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Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video)
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video) on 05/01/2013 11:14:17 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video)

Jim H
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Video on 05/01/2013 11:57:45 MDT Print View

This was a great little read, but I'm stuck with only having a smartphone for a few days after a catastrophic laptop failure and can't view the video. Any chance you could put this video on your Vimeo page? I have the Vimeo app, but I don't see it on your page. I can't seem to get this video to play in my web browser on my smartphone. Cheers!

Edited by jraiderguy on 05/01/2013 11:59:36 MDT.

Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Video on a smartphone on 05/01/2013 12:04:30 MDT Print View

Hi Jim,
The Video is available on at Backpacking Light right now since it's a member's only article and we are not able to syndicate it to Vimeo publicly quite yet. Sorry to hear about your catastrophic laptop failure!

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Video on 05/01/2013 12:34:14 MDT Print View


The video displays fine on my iPhone 5. What OS/browser are you using on your smart phone?

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Nice Article on 05/01/2013 12:39:20 MDT Print View

Nice Article Ryan. Its good to see someone else cooking REAL FOOD while backpacking.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video) on 05/01/2013 12:44:57 MDT Print View

Good article Ryan, now I have to go out and buy some non-titanium pans and a stove that can simmer.
It must be lunch time, that video made me hungry and I'm thinking I need to change my whole cooking process.

BTW what is the recipe for the cinnamon rolls? The dough looks too good to be made on a backpacking trip..

Edited by bestbuilder on 05/01/2013 12:48:41 MDT.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video) on 05/01/2013 13:15:29 MDT Print View

For Ryan's recipes, is it reasonable to assume that the JetBoil's 1.5 Liter FluxRing Cooking Pot & lid, plus JetBoil stove, could provide the same results as the heavier and more specialized Fry Bake pots & lids with a conventional BP stove? Alternatively would the JetBoil 8" Fry Pan plus a DIY aluminum lid work as an alternative?

Edited by richard295 on 05/01/2013 15:01:08 MDT.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video) on 05/01/2013 15:12:12 MDT Print View

Good article. I like to be able to cook a variety of food, it really adds to the enjoyment of a hike.

Looks like all you need is a shallow wide pot with a lid and a stove that simmers. It probably wouldn't matter too much if the pot was not so shallow, say 3-4" high, so long as it is wide.

Jim H
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Yum on 05/01/2013 18:15:42 MDT Print View

Wow, that mac and cheese looks amazing, and that's coming from someone who's lactose intolerant. Great video.

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: Yum on 05/01/2013 19:08:17 MDT Print View

I tried out the mac and cheese for dinner today (any excuse to play with my backpacking toys...) using an MSR BlackLite frying pan (currently on closeout for less than $7 from REI), a lid made from the bottom of a disposable pie tin, and a Kovea Spider.

This setup worked great, and the mac and cheese tasted amazing!

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Yum on 05/01/2013 20:00:30 MDT Print View

Yay! As (primarily) a canoe camper, this is the kind of cooking I like. Omelets with bacon, pancakes, fresh biscuits, quesadillas, baked or fried fish. Nice to see that it's ok to splurge a bit, even on BPL. Cinnamon that's got me thinking...

Thanks Ryan.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Good Article on 05/02/2013 03:33:14 MDT Print View

I am very happy to see that hiking/camping/canoeing is not ALWAYS about the lightest weight, the most miles or the greatest views. It is also about the time in camp. I don't hike more than ten hours in any one day. That leaves about 14 hours in camp to do the things that add comfort and relaxation to my outings. A twenty-forty minute cook time is about right for making supper. There is no hurry.

The Mac & Cheese looks real good. I'll have to try that this weekend.

I'll swap you, here is one I use:
I never thought of fry-baking as anything more than simply frying. One of my favorites is fried biscuits. A small ammount of relativly dry dough is made (usually a 1/4 cup of bisquick is enough for one) with a squirt of olive oil. This is flattened (rather thin, no more than 1/2") and dropped into my heated and oiled (~1 tsp olive oil) pot. This is cooked on very low, as you mention, with the top on. Often, I will use a piece of aluminum extra-large foil over the pot, sort of like a "top hat" or "turkish fez" to hold a more even heat. It rarely sticks badly, but, my spoon acts as a spatula, if it does. The trick is to swirl the bisquit in a hot pan with the hot oil as you put it in, as you mention. 5-8 minutes later I flop it to the other side to brown. I often make a trail stew/soup right after, it cleans up the pan very well if it does stick a bit, and, picks up any oil left in the pot.

