Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: Gus on October 30, 2021, 02:23:17 pm

 
Title: cooking System
Post by: Gus on October 30, 2021, 02:23:17 pm
Starting to plan my Trans-Am trip next May East to West in 2022.I plan on doing mostly camping and cooking.I have a MSR 1L Windburner. Weights 1lb. I'm thinking of my Firebox nano with 2L pot and pan to allow me to have more options in the kitchen as well as different types of fuel. I will be adding a couple more pounds which i am okay with.

My main question is what do other cyclists use for a cooking system that travel like myself?  What have been your experiences with a bigger cook system? Thanks.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: ray b on October 30, 2021, 10:21:11 pm
This summer I did a 3000 mile trip without a stove or cooking system. I ate several meals meals right out of the can. I did carry some spices and until the cap broke, a bottle of hot sauce.

Next time you are at the store, check out all the foods that now go into foil packets and compact packaging that stays sterile, if not fresh, seemingly forever  And see if you can't envision a trip fueled by cuisine from that selection.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: HobbesOnTour on October 31, 2021, 04:55:01 am
In my world eating should be a pleasure not a process and I pack accordingly.

I use a Trangia set supplemented with a flask.
The flask gets a lot of use - for making (and holding) coffee, for "finishing" pasta while I cook/heat up a sauce or for keeping water hot for tea on long cold nights.

Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: HikeBikeCook on October 31, 2021, 07:46:38 am
I carry a Jetboil with the pot. Jetboil is pretty common for us stove carrying types. Carrying the pot instead of the cup gives you lots of cooking options and the weight difference is minor. That is what I carried for my AT thru-hike for over 5 months and loved it. Find canister fuel pretty easy to get, even most WalMarts have them. Open fires and alcohol stoves are banned in a lot of forests out west due to fire hazards.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: LouMelini on October 31, 2021, 10:17:27 am
I cook in my pots using a GSI food scraper for easy clean-up. I use a titanium Kovea stove with a one-liter primus pot when touring without my wife. Julie and I use a snow peak stove (gigapower) with a 1.8 liter primus pot when touring together (and when we hiked the Appalachian trail). The pots have a heat exchanger that makes for a quick boil and acts like a wind screen. The downside of heat exchangers is that the bottom surface area of the pot is diminished. I need a stove with folding pot support to fit the one-liter pot. (snow peak also has a stove with folding support) For cooking, I like a stove that is beveled vs. a flame that shoots straight up.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on November 01, 2021, 09:30:31 am
For stoves, I will use my MSR Dragonfly or my Optimus Nova, depending on the length of the trip. The former has a larger fuel bottle.  32 oz. vs. 26 oz.

For cookware, I use a two-pot (nesting) MSR Blacklite set (not made anymore), leaving the small pan at home.  (You can sautee in a pot.) Inside the nesting pots goes my plastic olive oil vial, small bag of Aleppo pepper flakes, small Nalgene bottles of salt and pepper, head of fresh garlic, Navy can opener, plastic cork screw, key chain bottle opener, pot gripper, folding spatula and folding strainer.  I line the pots with bandanas to protect them from abrasion.  A small, light cutting board, Kuhn Rikon paring knife, Sea to Summit collapsible (and nesting) bowl and cup (great pieces of equipment), titanium spork, sponge and Bodum Travel Press combination French Press/mug round out the collection.

As you can probably tell, I like to cook.  I enjoy prowling unfamiliar grocery stores trying to come up with ideas for hearty dinners, which can sometimes be a challenge in small towns.  On more than one occasion I have had to settle for pasta with canned chili. On the other end of the spectrum is something like penne with pre-cooked andouille sausage, fresh garlic, shallots and chopped spinach in canned red sauce, which is something I made during both my September and October trips.

As noted, there are some good foil-packed options that are light and don't need refrigerating.  One standard go-to of mine is foil-packed tuna. You can often find it in several flavors depending on the size of the store. 
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: HikeBikeCook on November 01, 2021, 10:54:58 am
  (You can sautee in a pot.) Inside the nesting pots goes my plastic olive oil vial, small bag of Aleppo pepper flakes, small Nalgene bottles of salt and pepper, head of fresh garlic, Navy can opener, plastic cork screw, key chain bottle opener, Sea to Summit collapsible (and nesting) bowl and cup (great pieces of equipment).

