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Joseph Meiser
(Josephmeiser) - F

Locale: Midwest
MYOG or BYOG...Cook Kits on 01/14/2010 06:20:05 MST Print View

Today we discuss cooking kits.  Specifically, ultralight cooking kits for multi-day and S240/Overnighter experiences.  What I've learned has been through my experiences and from the folks in the ultralight backpacking world.  Backpacking Light is just the tip of the iceberg in this respect.  From BPL there is an endless stream of resources.

First up: What I'll call my Luxury Ultralight kit.  If I am going on an overnighter or touring this is the kit I take.  Contents of the kit include:


  • This spoon comes as part of a fork & spoon kit.  You may be tempted to buy a spork, but do yourself a favor and don't...you will ultimately find it does neither well.



DIY/MYOG Alcohol Stove (Pot Pressurized or Penny Style depending on the experience)
DIY/MYOG Windscreen and Stove Plate

Bic Lighter


  • I use a clear lighter so I can see fuel levels.  Bic also makes mini lighters that are more compact and lighter.  I carry a handful of matches in my ER kit for backup...always, always carry more than one way to start a fire. 



Bandana 


  • simple cotton, good for cleaning up and using for other needs in/around camp and on the trail.



Mesh SnowPeak Stuffsack (came with my SP700 Mug)

Total kit weight comes to 350g/12.5oz. without fuel (more on fuel later)

SP700 on a Pot Pressurized Stove
IMG_5628

I made one modification to my SP700 that's worth noting.  The mug lid comes with a feature to hang it on the side of the pot.  While it is clever, I ultimately found this feature useless and it snagged the side of the mesh stuff sack when unpacking.  I cut it off, ground, then polished the affected area to finish it.  I then drilled two holes in the center of the lid and used some paracord as a lid handle.

SP700 on a penny stove using two titanium stakes and the windscreen for pot support.
Penny Stove System

I consider this kit luxury as a result of one item in my kit.  There is nothing better than sitting in the woods, leaning against a tree, drinking coffee or a cup of tea from this, my SP450 double wall mug.  Without the double wall mug, this kit weighs in at 255g/9oz.



IMG_5638



Now this kit is great!  It's light, flexible, and durable.  However, to purchase this kit, costs well over 100US dollars.

This brings me to the second part of our discussion, The DIY/MYOG kit.   Contents of the kit include:


  • 24oz. Heineken can pot.

  • Ziploc 32 oz. storage container

  • Plastic Disposable Spoon 

  • DIY/MYOG Alcohol Stove (Pot Pressurized or Penny Style depending on the experience)

  • DIY/MYOG Windscreen and Stove Plate

  • Bic Lighter



  • I use a clear lighter so I can see fuel levels.  Bic also makes mini lighters that are more compact and lighter.  I carry a handful of matches in my ER kit for backup...always, always carry more than one way to start a fire. 



Bandana 


  • simple cotton, good for cleaning up and using for other needs in/around camp and on the trail.




Total Kit weight comes to 200g/7oz. without fuel

Heineken Pot on a P.P.S.  The lid is removeable via the yellow cord.  The top is cut just below the rolled rim.  Many users of this pot will insulate with cotton cord, and/or silicon for handling and drinking from the pot.  I'll get to that at some point.
IMG_5630

All contents of this kit fit inside of the Ziploc storage container, which protects it during transport.  The pot fits upside down; lid, stove, lighter, and bandana go in the pot while the windscreen fits between the pot and container.  The storage container can also be used as a mug or bowl.
IMG_5637

This kit is affordable, accessible, and a full 50g lighter than my luxury kit!  You just have to like Heineken, or be willing to dump it out.

Finally, Fuel.

Alcohol stoves can use two types of fuel Methyl and Ethyl Alcohol.  Before you use either of these I suggest you read up on the types of alcohol and potential hazards of handling and burning them.  Zen Stoves has some great information regarding where to find them and what the risks are.  This is not meant to deter you from using alcohol stoves.  It is meant to encourage you to read and understand the tools you are using.  I sound like Norm Abrams.

I've used both types of alcohol, but I prefer Ethyl.  Ethyl alcohol is found at nearly all hardware stores, packaged as denatured alcohol.  It is also found in several other products including the beer in the Heineken can and the hand cleaners found in nearly all public spaces these days.  However, to be used as a fuel the product must have Ethyl alcohol near the 90% range or above.

My stoves use somewhere between 1-2oz. of fuel per burn.  Depending on the length of a trip, opportunities for resupply, meals planned, and stove fuel consumption the amount of fuel needed can be determined.  Typically I carry 4-8oz. of fuel in a Nalgene squeeze bottle.

Nalgene squeeze bottle with 8oz. of fuel.
Fuel Bottle

You can also find your own storage solution for fuel.  An empty water, soda, or juice container, a used shampoo bottle, etc... All of these will work.  Just make sure you won't confuse it with your water supply.

So there you have it a luxury, go out and buy it kit and an ultralight, go out there and make it kit.  Both are fully functional and both are elegant in their own way.  Next up is alcohol burners, or more commonly, stoves.

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
re: cook kits on 01/14/2010 14:25:17 MST Print View

Nice comparisons Joseph.

"Now this kit is great! It's light, flexible, and durable. However, to purchase this kit, costs well over 100US dollars."

True, about the same as a JetBoil....I like this kit better.

What did you use for your windscreen? I'm still using a double wrapped piece of heavy duty foil with my cat can. I like the stability of that screen.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Devil's Advocate on 01/14/2010 14:49:32 MST Print View

Let me play Devil's Advocate for a minute.