This forms the basis for all sorts of goodies on the trail. Cinnimon & sugar make desert or a breakfast "roll." A tablespoon of cocoa folded in the center makes a different, but tasty, roll. Sometimes I make fritters from rehydrated veggies for lunch, but they rarely make it to lunch...more like an evening snack. Adding diced meats (salami, peperoni) makes a good meal. Cheese is always good. A stick of mozzerella rolled un the center adds a lot of flavour. Parified butter usually gets squirted on, both for flavour and calories. Dunking in coffee or cocoa is not allowed, ha, ha.

Suppers may take a while, compared to "boil and dump" and I go through an extra half ounce of fuel cooking both, accounting for my rather large fuel usage. Hey, without a few luxuries... Cooking outdoors makes everything taste better. My stomach can attest to that!

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 05/02/2013 06:55:17 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 00:56:25 MDT.

Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Fry Bake Desserts on 05/02/2013 07:19:59 MDT Print View

I use the Frybake quite a bit, especially when I go up in the mountains with the guys rather than solo. My favorite use is to make dessert. Apple crisp is just rehydrated apple slices that I dried at home; a couple of tablespoons of flour to thicken, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and oatmeal on top. I use a fire to bake--put some coals on top of the lid. And then wait a bit. Wonderful! I also like peach cobbler. Pretty much the same recipe except I use rehydrated peaches, white sugar, less cinnamon, and place bisquick dough balls instead of oatmeal on top. There is hardly anything better! If you use a stove it really works well to start a small "twiggy" fire (That's a Paul Peltzold term) on top of the lid, and then keep it going to really bake.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Good Article on 05/02/2013 08:03:31 MDT Print View


We do the same thing with biscuits, though with a bit of butter rather than oil. The bisquick honey butter packs are sweet and tasty for breakfast, though a few honey packets would add to it considerably. We like the cheesy garlic bisquick mix with dinners, a good match with, or prelude to, fried or baked fish!

Ok need to go plan a trip so I can eat...

We routinely take cheese (usually cheddar, jack or swiss) for 1-2 week canoe trips. Never had an issue with spoilage, though if it is warm enough, most cheese will "sweat" some oil so make sure it is well packaged. Longer? Dunno, but the good thing with cheese is that mold on the outside can always be cut off and the inner will still be good.

Edited by BER on 05/02/2013 08:14:16 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: How long does cheese last? on 05/02/2013 08:33:22 MDT Print View

Take those individually wrapped 1 ounce Mozzarella string cheeses.

Cheese will last longer in an un-opened package.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 05/02/2013 08:47:08 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 00:55:54 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How long does cheese last? on 05/02/2013 08:55:40 MDT Print View

Mozzerella and similar soft cheeses will last a while, a lot longer than you would think, especially if they are factory sealed in plastic. If you have to carry it for a long time, you are better off with a hard Swiss cheese.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: How long does cheese last? on 05/02/2013 09:45:04 MDT Print View

I often will wrap cheddar/swiss cheeses in a tortilla wrap in a baggie. It absorbs any oil leakage and tends to keep mold down, at least the ones that have any presevatives.

Mold is not bad to eat. Well, if you are alergic to peniciln it could be, I guess. Mold usually starts white. Only the fruiting spore bodies, I hesitate to call them flowers, turn bluish black and taste a bit musty. If it is white, there is no difference from eating a mushroom. Generally, cheese is already spoiled milk. It's rather hard to get things to "spoil" twice. It will easily last a two or three weeks. (But, it is rarely left at the end of the first week.)

The little snack-wraps of "string" cheese and cheddar are easy to carry. Just keep track of the wrappers.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: How long does cheese last? on 05/02/2013 09:47:51 MDT Print View

"The little snack-wraps of "string" cheese and cheddar are easy to carry. Just keep track of the wrappers."

With some duct tape, you could probably fashion the wrappers into a dandy poncho or ground cloth.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: How long does cheese last? on 05/02/2013 10:14:09 MDT Print View

I would worry about attracting critters...

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
GREAT Article! on 05/02/2013 10:35:37 MDT Print View

This is a great article and video! After so many years of eating as light as I can on trail, and then switching to my "car camping rigs" for "real food" in campgrounds, I really want to get my skills up to par for food like this, and to enable my Scouts to do so.

I don't get hungry seeing Mountain House food, even though I like it fine. I am freaking starving after watching the fry bake video.

Ryan, we love these videos that demonstrate what you, and your Scouts, are doing! LOVE them.


