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How to lighten my cook kit?
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Elijah Ziemann
(MrBlondyable) - F
How to lighten my cook kit? on 04/26/2013 09:57:31 MDT Print View

My current cook kit:
-GSI Minimalist pot, 3.52 ounces
-Neoprene pot cozy, 0.7 ounces
-Aluminmum wind screen, 0.5 ounces
-Mini cutting board, 0.1 ounces
-Silicon pot gripper, 0.4 ounces
-JOGR canister stove in plastic case, 3.9 ounces
-Sponge, 0.7 grams
-Sea to Summit X-Mug, 2.25 ounces (my lid and my bowl
-Wendy's ice cream spoon, 0.1 ounces

Total: 11.5 ounces

How can I lighten this up?

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Canister vs ? on 04/26/2013 10:10:13 MDT Print View

I have a canister stove and enjoy using it but the empty canister is 3.5 ozs and then add whatever the Soto ODR weighs. Using the same pot with a ti wing and refectix cozy and I'm under 6oz which is not quite half of my canister kit.

You might be able to shave an oz or so but IMO you'd have to jump ship for an alky or solid fuel kit to lose much more than that.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
Re: How to lighten my cook kit? on 04/26/2013 10:26:44 MDT Print View

I would personally get rid of the following items:

- Extra mug - use the GSI as both the pot and cup
- Sponge - use a bandana
- Pot gripper - use a bandana
- Stove case - make a small stuff sack from left over ripstop

That should drop your cooking weight. My cook kit (not the lightest) weighs in at a total of 6 oz.

Nick H
(galway) - MLife
2 cups on 04/26/2013 10:46:51 MDT Print View

Unless you use both the put and the mug at the same time (eat out of one, and drink out of the other) I would get rid of the mug.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: How to lighten my cook kit? on 04/26/2013 11:24:37 MDT Print View

+1 on minimalizing the list. My first impression was there are a large number of items. You have some light versions, but they add up. Toss the case for the stove and the cup for sure. Using a bandana you already have will help a bit-- I never cared much for the tiny silicone pot grabbers. You might find a lighter pot in Ti, at great expense.

I agree that you need to switch out fuel type to get much further.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
DXing the mug on 04/26/2013 11:28:01 MDT Print View

A couple options for your mug...

Obviously removing it from your kit (as mentioned above) is the lightest option, or....

Replace it with a Styrofoam cup from a Cup o Noodles or Campbell microwave soup for a fraction of the weight. If you don't need it for hot drinks, cutting a Gatorade bottle to size will save a couple ozs as well.

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
7oz no problem on 04/26/2013 11:29:22 MDT Print View

Elijah Z, I just weighed my prototype 'ul cookset on a shoestring' setup, which I've been dabbling with for a while, and comes in at 7oz. That's with a cup/cup cozy, penny stove, alcohol fuel bottle, pot stand, solid flashing wind screen (which is a critical part of any alcohol setup that is efficient), and the other stuff you listed.

this is not a flimsy cookset, it's all solid, stainless steel pot, with lid, flashing wind/heat screen, steel pot stand. This set is actually slightly lighter than my ti pot/pot stand setup, and just a touch less efficient.

I have not figured out how to make tea and cook at the same time without a cup, but the cup does not need to be very big, or heavy, my cup/cozy weighs a bit over 1/2 oz, I'll also post the exact weights.

I'm in the middle of a huge work job right now or I would have already created the how to on my website, but if I have time I'll try to whip it up this weekend.

Your pot/cozy/heatshield are fine.

My goal for the main cookset was under $10 total (including of course the stove/pot stand etc), and I got it down to $6.50 or so due to a fortunate find in chinatown where I live of an ultralight pot.

I'll put up a link when I get the pages done.

Alcohol stoves are where you will save the biggest chunk of weight, by far.

I'd be careful of a 0.1 oz spoon, while if you have a knife you can whittle yourself one if the one you brought breaks, that takes a while and doesn't work quite as nicely, though I've done it, I'd go for an REI lexan spoon, they are the cheapest ones they carry, and are very strong. Not as strong, sad to say, as they used to be, but good enough. For my shoestring cookset I used a spoon I found that came from a yoghurt place.

