Author Topic: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics  (Read 1009 times)

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Offline hospengr

Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« on: June 05, 2020, 11:07:37 pm »
I have a few questions, as I am planning my first solo (sort of) tour, on the Pacific Coast Route.  I did the Southern Tier with ACA a few years ago, so I do have some experience.  The difference is that with the group tour, cooking was easy, shared, and the group shared the responsibility of carrying the "group gear."

For solo trips with 50-70% camping, what kind of cooking gear do you carry?  Of course I have my MSR Whiperlite stove, and a few pots and pans, but what gear is recommended for such a trip?  I do not have any interest in converting to the Jetboil system, as that would be a sizeable investment.   Here is what I would plan, but I am interested in other's opinions and experience.

Stove, fry pan, 4 quart pot, spatula, serving spoon, kitchen knife, cutting board, lighter, MSR fuel bottle. 

Anything else I should include or exclude?

TIA!

Offline Inge

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 03:02:35 am »
If the whisperlite works on gas canister - you can use that as well - very easily available along the PC. I used Coleman fuel a few years ago and that was hard to come by. I do not like using petrol for fuel.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2020, 07:08:59 am »
There are a wide range of options and preferences so it is hard to answer what you would like.

I tend to go pretty minimal and on the Pacific Coast and a lot of other trips used just a tiny alcohol burner and small pot.  The burner was one of those home made pop can things and the whole rig including wind screen, pot stand, utensils, and all was maybe 12 ounces.

I have used a little canister stove on some trips and also own a whisperlite, but have not toured with it because I have not felt like dealing with cleaning it well enough to pass TSA muster since I flew to and/or from all of my tours.  I like the whisperlite for backpacking and may use it for tours that I drive to, but have not yet at this point.  Mine (Whisperlite International) is the one that will burn gasoline, but doesn't have a canister option like the Whisperlite Universal.

Which whisperlite do you have (can you burn gasoline or use canister fuel if finding coleman fuel is tough?)?  Will you be flying to or from your tour?  Those two things may determine how convenient your whisperlite will be.  If neither are a problem there is no compelling reason to switch and neither are a complete show stopper.

Your gear sounds bigger and more extensive than I'd carry even for a small group especially the 4 quart pot (I usually carry a 1.3 liter pot), but if it works for you it may be what you want.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2020, 07:50:53 am »
For whatever it is worth.....
for me, over time I learned / acclimated to no stove at all. 
What I thought was going to be the biggest related adaptation / adjustment was the absence of hot coffee;
...thinking: no hot coffee = NO way!
Took the plunge & tried a day or three w/ no hot coffee replacing it with (yukkie : ) cold instant.
No one could have been more surprised then I .... it worked.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2020, 08:13:36 am »
For whatever it is worth.....
for me, over time I learned / acclimated to no stove at all. 
What I thought was going to be the biggest related adaptation / adjustment was the absence of hot coffee;
...thinking: no hot coffee = NO way!
Took the plunge & tried a day or three w/ no hot coffee replacing it with (yukkie : ) cold instant.
No one could have been more surprised then I .... it worked.
I am kind of weird on this one...  I love my coffee, can't live without it at home.  If the dog takes an extra minute on our morning walk before I get home to my waiting coffee I get impatient.  On tour I get my coffee later when/if I hit a diner or store somewhere down the road.  If I am somewhere with no stops I do without.  That said I always carry a stove and pot.  My cooking and eating gear is 12 ounces or sometimes less plus a 12 ounce (or partial) bottle of Yellow Heet and I'd carry some of the eating gear even if I didn't carry the stove.

Even though I go pretty crazy light and I have never been tempted to skip the stove.  I went coast to coast with a 14# base and have gone as low as an 8# base (cooking and camping) and even when going nuts trimming every ounce I never seriously considered skipping the stove.  For me having hot oatmeal, noodles, or even cooking more ambitious meals is worth an extra 12 ounces plus some fuel.

Offline jbruced

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2020, 10:54:59 pm »
Personally I would consider the 4 quart pot too big for a solo trip. I did a six week kayak trip and if I recall I had a 1 liter cooking pot. I also did not have a fry pan but my meals were based on dehydrated meals that I made at home prior to my trip. Camping in primitive places can mean that post meal clean up can be problematic.

From your list you may want to consider how you will wash dishes. If you take the fry pan, what will you need in the way of oil or shortening and how will you carry it? How will you dispose of the excess after cooking with it? The less "civilized" the campsite the more these things can be an issue. Depending where you are traveling it maybe wise to cook, eat and clean up in one location and then move on a few miles to set up camp for the night.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 08:12:25 pm by jbruced »

Online BikeliciousBabe

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2020, 11:16:34 am »
Personally I would consider the 4 quart pot to big for a solo trip.
Understatement of the week. I think our largest pot on ACA's unsupported, 13-person Northern Tier trip was that large. We would boil 4 lbs. of pasta in it.

