Kitchen + Reviews

Kitchen + Reviews

Nov 20, 2016

How I cook on the road 

 

I am cycling the world since May 2013 and so far I used gas stoves and campfires to cook my meals.

I want to show you my gear experiences from the past 3.5 years, but also tell you that I am thinking of some new equipment to use while heading to Latin America.


My cooking gear to cycle the world

My thoughts about gas stoves in general

Pros:

 

  • Super fast cooking – nothing is more annoying after a long day on a bike, than when the cooking takes a long time.
  • Clean – no dirty or smelly hands. No black pots.
  • Most gas stoves are safe enough to cook inside the vestibule

Cons:

 

  • To get camping gas bottles is not always so easy when travelling remote or in third world countries
  • It is not the most environmentally friendly way to cook because of the none refillable canisters.
  • Pricey fuel (small bottle is about US $5) but if you cook carefully a small bottle can last about 2 weeks. But only if you cook simple oats for breakfast and pasta or rice for supper.

Cooking on the fire

I always love to cook on the fire, but sometimes it takes too long to prepare a campfire to cook a quick meal. Either there is not enough wood or there might be a fire ban. If it is wet or snowy a campfire can be super frustrating to start.

Sometimes it is not safe to be seen because a fire draws a lot of attention. In cities or in high barren altitude areas it is tough to get a fire going anyway.

Only cooking on the campfire without any other stove as a second option is not the easiest solution for a world trip on a bike. But I know someone who did it…

Cooking with a petrol stove

I had in total 3 MSR Whisperlite stoves in the past decade and always had issues with them. Additionally I don’t like the smell of petrol and I don’t think it is very healthy to use them.

To me a petrol stove is not appealing at all.

MSR Stowaway Pot 0,8 l

At first I had two pots, but after about 3 years it was time to toss the second one away, as I found I could easily manage my cooking with one pot.

 

Pros:

 

  • My MSR stowaway 0.8L pot is a great item. It doesn’t seal completely when you want to stow your leftovers away, but if there is no moisture in your food you can close it and put it in your bag to eat the rest later.
    It also keeps insects from crawling into your food while you leave it in your vestibule for the next morning.
    In general it is an easy way to have a prepared lunch for any time later. Even if most of the time the hunger of a cyclist will finish off everything that’s there anyway 😉
  • Made out of steel and therefore useable on the fire. Cheap US $15
  • Last a lifetime

Cons:

 

  • Two pots are not possible to store into each other.
  • A gas bottle doesn’t fit into it.
  • Heavier than aluminum or titanium pots

You can also use the pot as a great helper in bear country 😉 Watch my video and you will know what I mean.

I use a simple spoon, a steel mug which I might leave behind one day if I need to reduce my weight even more. It is handy to have a mug, but not really necessary.

For a knife I use my Multi-Tool Victorinox – a great gear for all purposes, even if it is a bit heavy. 288 g.

Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium  Stove

I was lucky to find out about this great stove which I have been using for the last 9 months.

Pros:

 

  • Super lightweight & small to pack
  • I used it with several gas bottle brands and never had any issue
  • Works fine even when it is -10 C
  • The amount of heat is easily adjustable.

Cons:

  • Pricey stove US $60

I had an MSR Pocket Rocket and had problems with several gas bottle brands. Once I was even in danger because the stove didn’t seal any longer and a huge flame came out of the threads.

One night I left the stove attached to the bottle and the next morning the gas had all leaked out.

In general I did not like the MSR Pocket Rocket stove. I used it only a short time.

The entire way from Germany to the USA I used an Edelrid Kiro Ti gas stove which is of high quality and fits to any bottle I found. Light, same quality as the Snow Peak, but cheaper. Sadly not available in the USA, so I couldn’t replace it when it finally didn’t work any longer.

I am still searching for a good windscreen for my stove. The one I used at the beginning was great but I lost it and so far I couldn’t find the right shield which is small, light, stable and efficient enough.

Immersion Heater

To have an additional option to heat up water, I bought an immersion heater a while back. It is a US $10 item. So far I used it indoors or outside of public buildings for a hot drink or to pre boil the water to reduce the waste of expensive gas.

But it is not a stove for cooking a real meal with it and therefore not really of much help. It is light and easy to use.