With practice, and if you boil slightly under 2 cups water per meal, and cook two meals a day, you can make 2oz of fuel last for 2 days, ie, 1oz per day, but it's better to have a bit extra just in case. Penny stoves also simmer incredibly well, so for about 1 oz per meal you can actually cook your meal, real food that is.

Where did you get a 0.1 oz cutting board, that sounds nice? I used to carry those to cut up food but stopped, now I precut everything but I kind of miss having that option, cutting on logs always seems to get dirt in the stuff I'm cutting.

Edited by hhope on 04/26/2013 11:36:18 MDT.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
Re: 7oz no problem on 04/26/2013 11:34:07 MDT Print View

"Where did you get a 0.1 oz cutting board, that sounds nice? I used to carry those to cut up food but stopped, now I precut everything but I kind of miss having that option, cutting on logs always seems to get dirt in the stuff I'm cutting."

On my older setup, I have a cutting board (which was hardly used) made out of the plastic cover on those 9.5x6 notebooks. They worked great...not sure if it was BPA free though :)

EDIT: Forgot the most important part...it weighed less than half an ounce.

Edited by mangus7175 on 04/26/2013 11:35:06 MDT.

Elijah Ziemann
(MrBlondyable) - F
Re: 7oz no problem on 04/26/2013 11:37:04 MDT Print View

I cut it out from the top of an oatmeal container to fit in the bottom of my pot. Something like this..

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: 7oz no problem on 04/26/2013 11:38:51 MDT Print View

"I have not figured out how to make tea and cook at the same time without a cup, but the cup does not need to be very big, or heavy, my cup/cozy weighs a bit over 1/2 oz, I'll also post the exact weights."

With freezer bag cooking, I just throw the food and first batch of water into my cozy and then heat some more water for my beverage and drink it out of the pot.

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
ah, those things on 04/26/2013 11:39:52 MDT Print View

I haven't seen those plastic notebook covers in ages.

I don't worry about stuff like bpa that much unless the material is going to soak, be stored, or cook in it. By the way, despite what some non scientists here like to say, bpa has recently been studied for the health issues, sorry don't have the link, and the toxic effects are clear and conclusive, messes with some core hormones etc, that's why I won't cook in beer cans or plastic anything. And not just in children. Unfortunately the replacement chemicals they use now aren't a whole lot better.

Elijah Ziemann
(MrBlondyable) - F
Pot lid on 04/26/2013 11:40:03 MDT Print View

I weighed the X-Mug and the lid that came with my Minimalist. The mug is 1 ounce heavier. If I ditch the mug, what could I use for a lightweight lid?

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
I might have to steal that idea, hah on 04/26/2013 11:42:04 MDT Print View

Elijah, that's just downright clever and creative, and a very nice (re) use (far better than recycling) of materials. You'll like the shoestring cook kit, I tried to repurpose as many things as I could as well in the design.

I guess along those lines just cutting a circle out of a 1/2 or 1 gallon plastic jug is the same idea.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
Re: Pot lid on 04/26/2013 11:43:07 MDT Print View

"I weighed the X-Mug and the lid that came with my Minimalist. The mug is 1 ounce heavier. If I ditch the mug, what could I use for a lightweight lid?"

You can always fashion one from aluminum foil or make one using a used pie tin. Many YT videos online you can watch for some tips on how to make a lid.

D S
(smoke) - F
Mini Cutting Board on 04/26/2013 11:51:10 MDT Print View

Might want to try the plastic insert from a bacon package. Don't know what it weighs, but it ain't much.

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
one boil on 04/26/2013 11:51:24 MDT Print View

while I personally won't eat out of plastic bags that have had boiling water tossed into them, you can optimize your cooking slightly, this is how I do it:

Take amount of water you are going to need for rehydrating/tea/coffee, place in pot, keeping in mind tea/coffee water does not need to be boiling and tea water should in fact not be boiling for optimal steeps, then I wait until the little bubbles are coming up, which is about 180 degrees, easy to finger test it too, then quickly pour out the tea/coffee water into cup, and let rest of water boil.