Sounds like my cooking setup. I carry two small plastic bottles of olive oil (the most calories you can consume for the weight), fresh garlic is a must as well as the pepper flakes. - we grow hot peppers so I carry a bag of dry chilies. I carry a Kershaw OSO Sweet pocket knife and just a titanium spoon. I have also found that zucchini packs very well and I have cooked half and carried half for the next day. Swiss cheese will get oily  (and rubbery) but will not mold as fast as other cheeses.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: ray b on November 01, 2021, 11:02:24 am
In my world eating should be a pleasure not a process and I pack accordingly.
Yes it is...., and I'll point out that after a long, 5000 to 10,000 calorie day, all food is pleasurable. And when it's 90 deg F, cold food is preferable.

Don't get me wrong, in the snow, I'm capable of making biscuits, pancakes and bread to go with my freshly ground espresso beans with my choice of 4 different stoves and fuels (not including the old fashioned campfire).

Jus' sayin' one might want to keep an open mind to options that are not well advertised by the outdoor industry.....

In the summer, there's also a definite pleasure in going up a hill with less than 40 pounds of tools and gear.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: staehpj1 on November 01, 2021, 11:23:32 am
Yes it is...., and I'll point out that after a long, 5000 to 10,000 calorie day, all food is pleasurable.
Seriously?   A 10,000 calorie day?  I never heard estimates for TDF riders being that high and figured that 5,000 was a really hard touring day that many (most?) never reached.  I agree that a good appetite does make the food taste better.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: HikeBikeCook on November 01, 2021, 11:58:30 am
From what I have read it is closer to 4,000 to 6,000 depending on load, terrain, and tempo. Backpacking is around 7,500 in the mountains, but the same factors apply.

Using this site https://captaincalculator.com/health/calorie/calories-burned-cycling-calculator/ (https://captaincalculator.com/health/calorie/calories-burned-cycling-calculator/) and using a MET of 8.5 (Mountain Biking General - they do not have loaded touring) at my current plumpness I would burn about 5,000 calories riding 6 hours, which is what appears to be the average time in the saddle for bike touring from the logs I have read.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on November 01, 2021, 01:18:20 pm
I have also found that zucchini packs very well
Yep. I often pick one up to include in dinner.  Easy to cut up as well.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: ray b on November 01, 2021, 11:39:19 pm
Seriously?   A 10,000 calorie day?  I never heard estimates for TDF riders being that high and figured that 5,000 was a really hard touring day that many (most?) never reached.  I agree that a good appetite does make the food taste better.
10,000 Calories (or in actuality, kilocalories). That would be 1000 to 1200 kcal/20 miles for a 160 to 200 mile day. Heavily loaded, it would be more calories/mile than this calculation.
(See https://exrx.net/Calculators/Calories (https://exrx.net/Calculators/Calories) for a rough calculation)

Also - "Top Tour de France cyclists who complete all 21 stages burn about 120,000 calories during the race – or an average of nearly 6,000 calories per stage. On some of the more difficult mountain stages – like this year’s Stage 17 – racers will burn close to 8,000 calories." - https://theconversation.com/tour-de-france-how-many-calories-will-the-winner-burn-163043 (https://theconversation.com/tour-de-france-how-many-calories-will-the-winner-burn-163043)

If you have a power meter, here's an article on the assumptions used to calculate calories burned:
https://www.welovecycling.com/wide/2020/05/14/how-to-convert-watts-into-calories-burned-on-the-bike/[url]


 (https://www.welovecycling.com/wide/2020/05/14/how-to-convert-watts-into-calories-burned-on-the-bike/)
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: TCS on November 11, 2021, 04:48:47 pm
Just a few points off the top of my head:

My main question is what do other cyclists use for a cooking system that travel like myself?

What you cook with is really driven by what you want to cook...and vice-versa.

Quote
Starting to plan my Trans-Am trip next May East to West in 2022.

Oooo!  Lots of time to experiment and practice, then, developing favorite recipes, menus and your cookcraft.

Cookbooks:  In another thread I praised the old classic Cooking on the Road by John Rakowski, sometimes available used on Amazon or at your local used book store.  In current print, Bike.Camp.Cook. by Tara Alan is good.  Don Jacobson's The One Pan Gourmet pursues the interesting idea of minimizing your kitchen tackle by optimizing your recipes.

Stoves:  For 30+ years I relied on my Coleman 400A white gas stove.  Huge power but with a finely controlled, gentle simmer.  It had a very broad, wind resistant burner that was neither prone to causing hot spots in the pan nor scorching the food.  It burned pump gasoline - the world's most common fuel - just fine.  Loved that stove.  Back in the day my buddies with Svea 123s were in awe of the Coleman.  Alas, much like some cycletourists, it got cantankerous in its later years.  I took it apart to clean it and it hasn't worked since.  It's been decades since Coleman made the 400A, and years and years since they offered repair parts.  Yeah, yeah, you can still get parts for Svea 123s.  Whatever.   ;)

As HBC mentioned, in some forest/campgrounds alcohol and wood stoves are banned by regulation.  Conversely, the only stove you can count on flying with is an alcohol burner like the Trangia - and at present you can fly with the fuel, too!  Ha, take that, TSA!  I used my Trangia exclusively for several years.  I loved its silence, dead simple operation and stone-cold reliability.  You're not really carbon neutral if you use bio-alcohol, but you can pretend you are.  You can spill a little fuel without extinguishing all life in the soil.  Plus, the Trangia has a screw top lid and, well, something of a simmer ring.  I've never had any trouble being flush with alcohol fuel.  Downsides?  Well, it's not terribly powerful and the simmer is pretty primitive.

