Loc: Southern Adirondacks of New Yo...
How big does your cooking pot really need to be. I just made one for my son out of a coffee can and although its quite light I couldn't help but wonder if it needs to be so big. Its roughly 4 cups in size and I'd like to get him started with the freezer bag meals and I honestly think I could get away with a cup n a half sized cooking pot. Do you think this would be too limiting? I think I could cook plenty of meals with a mere cup of water. doesn't seem like it would take very long to boil a second cup if needed. What are some of your thought on reducing cooking gear. We live in an area where we are allowed to burn wood that we find but they sometimes have burn bans the first part of the hiking season. I have a cat food can stove that I like to bring with me for those occasions but I don't believe they allow those for the boy scouts. Probably because it would hurt their sales on the bsa website for packable stoves.
I normally use a "3 cup" pot that actualy holds a bit more than 3 cups. I find for me, solo, it's about right - using an alcohol stove I basically boil a potful in the morning, and this gives me a cup and a half of water or so for my breakfast (oatmeal or dehydrated) - and then the rest is my coffee - Then in the evening I boil another full pot, and that is usually 2 cups into my commercial dehydrated or homemade FBC style meal, and the rest gets made into tea, usually mint
I've tried smaller canpots - and at least for me anything less than 2 cups is really problematic, as often a meal takes 2 cups. I *could* use only 2 cups if I didn't want coffee or tea (or if I wanted to load the stove up again, and boil again). but, well, any fool can be uncomfortable, and I personally don't save enough weight (over my 141 gram 3 cup pot) with anything smaller to justify the inconvenience (or in the case of a lack of morning coffee being not human...)
The wife and I use a pot that holds 3 cups with a little room to spare so its not boiling over. I like it cause it easily will boil enough water for dinner for the both of us and I will put on another pot of water in cooler weather for warm drinks when we get done with our meal. I don't mind boiling twice as I usually have a hot chocolate sooner to bedtime and I can relax and enjoy it. Mine was not so much a choice of weight, I just had the pot and it works nicely for us. Turns out weight wise its about as light as most Ti pots set ups.
As for stoves I like our crux canister. Easy, quick and hassle free, but I just picked up a starlyte alky stove to play around with. It may turn me into an alky convert. Time will tell.
For myself, I've always gone with a little bigger, especially for cooking over wood. A wider can/pot allows for a little wider area underneath for fuel,and/ or more stability. Since I always nest things inside the can, I don't begrudge the small amount of extra weight. The coffee cans usually come with a plastic lid, which is a great thing for packing. You can wrap a piece of foil around the can, put a piece over the top, snap the lid back on and rehydrate food right in the can. I'm very biased though, like Phat, I bite and bark until I've had 2 cups of coffee in the morning.
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
A person's cooking pot needs to work for him or her, so there is no "right size." For many years I carried a 12 oz Vienna sausage can for a pot. (Goya brand has that size.) I heated (not boiled) about 10 oz of water to just below simmering for one hot meal per day, using about a half of an Esbit tablet. There was enough burn left to heat more water to just above tepid if I wanted a cup of tea with dinner. Most of my hot meals are pre-cooked and dehydrated, so they just need some hot water to soak and warm up. If they are started with nearly simmering water, I can add some more cold water to finish rehydrating, if needed. Boiling water ends up with food so hot that I have to wait for it to cool down anyway. While the food starts to rehydrate, a second cup of water can start warming for tea.
Coffee? "Mountain latte" shakes or some chocolate with coffee beans worked well enough for me. If I have a hot cup of Joe, I end up taking too long to pack up and leave. Maybe I enjoy sipping too much...
Not having winter camped for quite a few years, my routine may well change to more hot meals and hot beverages if I get back into that. I also recently acquired a wood-burning stove which should perform better with a larger pot. The small 10 oz pot is more efficient, albeit slow, used with a small flame, so the half-Esbit is a good option for it.
As to the BSA policy on stoves-liquid fuels carry more risk and have had special rules since my adult children were young Scouts, if not before that. I think the reason alcohol stoves are frowned upon is more of a safety thing. Most are home made, so not covered by any manufacturer's liability insurance. Scouting is risk-averse, especially since they are self-insured. (Or were when we were active.) Is the cook kit for your son to use when he is out with his Troop? Don't they cook in patrols when out together? For that he should need to use group gear and larger pots, right?
Loc: Southern Adirondacks of New Yo...
