What follows is Part II in C&K Editor-at-large Alan Kesselheim’s collection of field-tested, functional gear that has the potential to elevate your trip and serve you well, standing up to the rigors of continual use and the gamut of weather. Read Part I: Shelter, where he breaks down the criteria and scope for gear deemed “expedition-worthy,” most notably the items durability, design and weight. A few items stand out for their quality and impact on the success of an extended trip. Read all of Kesselheim’s Expedition 101 series: Inspiration // Gear Decisions // Food Planning
PART II: LIGHT MY FIRE — Story and Photos by ALAN KESSELHEIM
I've made clear in the past my preference for cooking over open fires using lightweight grills. However, it is not always environmentally ethical or legal to use fires. In other cases, wood is so scarce or weather so gnarly that wood fires are extremely challenging. Stoves and fuel are an inevitable aspect of the camp scene, even if you're a woodsy traditionalist. I've found two stoves that do the job admirably.
The Primus Primetech Stove Set (with 2.3-liter pots) offers an all-around solution to camp cooking. The heat-exchanger pot boils a liter of water in 3.5 minutes, but also backs off to simmer meals that require more than a boil-and-serve approach. The package includes the stove and two anodized (non-stick) pots that fit into a compact, cushioned sack. The whole kit weighs less than two pounds. The stove's efficiency translates into carrying less fuel. Several of Primus's design features are particularly sweet, like the transparent, heat-resistant lid with easy-pour perforations for draining pasta or other staples. Locking pot grips are a nice addition to the set. Add a lightweight frypan and you're covered for fish-fry nights. (stove/pots/bag under 2 lbs., also available with a smaller, 1.3-liter pot set combo for more intimate groups; $139, $169 for complete set with pots — BUY NOW)
The MSR Pocket Rocket has been around long enough to be called tried-and-true. The latest iteration reduces the already featherweight load and collapses into an even more compact unit. And by compact, I mean carry-your-stove-in-your-cup compact. Especially for trips that only sporadically use a stove, the Pocket Rocket 2 weighs next to nothing, but fires up to boil a liter of water in 3.5 mins.
Better yet, the Pocket Rocket simmers like a champ and for such a tiny unit, is surprisingly stable. My only add-on is to include a lightweight windscreen to defeat those windy days. The stove is equipped with a windshield gizmo but I like the back-up of a more traditional screen. (2.6 oz., 3.7 oz. with carrying case; $44 — BUY NOW)
— Stay tuned for PART III: What to Carry. Read Part I: Shelter
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