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#202666 - 02/22/19 05:49 AM Good Mess Kit for Backpack?
Kantersod Offline

Registered: 02/22/19
Posts: 1
Loc: Wilmington
I am looking to get a mess kit that will last a long time and is light enough that I won't wish I had just put a brick in my pack instead of the mess kit. My aluminum coleman set has long since outlived its usefulness. What do you use?

#202667 - 02/22/19 08:15 AM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: Kantersod]
Pika Online   content

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1789
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I use an IMUSA 750 ml. cup for heating water. It weighs about 3 oz. I also have a GSI Cascadian plastic cup with measure marks on the inside; it weighs a bit over an ounce and is used for measuring, coffee, tea and soup. I use a Walmart campers plastic spoon (0.2 oz.) and a Ziplock 3 -cup plastic snap-top refrigerator container. I use the Ziplock for rehydrating food and as an eating bowl (1.1 oz). Aside from my canister or alcohol stove, a windscreen and a lighter, that’s about it.
My cooking is entirely of the boil water and let the food soak for about ten minutes style; no gourmet fare.

Edited by Pika (02/22/19 08:17 AM)
May I walk in beauty.

#202668 - 02/22/19 09:36 AM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: Pika]
balzaccom Online   content

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1865
Loc: Napa, CA
Like Pika, we only boil water on the trail, no other kind of cooking, so it's simple. We use a $6 aluminum grease pot from Walmart to do that. And our stove and gas fit inside, more or less, so it is very space efficient

check out our website and blog:

#202669 - 02/22/19 11:16 AM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: Pika]
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 784
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I use the IMUSA mug too, the smaller (10cm) one, with a homemade lid and the handle cut off (I left the rivets in to keep it sealed up water tight). I'm still tweaking my kitchen/mess kit, but I like the mug fine and will probably keep it. I might try drilling out the rivets and sealing the holes with silicone at some point. I've even thought about polishing the inside to a mirror finish in case I ever want to heat more than water in it, but I'll probably just leave well enough alone.

I currently use a canister stove for convenience, a BRS-3000T, though I've been thinking about trying out an alcohol stove again. When I used an alcohol stove, I never had a proper windscreen for it, and I've been thinking about making a Caldera Cone clone from thin aluminum. The alchohol stove is a homemade "supercat".

My spoon is one of those thick polypropylene ones from a yogurt place. It's not really long enough to keep my knuckles out of the mess when eating from a freezer bag. I've got a longer plastic spoon to try, one I got from Dairy Queen, but I haven't tested it out yet. The length is good, but it might be a bit fragile for repeated use. Maybe one of these days, I'll carve myself a nice long bamboo spoon.

My bowl was a resealable lunch meat container, and it's surprisingly nice considering it's original purpose. It's extremely light, but is admittedly an awkward shape to pack, since it does't nest with the pot. I had some spare closed cell foam from an old sleeping pad, the basic blue kind, that I taped to the outside of the bowl to insulate it. I really need to go back and replace it with thinner foam, or shave down the thickness of the blue stuff to take up less space.

A 4oz fuel canister, a Bic mini lighter, and a few rubber bands to hold everything together, and that's pretty much it for my kitchen kit. I don't always carry the bowl, depending on the menu. Sometimes I go stoveless and only carry the spoon and lighter (just in case).

Of course, my kit might not work for you. It depends on your cooking style, menu, preferences, and size of the group. If money were no issue, I'd buy a nice titanium pot. If you cook directly in the pot and don't just heat water, hardened aluminum might be better (more even heat supposedly). If you like the size of your Coleman pot, I'd look for one of a similar volume. If you cook for multiple people, I larger pot is more appropriate (perhaps ~1L+). If it's for solo use only, look for a smaller one (maybe 450-900mL).
Hiking is the ultimate realization that the journey is more important than the destination.

#202671 - 02/22/19 12:17 PM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: Kantersod]
BZH Offline

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 949
Loc: Torrance, CA
While backpacking I use a sierra cup for my bowl

For my cup I use a sierra cup

For my plate I use a sierra cup

For my spoon I use a Light My Fire Ti spork

For my fork I use a Light My Fire Ti spork

For my knife I use a Light My Fire Ti spork

All six of those items are neatly packaged as one sierra cup and one spork (I don't carry multiples...)

#202673 - 02/22/19 01:16 PM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: Kantersod]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6632
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
As suggested in several posts, what you use really depends on your style of cooking and eating. Do you just rehydrate dehydrated or freeze-dried food, as most of us do? (I cook my own food at home and dehydrate it, except for a few components for which I buy freeze dried, especially peas which, when home-dehydrated, remain the consistency of buckshot even after long cooking.) Or do you make meals from scratch?

My kit is a 1/2 liter titanium pot and a long-handled plastic spoon. Plus a cozy. I rehydrate in and eat out of the freezer bag in which my meal is stored. Once I've boiled the water in the pot and poured it into the freezer bag, I make tea and drink it out of the pot while waiting for my meal to finish rehydrating. The only item I need to wash is the spoon. (Did you guess that I hate washing dishes?)

On the other hand, you may be into gourmet camp cooking, which involves more pans and more preparation time and effort. My mother did this, and her camp cooking was far better than what she accomplished at home (where my father did the cooking). She had a 6-meal menu, baked yeast rolls, made pie or cake for dessert each night. Of course this involves more and weightier pots and pans, which wasn't as much of an issue because my parents horse-packed, although the horses' loads were lighter and more spartan than the usual horse-packing outfit.

In other words, your cooking and eating gear configuration totally depends on the style you prefer. I've described two styles, one minimalist and one gourmet, from my own experience, and there are lots of gradations in between.

If you cook, you probably want aluminum which spreads the heat more evenly. If you only boil water, titanium is lighter and does the job. If you backpack solo, you need only minimal (eat out of the pot or freezer bag, drink beverages out of the pot), while if you travel with more than one person, you need individual eating implements (such as cups and/or bowls).

In any case, IMHO, buying individual items is probably a better choice than a "kit," which will inevitably contain items you won't use and lack other items that you want or need.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#202674 - 02/22/19 01:23 PM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: OregonMouse]
balzaccom Online   content

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1865
Loc: Napa, CA
ne last note. If price is a consideration, we've found most of our mess kits (bowls, cups, a pot, etc.) at yard sales and thrift shops. I think we have a total of about $20 tied up in it...not counting the stove that we bought new.

check out our website and blog:

#202676 - 02/22/19 04:12 PM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: Kantersod]
Petro1234 Offline

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 54
Loc: engeland
Last time i used a 6 inch aluminium frypan from the top of a set. 5oz plus a plastic lid, efficient at boiling water, and doubles as a frypan if you should go by somewhere selling bacon and eggs,eat from the pan. I used a plastic gsi cup for drinking. The down side is that i now have a sizeable collection of pots that i do not use from sets during frying pan appropriation.

Edited by Petro1234 (02/22/19 04:14 PM)

#202677 - 02/22/19 04:41 PM Re: Good Mess Kit for Backpack? [Re: Petro1234]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6632
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I did that, too, and ended up with an assortment of stray pots I donated to goodwill. For some reason, it's hard to find an individual frying pan! For me, the frying pan is in case I catch a fish, and I consider it part of my fishing kit. However, when I take it I leave behind the lid to my pot, for which the frying pan substitutes.

On a related topic, those containers put out by Glad and Ziploc for holding leftovers make really good, cheap, and lightweight bowls and cups when your party is made up of several people and it's impractical for everyone to eat out of the cooking pot.

Edited by OregonMouse (02/22/19 04:46 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey


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