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Bugman88
01-16-2015, 15:05
This is a two part question and the two kind of go hand-in-hand. First off, I'm a bit new to backpacking in general. The most I've done is a week-long trip on the Long Trail. I've found that I'm terrible at packing food and I always pack more than I need. I'm planning on joining my buddy for the first couple of weeks of his AT thru hike and I'm wondering about how people typically resupply and what they do for cooking. In the past, I've brought most of what I'm going to eat with me and that tends to be store-bought dehydrated meals. Since we'd be planning on resupplying at grocery stores, what do people typically buy that will also be conducive to quick cooking? I don't want to go through the hassle of dehydrating my own meals and sending them down.

This leads to the second part of my question. Does anyone have a good suggestion for an all-around cooking system, including pot, stove, windscreen, stand. I bought a whisperlite ages ago, before I started researching more about lightweight hiking, but never actually used it. I understand that this is a bit overkill for solo use, especially since I'm trying to cut down weight. On one trip I used my friend's JetBoil, which was fantastic. I also made a DIY alcohol stove for my last trip, which worked well but by the end of the week was a bit squished and leaking flames out of the sides. I'm leaning towards purchasing a professionally-made alcohol stove, possibly the caldera cone, on account of its versatility in fuel sources. However, if I can't find food that works well with the boil water and let it sit method of cooking (see part 1), then I'm not sure it'll be good enough. I've also never bought a pot, so suggestions on what would work well with a given stove and windscreen combo would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

HooKooDooKu
01-16-2015, 15:44
If you're going for gram-weenie weight, an alcohol stove is likely your best bet. But you need a pot that matches your stove. I don't have enough experience with alcohol stoves to make any specific recommendations.

If you want the simplicity of a canister stove, and you want light weight, I would suggest the SnowPeak LiteMax. It's even lighter than the MSR pocket rocket and folds much smaller. For better fuel efficiency, you might consider partnering the LiteMax with an OilCamp XTS pot because it has a built-in heat ex-changer. But you have to weight the benefits of the heat ex-changer with the light weight of a Titanium pot.

If you want the utmost in simplicity (to buy AND use) and flexibility, I would suggest the Jet-Boil MiniMo. It has all the basic positives of a JetBoil (stability and fuel efficiency) plus this new stove has the ability to simmer (older Jet Boils do not) and the shorter/wider pot is easier to eat directly from. However, all that comes at a cost of the MiniMo being one of the more expensive JetBoil systems, and it's also not the lightest of JetBoil systems.

Dochartaigh
01-16-2015, 16:02
With your DIY alcohol stove, was it the Fancy Feast type? I ask because if it is, that's likely to be a ton more durable than the Trail Designs alcohol stove that comes with their Caldera cone - theirs is made from a super-thin 12 ounce soda can which is a lot lighter weight metal than the Fancy Feast can is. ...that's probably why all their systems come with a crush-proof plastic caddy to store everything in (which weighs ~3 ounces, sadly).

For efficiency of different pots on alcohol stove systems, I've read everywhere that a wider pot is better...but I've only tried it on my smaller diameter pots. My titanium pot is a Toaks 600ml, and I believe it's 3.75" diameter. In the Caldera Cone system it only takes a little over 5 minutes to boil 2 cups of water (at around 65), on less than 20ml of alcohol...so I don't see any benefit of buying a new pot (and Caldera Cone) to test something wider since it's doing great as-is.

Bugman88
01-16-2015, 16:15
My previous foray into alcohol stoves was the top burner from the link below.

http://zenstoves.net/BasicTopBurner.htm

I used heat resistant tape to wrap around the sides. I think that's what came lose and caused flames to start leaking. I also made myself a DIY windscreen and potstand to fit around the pot I was borrowing from a friend. I guess my issue with doing it all over again is that I'd prefer to get something made by someone more experienced, tailored to work well (unlike my windscreen/potstand which I was just guessing would be the right height and diameter to be efficient).

GTStricky
01-16-2015, 16:45
http://www.amazon.com/Alocs-Professional-Camping-hiking-Cs-b02/dp/B00L3ULG54/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1421440899&sr=8-7&keywords=alcohol+stove

$18. worth getting and trying out on a weekend trip

I opted for the http://www.rei.com/product/876918/jetboil-minimo-cooking-system for the speed of boil and since I will not be out for more than a week or two for a while.

Rocket Jones
01-16-2015, 18:08
Try the SuperCat alcohol stove: http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/ For a buck or two, it's worth experimenting with. It's what I use most often.

or...

http://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backpacking-Canister-Ignition-silvery/dp/B00ENDRORM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1421445745&sr=8-7&keywords=canister+stove from Amazon. Again, cheap enough to play with.

