So I am looking at going to two locations this year that tend to have thumbnail sized blueberries by the side of the trail, so I decided I have no choice but to bring pancake mix and a frying pan on some of these trips and I need help picking a winner.
I'm 35 and a professional Ironworker so weight is not a huge concern for me and I am looking for the best all around pan rather than the lightest. I'm looking for something in an 8" size that I can use with my MSR Pocket Rocket, and I would strongly prefer non stick.
I can't speak for the REI one as I'm also looking for a backpacking pan but the finish on GSI's Pinnicale line is fantastic! I use the dualist and soloist and frankly even if something gets burned you turn it upside down, tap it once or twice, the item falls out, then you simply wipe it with a damp paper towel. Ten seconds later it's dry. 4 years and countless dozens of uses later they still perform like new. I even cook things on my desk when I'm on the computer with them (though I'm probably needing to start buying the fuel in bulk because of it).
I'll take a look at the REI one since we finally have a store. I wonder if the finish is anything close?
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
If weight is truly not an issue, consider one of those green ceramic coated frying pans. "Organic Greenie" is one brand. I have a double-sided flip one that has been great for home cooking of anything from pancakes to grilled cheese. Even burned-on cheese that oozes from the grilled cheese basically wipes off. Then, you'd have a great pan for home or camping. I don't know that I'd backpack with one, myself, but certainly I'd take it car camping.
CM, that's what I like about the GSI pinnacle series. Doesn't matter what you cook, burn, etc. in the thing it simply takes a tap or two for the gunk to fall out and a quick wipe with the cloth to clean it. I need to swing by REI today and I think they have both.
Loc: CT River Valley
If you are going out in wintry conditions,you can break the eggs into a plastic bag (along with add ins if you like them) and either scramble in camp or boil in bag style. We have used this both frozen and unfrozen bags.
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
10-4 as to pie pans making good frying pans. Just keep them moving and hold above the flame if it can't be turned down. Another trick is to dribble a small amount of water into a burning alcohol stove if it has an open top. One has to be very careful and only a little water will make the flame burn cooler (water has to be boiled off) while too much may extinguish the flame or float burning alcohol over the stove's top. Exercise extreme caution and do this at your own risk.
My successful experiment this morning was to line a frying pan with a round piece of parchment paper. Hubby REALLY likes his fresh fried eggs in the morning and we are about to embark on a fly-camp vacation. Space and weight considerations are in the forefront of planning, although not to the extremes of backpacking. One of our sons gave me a Teflon-coated titanium fry pan one Christmas. Of course, it doesn't conduct heat well and everything sticks like a son of a (gun). If I were to choose, I would avoid Teflon-coated pans. After burning a test egg, I tried cutting a piece of parchment paper to line the pan and tried again. I had to keep the pan moving and ended up pouring in some water and covering the pan to steam the top a bit and distribute the heat. After the eggs set up, I poured off the extra water and was able to flip the eggs. No mess in the pan and two over-easy eggs. Success! Pancakes would be a little trickier, but probably very do-able.
Used my REI dividend to pick up the 8" non-stick backpacking frying pan two days ago. Two days worth of experimental cooking on the gas stove and I have to say I'm impressed!
The first experiment was some sausage patties and to keep things consistent I used my cast-iron skillet on the burner next to it as a reference. The REI one heated up faster and stayed even with no hot-spots. The cast iron, as seasoned as it is, still tended to snag the sausages a little when it was time to flip them where the REI pan didn't. Frankly, if there is any downside it's that the non-stick works a little too well. Simply trying to tilt them to let a little grease drain was an unusual challenge. <grin>
I waited until they were cooled down (grease solidified) to see how hard it would be to clean. A light rinse in hot water (and by rinse I mean two passes under the water totalling about 5 seconds) and frankly there wasn't a trace they had been used! A single wipe of a paper towel and the whole pan was dry and ready to go again.
Repeated with a hamburger patty, a piece of chicken breast, etc. All of them so far just as easy. I ran out of things to cook on it but plan to try my MSR Micro Rocket rig (I have the little metal 3-way support that locks on the bottom of the fuel canister so that shouldn't be an issue) this evening. Maybe the'll have a nice special on fish?
Verdict: Not the lightest but not heavy. A lot of the titanium and ultra-light aluminum cookware users frequently gripe about hot spots, cold spots, burned spots, hard to clean, etc. If it's a few ounces or even a pound I'd rather have consistently edible food than toss out what didn't cook well. You can also slip packets of things like the Korr rice and pasta under the handle when you stuff it in your backpack to make the most of the space.
A lot of reviews had people mentioning they ended up going back and buying the larger pans to use at home and that even years later the finish is as good as new. If that's the case, you can count my number among them if she's still this smooth at the end of summer.