Rob P
(rpjr) - M
Awesome! on 05/02/2013 19:55:04 MDT Print View

Ryan, this is excellent. I am definitely buying a fry pan.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Fry Bake on 05/03/2013 06:09:39 MDT Print View

I am taking my grandson on his first backpacking trip this summer (Uncompahgre Wilderness) and I think I will be a little heavier than planned. Great article.

Tony Cyphers
(PacRat) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Super on 05/03/2013 15:17:16 MDT Print View

I love to see some "not-so-light" backpacking tips like this! I am definitely a much lighter traveler with help from all of you, but I still indulge in heavier alternatives. I will be trying the mac n cheese this weekend. I'd love to see the recipe for the cinnamon roles! This will be great for our next Scout trip!

Thanks for sharing this Ryan!


Ed Tyanich
(runsmtns) - F - M
Flaxseed oil on 05/03/2013 16:19:29 MDT Print View


Nice article and video. I am a bit surprised at the use of flaxseed oil. Everything I have read cautions against heating flaxseed oil. I wouldn't be so worried about destroying the benefit of the omega-3 fatty acids, or even the potential of turning healthy fats into harmful fats, as I would the propensity of flaxseed oil to turn rancid without refrigeration. I generally use organic expeller pressed safflower oil with my frybake.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Seasoning oil on 05/04/2013 00:11:42 MDT Print View

Ed, good comments, and concerns.

Free radicals released from oils can be caused by excessive heating. This is the "bad" part (carcinogenic) of oils, especially "dry" oils (that polymerize) like flaxseed.

Here's how you can avoid having free radicals when you season a pan.

First, seasoning and cooking are two different things.

If you've cooked a lot with oil, you know well that at some high enough level of heat (let's call this the "smokin' point") where the oil smokes, that's bad. Free radicals are being released there and you don't want to ingest that oil. If you are adding food to this state, beware. Toss it out, clean the pan, start over.

But we're seasoning, not cooking.

Ideally, you season below the smoke point. But even if you season above the smoke point, heat til the smoke goes away. By that time, the free radicals have (probably) been all (or mostly) burned off and you're left with a (pretty) safe, polymerized film.

(note the disclaimers in parens :)

And here's another quick trick, that wasn't discussed in the video/article because it's complicated, and we're about simple. But I'm an engineer, so...(insert disclaimer related to fun vs. simplicity here).

Take some ferrous iron salt (sulfate is fine), maybe 100mg / tsp of oil, and mix it with the tsp of oil before you add it to your hard anodized pan (not needed for cast iron pans, obviously)...this improves oil polymerization, maybe it's a polymerization catalyst? I dunno, haven't studied in that much detail yet. I just know that empirically, it creates better non-stick seasoned coatings.

Also a tidbit: if you used enough oil such that globules (drops) "dry" on the pan and make a mottled pattern as the pan dries, you've used to much. A tsp might be a little too much in the little Banks' pan *if* you don't wipe out the excess with a cloth as you cook it.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
cooking on 05/04/2013 10:35:55 MDT Print View

I have a long history of cooking in the Fry-Bake from my tenure at NOLS. I feel like I've a achieved a sort of mastery with this thing.

I feel like I have perfected baking no-yeast muffins and other wheat products. Corn-meal biscuits with cheeze on the inside are easy to make in the smaller "alpine" sized pans.

On a 30-day expedition (like NOLS runs) it's important to eat well. The Fry-Bake system is heavy, but you can create some greasy satisfying meals out there.

Alas - it is decidedly NOT lightweight.

Mike C!


One more thing, you can see one NOLS standard issue item in the photo near the top of this article (the one showing two campers setting up mac & cheeze). THat item is the "Pot-Grips" and it's just a hardware store set of channel lock pliers. THese are steel and weigh in at over 7 ounces.

Edited by mikeclelland on 05/04/2013 10:41:31 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: on 05/04/2013 13:37:01 MDT Print View

Mike C!
It warms the heart to see you back.

Great article. I'm of the "cook-at-home, just add water on the trail" persuasion, but could easily see adopting this technique when out with my kids on less ambitious trips. Thanks!

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique on 05/06/2013 11:07:53 MDT Print View

After a bit of searching I found the fry bake gear here at along with a lot of backpacking gadgets.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: re: on 05/06/2013 13:50:15 MDT Print View

As was said in a Frankenstein movie "HEEEEE'S AAALLLIIIIVE"

Mike, its good to see you your contribution.

I'm too A.D.D. (absence of direct discipline) to try and bake on the trail. But this might be something I should teach the scouts to keep them occupied. It could keep them from carving their names into trees and the like.