I still have an MSR Blacklite Gourmet set. Nesting 2L and 1.5L pots, along with nesting frying pan (which I don't use.) I cook more elaborate meals than most. Inside the cookset goes the pot gripper, vial of olive oil, small plastic vials of salt and pepper, a head of fresh garlic, small bag of red pepper flakes, Navy can opener, light weight corkscrew and key chain-type bottle opener.

This for a knife. Very lite.

https://www.kuhnrikonshop.com/coloriplus-paring-knife---purple/KHN+26505.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjww_f2BRC-ARIsAP3zarExltN2f-g5zVYrzuzsbH7CsqpGW0D2CvxiY9Tp6PL--r_MTodKP9MaAr87EALw_wcB

Sea to Summit makes a great collapsable bowl and cup that nest about 1/2' deep. I have a small, thin cutting board. Lexan plate, spoon and fork, although I recently got a titanium spork.

For stoves, I have my choice of an MSR Dragonfly and Optimus Nova. The former I take for two-week or longer trips because the fuel bottle is a bit larger. Both have excellent simmer control, which is what I need for my type of cooking.

I make mostly pasta. Cook whatever is going with it in the smaller pot, remove it from the stove, cover it to keep it warm, then cook the pasta in the larger pot, While I am draining the pasta, I put the other pot back on the stove to warm up the contents.

From sitting down to prep to starting to eat, I can make something like this in about 40 min. or less un-rushed.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/9765775025/in/album-72157635548910265/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/9765774025/in/album-72157635548910265/

As for morning coffee, I suck it up and bring pre-ground La Colombe Corsica and a Bodum Travel Press. It's a combination French press and mug. No need for an extra cup, and it keeps the coffee warm for a good while even in cold temperatures.

https://www.bodum.com/us/en/11100-294bus-travel-press
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 01:14:03 pm by BikeliciousBabe »

Offline Emporeutic

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 01:08:22 am »
I use whisperlite, they are very good.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2020, 07:08:43 am »
I use whisperlite, they are very good.
Yes a very nice stove.  To me the necessary cleaning and risk of TSA confiscation is a huge pain if you need to fly to/from your tour though.  If you take the TSA out of the equation by not flying I start to like the Whisperlite a lot better.  In any case be careful flying with it.  Throughly clean it.  Any hint of fuel/combustion odor and you may lose it to the TSA.

There are three current whisperlite models.  In addition to the regular Whisperlite which I think is supposed to only burn white gas, the Whisperlite Universal which can burn canister fuel, white gas, kerosene and unleaded gasoline, the Whisperlite International which can burn white gas, kerosene, and unleaded auto fuel.

I think folks are known to have successfully burned regular unleaded gasoline in the regular whisperlite despite the fact that I didn't see it mentioned as a fuel in the description on the MSR site.

I have the International and kind of wish I had bought the Universal so that I would have the option of burning canister fuel.  Cases where that has been a plus were more often when backpacking rather than touring where canisters were sometimes more available or free in a hiker box, but there have been a few cases where I'd have picked up a canister if my stove used them.  It isn't a big enough deal that I'd go out and buy another stove though.

On most of my tours the point is moot since I took my pop can alcohol stoves in part because I didn't want to fuss with cleaning and possible confiscation by TSA and in part because they are lighter, simpler, and fuel is readily available in small 12 ounce bottles.  They burn clean enough that they have gone right through TSA inspection with no cleaning, but if they confiscate one I can easily replace it.  To be safe you could just start each trip with a new one, but I have not always bothered.  The pop can stove start to suck if you need a lot of heat when backpacking for boiling drinking water or melting snow.  They also lose their weight advantage if you want or need to carry more than a few days of fuel for light cooking.

Truth be told I have never actually toured with my whisperlite or any liquid fuel stove other than my pop can ones.  I have backpacked canoe camped a good bit with a wide variety of liquid fuel stoves over the years though.

Online BikeliciousBabe

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2020, 07:40:14 am »
Yeah. Flying with a liquid fuel stove can be risky. I was told by two TSA agents that a stove with fuel or ash residue would be confiscated. Fortunately, when I fly for tours I ship the bike rather than take it on the plane. Stove and empty fuel bottle go inside the bike box.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2020, 08:06:00 am »
Yeah. Flying with a liquid fuel stove can be risky. I was told by two TSA agents that a stove with fuel or ash residue would be confiscated. Fortunately, when I fly for tours I ship the bike rather than take it on the plane. Stove and empty fuel bottle go inside the bike box.
That can be a good solution especially if getting a room and spending a day or more at the start, but I usually like to ride right out of the airport.  I typically fly to the tour with the bike as baggage and ship the bike home at the end.  I get a kick out of riding right out of the airport and at the end of a tour like to be able to just drop the bike with a bike shop and let them deal with packing and shipping rather than deal with all of that in a strange town.

