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Cook/Eat System
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Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Cook/Eat System on 10/10/2010 17:55:41 MDT Print View

I have asked about this previously but am going to get back into the topic again :) The basic gist of it:
I will be backpacking with my wife. We currently have a dragonfly and msr cookpot and mugs that we use for camping. This is just way too heavy for backpacking!

Am very interested in getting an alcohol stove or two. We really haven't looked into what food we will be eating for each meal yet which might make it hard to provide advice for us. But I can provide some info. We like to eat together, so a stove each and a smaller pot each might be the go. We also like a hot drink like hot chocolate or tea while we are just relaxing. Although this is not essential, it is definitely preferable, we are there to enjoy ourselves! The option that looks the best to me is the thru-hiker deal at end2end trail supplies (or the gram weenie pro with the evernew deep pot.)
A thru-hiker each and a .9L evernew pot will save us over 30oz AND give us two stoves and two pots (but no mugs.) Not to mention the space saving. The addition of an MSR titan mug each is a possibility if the pot is unsuitable to drink from. I like the look of the thru-hiker better as it looks much more stable.

Thanks in advance :)


Edited by benen on 10/10/2010 18:02:50 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Cook/Eat System on 10/10/2010 18:28:15 MDT Print View

I can't remember if I responded the last time you brought this up, but here it goes...

My fiancee and I backpack together and we both carry a Super Gram Weenie stove from end2end trail supply. The SGWs are a special order thing that you need to ask George to make. Basically, they're the exact same thing as the regular Gram Weenie except they're just a bit taller to allow for more fuel.

We both use SnowPeak 450 mugs for our pot/mug.

We both use an MYOG silicone lid/pot holder for grabbing the hot handles of the mug after the water boils.

We both love our system! We can cook and eat at the same time and make our own hot drinks. She likes tea and I like coffee.

George from End2end is great, and I always like dealing with him.

One note on the Gram Weenie stoves.....they're a bit unstable, simply due to their tiny diameter. However, I've remedied this by taking a soup can lid and JB Welding it to the bottom. I used a safety-cut Good Cooks can opener which leaves a little lip on the lid. I glued the stove so that this lip is in contact with the ground--it really makes the stove so much more stable.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Thanks! on 10/10/2010 19:00:30 MDT Print View

I think you might have replied last time :)
That sounds pretty similar to what I'm looking at. My only concern is the mug volume and shape. I don't know that I could comfortable eat out of a mug or fit a decent meal into it.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Thanks! on 10/10/2010 19:11:15 MDT Print View

Yeah, setups like this are really only good for boiling water. So, if your meals require actual cooking, or are large volume meals, a setup like this wouldn't work to well.

Good luck with your search!

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
eating on 10/10/2010 19:17:51 MDT Print View

Do most people on here eat out of bags in a cosy?

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Cook/Eat System on 10/10/2010 20:18:04 MDT Print View

If I could suggest to you the perfect cook setup I would. However, I can't even do this for myself. Instead, I have several sets I rotate.

The lightest method is (in my opinion) is freezer bag cooking with a heine keg can with a small alcohol stove. So in your case, you could carry two sets. However, this is only ideal when going out for a few nights, bc the weight of the uneaten food left in the freezer bag adds up quick.

I haven't tried the thru hiker stove, but it looks decent. The fuel capacity, burn times, etc look similar to the budlight pressurized stove, which I do use. The price is good too. For me, the fun in alcohol stoves comes from making them. If you have the tools, check out zenstoves if your already haven't done so.

To save weight, I would get a slightly larger pot and use it for the both of you. Get something with enough water to make yourselves a hot drink and a meal. I like titanium just as much as the next guy, but the aluminum pots really do work. They're also cheap so you can experiment with them until you find the set up you like....and then purchase titanium. The larger aluminum mug on end2end would work for the two of you.

I'm already rambling....

I belive a pressurized alcohol stove (like the thru hiker)gives you the highest heat output, so go with that idea. The side jet types also eliminate the need for a pot stand. So at 0.52 ounces....I think you found yourself a stove!

Edit: mugs

Light and easy solution for mugs - 12 oz heine can with the top removed.

Edited by spavlock on 10/10/2010 20:23:18 MDT.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
eating on 10/10/2010 20:23:13 MDT Print View

So you're suggesting for longer trips to take a single pot to share out of? Like the 1.3L Evernew. And mugs? Or just skip hot drinks.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Cook/Eat System on 10/10/2010 20:27:05 MDT Print View


Although I'm really interested in other alcohol stoves (maybe a Trail Designs Caldera Cone system), an easy place to start is with a homemade stove. Check out Andrew Skurka's website:

Go to "Gear & Skills Advice"
Then "Techniques & How-To's"
Then "How to: Make A Fancy Feast Cat Food Can Alcohol Stove"

It is simple and cheap. I use an REI/Evernew .9 pot like Skurka that has a wider diameter that seems to work well with this design. You'll need a windscreen, too.

