Saturday, October 1, 2011


Here is what I am currently using to cook. I bought a titanium cooking set from REI that was on sale before starting the PCT last year that has worked great. It actually was a four piece set, but my friend Pete and I cut the cost in half and he took the larger of the two pots. The plastic knife was given to me by Ursa Major after he bought extra utensils in Tuollumne Meadows on the PCT last year. It has come in handy, and is the only knife I carry. I made the wind screen in Etna after buying an aluminum cooking tray from the grocery store there. It has worked great. Blackgum gave me the stove in Mammoth Lakes last year. He had an extra stove he had made from a cat food can with holes punched through with a hole puncher. It barely weighs anything. The small plastic Nalgene bottle I use to hold Heet, the fuel for the fire. Heet is actually a type of antifreeze for automobiles, but it works great for camp stove fuel. It only costs a couple bucks per bottle, and usually lasts for several meals. I also carry a miniature lighter and a small can-opener I bought at am Army surplus store. Everything fits nicely in the pot, I put on the lid and carry it in the small bag that came with the pots.

The stove has been causing me concern the more I use it. Alcohol stoves can be very dangerous, and seem to cause several fires along trails every year. I need to find a way to stabilize it a bit more. I've accidentally knocked it over a couple of times while it was burning, and the fuel can be difficult to put out sometimes. On the TRT, I noticed several areas where I camped that had a thick mulch along the ground. I had to put the stove on a slab of granite to cook. I didn't want to risk starting a fire. One night I didn't bother, and cleared the ground as much as I could. After cooking, the earth was extremely hot a couple of inches under the ground. I poured water on the area before going to sleep, not wanting a repeat of last year when I woke up to a smoldering ring in my cooking area. It seems to me, that the best thing for me to do, is look into light weight alternatives. It feels like I'm playing Russian Roullette every time I cook dinner with the alcohol stove.

That being said, the stove has worked fine for me cooking pasta dishes. Usually, I can achieve a good rolling boil with the stove, and everything cooks nicely. If I wanted to experiment with more elaborate dishes, a better stove would be necessary. Answerman liked to cook all sorts of tasty, vegan dishes on the PCT last year, and concluded that an alcohol stove was not to his liking. Sometimes he had to cook things for 10 to 20 minutes which would be very difficult to do on an alcohol stove without using all of your fuel.


  1. Very interesting. What happened to the Jetboil? Too heavy?

  2. Yeah, I found it tougher to clean as well. For boiling water, the Jetboil is the bomb though. I love it for car camping.

  3. I'm a little disappointed in your fancy plastic utensils. It's a real step up from (and so much more useful than!) carved plastic milk cartons.