Offline froze

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2020, 02:02:42 pm »
You said this is a solo trip, so why such a huge 4 quart cooking pot?  All you need is around a 1/2 of a quart pot.  I have a 7" fry pan and a .63 quart pot with lid, and it's made of aluminum, the kit cost me $12!  it is thin aluminum so I watch my heat so as not to burn the food, and it does dent easily but you can undent it just as easily.  Instead of carrying plates I just eat directly out of the pan or pot.

As you might be able to tell from above I use stuff for double duty, I don't have a serving spoon, I use my titanium spork and use it for serving and eating with

I got a cheap ignitor stove for $12 called the Etekcity that uses any propane canister fuel, and it works great.  With a ignitor stove I don't need matches but I carry waterproof windproof torch I got from Menards for $5 in case I need to start a fire, a bit larger than a lighter but a hell of lot hotter.  The ability to start a campfire could be life saving, so I have couple of ways to start fires but you didn't ask about that so moving on.

I use my multi tool partially serrated knife for any food cutting so as not to carry a separate knife.  In fact I don't even carry a big survival knife, instead I carry a very small axe that I can use to chop wood, or flip it over and use it to pound in stakes while the axe cuts my head open on the up swing and my brains gush out...

I have a very short high temperture plastic spatula.

I carry a spice bottle thing that has something like 4 or 5 different spices in one small bottle; and I carry a small bottle of olive oil for cooking, but olive oil goes bad after about 2 to 3 months not in a fridge so you need to toss it after every trip, and it's why you want the smallest bottle you can buy.  Of course I carry coffee but no sugar or creamer, and I make it using a very small GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip, takes up next to nothing in space and weight and it works great; it's a pour over type of device.

The only weird things I do is that I do not pack my fuel in with my pot and pan, I put all my stuff into plastic ziplock bags and the fuel canister goes by itself into a zip lock bag, as does the olive oil and spices are also all separate in their own bag.  This is so nothing spills onto other stuff, and fuel will contaminate cookware should it by chance leak.  I also line the panniers with a cinch up plastic trash bag, why? in case of spills, I don't want crap messing up the inside of my bags, and it also helps keep out any rain should that by chance get inside.  My clothes and towel are all in plastic zip lock bags.  All my food I buy goes into zip lock bags.  I know, it's weird stuff I do.








Offline driftlessregion

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2020, 05:14:27 pm »
Not the original question but regarding travel with fuel bottles, I have several times in checked luggage and never had an issue, most recently Sept. 2019. Since flying home after a trip doesn't give much time to let them air out that should tell us something.

Offline froze

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2020, 12:13:04 am »
Not the original question but regarding travel with fuel bottles, I have several times in checked luggage and never had an issue, most recently Sept. 2019. Since flying home after a trip doesn't give much time to let them air out that should tell us something.

https://traveltips.usatoday.com/tsa-requirements-camp-stoves-106089.html

Offline staehpj1

Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2020, 06:41:42 am »
Not the original question but regarding travel with fuel bottles, I have several times in checked luggage and never had an issue, most recently Sept. 2019. Since flying home after a trip doesn't give much time to let them air out that should tell us something.
Do you know if they actually opened and inspected the contents of your baggage in those cases?  If not it might just tell us that they didn't open your baggage in those cases.  If you know that they did open them it is a good sign that you can be a little more comfortable flying with the whisperlite and fuel bottle, but it doesn't guarantee that a different TSA agent in a different airport would have done the same. 
I have found that the level of fussiness of enforcement of baggage and general security policies has varied widely depending on the airport and with the particular TSA agents involved.

It also depends on the year, but I have been on trips where one airport was pretty laid back and another went over everything with a fine toothed comb. On one trip where I managed to get all my gear into a carry on, one airport made me tear open every little stuff sack and bag while another just let it all roll through without asking a question.  It looked like a bomb went off by the time they were done and I was trying to get it all back together.

I am no too inclined to risk losing my stove to the TSA, but that is partly because I really like the pop can stoves for touring anyway so leaving the whisperlite home isn't a hardship.  Otherwise I'd probably be more willing to put up with the cleaning and/or risk of loss.  I guess the good news is that the bigger risk (due to rushed cleaning and short airing out) is on the way home where losing the stove at least doesn't mean heading out on tour without a stove.