You could take this out for several overnighters until you decided whether you needed/wanted more.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: eating on 10/10/2010 20:27:58 MDT Print View

Yep, a larger pot with an alcohol stove that can handle it. I edited my previous post for mugs. Styrofoam mugs also work for short trips and are really light, but I've never liked them. A 1.3 L evernew would work for two. You could go smaller if just cooking food.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: eating on 10/10/2010 21:21:26 MDT Print View

For us it really depends on where we are and how many of us are along. When it is me and my oldest son we do meals for each in freezer bags. If my husband is along I do a meal for both of us (or the three of us depending if Ford wants what we are having. The youngest isn't eating big people food yet.)

So what gear I take depends on that. I can cook a big meal in a 1.3 liter pot for the two of us but since I like lots of water I often carry a 2 liter pot for all of us.

If you don't mind sharing then eat out of the pot together...but that can lead to unhappiness if one of you eats faster (and hence more) ;-)

As for mugs....I do carry one for each of us and we use them for liquids only. No dishwashing that way.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cook/Eat System on 10/10/2010 21:29:36 MDT Print View

I use a Caldera Cone with a 550ml Ti pot for solo use. It seems easy to go "Ultra Spartan" when solo, but cooking and hot water needs seem to ramp up with two or more.

We use a Coleman F1 canister stove for two or more. Everyone can haul some fuel with no extra containers to buy and you can crank out the hot water and/or cook for a group.

There are a bunch of good UL canister stoves out there and fairly competitive on price, heat output and weight. You might read up on carbon monoxide output and performance tests. Roger Caffin has done some extensive stove testing: , etc.

For pots, you can get inexpensive aluminum ones like the Antigravity Gear 3 cup or even 2 quart rigs. The REI/Evernew .9 or 1.3 liter titanium pots are nice, but more expensive. Picking one is usually just balancing weight/capacity/price-- they will all boil water! If you are really going to cook, the pot needs to fit the recipe or vice versa.

A couple light plastic bowls will work for eating. The Snow Peak titanium bowls are a great buy and you can cook in them too-- add a pot lifter and some aluminum foil for lids.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Eating on 10/11/2010 01:25:52 MDT Print View

Thanks very much everyone for the very quick and helpful replies. I'm now thinking I could possibly get a larger 1.3l pot and share it for meals or freezer bags and 2 mugs. The weight is about the same. I'm not so keen on the disposable gear, I'd prefer the Ti stuff :-)

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
"We like to eat together" on 10/11/2010 09:58:34 MDT Print View

Since I do a lot of solo hiking, I have a decent solo setup: 850 ml MDL pot/cup, and a compact version of the caldera cone that they don't seem to offer any more that fits into it.

Since I'm used to carrying this setup, my wife and I just sort of adapted our "together" cook/eat style to eat in sequence, and this has actually worked out pretty well for us. We're still "together", and while one is eating, the other is doing something else nearby. I.e., I heat water for one of us, put that into the freezer bag, then heat water for the second person. So far we've made due with just the one FBC cozy, but a second one of those might be nice.

I realize that you explicitly said "we like to eat together", but FWIW, we've found that it hasn't been any kind of an 'experience degrader' to heat water twice, and the overall weight and volume of what I'm carrying is a bit lower as a result.

We don't do hot drinks, however, nor do we cook for breakfast, so indeed a "two people at once" setup might be better for you.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Cooking on 10/11/2010 10:18:23 MDT Print View

If wood is readily available where you are going, get the Caldera Cone Ti-Tri. You can burn wood when it's available (no fuel weight at all!) and either Esbit or alcohol when it's not. A 1.3L pot would be a good choice for 2 if you are doing FBC cooking and like something hot to drink as well. (My favorite FBC meal takes a whopping 18 oz of water.) I use the top of the carrying case as a mug and you could use the bottom for the other mug. It's a very versatile system. Plus you can use it to have a nice, small, LNT fire when you are done cooking. Can't beat it.

Edited by rlnunix on 10/11/2010 10:23:04 MDT.

Del Johnston
(deljohnston) - F

Locale: Heart of Dixie
Freezer Bag Cooking on 10/11/2010 14:34:43 MDT Print View

Ahhh...a subject I am VERY experienced at...EATING! LOL!

I really love the FBC approach to trail meals. It is so easy to boil water, pour it in a pouch and leave it alone for a bit to "cook" on its own while you do other camp chores or even relax.

Everyone else has covered aluminum/titanium and pot/mug setups. It really is personal preference/budget/need. As was stated, they ALL boil water well, which fits my FBC style perfectly. Find the cheapest one that you like.

