Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Minimalist Cook Kit

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.

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