May 9, 2011
In preparing for my trip to the Arctic Circle I’ve been geeking out trying to get my cooking gear dialed in. Here are some of the helpful items I’ve picked up, or modifications I’ve made to existing gear. The goal is to keep things functional, simple and lightweight. I’ve included highlighted links if you want to purchase these items at Backcountry.com.
Water is life and when it’s frozen you’ve got to melt snow/ice for all your drinking and many cooking needs. Spending hours melting water is super fun and all, but anything to decrease the time and save fuel is nice. The heat exchanger is a useful addition to the cook kit. This is the MSR version that I have and they claim it increases efficiency by 25% by redistributing the heat.
The fastening system sucks and it’s always sliding off and needing attention. I took off the fastener along with the aluminum bracing and permanently fixed the exchanger to the pot using wire and some JB Weld. This saved a little weight, but should eliminate a good bit of hassle.
The Fairshare Mug is a classic camping tool. Andrew McLean introduced it to me and then peer pressured me into joining the club of proud owners. It works great as a snow scoop, measuring cup and drinking mug.
Food and beverage cools fast in this thin plastic container. Using some closed cell foam and duct tape I made a quick and dirty coozy that can slip on and off.
Nope, it’s not a kids Oragami toy. This is the Fozzil bowl/plate. Jim Harris had one on our trip to the Revelations and I added it to my camp notes as a must have item. When flat it acts as a plate and or cutting board.
Like a transformer, the Fozzil then magically snaps together to become a bowl.
I like the MSR whisperlite stove for lower altitudes (below 10K). It has an adjustable flame which is nice for cooking and it’s much more quiet than other models like the XGK. This stove is two parts connected by the fuel line. This makes is floppy and flimsy and the separate units melt into the snow at different rates causing it to tip and be uneven. This is where the stove board comes into play. Using closed cell foam, a thin piece of plastic, some thin metal bracing and heat vent tape I created a sturdy and lightweight insulated board that holds everything in place.
These utensil slots will anchor the board into the snow and keep it from sliding around.
It’s not a full kitchen remodel with a Wolf range and granite counter-tops, but it should do.
Final piece is the pot parka. There are some fire proof fabric covers that I’ve seen, but never been able to find. So, using more of this handy aluminum tape….
I made my own. The pot parka slips over the pot and stove then reflects the heat and keeps wind/snow from the flame.
And then it mashes down flat for transportation.
And here is the full kit weighing in at 4.5lbs.