That uses almost no more fuel to do than doing just the cooking water. I don't drink huge mugs of tea of course, it's not necessary, just enough, which is about 3/4 cup water I'd say, give or take.

I find cooking in a pot is so nice, easy to clean, easy to store stuff, easy to eat out of, and holds heat, with cozy, super well, even in cold winds, particularly with narrow pots, the one down side of course would be in bear country, then you'd need to store the pot with the food I guess.

Edited by hhope on 04/26/2013 11:52:07 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
How to lighten my cook kit?" on 04/26/2013 11:52:21 MDT Print View

Unless you really enjoy cooking from scratch out in the wild, consider doing your gourmet cooking at home and dehydrating it, or getting supermarket foods that need no more than 6-7 minutes to cook. Use the freezer bag method (see Sarah's website, www.trailcooking.com) of rehydrating the food using boiling water--pour the water into freezer bag, stir, let sit in cozy for 15 minutes. Brew your beverage in the leftover boiling water and drink it out of the pot while waiting for your food to rehydrate. Eat out of the freezer bag. Result: no dishes to wash (just lick the spoon and rinse it).

With that, plus using a bandanna, you will eliminate cutting board, pot gripper, sponge and mug for 3.5 oz. savings. Presumably your food is packed in plastic bags or the original containers (probably heavier) anyway.

In addition, substitute a sandwich bag for the case for the stove, which will probably save another half ounce. The only item I have (out of all my gear) that I use the original stuff sack or case for is the mesh stuff sack for my pot, which is pretty minimalist but keeps the lid from falling off and spilling the contents in my pack.

You could experiment to see if a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil would be lighter than the pot lid.

With many areas in the western US increasingly prohibiting alcohol stoves in times of high fire danger, I'd rather have the isobutane canisters. Of course I still have to be careful (use the stove only on bare ground several feet from vegetation), but at least I'm legal! For a trip of a week or more, the weight of stove plus fuel becomes a little less than an alcohol stove plus fuel, and the canister stove is more convenient. I have both, but usually end up grabbing the canister even for short trips.

Re the plastic bag issue: freezer bags do NOT contain BPA; they're a different type of plastic. Also, by the time you get the pot off the stove and pour the water into the bag, the water temp has dropped to 180-190* F. If you're home freezing vegetables, you blanch them first, pack into bags and then chill, which means that the normal use for which freezer bags are designed is at a similar temperature. Although Sarah of trailcooking.com is my heroine (I hate washing dishes!), I think the term "freezer bag cooking" is misleading--it's freezer bag rehydration!

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/26/2013 11:59:00 MDT.

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
lids on 04/26/2013 11:58:27 MDT Print View

I may test this empirically some time, but simple logic re pressure/boiling suggests that a real lid, ideally with a rock on it, will save you far more fuel weight than a non real lid will save you in base weight, so that's a place where I think the dreaded 'base weight' over 'trailhead weight' fiction (ie, baseweight is dropped but trailhead weight is increased by discounting components you have to use to drop the baseweight) could be observed somewhat nicely, definitely it can easily be tested. Since a narrow pot lid weighs about .6 oz if I remember right, give or take, that means you'd have to use less than that weight in fuel over the total trip extra to make it a good choice to leave the real lid behind.

This test would be most revealing at 5000 feet I believe.

But real lids do such a good job holding the thing together in the first place there's no real point that I can see, and they improve boil times, and thus fuel consumption/efficiency, so that's not an area I play with anymore, though I did a few times.

Elijah Ziemann
(MrBlondyable) - F
Re: lids on 04/26/2013 12:29:47 MDT Print View

That makes a lot of sense. The thing is, the "real lid" that comes with the GSI Minimalist weighs 1.6 ounces and doesn't seal well. They have a seal for drinking with, but they state that you should flip the lid upside down when cooking. IDGI. I also probably won't be drinking hot drinks, so the sippy lid isn't needed. Honestly, the X-Mug works MUCH better than the original lid, but the mug is heavy. I think a pie tin sounds like a good idea.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: lids on 04/26/2013 12:37:37 MDT Print View

If you can lay your hands on a sheet of carbon fiber, with scissors you can cut out a round lid that is very lightweight, rather rigid, and impervious to the heat.

--B.G.--