If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll be aware this blog is about getting outside more to improve my mental state. I have been struggling with depression for a few years and have found going on these little outdoor escapes really help get me some headspace. It’s not a miracle cure, I’m still struggling, but it does seem to help and is definitely making a difference.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of hiking and cycling so far but am looking for other activities I can build in around them to keep things interesting and maintain that sense of adventure I think is so important. One of these activities is to add outdoor cooking to my longer hikes and cycle rides and the camping activities I have in mind for 2020.
This article is specifically about how I’ve been building an awesome outdoor cooking kit which I plan to use going forward. In here you’ll find details of what’s in the kit and how it all fits together. I will release further articles and videos showing it in action.
Why I Am Putting Together this Outdoor Cooking Kit
I think stopping in the woods and cooking lunch or dinner will really add an additional element to these longer distance hikes and cycle rides. Going out with the intention of exploring some new wilderness and specifically cooking breakfast or dinner outside could be carried out as an outdoor adventure of its own too, and not just as a bolt on to whatever hike we are doing.
So, with this in mind, over the last couple of months I have been putting together an outdoor cooking kit I can use for this purpose.
What this Article Is About
I’ve posted a few photos of the kit, as I’ve been putting it together, in some of the Facebook Groups I’ve been engaging with and also on my Instagram channel. I’ve had quite a lot of people asking me about the gear I’ve included and where I’ve got it from. So I’ve decided to write this article on the kit itself and how I intend to use it.
I will talk about each item in the kit and what I intend to use it for, as well as any modifications I have made to ensure it meets my needs. I will provide links to items in the kit in case you want to check them out yourself. Some of these links may be affiliate links which means I’ll earn a tiny commission if you do decide to buy them. These commissions are very small and go towards the hosting of this website. But that isn’t the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is to answer some of the queries I’ve received about the kit through social media so far. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me.
My Requirements for the Outdoor Cooking Kit
Given the fact I want to carry my outdoor cooking kit on long distance hikes and cycle rides, as well as taking it on wild camping trips, I have a number of personal requirements for the kit and what I want from it.
Firstly it has to be as lightweight as possible. If I’m going to carry it on my back for miles on end I don’t want it to be heavy and cumbersome. Secondly, the outdoor cooking kit has to be compact and space efficient. It has to take up as little space as possible in my pack. To make this possible each item in the kit needs to have multiple uses and needs to be easy to set up and clean up. I want the kit and the pack itself to be modular so it can be used in a way that matches the needs of the day.
So, I’ve invested a little bit of money in putting this kit together because it needs to meet the above criteria but I also wanted it to last. I intend on using it quite a lot and don’t want to have to keep replacing items because I opted for the cheaper stuff. This is all affordable stuff though, and if you put it together over a few months like I did it doesn’t make much of an impact financially.
With this in mind, I will now talk through the individual items making up my outdoor cooking kit.
Bushbox LF Titanium
Bushcraft Essentials produce a number of portable stoves of this sort. I considered each of the options and decided to go with the Bushbox LF Set in Titanium because it met my requirements for a number of reasons.
- The stove is reasonably lightweight at 621g.
- It folds down into a flat compact package and takes up hardly any space in the pack. In fact, it fits nicely in the front pouch.
- Useful for multiple purposes and can be used to cook anything at all. It also can burn multiple fuel types such as wood, hex tablets or even a small Trangia alcohol burner.
- It is hard-wearing and should last a long time.
I paid about £68.00 for this stove which is quite expensive but I think the cost is worth it for its lightweight, compact and hard wearing qualities; and if it last me a long time then I think it will be worth it.
I have watched countless reviews and demonstrations of this stove (and Bushcraft Essentials’ other stoves) on YouTube and the general consensus is favourable. So I have incorporated this stove into my outdoor cooking kit.
The set comes with the stove itself, two trivets (which have multiple uses), a grill plate and a pretty sturdy pouch to pack it all away in.