One point that is hardly ever mentioned when doing the FBC thing is PREPARATION. That is something else you can do TOGETHER. You can buy pre-made meals. It is fun to try them, but can get expensive. The best way to enjoy FBC is to make your own. Again, you can buy pre-dried items and make your own meals from those or you can dry your own food. For me, a large part of the fun of FBC is in preparing my own meals WITH my girlfriend. Just another aspect of the experience that you can share with one another.

Hope you find the right setup for the two of you, and remember to HYOH!

One thing I forgot to mention...making your own alcohol stoves is yet another thing you can do together. Fun and certainly a learning experience.

Edited by deljohnston on 10/11/2010 14:35:58 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Freezer Bag Cooking on 10/11/2010 14:51:17 MDT Print View

Hehheh on making the meals together - last week on one day I went to make Kirk and I lunch. He looks over and asks what are we having. The day before I had made a tasty tortellini dish and when I said "Chickpea Marinara over Rice" his face went south. I was of the mind that since I packed the meals, tough luck ;-) He was craving meat to say the least.

Planning together can be a lot of fun and it gets everyone involved!

Del Johnston
(deljohnston) - F

Locale: Heart of Dixie
Kudos to Sarah! on 10/11/2010 15:17:05 MDT Print View

Just as an aside, Sarah's FBC site has been SO very helpful to me and others.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Cook/Eat System on 10/11/2010 15:18:28 MDT Print View

You can do a setup like this and weighs 4 or 5 oz and cost very little.

The outside container is a countrytime lemonade container and is crush proof. The lids are marked and can be used to measure. Also the container can handle hot water, tea, coffee etc. It is transparent so if you mark it, it also makes a good measure.

I like the 16 oz kit best myself since its more compact but for a long trip with a bigger pack I take the 24 oz kit.

I put my bag into the container, fold back the edges, add water and screw the top on. Wrap a cozy or a micro cloth around it and let it stew.

This is a shorty 16 fl oz capacity kit and weighs 4 oz
I dont carry the 2 face to face plastic cups with the yellow band around them


This is a full size fosters can setup and with all the stuff shown above weighs 5 oz
This one is a 24 fl oz capacity .
A plastic light my fire spork will fit in this one.


Edited by tammons on 10/11/2010 15:31:47 MDT.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
heres my set up on 10/11/2010 21:02:54 MDT Print View

SO...I didnt read ALL the replies, so someone might have said something like this.

But I am almost always cooking for 2. I prefer to use a light weight pot, and each have their own mug. I do most of my cooking directly on the fire. I can just boil water on the fire, or cook a full meal. With some practice you can control the heat really well, and get a good fire for cooking going quickly. Once I have a fire going I can get a quart of water boiling in under 3 minutes pretty easily. I think the pot I use is a snowpeak aluminum pot. its very light and doesnt rust or anything. its a perfect size to cook a meal for two. I have a pair of light weight nomex gloves that I use to handle the hot pot, and move the wood and coals around to get an optimal set up on the fire. Whats also nice about cooking on the fire is you arent worried about wasting fuel so you can boil as much water as you want for hot drinks, or to wash your face at night...whatever use you can think of for hot water.

I do bring a lightweight stove with minimal fuel if I am in a rush in the AM, or if I am above tree line and cant find sufficient wood to get a fire for cooking.

I use a sierra cup, but I think I need to get a lighter mug for myself.

So...just my two cents.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Cook/Eat System on 10/11/2010 21:33:00 MDT Print View

For solo trips, or when I take only one grandkid, I do freezer bag "cooking." One pot, two freezer bags of dried food, two cozies, two spoons, two cups. The only dishwashing required is for cups and spoons. For solo trips, I use the pot as my cup, so all I have is the pot, the freezer bag and the spoon.

For family trips, I still do the freezer bag "cooking" (really rehydration), but with two meals per freezer bag. So for four of us, it's still two freezer bags and two cozies. However, I take plastic bowls (the 2-cup Ziploc bowls with the rim cut off), one apiece, a spoon apiece and a cup apiece. I rinse cups, bowls and spoons and then scald them in boiling water. (The kids' cups contain cocoa--best way to get milk into kids--so do need wiping out rather than just rinsing.)

For short solo trips, I use an alcohol stove. However, I've found that for solo trips of a week or more and definitely for group trips, the total weight of stove plus isobutane cartridge for a canister stove (mine is a Primus Micron) comes out less than that of an alcohol stove plus fuel. (There's an article on that confirms this.) That is particularly true if I'm going to be cooking anything, such as fish. Over a longer time, the isobutane canister stove uses enough less fuel (by weight) than the alcohol stove to more than make up for the heavier weight of stove plus empty cartridge.

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/11/2010 21:39:49 MDT.