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Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video)
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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.