I've taken my Expedition Research solid fuel (hexamethylenetetramine) stove along for 'backup'; never had to use it but played with it some.  What can I say about it?  Hmm.  Well, it makes heat after a fashion and it's extraordinarily lightweight.

I agree with cycle cookbook authors Rakowski and Alan: if you want to cook-cook, use a gas (liquid or gaseous) stove; one with a good simmer and preferably a broad burner head.  Not owning any equipment and feeling haute bourgeoisie, today I'd probably get an all singing, all dancing Optimus Polaris Optifuel.  With a, ahem, modest budget and a box full of old equipment, these days I mostly camp-cook with a plebeian Coleman Peak 1 single burner isobutane stove.  I guess if I mis-planned/under budgeted/was unlucky with the isobutane canister supply, I could get by for a meal or two with the hexamethylenetetramine.

If one goes in for the 'skillet' school of One Pan Gourmet, I like the GSI Pinnacle.  For the 'pot' school, the MSR Alpine Stowaways are nice.  On tour about 40 years ago, I found an Opinel carbon steel #8 and I've carried it on tour ever since.  I like how easy it is to keep razor sharp, its locking blade and the chunky, easy to grip handle.  Buying new, though, I'd get the smaller #6.

I love the thermodynamic excellence of our OP's MSR Windburner.  However, comparative tests suggest the Windburner does not simmer well, and its system-integrated pot is relatively tall and slender.  Recipes will need to be chosen/developed accordingly.

BTW, our hosts here on this forum, Adventure Cycling, featured a blog post last month on the joys of wood fires.  I guess I camped in too many sites that had been absolutely denuded by earlier guests, subscribe too much to 'leave no trace' and breathed too much wood smoke from poorly built fires in the next campsite over to really be a fan.  The Trump Administration's EPA declared burning wood was carbon neutral, so it's got that going for it, but others have countered that depends on many assumptions that are seldom met.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: TCS on November 11, 2021, 04:51:00 pm
That would be 1000 to 1200 kcal/20 miles for a 160 to 200 mile day. Heavily loaded, it would be more calories/mile than this calculation.

Wow.  160~200 miles per day, then make camp and cook dinner.  We are not worthy.   ;)
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: HikeBikeCook on November 11, 2021, 04:52:46 pm
I like the JetBoil mini-mo with their new pot. You can simmer as well as boil in a flash. I cook when I travel not just heat and eat and love the JetBoil, but carry the pot so you have room to cook. Used it for 6 months on the AT and will use the newer model on my TransAm in 2022
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: TCS on November 11, 2021, 09:53:33 pm
Was I being hopelessly old school recommending books?  Here are some recipes to practice before the big trip:

https://www.trail.recipes/recipe-collection/one-pot/

https://www.backpackingchef.com/best-backpacking-recipes.html

https://www.jetboil.com/recipes

https://seatosummitusa.com/blogs/camp-kitchen-recipes

https://www.spam.com/recipes

https://www.freshoffthegrid.com/one-pot-camping-meals/

https://blackwoodspress.com/blog/14385/backpacking-dinner-recipes/

Watch out for exotic ingredients you can't find in small stores! 

Not all of these will appeal; but there's something here for nearly everyone.

Unlike the recipes in the suggested books, these are mostly 'backpacking' recipes.  When cycletouring, you're not out in the wilderness, you're out in the world.  Most of these will need to be adapted accordingly.

