My Backpacking Kitchen Gear
On backpacking trips, I sometimes struggle with appetite and find it challenging to get enough food in my body to replenish me, so it’s important to have food that I find appetizing and will eat. Due to this, I always cook breakfasts and dinners (sometimes even lunches) using a backpacking stove. I like to cook and make all of my own dehydrated meals, so having a kitchen setup that works for cooking rather than only for boiling water is important to me.
I initially used a Jetboil Minimo for several years and it worked great. I especially liked the simmer feature with an adjustable flame for cooking in a pot. But the Minimo is a bit heavy and bulky, so I updated my kitchen kit with a new ultralight setup that nests together, takes up less space in my pack, and saves 12 ounces over my old setup (including a separate mug that I no longer use).
For more info on the types of backpacking stoves to consider: Gear Basics: Backpacking Kitchen Gear post.
- stove: Soto Amicus stove with Piezo igniter (2.8 oz)
Features that I like about this stove: it’s ultralight; packs down small; has four supports for stability; has a concave burner for better wind resistance.
- stuff sack for stove: Zpacks wallet/camera stuff sack (0.8 oz)
- pot: Soto New River pot with lid (5 oz)
I purchased this pot as a set with the stove. It has a non-slip base so it doesn’t move around on the stove, and the lid has a silicone tab so you don’t need a pot holder to remove the lid when cooking, plus a small opening for steam to escape from.
- fuel for stove: 1 small canister (weight varies based on how much fuel is left – a full canister weighs 7 oz)
- ultralight mug/pot: TOAKS LIGHT Titanium 550 ml pot with lid (2.6 oz)
I use this pot as a mug on backpacking trips. Features that I love: it’s ultralight; has a lid; can be heated on my stove; doesn’t retain odors/tastes like plastic does. Bonus! This pot nests inside my cook pot for packability.
- soap: Dr. Brommer’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap – unscented (2 oz)
One soap, two purposes: for the camp kitchen to wash dishes, and in my toiletries kit for sponge baths.
- mini-dropper bottle for soap: Gossamer Gear mini dropper bottle set
- towel for washing dishes: camp towel, small – 14″ x 10″ – green (1 oz)
I like to reduce the amount of disposable items I use and pack towels are a great way to do so. They are lightweight, dry super fast, and this brand is antimicrobial.
- spork: Morsel Spork (0.6 oz) not shown
The silicone edges on this spork make cleaning food out of my pan much easier.
- stuff sack for kitchen kit: Zpacks Dyneema cooking pot stuff sack (0.14 oz) not shown
ALTERNATE KITCHEN GEAR
- stove: Jetboil Minimo system (14 oz)
I’ve replaced this stove with my setup listed above. However, I still think the Minimo is a great choice for backpackers. I like to cook, and love the simmer feature of the Minimo. The fuel consumption is minimal (even with simmering meals), so one canister lasts for multiple trips. I’ve used it on over 25 backpacking trips and it’s still working like new. The lid has holes for draining water, and an opening for pouring. The stabilizer clips onto a fuel canister to prevent your pot from falling over. And the plastic cover on the bottom can be used as a bowl at camp. All of these items plus a fuel canister nest inside the pot for carrying in your pack.
- mug: GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug (3.5 oz)
I’ve replaced this mug with an ultralight version but this is a great low budget option. This is an insulated plastic mug with a cozy that keeps drinks very hot and has a locking lid to prevent spills.
- bear bag: Ursack Major XL Bear Bag (8 oz)
The Ursack is made with bulletproof Spectra fabric for keeping bears out of your food and is my preferred food storage method. An Ursack doesn’t need to be hung as high as a traditional food bag, and I find that it also keeps rodents out if you close it properly. I tie the Ursack around the trunk of a tree at least 100 feet from my tent. It does not count as a bear canister though, so if that is required where you are going, you’ll need a hard-sided canister.
- food sack: Zpacks Bear Bagging Kit (3.4 oz)
This kit includes a large stuff sack made with waterproof Dyneema fabric, a small rock sack, carabiner, and Z-line slick cord.
- cord for hanging food: BlueWater 3mm NiteLine Utility Cord
The NiteLine cord is highly visible at night when you point your headlamp near it, making it look like a string of lights.
- bear canister: Wild Ideas Bearikade Scout (28 oz)
I frequently backpack in areas where bear canisters are required. Instead of relying on the heavier, bulky canisters available at ranger stations, this carbon fiber bear canister actually fits in my backpack and weighs much, much less. The Scout’s capacity is 500 cubic inches, which can hold up to 5 days of food.
- (optional) bear canister: LIGHTER1 Lil’ Sami Polycarbonate Bear-Resistant Food Canister (28 oz)
This is the first bear canister that I purchased. One of the smallest bear canisters currently made, it can hold 2-3 days of foods and fits easily into a backpack. Though I’ve never used it this way, the lid to the canister doubles as a lightweight cooking pan, and a lid for the pan is also included in the kit. A metal brace inside the lid adds strength to the plastic canister (and serves as a handle for the pan).
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