I have been tweaking my lightweight backpacking cooking kit.
I have replaced my Alpkit Kraku stove with the latest version. I bought one of the original models when they were released in December 2013 and it has done excellent service, but the o-ring seal became unreliable in September last year. Alpkit sent me some replacement rings but they kept failing – the latest design has a higher valve assembly and a different type of o-ring. So it was time for a new stove.
I have changed my tea-towel for a lightweight pack towel, replaced the battered homemade windshield for another homemade windshield and found an even lighter lid to use as a chopping board.
I am off to Scotland next weekend for two weeks and today I have been filling my Nalgene bottles and pots with spices, herbs, ground coffee, milk powder, corn flour, instant chai tea, olive oil, soy sauce and whisky – enough for one. Doing this saves weight and space in my packing. It is too easy to just fill the boot of my car when going off on my own to time share.
I bought this Light My Fire spice box in the summer in Scotland, but I only found it again this morning when I went to sort out my camping food tin.
The spice pot was in in a sale box for a pound as the packaging had been lost. There are markings on two of the sections – “S” and “P” but as I use salt and pepper packets from cafes I have put sumac, in the “S”, smoked paprika in the “P” and garam masala in the third. All of these spices are very useful when I am camping or backpacking as they are “shake over” rather than “cook in” spices so I can easily jazz up my food.
Alpkit MytiMug 400
Before another busy week at Octagon Technology I thought I would get out and try out my new Alpkit MitiMug 400 mug with my trusty Alpkit Kraku stove.
The wind shield, in the photo, is homemade from heavy duty aluminium foil cut from a serving tray bought “two for a pound” from a pound shop. The wind shield is really practical as I can bend it to give maximum protection from the drafts and wind and it weighs only a few grams.
This new Alpkit MitiMug 400 mug/pot fits really well on the Alpkit Kraku burner and is very stable when in use – the stability is essential if I am going to safely use this combination in the porch of my lightweight tent. The lid is a good fit – it is much improved over the lid supplied on the original MitiMug – purchased before there were 400 or 650 models. I am really pleased the lid has changed.
Another change, for the better, with this Alpkit MitiMug 400 is that it has a flat bottom – the original MitiMug had a ridge in the base, which when I cooked in the mug always allowed food to burnt there and that also made it difficult to clean. I cooked (well reheated) baked beans in this new Alpkit MitiMug 400 and the beans did not burn. You do however have to take care when using any titanium or thin walled cooking pot on a stove like the Alpkit Kraku stove which concentrates its heat in a small spot on the pot base:
- Do not turn the stove up to “flame thrower mode” keep the flame very low and heat the food slowly
- Stir continuously and thoroughly, getting right into the corners
- Hang onto the handles or the pot can skip off the burner
- I also, continuously, gently move the pot over the flame so the heat moves around smoothing out the hot spots
Afterwards it was easy to wash up the pot – this base design is another well thought out improvement.
- Overall this mug/cooking pot is a great piece of gear for the solo traveller, camper or backpacker who just needs to cook for themselves.
- The size saves space in anyone’s pack. Titanium saves weight.
- Even if you do not plan to use the mug for cooking the lid makes the mug a useful storage container and keeps the flies out of your drinks when outdoors.
- Alpkit is a great UK company producing excellent gear – we should support them.
I think the next thing to add to this mug/pot, stove set is an Alpkit SnapWire Spoon. The folding spoon, stove, tea bags and milk powder will all then pack neatly inside the Alpkit MitiMug 400, inside the supplied netting draw string bag for easy packing when travelling. I am going to add this to my Christmas list.
My lightweight gear list
Lightweight Backpacking Food
Jeremy and I are planning to join some friends to wild camp in the Lake District this weekend. This is lightweight backpacking food for an overnight trip, going up at lunch time on Saturday and getting back to the car at about midday on Sunday. It is a 24 hour summer hike, in hopefully good weather and the menu reflects this.
Lunch – at Low Water Lake on the way up
Pasty (not shown as I will buy it in Coniston, before setting off)
Tomato and Basil Soup
Mackerel in teriyaki sauce
2x Chinese puddings
Single Malt Whisky
Single Malt Whisky
Early morning tea and Jaffa Cakes – whilst still in my sleeping bag
Breakfast biscuits – with marmalade
We are planning to stop and brew tea on the walk down
Dried cranberries – (not shown) – Jeremy and I are going to split a bag between us before we set off
Ginger oat cakes
Mints and boiled sweets
2x cereal bars (not shown) – these will go in my walking jacket pocket
30ml dried milk
50ml instant peach tea granules – dissolves in both hot and cold water
Salt and pepper
BBQ sauce (Jeremy is taking smoked sausage and he has promised me some of it)
3x Sugar (for energy if I need it, I do not usually take sugar in my drinks)
2x KFC hand wipes
Plastic bags to pack out the rubbish
the food packed ready for the hike.
Here is the extras I carried up, photographed at lunch time. The cranberries are in the plastic bag.
The weather looks spring like this weekend – so I have packed my bag and set off to camp at Woodhall Spa. It was not an early start so I got a lift to Bardney.
the starting point in Bardney
It is a cool day and promises to freeze tonight but I am depending on my new down sleeping bag and winter long underwear to keep me warm enough.
Although my plans for this weekend have been changed by the weather – I had already packed my backpacking food for the trip.
The original plan was to have lunch in Coniston and then walk up the Old Man of Coniston and find somewhere to camp out for the night. We would be back in Coniston for lunch on Sunday.
This menu is for a short weekend and suits my appetite – you should consider your food needs and the terrain you are travelling through when planning your menus.
Food for during the day. We were planning to stop and make a hot drink on the way up at Low Water.
- Dried cranberries
- High cocoa chocolate
- Boiled sweets
- 2 in 1 coffee sachet
It takes just over a litre of water to make up all the components of the backpacking food in the evening meal.
- Cup a soup with crackers
- Tin of tuna with tomato sauce and crackers (if I was hungry I can eat these on the trail)
- Mug noodles with spiced seed sprinkles
- Chinese hot sesame dessert
Tea and biscuits in bed first.
- Breakfast biscuits and jam
- Crackers and marmalade
- Dried fruit
- Fresh ground coffee (this is not shown in the photo – I carry it in a small Nalgene pot)
- Black coffee sachet
- Hot chocolate sachet
- Sugar packets
- Chrysanthemum honey tea – can be drunk hot or cold
- Packet of tissue, hand wipe and rubbish bag
- Backpacking brew kit – tea for the weekend
backpacking food packed – the brew kit is not in this bag – the cranberries go in my pocket
I was planning to carry my Travel Tap bottle and a 1l roll up Platypus bottle. At the start of the walk I would have about 300ml in the Platypus – and the plan was to fill all my bottles using the Travel Tap at Low Water before continuing up to the summit. This should be enough water for the wild camp. On the way down I would collect some more water if required.