I’m really looking forward to putting this stove through its paces and trying it out in various ways.
If you want to have a look at this stove you can find out more here.
H&S 10 Plate Folding Windshield
From past experience it can be difficult trying to light a fire in windy conditions. This aluminium screen is made up of ten panels that fold together into a concertina type configuration for easier packing.
There’s not much to say about the technical aspects of this piece of kit. It’s meant to make lighting the fire easier and that’s it. Once the windshield is in position there are two pins (one at each end) that can be pushed down into the ground to hold it in place.
I paid just £7.99 for this windshield, which is not expensive at all. It’s a nice little addition to the kit. Granted, it’s not totally essential – more of a ‘nice to have’ item.
This windshield meets my requirements in the following ways.
- Lightweight aluminium at 299g.
- Folds into a nice flat convenient package that can be easily stored. It slips in between two straps on the pack of my pack as you can see from the pictures.
- Can be used for other things other than just a wind shield. For example, if I do not need the use of a windshield it can be used as a food preparation mat.
If you want to have a look at this windshield you can find out more here.
Nalgene Stainless Steel 1 Litre Bottle
I absolutely love this Nalgene drinking bottle. It is made from single walled stainless steel and has a solid plastic waterproof lid that screws on. The lid is fastened to the bottle with a lanyard and can therefore be totally removed when I want to place the bottle on the Bushbox to boil larger quantities of water. It has a wide mouth which makes it more suited for boiling. Whether I am using it to boil water or to just carry 1 litre of water it is a solid high quality bit of kit and I am really pleased with it.
This bottle cost me £26.63 and is worth every penny. It feels really solid and robust and am sure it will last me years.
The Nalgene fits my requirements for the following reasons.
- The Nalgene weighs 399g but is considerably heavier when filled with water. As a result, this is probably the heaviest part of the kit.
- Although it obviously doesn’t flat pack, as you will see further on, the 750ml Tomshoo pot nests on the bottom of this bottle and fits perfectly into the pack – making the most of space. Also, I have a collapsible cup (see accessories below) that fits on top of this bottle within pack also.
- The Nalgene has multiple possible uses as with most of this kit. It can be used to carry water for both drinking and cooking and can be used as a bottle or a vessel for actually boiling the water.
- It is very robust and durable and I can tell this is going to last me a long time.
If you want to have a look at this awesome bottle you can find out more here.
Tomshoo Lightweight Titanium 3 Piece Set
This is a nice little set made from lightweight titanium. The set consists of a 750ml pot with lid and handle, a 450ml cup with lid and a folding titanium spork, which comes in a little draw string pouch. The 450ml cup nests nicely into the larger pot and the whole thing fits neatly into a draw string pouch of its own. As well as being lightweight, the titanium is corrosion resistant and is meant to last years. The lids have little vents to let out steam and has really nice collapsible handles and pot hangers.
I paid £39.98 for this set and am very pleased with the quality of the items. I will probably only include the larger pot in my normal kit as it nests perfectly with the Nalgene (see the section below on how it all fits together).
This set fits my requirements for the following reasons.
- The set is lightweight and weighs just 259g.
- It is efficient in respect of its space. The larger 750ml pot nests nicely beneath the Nalgene in the pack. In most cases I won’t take out the 450ml cup but instead will use the collapsible cup (see accessories) which nests on top of the Nalgene in the pack. This is just for space efficiency that’s all.
- The pot has multiple uses and can be used for boiling water for coffee, cooking rice or pasta or even small stews. It can also be used for water collection or as a drinking vessel if the need arises.
If you want to have a look at this set you can find out more here.
Trangia Aluminium Mess Tin
This is a small mess tin and is suitable for cooking for myself. It is made of aluminium and is lightweight and durable. This mess tin comes with a lid and handle and is ideal for my kit.
