Cooking Modes & Methods

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by grey mouse, Jul 26, 2018.

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Do you cook for others when your on the trail, in the woods, or just aloft ?

  1. Nearly every time

    8 vote(s)
    29.6%
  2. Sometimes depending on....

    13 vote(s)
    48.1%
  3. Rarely

    5 vote(s)
    18.5%
  4. Never

    1 vote(s)
    3.7%
  1. grey mouse

    grey mouse Scout

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    I have four basic camping modes and each mode dictates the type of food that I cook based upon my cooking kit and the time that I wish to prepare food. They are as follows:

    Car Camping: Big cast iron camp oven allows for chili, stews, bread, etc for groups of people
    Buchcraft: 16cm Zebra pot allows soups, stews, some bread, meat on a rock, etc for up to 4 people
    Bushcraft solo: 12cm Zebra pot allows for soups, stews, meat on a rock, bannock, etc for up to 2 people
    Ultra-light: 900cm TI Caldera cone system using alcohol allows for dehydrated/freeze dried/instant meals with no cleanup for one person

    Each of the above modes and/or methods are pretty standard for most people who camp or hike. As you can guess the amount of travel (due to bulk & weight), number people, conditions (such as no burn areas), and desired level of comfort both in the recipes to eat and weather (I'd hate to have a fire when it's 105°F all day). All of the above methods can be used with a canister stove in a no fire area because I would hate to travel a long ways to arrive to see a "No Fires" sign at the trail head.

    If you camp with your kids or others that have kids I could see a wider variety of conditions that would affect how and what meals are prepared. What are the methods or ways that you prefer to cook and how do you accomplish these task with your changing conditions ? How does this affect your backpacking choices as far as location selection, pack size, length of time for adventure, etc ? For example: if your packing in food for a family of four do you bring a bigger pack and hike less ? If it's just you and a friend or spouse would you both carry your normal packs and trek the miles and still cook a decent meal ? Or perhaps your a solo hiker and still carry the weight and gear because the warm delicious meals are what makes it great for you ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  2. GoKartz

    GoKartz Sharpaholic Supporter

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    So I think I'm fairly similar to how you roll.

    Car camping: cast iron, small gas stove. The gas stove is one I picked up for backpacking at one point before I decided it was just too big.

    Day hikes: Solo Stove 900 or this Toaks pot/stove combo I traded into ... Usually I'll carry a trangia with them, so I can have a nice little wood fire or - if there's a burn ban - I can just use the alcohol.

    Backpacking: alcohol stove or pocket rocket ... I've been using an old aluminum pot I've had since 2010 or so - GSI Dualist. When I backpack with a friend, normally we just share the dualist and pocket rocket; when I'm solo (99% of the time) I just leave half the dualist behind.

    Methods I prefer to use: I mean, I love cooking over a fire in cast iron. Most times and places that's not possible, and I've learned to enjoy cooking over a wood stove, usually a gassifier. When I'm going long and light ... its so much simpler to just use a canister. The longer the trip, the more likely I am to use a canister. I'll normally have a "comfort" meal or two at the very beginning of the trip - the first night, the first morning - as I don't mind the weight initially, but after that ... Meh. I'm not that gourmet.
     
  3. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    BBQ, car camping, etc. Yes. I am almost always designated as the cook.
    Hiking / bushcraft, it is 50/50 that if I'm with others I'll end up cooking a communal meal as opposed to folks wanting an excuse to try out their own gear.

    However, much of my bushcraft gear is intended for solo use. I cook on my Emberlit FireAnt stove most of the time using 600ml to 800 ml cookware, or a vintage Wagner small skillet. For more than two people I can bring my 1 quart Dutch oven or use my old hiking cookware.

    FYI for the FireAnt I use wood, hexamine tabs or a Trangia burner as appropriate. I also have a compact "bottle kit" where I use a Zelph Starlyte stove or a hexamine tablet for a Space Saver mug.

    5817DB98-81D4-4E61-B08F-054256BE5A09.jpeg

    FWIW the bottle stove makes a great windscreen for the Starlyte stove. My stove has the integral pot stand, which holds a mug just at the right height for optimal mix of airflow and wind protection. Paired with a Klean Kanteen 40, the setup makes for a great, easy-carry hot drink kit to warm up the kiddos on cold weather outings.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  4. grey mouse

    grey mouse Scout

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    I prefer the camp oven over a fire any day but the weight is prohibitive for any real backpacking. It's hard to beat fresh buttermilk biscuits with bacon gravy on a cold morning. I can get real creative for dinner with a camp oven.

