Alright, so the title is not exactly correct. There are much more minimalistic cook kits than the one I am going to show here. However, it is as minimal as I would want to go.
The reason I am writing this post is that when I discussed the weight reductions I had made to my cook kit earlier, people asked me why I didn’t just switch to an alcohol stove set up to save more weight. The answer is that I like to use the same set up year round, and an alcohol stove and cup just wouldn’t cut it when I had to melt snow for water during winter trips. That being said, I did actually make a kit based on an alcohol stove. It is something I would carry if I am traveling with very minimal gear. So, here it is:
The kit has a number of components, which all nest inside the cup.
The components and their weights are as follows:
|Backcountry Stoic Ti Kettle Cup||3.1 oz|
|Backcountry Stoic Ti Kettle Lid||0.6 oz|
|Backcountry Stoic Ti Kettle Stuff Sack||0.4 oz|
|Modified Brasslite Turbo I-D||1.4 oz|
|Pot Stand||0.7 oz|
|3 oz Fuel Bottle||0.5 oz|
|Aluminum Foil Windscreen||0.0 oz (does not register on scale)|
|Mountain House Empty Bag||0.4 oz|
|Total Weight||7.5 oz|
The first item of my kit is the cup-the Backcountry Stoic Ti Kettle. The Stoic Kettle is a 700 ml titanium cup. In the above table I have divided the weights of the different components, but they come together as a set-cup, lid, and stuff sack. I have been using the cup for a year now, by nesting my Nalgene bottle in it. I have been very happy with it, so when I was making the kit, there was no question in my mind that this is the cup I would use.
The next component is the stove. There are many design out there, and many of them are lighter than the one I use here. The reason I settled on this modified version of the Brasslite Turbo I-D is that I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what stove I want to make. I decided that I would just make a miniature version of the Tuna Can Stove which has been my favorite alcohol stove. As I was shopping for parts however, I realized that the current Brasslite Turbo stoves use the exact same design. I decided to save myself the work and just get one. The reason I chose the I-D instead of the larger II-D is that I don’t expect to do any serious cooking with this set up. It is going to be a boil and mix affair. This model does the job well.
However, I never liked the integrated pot stand used by the Brasslite Turbo stoves. I removed it from mine, and I also removed the simmer ring. Like I mentioned above, I will be using it just to boil water, so a simmering function is not needed. I ended up making my own pot stand. I used three jumbo paperclips, which I bent into shape and held two of the ends with wire. That way the design can fold, but offers very good support.
The remaining components are an aluminum foil windscreen, a 3 oz fuel bottle, which gives me sufficient fuel for a weekend trip, and a Mountain House meal empty bag. The last item might seem strange, but I have found it very useful. A big part of boil and mix foods is that you need something in which to mix them. The Stoic cup is a bit too small for the task. What I do is boil the water in the cup, and then pour it into the Mountain House bag along with the food (mashed potatoes, instant rice, etc). The bag also serves as a cozy for the rehydration process. The bags are designed to retain enough heat to rehydrate the Mountain House meals. I find that to be more than enough to rehydrate the foods that I ordinarily cook.
This cook kit makes for a very compact, and relatively lightweight package. It is entirely self contained, and stores enough fuel for a weekend trip. I have contemplated switching to it a number of times, but the cold weather performance issues have kept me from doing so.