Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gear- Mess Kit/Stove

When it came time to throw together a mess kit, I knew I wanted something middle of the road. I had seen some really cheap kits made of flimsy metal that wouldn't last as well as some high end stuff that was for guys who were doing some long hiking excursions and would need a better setup than I would.
This is what I settled on. Several companies make kits like this. Made of quality stainless and under $20, you can find them at any outdoor or sporting goods store. Mine came with a few extra pots and lids as well as a stuff sack for carrying but I never use any of that.

Inside I carry the plastic measuring/drinking cup that came in the kit as well as Wonder Wash, my stove and a sponge for cleaning.

When I can, I cook with the fire. I wanted a solution for the times that a fire was not possible. My first trip out, I tried Sterno gel and a folding stand/stove. These are cheap as gear can be, which may tempt you, but after testing them on the road I can say they are not fit for my needs. The flame takes forever to even warm food and the design of the stove, which has a wind block for the fuel, does little to keep the flame from being wind bent. 
My stove is a Brunton Raptor, a very basic butane camp stove that will fit in the palm of your hand. The pot supports, as well as the electric ignition, are all built into the body so there is really no assembly, everything just folds out. The body screws directly into any camping butane canister (Jetboil, MSR, etc).  The wire control is responsive and this thing will boil water quick. I burnt dinner a couple times before I learned that less is better with this stove.

Wonder Wash is miracle shit, you can wash ANYTHING with this stuff. It is made for outdoor use and is completely safe to just spill everywhere and not worry. I use it for dishes but I read reviews online before choosing this brand and people wash their hair, brush their teeth and do all other kids of crazy stuff with it. 
Rounding out my kit are a couple utensil options. Up until my last trip, I always used a Light My Fire spork. These are also dirt cheap, which is nice because they break easily. I've been through a few. Last trip, my traveling partner gave me this slick Hobo Knife. Stores as one unit, opens up to two. Includes a bottle/can opener, corkscrew, a knife, spoon and fork.

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