    I really like my MSR Windpro II Stove with remote canister and trillium stove base. The adjustable flame really helps me with keeping a consistent cooking temperature so that I do not burn food. I use it with only stainless or cast iron cookware.

    For ultra-light I use the Kojin alcohol stove and Evernew 900ml Ti pot with the titanium caldera cone system. I did not purchase the inferno set with it. I have the Esbit tabs and holder but have yet to use it. The 900ml size allows me to re-hydrate most 1-1.5 serving size meals and enjoy a cup of coffee while I wait. The Ti system weighs in at 242g/8.53oz for everything including the esbit, pot with lid, stuff sack, etc but no fuel. I also carry an MLD 475ml Ti cup (36g/1.26oz) cup with a reflectix cozy for my coffee. The bulk and weight of this set really allows me to hike further and easier. I make my wife carry her own fuel and food but I usually cook for us both when hiking.

    I rarely day hike as most of my outings are three days and two nights. If I were to day hike the only smaller pack that I have is a Eblerstock X2 (4lbs 12oz) 30L pack. My main pack is a Osprey Aether AG 85L (actually 88L) and weighs 5.42lbs. It has a day pack brain on it that I use at base camp most often. The Eblerstock X2 won't fit my gear and anything bigger than the 12cm Zebra or the Caldera set so it limits me on what to cook or bring for food. I'm currently trying to reduce my bulk so that I can fit everything into a Z-Packs Arc Hual Zipper model 62L (27.5oz) pack for most backpacking and hiking adventures once I can afford to do so. The wife uses an Osprey Aura AG 65L (4.42lbs) for all of her hiking and she absolutely loves it. She has a bad back (lower lumbar issues) but has never complained about it when out and about. Not carrying a cook set allows her a little additional comfort item storage.
     
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  5. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I use in a pretty similar method...

    I only cook for my daughter, wife, or cousin, as follows: because she's my daughter, my wife is a tenderfoot, and my cousin does more work than I do, physically, and deserves the rest when we get to camp.

    The rest of the time, I'm with one of you lot, and you can cook your own dang food.

    Almost everything I do is dehydrated one pot meals for dinner, oatmeal and maybe bacon on a stick for breakfast, and a cold lunch with maybe a hot beverage.

    When I'm on a day/hunting trip, I carry a brew kit based on a 20oz Olicamp mug. Perfect for soup, tea, or a mini stew of bread, jerky, and soup mix if it's cold.

    When I'm backpacking solo, I like the Mors 5-cup pot. Just right, and in a pinch, you can bathe out of it.

    When with a partner, or on a canoe trip, I move up to the Mors 8-cup pot... easier to make more hot water at once, cleanup is easier, you can bathe in it, and you can do laundry in it.
     
  6. grey mouse

    grey mouse Scout

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    I cook my wife's food because I do all of the cooking at home and I have discovered that the more time that she has to relax means the better her experience thus I don't have to hear any gripping lol. She does help plan our meals and even buys them at times. If we take the bear vault then I'm stuck with it due to my pack size because it would take up too much of her comfort items space. Also, we are planning a seven day six night wilderness trip in January and I think I'm gonna get stuck with some gear or food. I haven't decided as of yet which cook set to take along our 15 mile hike (round trip) if we get to go.
     
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  7. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    This fits my system, scenarios perfectly. And my cook system shows the priority and uses since I only recently picked up a small pot.

    Car Camping
    • 2 Qt pot Open Country
    • Firepit or Trangia burner
    • 12" cast iron skillet or 12" blue steel cake pan
    Backpacking with Kids
    • 1300 ml Evernew Ultralight Titanium pot or Stanco grease pot
    • SnowPeak Titanium plate
    • Fancee Feest stove with aluminum windscreen
    Backpacking solo
    • 650ml titanium mug pot with hot lips (or I might take another pot depending on the trip)
    • Still working out the stove but at the moment I have a monster energy drink lid as my Fancee Feest is a bit powerful for this pot
    For backpacking with kids I'm generally doing shorter hikes as they started at the age of 4 and even at 6 and 8 still will only hike so far without issues. Also it's much slower with kids meaning you can only hike so far in a day. About 3 miles seems to be the tipping point and the last trip was 2.6 miles with pretty rugged terrain, cliffs, rocks, and water fordings. The pot lid is a plate, the plate is a plate and fry pan, and the pot is a plate/bowel. I bring a light weight Starbucks reusable cup and the boys carry their own collapsible cups. I always have my spork and my sons carry their own plastic forks and spoons.

