Cooking

Why I Chose It

This was another Craigslist find.  Someone bought it to take to music festivals, but found it to be too big and never used it.  I ended up trading for some sporting goods I no longer use.

It is a little big, but I like that it takes the large propane tank I was planning to use for my Mr Buddy Heater.  There are quite a few 14″ modular accessories like a reversible grill/griddle.   I already have a cast iron pot and pan, but we’ll see how it goes.

Thoughts After Using

I’m still in the process of learning how to use this stove.  I didn’t cook a lot of fancy meals.  Just basic dishes and it handled those well.

I did notice fining tuning the flame for low heat or simmering took some time to get right.  Having one of the modular accessories like the reversible grill would probably help with that though.  Looking forward to experimenting more.  Was also useful for heating water for showers.

Why I Chose It

There is a custom grill cover for the Camp Chef Explorer.  I found it to be somewhat overpriced at $25.

This Blue Rhino is slightly too large, but half the price at Lowes.  I just fold over the excess when storing, like with my pillowcase, and then wrap with bungee cords.  I’m using ratchet tie downs and bungee cords on my other food storage items.  I’ll have to reevaluate the critter situation when I actually get out there.

Thoughts After Using

For some reason this cover showed more wear and tear than I anticipated.  Several small tears and punctures developed over the course of the trip.

This could have been due to the loose or inexact fit and the extra friction and snagging.  It could also just be the materials used because I have an older Weber grill cover that’s been left outside for a decade with no ripping or obvious problems.

Why I Chose It

This is what I plan to use when backpacking.  The capacity is 0.8 liters.  Any hot meals or drinks I make while hiking will only require boiling water.

I don’t want to actually cook anything inside of it, just boil water and then transfer to a package or bowl.  I’m worried if I make noodles or something inside of it, then my coffee or hot chocolate will also taste like noodles from the residues.

Thoughts After Using

I ended up using this everyday for coffee and other hot drinks like cocoa or heating up water for instant oatmeal.

Because of the frequent use, I started buying the larger 15.5 oz butane/propane mixes that Coleman sells at Walmart for around $8.  One of those would last me a few weeks.  They’re too big to fit inside the stove like the 200 gram canisters will though.

Why I Chose It

My kitchenware.  A stainless steel MSR nesting bowl and a faux paper plate polypropylene dish.

I don’t actually have anything to nest the bowl into.  It was $6 with coupon and I probably overpaid because a few days later I found a similar bowl at Goodwill for $0.99.  The faux paper plate was $2 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Thoughts After Using

No problem with these.  The plate was convenient and easy to clean, but did collect some knife markings.

I also damaged the bowl cosmetically trying to cook on top of the Jetboil. This just ended up burning the bowl because of the intense heat.  No metal is flaking off so I think it’s still safe to eat out of.  May go back to Goodwill and pick up another though.

Why I Chose It

I want to be able to camp for around a week without resupply.  Premium coolers can keep ice frozen for about 5 days, but cost several hundred dollars.  Standard coolers can do 3 days.

Someone loaned me this Igloo thermoelectric cooler to use.  Thermoelectrics chill to 40 degrees below ambient.  So, if it’s 75 degrees out they will keep food at 35 degrees.  Above 40 is the danger zone where bacteria growth accelerates.

Thoughts After Using

This is definitely one area I’d like to upgrade along with getting a cell signal booster and some other smaller things.

I felt it took too long to get to an acceptable temperature without ice, so planning for this was constantly on my mind.  For the most part, I picked up a fresh bag of ice every few days and used it as a regular cooler.  I’m hoping a premium cooler will cut in half how often I need to buy ice.

Why I Chose It

I needed something that could do a coarse grind for the French press I’ll be using.  High speed blade grinders are known to burn the beans because of the heat.

The Porlex has ceramic burrs and is supposed to do a good job with consistent size grinds for both course and fine settings.  It’s manual and doesn’t require any power.  There was a coupon when I bought, but at around $50 it’s still bit pricey.

Thoughts After Using

Behind my tent and cot, this was probably the next thing I couldn’t do without.  A decent cup of coffee in the morning can do wonders in starting the day right.

This grinder did an excellent job.  Grinds were consistent and coarse or fine depending on preference.  It’s a workout though.  Probably a good solid 5 minutes of effort for a 16 oz cup.  Easy clean up as well.

Why I Chose It

There’s a lot of options in this area.  Pour over, Aeropress, French press.  Even the Starbucks instant VIA packets that can be found at Costco for $0.50 get decent reviews.

I went with the GSI Press for a few reasons.  The cup and all the parts nest nicely into the press for small, convenient storage.  I found it on sale for half the price of the Aeropress, which seemed to have a lot of parts that could get lost.  I also didn’t want to have to worry about running out of filters with a pour over.

Thoughts After Using

Another stand out product.  Functions just how it should.  Tight fit and good seal on the press.  Everything nests into one small unit for storage.

Also much easier to clean than I anticipated.  Was worried grinds stick and be hassle to rinse off, but this didn’t end up being the case at all.  The smaller cup that’s included also came in handy for other drinks besides coffee.

Why I Chose It

Again, a ton of options here.  UV, tablets, drops, pumps, gravity.

I went with the Platypus mainly for it’s ease of use.  Easy to carry around because it’s so light.  Easy to filter large amounts of water.  And easy to clean and maintain.  There’s also a carbon filter that can be bought to improve taste quality like the Brita filters people use at home.

Thoughts After Using

Never got a chance to use this.  The two 24 oz water bottles were adequate for all my day hikes and the rest of the time in camp I had my 5 gallon cooler.

One of the good things about the extra long sleeping bag was I could throw this filter inside near my feet because leaving it out in freezing temps will damage it.  I also did this with my butane tank for faster coffee in the mornings.

Why I Chose It

I’m going to need a lot of water if I want to be able to camp for a week at a time.  I think the recommended amount is around a gallon a day if you take cooking and cleaning into account.

Walmart sells a fairly compact 7-gallon container that a lot of people like.  However, the walls aren’t insulated like the Rubbermaid.  I will also have water from my cooler and shower set up so I think the 5-gallon should be enough.

Thoughts After Using

Almost every Walmart has a Primo Water machine that only charges around $0.30 a gallon.

I got complimented several times by fellow Walmart shoppers for being a genius by bringing my own container from home (they sell their own 1-3-5 gallon containers next to the machine).  Sometimes regular super markets also have machines.  I also noticed the Walmart 7-gallon containers were very popular around Moab.

Why I Chose It

These were gifted to me from a friend.  Nalgene seems to be the gold standard in the water bottle market.

The Eddie Bauer are also BPA free, but differ in a couple ways.  Nalgene are dishwasher safe on the top rack and these Eddie Bauer are hand wash only.  Naglene are also usually 32 oz. capacity versus 24 oz for the E.B.  (I think the 24 oz might actually fit into side pockets my Osprey Atmos 65 pack better though.)

Thoughts After Using

These are still going strong after heavy use.  Easy to clean by hand with soap and water.

Something weird did happen where I kept hearing a sound I thought was aliens trying to break into our dimension, but that was just my overactive imagination.  It ended up being the lid on these bottles would try to work it’s way free when a little moist.