Just Tom
01-16-2015, 18:09
I use this mojo stand for my trangia:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mojo-Pot-Stand-for-Trangia-Alcohol-Stove-/141388863916?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20eb6ed9ac

Trangia is heavy by alcoholo stove standards perhaps, but a car could run it over and it would be fine.

I cook on it fine on short trips (only kind I get to do), it has a simmer ring that works fine when you get used to it. Fried spam and reconstituted eggs anyone :)

Just Tom
01-16-2015, 18:10
I use this mojo stand for my trangia:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mojo-Pot-Stand-for-Trangia-Alcohol-Stove-/141388863916?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20eb6ed9ac

Trangia is heavy by alcoholo stove standards perhaps, but a car could run it over and it would be fine.

I cook on it fine on short trips (only kind I get to do), it has a simmer ring that works fine when you get used to it. Fried spam and reconstituted eggs anyone :)

I forgot to mention, a windscreen can be made from a couple of layers of heavy-duty foil once you have the stove and stand picked out.

Kraken Skullz
01-16-2015, 18:20
Super Cat with a Snow Peak 700 is going to be my setup. Using a piece of foil as a windscreen. Not only is it super lightweight but it's very efficient and CHEAP. Everything except the snow peak that is, but hey, you have to splurge on something, right?

Starchild
01-16-2015, 18:30
There are so many personal preferences, and stoves (and cooking vs no cook) seem to fall way into this (personal preference rule) that is it hard to advise. I would suggest start with something that works well for you, and then, as you hike, be open to changing as you see fit.

Connie
01-16-2015, 20:21
I like my Vargo Titanium 750 Sierra for my alcohol burners, for the tapering sides.

I can add hot water, or, "saute" or steam fresh food from resupply. If fresh food, I like a flexible plastic "cutting board" and a kitchen paring knife.

For alcohol stoves:
http://www.woodgaz-stove.com

I like best the Modified Starlyte w/lid and Ridgeline:

zelph 1-cup cookkit 2.35 oz.
zelph 2-cup cookkit 3.85 oz.
container .8 oz. for 4 oz. fuel

I found out it is possible to spot-weld titanium sheeting. Now, I like a titanium windscreen.

If canister stove, SOTO OD-1R or SOTO Windmaster and GSI Hallulite Minimalist. These stoves have the "regulator" technology of the JetBoil MiniMo.

If "hot water right now" JetBoil. The MiniMo will "simmer".

ATAdam
01-16-2015, 23:32
MSR reactor, best cook pot in the woooorld. Unbreakable burner - trust me, i have tried! Super efficient, and when you don't have fuel, or don't need it, the titanium pot goes into any fire perfectly fine.

garlic08
01-17-2015, 09:34
Here's another good link: http://www.pmags.com/stove-comparison-real-world-use

I'm the world's worst camp chef, so I gradually evolved into a stoveless hiker as Mags mentions in the link. It works especially well on the AT, where you can walk into any convenience store and at least get enough peanut butter and hot dog buns to get to the next grocery store. It's about as hassle-free as you can get, and you never have to even think about resupplying your fuel.

Frye
01-17-2015, 14:15
MSR reactor, best cook pot in the woooorld. Unbreakable burner - trust me, i have tried! Super efficient, and when you don't have fuel, or don't need it, the titanium pot goes into any fire perfectly fine.

From the OCD like research I did over the last few weeks there were two issues that caused me to shovel the idea of buying the Reactor.
1. If it overheats it'll stop working and the only way to fix it is to have MSR reset it.
2. Deadly amounts of CO emissions. Reduced I'm told by a later model, but still deadly.

In the end I decided to just stick with my Caldera Keg.

Fireonwindcsr
01-17-2015, 22:00
From the OCD like research I did over the last few weeks there were two issues that caused me to shovel the idea of buying the Reactor.
1. If it overheats it'll stop working and the only way to fix it is to have MSR reset it.
2. Deadly amounts of CO emissions. Reduced I'm told by a later model, but still deadly.

In the end I decided to just stick with my Caldera Keg.

After viewing a few cooking, gear videos I've decided to use:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008VZ91WO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

along with HEET. HEET sells for about $2.39 which is cheaper than some of the other fuels starting at $7.00 - up

GirlfromOZ
01-17-2015, 22:09
My Trangia mini just arrived in the post! It's what I'll be taking for my AT hike. I'll let you know how it goes when I start trying it out. :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ATAdam
01-18-2015, 02:38
MSR Reactor. Big and useful for everything. Efficient and can be used over a wood fire. Durable as hell and will never fail due to wind, I have used it several times on winter trips in the Whites, Washington included.

Simple, strong and amazing. Can never praise enough about this damn cook system.