Recipe translations for cycletourist cooks:
dehydrated or powdered xxx = fresh xxx
7 oz package of fresh xxx = can of xxx
rice or pasta or potatoes or couscous = couscous or pasta or rice or potatoes, subject to preference and availability
spring harvested essence of pui-nui nectar from the eastern slopes of Fiji = which ever spice you have you think is closest
bread crumbs = you were at the store yesterday and the only bread they had was a gigantic loaf of white so you bought a box of crackers instead and haven't eaten them all yet
pre-prepare at home = prepare at the campsite shortly before you chow down
available from url = available at the last little store you pass before you camp
Dutch oven = skip this recipe no matter how yummy it sounds unless you want to get into the esoteric world of lightweight camp baking
couldn't buy ingredients in small quantities = "Anything you can eat for supper you can eat for breakfast." - Maureen
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on November 12, 2021, 10:26:58 am
Was I being hopelessly old school recommending books

Not a all, especially with the proliferation of companies selling "Lego kit" meals in a box.  There is even one now that sells not only the prepared meals but the mini-oven to cook them in. I think more and more people at home engage in "food assembly" rather than cooking.  Harder to do on the road.  Reading can give one ideas that may help them come up with meals on the fly using what is available at the moment.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: HikeBikeCook on November 12, 2021, 11:35:08 am
I think learning to cook at home before you set out is critical. I have been cooking for years and cooking for big crowds for multi-day events as a hobby. With the increase of people with special dietary needs I often have to whip up a special meal without X, Y, or Z due to allergies. It forces you to get creative with what you have. Practice making meals for a few days with what you have on hand in the house or in the fridge. You will be surprised how creative you can be. Also, make as many "one pot" meals as you can.

Go shop at a few gas station C-stores BEFORE your trip and go home and make a meal before you life depends on it.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: TCS on November 12, 2021, 12:32:38 pm
Plenty of folks have set off across country on their very first cycletour having never fired up their stove or erected their tent.  In fact, that even seems to be a requirement these days to get a publisher to print your travelog!  Yeah, okay, whatever, but...

I think learning to cook at home before you set out is critical...Go shop at a few gas station C-stores BEFORE your trip and go home and make a meal before you life depends on it.

...this is just really, really good advice.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: j1of1 on December 02, 2021, 07:42:41 pm
I'm a WarmShower host and the MAJORITY of riders cycling across the US that stay with us carry a Jet Boil or MSR pocket rocket BUT most of them do not use them telling us "although not the most nutritious or appetizing, there are plenty of places along the TransAm to eat." One rider had NO cooking gear at all!  On those rare days when they aren't close to something they eat raw food or something cold out of a can.

I, when touring, are partial to the Jet Boil and on rare occasions my MSR Whisperlite, both of which I use to boil water only  - nothing else (otherwise I have to worry about cleaning everything which means carrying extra stuff).
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: vitabuel on April 06, 2022, 03:38:36 pm
Cookbooks are still relevant. Quite often, famous chefs publish books with their signature recipes. Of course, it is much easier to find a recipe on the Internet, but cookbooks have more value. I really like the service https://costcofdb.com because you can find a lot of interesting recipes and immediately order products for cooking dishes. Such services are very popular now, especially if they provide food and meal delivery services. I like cooking and learning different cooking methods, so I am improving my skills and knowledge daily.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: Ty0604 on April 07, 2022, 08:24:00 pm
I travel pretty light so my cooking kit consists of a JetBoil Stash, collapsible cup, collapsible bowl and a utensil that’s a spork on one end and a knife on the other end.

I pretty much only boil water in my JetBoil and mix it with food. If I cook chili or soup I leave it in the can and cook it in that. Less cleanup.
Title: Re: cooking System
Post by: froze on April 19, 2022, 10:04:04 pm
My question is, why carry two different stoves?  One is more than sufficient, that's all backpackers and bike packers ever carry.  And weight does add up as the days and miles go on and on weight becomes more of an issue.

I would decide on which one of the two that you have to take with you, and go by total weight to decide.

Some people mentioned stoves but I don't see why you need to buy another one.  The one I carry is the Optimus Crux, it has a good dispersal flame pattern so it doesn't burn the food in the center of the pan.  The Optimus works great for me.

 I did buy a Huhu windscreen, which I have never used, but maybe someday when the wind is strong I might have to, but in light winds the Optimus hasn't needed a windscreen.

Pots and pans I don't carry anything fancy just an Ozark Trail 5 piece aluminum set I got from Walmart for $5! (now it's $7)  This is the lightest cook set I could find no matter the price.  Sure, it's aluminum, and yes it dents easily but you can also undent it easily.  This cook set is so cheap that you could simply replace it every year if it gets too ratty looking, though mine lasted 2 seasons till I burned something on it using the old stove, and I couldn't get the stain off, so I bought a new set last year.  I didn't use the plastic cup it came with so I tossed it and instead got another Ozark Trail 18 ounce stainless steel cup for $5, I heat my water for coffee in it and use it to drink out of.  I also don't carry plates; I eat out of the cook set.  By eliminating the plastic plate and cup I eliminated a little weight.

I do carry along fire starting stuff, so I can make a campfire if I want to, of course you can cook over the fire but you would have to buy a hot pad holder or glove so you can hold the handle without burning yourself.