What is new?

To vary my cooking style a bit and to be prepared for countries that don’t have gas bottles available I want to use from now on a combination of a Hobo stove and an alcohol stove.

To be on the safe side I will keep my gas stove for another while until I am sure that this choice was a good idea.

I fell in love with the Picogrill 85 Hobo wood stove

Pros:

  • Light, slim pack
  • Lights up super fast
  • Fun to use
  • Wood is for free and almost everywhere to be found with the small amount you need to keep this stove going
  • It leaves a tiny little footprint

Cons:

  • Not possible to use indoor or in a tent because of safety issues
  • Dirty pot – dirty hands
  • Smelly clothes – well, I love the campfire smell
  • Pricey US $60
  • Not available in the US
  • Takes longer to boil water than with gas

 

My first great impression of the Picogrill in a video

 

Trangia alcohol stove with a self-made pot stand

Pros:

 

  • Small and light
  • Cheap US $15
  • Alcohol is fairly easy to get, besides in Moslem countries

Cons:

  • Not safe to use in a tent without the full Trangia system and that is a problem
  • Fuel is heavy to carry
  • Takes longer to boil water than with a gas stove
  • Needs some practice

 

My first impressions of the Trangia with a self-made pot stand in a video

 

All my reviews are honest statements. Even if I received an item as a sponsorship, I will still give you an honest overview what the gear is like. Everyone who followed my blog knows that truthfulness is an important part of my philosophy.

10 Comments

  1. I use an alcohol stove like the Trangia, but its a titanium model with a great stand for its pot
    Evernew (made in Japan – the Ti Appalachian Set)
    The trouble with these is there is no simmer…so I have to use a double boiler (another pot)

    http://www.evernewamerica.com/best-sellers/

    Reply
    • Hi Larry, interesting and which model is it? Titanium sounds pricey but of course it’s light. Greetings Heike

      Reply
      • Evernew Appalachian Set – includes the stove, the windscreen/stand (that can be used without the stove and with small pieces of wood) and the pot and lid. Everything fits into the pot.

      • Thanks Larry it looks really interesting. The only thing which I don’t like is the small size of the pot. 500ml is not a lot for cooking a proper meal. But it is great that the stove is fitting so nicely in the pot. Does it work well as a wood stove? Isn’t it too small for it? Heike

  2. I agree – the pot is rather small…its best to heat water and then pour it into a food-save bag.
    I dehydrate my own recipes and then store them in bags where I can pour the hot water into – fold them over and then eat straight out of the bag.

    http://www.packitgourmet.com/CookIn-Bags.html

    I haven’t yet tried the kit with wood…there are videos of reviewers using it that way.

    Love your writing style and attitude ! Hope to meet you on the road someday.

    Reply
    • Hi Lawrence, thanks for your comment and your compliment!

      For a long term cyclist it is impossible to prepare food ahead – there is nowhere to store it. But I assume it is a great way if you get food bags sent somewhere on a long hike.

      See you on the road….Cheers Heike

      Reply
  3. I use a larger MSR pot with my Evernew stove, even baked a cake with a small handful of sticks using an outback oven cover. Can bake bread on it too.

    Reply
    • Wow this is interesting Sara! You baked a cake in it? That is terrific – how? And what about your bread?
      Please let me know!
      Best greetings from the road, Heike

      Reply
  4. Alcohol burner, Windscreen, panholder

    Hello Heike,

    I read your article about kitchen stuff which brought me to some questions and ideas.

    Concerning your alcohol burner : the idea of that 2-legded windscreen annex panholder is great. And it would even be much more stable if you would Extend The Legs down so they touch the ground and all the weight is no longer leaning on the small burner.

    Does that alcohol burner have a o-ring in the cover ? If yes, does it last ??? Because i expect it to wear out soon by the heat when attempting to get it on the hot burner to stop the flame. At many pictures i see a stainless (?) plate with a tiny lid as an extra. Is that maybe the original way to shutdown the flame ?

    Thanks and have a nice trip !
    Wilfried
    YesTrip.nl

    Reply
    • Hi Wilfried, yes it does have a O-ring in the lid? I had no problems with it.

      Cheers Heike

      Reply

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