Over the last few months I have posted a few times on different cook kits that I have been trying out. Truth is, like many others, I have been trying to find a system that works for me. There is a balance between weight and functionality that must be met, and I think that I have finally found that sweet spot for me.
The cook kit that I’ve put together has everything that I need to simply boil water, have a cup of Joe in a separate cup and to cook my food in a Ziploc container. And the best part is, there is hardly any clean-up after I’m done! As for weight, the entire cook system weighs in at 8.3 oz (235 gm) so it’s not entirely “UL.”
I am actually very happy with this cook kit and knew that I would have to show it off before my trip next weekend. So, this morning I decided to do a little video to show off this cook kit, aptly named:
“One Cook Kit To Rule Them All”
So, here is a break down of each piece:
- ZPacks Cuben Fiber Small Stuff Sack
- MSRP: (US) $9.95
- Weight: 0.13 oz/3.5 gm
- Dimensions: about 5″ diameter x 6″ tall (105 cubic inches / 1.7L)
- Color: White
- DIY Reflectix Cozy
- Weight: 0.7 oz/19 gm
- Materials Used: Reflectix & Aluminum Tape
- Cost: ~ $27.00 for materials (but now I can make more than I’ll ever need for free!)
- Backcountry.com 700 ml Titanium Cook Pot & DIY Lid
- MSRP: (US) $39.95 (for the cook pot & spork combo)
- DIY Lid was made for free
- Weight: 2.7 oz/77 gm
- Dimensions: 4-1/4″ Tall x 3-5/8″ Diameter
- MSR Nano Packtowl (Small)
- MSRP: (US) $ 7.95
- Weight: 0.6 oz/16 gm
- Dimensions: ~ 16″ x 17″
- DIY Mini Atomic Knock-Off
- Weight: 0.4 oz/10 gm (In Plastic Baggie)
- Cost: ~ $5.00
- Materials Used: 2 V8 Cans & a Wing Screw
- Capacity: ~ 1 oz of fuel
- DIY Hardware Cloth Pot Stand
- Weight: 0.4 oz/12 gm
- Size: 5 Squares High x 19 Squares Around
- Cost: ~ $ 18.00 for a huge roll of Hardware Cloth (But here again, I can now make more than I’ll need, for free!
- DIY Windscreen with Paperclip
- Weight: 0.6 oz/17 gm
- Dimensions: 3-7/8″ Tall x 16-3/8″ Wide
- Cost: ~ $ 10.00 for a 12″ x 30″ sheet of 36 Gauge Aluminum Stock (Again, I have enough left to make more for free!
- Aluminum Foil Primer Pan/ Heat Reflector
- Weight: 0.1 oz/2 gm
- Cost: ~ $3.00 for a roll of Aluminum Foil
- REI Campware Polypropylene Cup
- Weight: 1.8 oz/52 gm
- MSRP: (US) $2.00
- These look to be sold out and are replaced with a newer, heavier option…
- REI Long Handle TiWare Spoon
- Weight: 0.5 oz/14 gm
- MSRP: (US) $10.00
So, these are all the components of my cook kit. Like I said, it is not exactly “UL”, but it works for me and that is what counts. Although, in my honest opinion, it is not too heavy either. And let’s keep in mind that this is my entire kitchen set-up, not just my stove and cook pot…
A few things that I really like about this system when compared to other systems I have been toying with:
- The cook pot offers enough volume for me to boil enough water for me to use to rehydrate my meal, have a nice size hot drink and still a little extra water to clean-up with or add extra to my drink or meal if I need. With my other cook kit I was planning to bring I could only boil up to 16 oz of water (max) at once and I felt like I needed a little more than that. The Backcountry pot gives the little more with a minimum weight penalty (especially with the handles removed and my DIY lid).
- The Backcountry cook pot is durable. I have been toying around a lot lately with beer can cook pots, and don’t get me wrong, they are awesome, but in the end, they are not as durable as this one is. As well, since I am using a more durable pot, I do not need the plastic container I had with the other set-up to protect the pot while packed up, so I save some weight there (or actually use it in a different area). Plus, since I am not rehydrating my food in that container, it is less for me to clean-up!
- There is no chemical leaching with this cook pot. Ok, this one may be a little iffy with some, but from what I understand, the beer can cook pots do leach out some chemicals, and from what I hear it is not good for you. Saying that, I have never heard of anyone dying from boiling water in an aluminum can. But, considering all the other benefits that my Backcountry cook pot is offering me, it is hard for me not to lump this one in… So, guy’s & gal’s, take it for what it’s worth.. I am not knocking it, and I am not endorsing it, I’m just sayin’…
- I love the way the Ziploc bags fit inside the cozy. I have found that a quart-size Ziploc bag will fit perfectly inside this cozy. Plus, there is enough room for me to add the required amount of water to the meals, close the bag up and put the cozy lid inside the cozy enough to trap all the heat! As well, the cozy gives structure to the Ziploc bags which makes it much easier to eat out of than just trying to hold the Ziploc with one hand and the spoon with the other. This is also a great thing for when I pour the water into the bag. I have on occasion tipped a bag over while pouring water into it, however, this cozy should solve that problem. Also, the other great thing about the cozy is that it protects my hands from being burnt while holding onto a Ziploc bag full of boiling water/hot food!
- Speaking of Ziploc’s… since I am using them, that is something less for me to clean! Woohoo on no dirty dishes!
- I very much enjoy the fact that I can have my cup of joe at the same time that I am eating my breakfast! I know that the “UL” way is to use the cook pot as the mug too, but that is a little much for me. For me, this is one of those comforts that I feel that I need to include in my pack and will suffer the weight penalty for it…
- The last thing that I want to mention is the “fun factor.” When I head out on the trail, I fully enjoy the actual hike, but I gotta say that I find a lot of fun in using my gear too. In this line of thought, I really enjoy using alcohol stoves. I find that canister stoves are kinda boring, and cooking over open fires are a bit more involved and results in soot-laden gear. So, despite the longer wait time when using alcohol over other methods, and even the heavier fuel weight at the beginning of a trip, I thoroughly enjoy them. As well, at least 80% of this set-up is MYOG. I can feel proud when I pull out gear that I made myself and then have fun while using it too…
So anyway, this is the set-up that I have settled on for now. I will be taking this set-up with me for a 4-day hike next weekend so I will really be able to see how much I actually like it. Of course there is only so much one can tell from simply using a system at home (for weeks on end…) Anyway, if you have any questions or comment’s please post them below.
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: This idea struck me while reading through a post on the blog Hike, Bike, Dale! I was looking through some pictures he had posted on: Florida Trail – Oh the joys of Sugar sand when I came across a picture of a Ziploc sitting inside a cozy. This was all it took… So, thanks Supa Chef for the inspiration! And everyone else, be sure to check out his blog. It is full of great info as well as videos from his AT hike.