When I first started my journey on camping/backpacking trips in 2011, I was a complete newbie who would pack 10 day worth of food for 3 day trip just out of unfounded fear of starvation in the wilderness. A decade later with a couple dozen trips under my belt, I am still a newbie on so many fronts. But I do believe I found my favorite cooking setup for solo trips and I’d like to share what it is and what I like and dislike about the setup for anyone who might be chasing that most efficient setup.
These are the top attributes I was considering when I was going after the set up.
Volume: For short weekend trips, which takes up the majority of my trips, I wanted something compact to fit into the backpack easily without taking up much space.
Weight: This one goes without saying for any backpacking trips. The less weight, the more you enjoy your hike and the entire trip will be that much more fun.
Minimal all-in-one setup: I wanted a simple setup that can be consolidated into one package so I don’t have to worry about packing and carrying multiple pieces. Being able to just grab one package out of your bag for full setup saves time for cooking and also during packing/unpacking.
Functionality: I didn’t want to sacrifice too much of functionalities even with the focus on minimal setup
And there it is. This is the full setup. It’s about the size of a hand and I have a relatively smaller hands.
Now let me share how I feel about the set up.
What I like about this set up is:
Lightweight: The total weight comes in just over 1lbs at 1.18 lbs or 537 grams.
Compact: this setup takes up very little space in my backpack
Convenience: There is certainly a benefit of having everything in one sack to minimize prep time and packing/unpacking time
Multitasking: If I want to cook instant noodle or boil water for dry food WHILE I am drinking coffee, this setup will let me do that
What I don’t like about this set up is:
Limited cooking options: This setup is really mostly for boiling purpose. So water or instant noodle type of foods are perfect. However, since the pot is titanium, if you want to grill a steak or make a stew or anything beyond, it will be doable but it will be a challenge and final product might be less than ideal.
Size limit: Obviously this is the other side of the token of being such compact setup. Pot size is about 28 fl.oz. Good for a couple cups of coffee. Or 1 instant noodle. So I would say this would work quite well for up to 2 people but for a group larger than that, you should expect longer time since you will need to boil multiple times to cover all the people.
What a great two person cookset for the backpacker who likes to spend a little extra time to cook up better food than your basic rehydration.
Apart from these, I also own the trek combo pot set (basically the trek 900 nested in the trek 1400), and while that set is nice because the hybrid summit also nests inside, the trek combo lacks a little in diameter. This isn’t a problem for stews, but it’s a bit of a problem for breakfast since the larger pan is still too small to place whole slices of spam in it. Continue reading →
In the last 3 years now, I’ve amassed so many stoves, pots, pans, cups, and other assorted backpacking cooking paraphernalia, and experimented with all of them both at home and on well over 30 backpacking trips and maybe 6 or 7 car camping trips that I’m starting to get pretty good at knowing what is needed for different types of trips, what’s overkill, and what’s not enough. Continue reading →
This set is heavier than a lot of titanium or anodized aluminum pot/pan setups out there today, but it’s also wider than many of them. I own quite a few pot-pan sets and for 3-4 people, this is my favorite setup. Continue reading →
When I originally purchased this hard anodized single person cookset with heat exchanger, I was reasonably impressed but struggled to figure out a good way to use it (Edit: It shaved about 30 seconds off water boiling time compared to my Snow Peak Trek 900, if I used the right stove and windscreen combination, competitive with JetBoil times, thus saving fuel). But it’s become, over time, my preferred set when solo backpacking where I plan to do light cooking. Continue reading →
After spending time this weekend with this little kettle, it’s clear that kettles are pretty critical for car camping. You need the for tea or coffee or soup/instant noodles or to warm a bucket of water for cleaning…. Can you survive without one on a car camping trip? sure. Would you want to? Heeeeeck no. The compact nature of this unit makes it a little more convenient to pack, but what I’ve learned this trip is, if you’re running really low on space and need to go uber compact, take this kettle. If you can load up the car and afford to take a larger kettle, do so. a kettle is worth the space and weight cost. Continue reading →