    The meals on these group trips are generally limited to what I can make that they will eat. Last trip with them I made Mexican rice and chicken served on tortillas for dinner, and sausage and eggs for breakfast. The sausage and eggs were fried using the plate and Fancee Feest. Other options are Mac and Cheese, hot dogs or whatever else they will eat that trevels well. Wide bottom pots make cooking for three easier, and are more versitle for frying as well as boiling.

    For solo backpacking I'd like to get more into boil and bag meals to avoid mess. Currently my meals are generally more in line with east coast through hikers. Knorr, tuna, chicken, coucous, tortillas, Mac and Cheese, and so on in a variety of different combinations.

    Car camping I like to cook over a fire and cast iron is King. I want to get a griddle, but currently take our kitchen 12" skillet (griddle pictured is a friend's). My favorite group meal is Spanish rice with bell peppers and scalloins served with cheese and bratwurst on tortillas. It's easy to make for large groups, you only need a pot and skillet to make it, and there are no plates or utensils required, also it's really freaking good.

    [​IMG]Dinner's On by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    As for packs I use the same 50 l pack on every trip. It's sort of in between where it is over stuffed with crap on the trips with kids due to extra food, a bigger tent, and the sleep gear I still carry for them. On solo trips it's gotten to the point where the pack is basically too big for my load. It should be interesting when my new quilt gets here to see how it works out. With that my base weight should be dropping down below 10lbs not to mention be quite smaller than it once was. None the less I continue to dial it in year after year as I learn more and improve my system and skills. Still have a couple of things I'm looking to upgrade in the near future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  8. Portage_Monster

    Portage_Monster Scout

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    I prefer to cook on most trips. I'd like to think it's something I do well and I get a great bit of enjoyment out of providing a great meal for people. While some folks like to bring a dozen knives into the woods, I like to bring extra pans and such. I'd say my break out looks like this:
    Car/motorboat camping:
    - I probably cook 50% of the time in this instance. I think its largely because others aren't intimidated by cooking because of all of the amenities that we can bring.
    - large pots/skillets over a fire or a two burner coleman white gas stove. If I don't need to carry things far I enjoy some creature comforts.
    - tin foil "hobo dinners" are also a staple.
    - cooler of fresh meat and veggies (and beer!). Again, why not make a great meal if you can?
    Canoe Camping:
    - I'm probably the camp cook 75% of the time and I suspect that the other %25 is just others wanting to give me a much appreciated break.
    - smaller pots or frying pans typically over a two burner coleman white gas stove or a fire depending on conditions
    - if the trip warrants it I'll sneak in frozen steaks for the first night or two, but typically its dry meals - pasta, rice, dried soup etc...
    - I have a reflector oven, but I have yet to master it. I'm hoping some day to be able to wow the boys with fresh biscuits and gravy in the Boundary Waters.
    Solo Trips:
    - single burner Olicamp Vector, folding firebox, or a camp fire depending on locations
    - I typically keep everything in a Mors pot set up but I just bought a carbon steel fry pan so I'm looking forward to trying that out. Nothing beats fried spam and hash browns.
     
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  9. Chazzle

    Chazzle Wandering Teacher Supporter

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    We take turns cooking so one person rarely cooks more than one or two meals.

    I love cooking on my Lodge cast-iron wok....I'm the new celebrity chef on our bi-annual canoe trips when I make cashew chicken or garlic pepper chicken and a pot of instant rice! It also works great for making fajitas, stir-frying veggies, and strips of bacon in the morning.

    Truck Camping - 1950's era dumpster-rescued Coleman Stove, or Lodge dutch oven over wood fire
    Backpacking - Coleman 533 dual fuel single burner (rarely because its so heavy, I usually backpack with just MRE's)
    Day Trip / Backpacking (future) - Nimblewill Nomad Lil' Dandy twig stove. ( I haven't used for something other than boiling water)
     
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  10. grey mouse

    grey mouse Scout

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    I could go my whole life and never eat another MRE and be just fine :D After 14yrs of the military I've had my fill lol. If you like them that's great Chazzle. My wife was 100% adamant about not eating dehydrated or freeze dried meals at first but after she had to start carrying her own food that changed quickly. Now she loves Packit Gourmet meals. Every now and then we have dehydrated meal for supper just to test them out before we hit the trails. For ex... If we are car camping then she gets real potato and corn chowder in the cast iron with a side of fresh baked french bread. Otherwise it's dehydrated Poblano Corn Chowder for her.
     
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