What do you need with a metal double-wall mug?

Now, I understand the purpose of a metal single-wall mug. You can actually put it over the stove and cook. It is very rugged and won't be easily broken, etc. I have some, and I use them.

A double-walled mug won't have so much heat loss out the sides, if it held a hot beverage, but they will loose a lot out of the top. You obviously can't cook in a double-wall, or at least not effectively.

Please tell me the advantage over a plastic mug, which would be lighter.
--B.G.--

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Devil's Advocate on 01/14/2010 15:03:30 MST Print View

Bob, re: the double-wall mug... uninsulated mugs do indeed lose heat out the sides, and these will keep a beverage hot longer than an uninsulated mug. If you're not actively drinking from any mug, it's easy to toss your pot lid (or a piece of foil, etc) on top of the mug. I used one of the SP double-walls for a while; in addition to keeping beverages hot longer, the rim is insulated, too, so I didn't have any lip-burning experiences as I have w/single-wall mugs. The stacking/handle-less H450 is 3.6oz; by comparison, plastic mugs in the shop weigh 2.5 to 4 oz, so not a big weight difference. Some people prefer not to drink from plastic. Cheers-

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
plastic mug on 01/14/2010 15:11:13 MST Print View

Hmmm. My standard plastic 15-fluid-ounce mug (a recycled food container) weighs 0.5 ounces. It must be defective. I've been using it for years.

--B.G.--

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: plastic mug on 01/14/2010 15:12:50 MST Print View

Well, congrats, Bob... Ya asked why, I answered... Different strokes for different folks, ya know...

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Devil's Advocate on 01/14/2010 15:22:23 MST Print View

Agree with Brad. I love my SP double wall mug. I actually use a small one, 7 oz, as my scotch 'glass' at night and then (strong!) coffee cup in the morning. It keeps the coffee hot much longer than a single wall or plastic cup. But then, I'm not a SUL'er. I'm barely a UL'er! I'm just an L'er! ;-)

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Devil's Advocate on 01/14/2010 15:42:41 MST Print View

Chuckle... I have the lil M150 "mug" for whisky! Can't say it goes on most trips, but 1.5oz of fun... add a splash of cold spring water... an amusing touch of "civility," or something like it.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
hot beverages on 01/14/2010 15:45:20 MST Print View

I guess it matters whether you are using this in the summer or the winter.

I've been a snow camper for about 30 years (since I was a tiny child), and I learned early on that the best year-round mug was a 16-ounce white plastic measuring cup. It is large enough to use as a food bowl and small enough to use as a beverage cup. The handle is OK. Some of them will hold one end of a nalgene water bottle.

I don't think that I would appreciate a metal mug that holds the contents hot for very long. Something like plastic will have a slow and predictable heat loss, so you know about when to consume the contents. During that slow heat loss period, the heat is going into your hands as you hold it. For winter use, that is a big deal.

The food container that I use mostly in summer came from the store packed with dried dates. A little steel wool will get rid of the product label/design. The price is right, at least if you buy dates.
--B.G.--

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"MYOG or BYOG...Cook Kits" on 01/14/2010 16:22:06 MST Print View

I've used this set up a couple of times...it works well for me.

The cup used to have Campbell's soup in it and the spoon came from a yogurt place.


Heinie pot, Campbell's cup and yogurt shop spoon.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: hot beverages on 01/14/2010 16:50:34 MST Print View

"During that slow heat loss period, the heat is going into your hands as you hold it. For winter use, that is a big deal."

I actually use my pot for this purpose (850ml MLD Ti). After I boil the water for my meal, I put the 850 in its own cozy to keep the rest of the water warm enough for teeth brushing/cleaning up (hate rinsing with cold water!). Drink my shot'o'coffee, eat my oatmeal from a plastic ziploc bowl (also in a cozy as it's what I use to rehydrate my meals), then take the pot out of its cozy and warm my hands, if necessary, and brush and clean. I pack my cook kit in the top of my pack so I'm already pretty much packed up, just pack the cook kit and any layers I have on for dawdling, then I'm off!

Joseph Meiser
(Josephmeiser) - F

Locale: Midwest
Mugs... on 01/14/2010 18:32:02 MST Print View

This digressed, quickly. Ti mug is exactly what I stated it as. A luxury. I like it, it's sexy in its own way. Not better, different.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Mugs... on 01/14/2010 18:35:56 MST Print View

"Ti mug is exactly what I stated it as. A luxury. I like it, it's sexy in its own way. Not better, different."

+1 - I see it the same way! Ah, life's little luxuries!

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Mugs... on 01/14/2010 19:29:50 MST Print View

Yeah I don't have one of these... yet. However, as a person whose primary addiction is first and foremost coffee, I can vouch for the futility of arguing with one of "us".. I haul a ~1lb travel french press with me many trips, and will happily fore-go many other necessities for a good cup.

Only reason I haven't gotten the mug yet is the fact the french press is double walled, however, it's the top "superfluous" item on my list.

What do you guys recommend as a "real(not cowboy)" alternative to the french press? I wish snow peak would make a double walled version of their Ti press.

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
re: digression on 01/15/2010 09:38:00 MST Print View

You see the order created by the coffee bean? Civilization depends on the bean. You start messing with the means to acquire its juices and all hell breaks loose.

I'm going to add drinking receptacles to religion and politics in my book of banned topics of discussion while drinking or backpacking. Sadly, I find a number of solutions for these problems whilst trekking through the backcountry...

Joseph, I'm still curious about that windscreen(how you made it, etc.)

Cheers.