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The Lightest Kitchen? A Cook Kit for Ultralight Backpacking


by Ryan Jordan | 2003-07-11 03:00:00-06


How light can your kitchen go, while still retaining the following functionality?

  1. Boil at least 16 oz of water in less than five minutes.
  2. Provide a container for eating and drinking.
  3. Include a fuel container that can hold several days' worth of fuel.

We've been exploring ultralight cooking methods for a long time, but we're hard pressed to find something as light as this (weights verified on a NIST-certified scale accurate to 0.01 oz). I've used the cook kit now for more than 250 miles of wilderness walking, and is my first choice for those short trips where the weight savings of alcohol stoves provide great benefit over packing those half-empty canisters.

Mini-Pepsi Stove (0.4 oz, pot support included)

The popular Pepsi stove has been miniaturized! Glen Van Peski gave us a remarkable little version of an old standby made from two Red Bull cans. The real benefit of his design, however, was in the piano wire pot support, which was tailored to perfectly hold a...

Snowpeak 600 Titanium Mug (2.8 oz + 0.1 oz foil lid + 0.4 oz foil windscreen)

This 21-oz titanium mug not only provides a container for cooking, eating, and drinking, but it's small size provides kitchen storage and tucks away neatly into the smallest packs. A cut-to-size foil windscreen generous enough to crawl an inch up the pot sides weighs only 0.4 oz.

Platypus Lil' Nipper Bottle (0.7 oz)

The Nipper is designed for alcohol, but the market is for the kind you can drink. We use it for fuel. It holds a generous 10 oz and keeps us going for a week.

Lexan Spork (0.3 oz)

Yeah, we know, a spoon is lighter (0.2 oz), and the full-handled spork is a whopping 0.4 oz, but some creative trimming and sanding preserved the ergonomics while allowing us to bring this cook kit to 5.0 oz on the nose. The spork is much more functional - we can stab noodles, debone a trout, etc. Plus, it's really fun just to say "spork" over and over. Do it. Spork. Do it again. Spork. Spork.

Matches (0.3 oz)

No, we're not talking cheap hotel matchbooks here. These are real wooden matches in a half-sized Ziploc snack baggie for water protection.

Grand Total: 5.0 oz

Happy Hiking!


"The Lightest Kitchen? A Cook Kit for Ultralight Backpacking," by Ryan Jordan. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2003-07-11 03:00:00-06.