This mess tin is relatively cheap at just £10.99 and I am happy with it. It is just about right for cooking for one person. If you are cooking for more than one person you’ll need a bigger one.
This mess tin meets my requirements for the following reasons.
- It is lightweight aluminium and weighs 159g.
- It is the small size which is adequate for one person. However, when not in use and stored in the pack many of the smaller accessories can be stored inside it to save space. For this reason it is space efficient. It fits neatly into one of the side pouches on the pack.
- As with the other items in this outdoor cooking kit, it has multiple uses. It can be used as a frying pan or a pot. The lid can also be used as a small shallow frying pan, plate or cutting board. The mess tin itself can be used for cooking in but can also be used to eat out of. It can also be used for storage.
Overall this is a very useful bit of kit and I am looking forward to cooking many meals in it whilst out on my many adventures to come.
If you want to have a look at this mess tin you can find out more here.
Trangia Non-Stick Frying Pan
In addition to the mess tin I bought this Trangia non-stick frying pan which I may or may not take out with me depending on what I am intending to cook and how many people are being cooked for. It has more space than the mess tin and will be more suited to certain outings. The only thing with this is that it will not fit in the cook kit’s pack and will have to be stored in my main backpack. So for that reason this isn’t an official part of my kit, but is more of an add on.
Nonetheless, I really like this pan. I have a Trangia handle (see accessories below) which clamps the side of the pan when I need to move it. It is lightweight at 159g and will easily fit in my main pack with a diameter of 18cm.
If you want to have a look at this mess tin you can find out more here.
There are a number of accessories I keep in my outdoor cooking kit.
Gerber Paraframe II Knife – I use this for cutting ingredients, fire wood and for eating too. This is currently the knife I am experimenting with and so far I quite like it. To find out more click here.
Trangia Handle – This is a nice little handle that can be used on the Trangia Mess Tin, the Mess Tin Lid and also the Trangia Pan. To find out more click here.
Chopping Block – These were custom made by a friend of mine who happens to be a wood worker. It fits neatly into my Trangia Mess Tin and are actually quite light despite appearances. If you want a set of your own I’m sure Tony will be happy to hear from you. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org – tell him I sent you.
Ankier Extreme Heat Resistant Grilling Gloves – These are to help avoid burns and allow me to pick up pots and other hot implements without burning myself. To find out more click here.
Cloth – I carry a piece of rag I can use when cleaning and trying the kit after use.
Pack of Hex Tablets – Sometimes I don’t want to attract attention by creating smoke so these hex tablets come in useful. They are also great if there is a lack of firewood around. To find out more click here.
Lighter – I carry a basic lighter to get the fire started.
The Pack and How It All Fits Together
I selected these items because I wanted to build a modular pack, which means the pouches can be added or removed depending on the needs of the day. It can also be attached to my main backpack using the molle system on both.
This means if I am planning on just cooking with the pot (doing some rice or noodles for instance) I can remove the pouch containing the mess tin and other accessories if I want to.
As you can see from the picture above, saving space is key. In the main pouch I fit the Tomshoo 750ml Pot and lid, Nalgene 1 litre Stainless Steel Bottle and Collapsable Cup by nesting them all together as in the picture above.
The Mess Tin contains the chopping block and little bag of accessories, and the rest fits into the other pouches. I try and make use of the space available. I’m sure the kit will evolve as I do and new gear and pouches will be added. But you get the idea!
My Plans With this Outdoor Cooking Kit
So that is how I’ve built up my outdoor cooking kit. I am planning on giving it a test run over the next few weeks and will make a post to let you know how it’s all gone and if anything needs tweaking.
Going forward, I am going to try and incorporate the use of this kit into my hikes, cycle rides and camping trips. So, if you’re following me you’ll probably see it a fair bit in my videos, blog articles and social media posts.
Hopefully this article has been useful for you.
If you have any questions about this outdoor cooking kit (or anything else) you can contact me here.