lastly I have a fire steel in with my stove.

With all of these methods, I should not have any problems lighting my stove or a fire if necessary. I do still want to learn how to start a fire with what nature gives me. I see it on the survival shows and want to try it just so I know how in the extreme case that I ever need to.

1:27 p.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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You guys are making me feal unprepared, I feal like I should have died out there long ago. But in mentally perusing my items I realise that there are several methods of fire making already in my pack. I always carry a magnifying lens which I know if the sun is shining I can start a fire. I use an alcohol stove which means a small piece of clothing soaked in alcohol will easily ignite with a spark. I carry a monocular which could also be broken apart and used as a magnifying lens. This might be a good topic for more discussion. What do you all have extra that might help start a fire in an emergency?

7:42 a.m. on October 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I didn’t realize this thread drifted in the meantime to fire sources. Hence my tardy post…

I take a buddy of mine along as my back up for fire starting. He is a natural born pyro. This guy can start fires under water with a piece of asbestos and CO2. The look on his face once he gets a fire started can only be described as enraptured.

Back when we shared a house, I came home one morning from a weekend away, and noticed an odd smell – like a house fire – upon entry. I traced it over to the fireplace. There, were the remnants of a mini apocalypse. The fireplace mantle was badly scorched; a small legion of plastic Kirin beer mini-keg pour spouts (trophies of our exploits in college) stationed atop the mantle were decimated, semi melted, and a few showing signs of having caught fire. Even the ceiling was scorched. I asked him for details, but with a twinkle in his eye all he would relate was he got “lucky” with a date on Friday, and celebrated on Saturday with a fire.

This same guy is why I admonish anyone who cooks inside their back packing tent to reconsider. He has twice burned down his own tent; once with white gas, and once with a canister stove.

I get nervous every time he turns on the kitchen stove. Let it suffice to say at least he learned he must always have a fire extinguisher around when he cooks.

His brother told me about a stunt from his youth, involving an oxy-acetylene torch kit and balloons. He was detonating these mixed gas filled balloons in his driveway, which apparently made quite a loud report. He wondered what a trash can liner filled with the gas mixture would do – and ended up blowing the garage door off its mounts.

Even in his mid fifties, he still has this special relationship with fire. I recently met up with him, and noticed his eye brows were peculiarly groomed. He was trying to start leaf mulcher with ether, but used too much and it flashed… I guess some of us are born firebugs, and need worry more about supressing fires than starting them.


12:54 p.m. on October 7, 2010 (EDT)
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That gave me the best laugh I have had in days! I and my brothers are not that bad, but we do have a keen place in our hearts for all things fire related ;)

(I have yet to burn down any shelters or structures, my brother on the other hand...)

1:08 a.m. on October 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I'd had enough of the freeze dried, dehydrated deal due to lack of nutrition and high expense so, being a single bloke with no clues around a kitchen, I joined a bushwalking club with the express intention of learning how to cook and dehydrate quality meals to take away. The average age was about 55-60, and I was 23. The women just plain felt sorry for me and were always helping me out with all sorts of top shelf advice acquired over a lifetime of experience. They took me shopping, showed me how to choose fruit and veg, meat, cheese, everything. Then taught me how to cook and preserve it all in multiple ways.

These days I rehydrate quality single serve meals quickly and easily in the bag, and just wash my plate and utensils afterwards.

For big group trips, we do a few weekend cooking/dehydrating sessions with a few beers, a few laughs and everyone can have a say with the menu and exactly what and how much we'll be taking. I've found that good food done well keeps morale high even after a series of tough days and gives everyone something to look forward to at the end of a big push.

It's funny to hear hard, tough young blokes saying stuff like "I tell ya, I can't wait for that green curry with that jasmine rice."

6:44 p.m. on October 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Paully said:

For big group trips, we do a few weekend cooking/dehydrating sessions with a few beers, a few laughs and everyone can have a say with the menu and exactly what and how much we'll be taking. I've found that good food done well keeps morale high even after a series of tough days and gives everyone something to look forward to at the end of a big push.
It's funny to hear hard, tough young blokes saying stuff like "I tell ya, I can't wait for that green curry with that jasmine rice."

I agree, looking forward to, and enjoying a great meal helps keep morale high, and the trip more interesting.

Jasmine rice is my favorite.

9:15 p.m. on October 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Well it depends on the trip. Sometimes my setup is as simple as a WhiteBox alcohol stove, bowl, pot and a Nalgene bottle for rehydration. More often than not, because there are usually three of us I use a MSR Dragonfly (white gas), pot set, bowls or plates (depending on the menu), Nalgene for rehydration and Outback Oven. I find that the alcohol is fine for a weekend but the white gas is much better over longer trips as it burns more efficiently per ounce. Often our trips are a minimum of 10 days. I also find the white gas a little safer with a child about as the stove is much more stable and the flame visible.

I like to bake and I find it helps to have something baked later on in a trip. It certainly boosts spirits. On some trips I take an elastic, piece of cheesecloth, extra Nalgene and some sprout seeds and that way we can have crunchy greens in our wraps. Most of the dinners are rehydrated fare and are pasta, couscous or rice based.

Right now I am using an MSR Duralite Gourmet Pot Set that has served me well over the past 5 years or so. I do take the frypan as I find it useful. In winter I take a heat exchanger so that I can reduce fuel consumption.

I carry both matches and a Brunton wind-proof (refillable) lighter. I have issues with those Bic lighters - those things will never biodegrade even in a hundred lifetimes. I find it never takes more than a single match to light the stove and generally I use two matches per day. Matches are the Red Bird wooden, strike-anywhere variety placed in a waterproof match container. To be safe we each have a match container and Tobias (my 9 year old) also carries a flint.

Cutlery, no matter what the trip is, are the shorter handled GSI Lexan type (they have a little ring that holds them together). I always carry a GSI pepper grinder and a little baggie of Kosher salt. Spices are already in the meals but sometimes I'll add a little extra baggie of spice to the meal bag in case I want a little more spice with my serving.

We carry a water filter, pot cleaning cloth, very lightweight nylon sink, folding spoon and folding spatula. As a back-up one of us carries Pristine water treatment drops (chlorine dioxide).

We each have a mug as well.

I don't consider this ultralight but it is lightweight when you consider it is split between three people. We use the exact same gear for paddling trips. I figure that, just because I have a canoe, I should still keep it light - why carry the extra when you don't have to.

June 22, 2018
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