Still not sure about the whole patrol and cooking situation. I know at one point he'll need to make a list and get all of the food for his patrol and cook breakfast lunch and dinner for the whole patrol over an open fire. The meals have to be something that they will all eat and hopefully will be quick and simple. I don't picture them making bread anytime soon although I'm still interested in that part myself so simple and tasty bread recipes are welcome as well. I'm sure I'll know more in a few weeks when he and hopefully me goes on his Man Vs Wild trip. I'm looking for ultralight gear on all levels but I don't want to sacrifice too much comfort or convenience and take a chance at discouraging his love of the outdoors. We've been on several trips and I'm afraid the crew we goes with is the dutch oven style coleman campers. the ones with the 18ft long tent. We went on a 1/4 mile backpacking trip and I got all of our gear in on one trip, It took 2 of them 3 trips to get all of theirs. I don't want him to assume that's the way to do it. I learned the hard way myself with my first backpacking trip being in my 20's and my first heavy duty military pack weighing in at 120lbs!! I learned real fast that 5 miles seems like 90 miles with that amount of weight. I also went to the other extreme with a 20lb winter weekend pack that turned into more of a survival trip. I'm not fussy with food so give me something bland and a little seasoning and I'm good. My son is a bit more picky so I'm wondering how that first backpacking meal is gonna go. Most likely it'll be mac n cheese and hot dogs for him. I'm interested in freezer bag cooking but like some have said, it can be messy and you have to pack out the bags so meals that would be easy to clean up out of the pot would be ideal. So I suppose a coffee can should be my best bet seeing how the ingredients will most likely all be in the pot. So I guess the coffee can stays so what should I work on next for a complete cooking set up that hopefully with all fit inside the can? I'm looking for considerations for both bsa and family backpacking. For family backpacking I'm planning on making a cone and using a tealight candle with denatured alcohol. I have a micro stove n canister set up for bsa camping or I may use a bit of coat hanger for a billy can style campfire cooking when allowed by the bsa which I believe will be quite frequent. So next I guess would be cups and bowls and such. Just so much to choose from its good to hear about different peoples opinions from experience. I really appreciate all the help. This is awesome. Thank you.
There are many plastic container and jar sizes you can find in the supermarket. I know I have a peanut butter jar and a tartar sauce jar in my cabinet that would fit nicely nested in a can and act as a cup and bowl if I cut them down. I'm sure I could find 3 nesting containers of usable food in the store or in my cabinets. You could make it an activity with your son to find and make them. The smallest water filter (and the cheapest!) is the Sawyer mini-squeeze. You could fit 3-4 nested cut down jars, a cat can stove (or canister stove) and a mini-squeeze with it's rolled up squeeze bag and a few utensils in a coffee can w/lid (small plate, cutting surface). When I was a teen and wanted to backpack and had no money or advice, I pulled stuff out of the trash for a cookset. Got me started. You can glue thin packing foam to the cups to insulate them. Glue the foam to mark the 8 oz. line. Sorry if I got carried away with suggestions, it reminds me of being a kid and gathering things together for a trip into the woods. Made me very happy.....
Loc: Southern Adirondacks of New Yo...
Please by all means get carried away, sometimes you remember things that you hadn't thought about in years. It can be helpful or just plain entertaining at times. I got some good ideas for bowls now, plates are another story, I'm thinking that something as simple as a sheet of plastic cut off of a 2 liter soda bottle would roll up nicely into the can and still be able to unroll and hold certain foods although it would have limitations but could easily double as a cutting surface too. Hmmm... time to experiement.
I use a SVEA 123R stove and the 2 cup pot that comes with it. I find I can cook for one easily in it. I also have a small plastic coffeecup. I'm thinking I may go stoveless this year for overnight trips.
I use an Imusa aluminum pot that is .7 liters. I bought it at walmart for $2. For my scouts, I recommend about a liter. There are a lot of options. You can even try going to a goodwill or similar thrift store and look through their pot section for small, light, cheap pots.
If you want a pot made from a can...look in the peaches section. The large can is usually about a liter in size. Just be aware that most cans are lined with plastic. You can burn that out if you want.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Do remember that cans used for food are lined with a plastic substance to keep the food from corroding the can. Unfortunately, this lining often contains BPA. I personally wouldn't use a pot made of a can for that reason.
If you need a cheap pot, the KMart Grease Pot (found with kitchen accessories, not sporting goods) is lightweight and works just fine. It's also available at amazon. Unfortunately inflation has reared its ugly head since I bought mine in 2005 for $5.00, but it's still a bargain. Just toss the strainer in the recycling bin, replace the knob on the lid with a piece of thin wire or duct tape, and you're good to go.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Just in case, Trader Joe's canned products are all BPA free. Not all cans have it. Most coffee cans don't. I know mine don't. My, wife, as a breast cancer survivor pays attention to these estrogen mimicking things.... As a digression, the picture my wife like's best of herself, is her hugely smiling atop Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra, 2 weeks after the radiation treatments ended. We flew out to celebrate! Darn straight I check the plastics we use backpacking, and content of Soy for that matter. Thanks for that link, Lori. It's a little less terrifying living in our plastic coated world.
Loc: Southern Adirondacks of New Yo...
Hahahaaa yeah I stopped reading that as soon as I read "government scientist". The reason I went with the coffee can is because it doesn't have a lining in it. I haven't hardly had my sons coffee can pot for a week yet and its already showing signs of rust. Looks like I'll be ditching it for a better choice of actual cooking pot. I can see where it'd be fine in a pinch if I really needed a cooking pot but I'm not looking to make a new pot for every trip either. I do have the wally world grease pot special. It's not so much the weight as the size of that one, just want something about 3 cups in size and I think that'd be perfect. The hunt continues. Does the hunt for gear ever really end?
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By Swizzle
I got some good ideas for bowls now, plates are another story, I'm thinking that something as simple as a sheet of plastic cut off of a 2 liter soda bottle would roll up nicely into the can and still be able to unroll and hold certain foods although it would have limitations but could easily double as a cutting surface too. Hmmm... time to experiement.
If you really want a cutting board, go for it, but in my opinion, plates are completely unnecessary. Just use bowls for everything.