There are so many different options when it comes to food and water on the trail, and between myself and Nathan we have tried quite a few. To be honest, as with most things, I find that it does pay to have options, so you can chop and change your set ups to suit different occasions. So in this blog post we are going to run through some of the ones we have used and discuss the pro’s and con’s and then let you know which ones we prefer from all across the price range.
Both Nath and Trev have invested in the Jet Boil Zip, and although it has been reliable, it has been somewhat of a moot point of controversy between the lads.
PROS -Light weight, economical, a decent size receptacle, well manufactured and it stores tidily into itself. Its easily attachable feet help to keep it upright and it’s incredibly durable in any conditions, with wind hardly an issue, which is why the Jet Boil appears to be very popular with many outdoor adventurers.
CONS – However, for many, price is a big factor, and paying nearly £100 for what is essentially just a kettle, and one with a frustrating regulator too, is a little overkill. I have spent many nights boiling bags of food in my jetboil with the regulator barely on, and watching it zealously over boil, spewing and sputtering hot water everywhere, then with just a tweak to try and calm it down switching the blasted thing off completely and having to go through the rigmarole of lighting it once again! and with a lighter too, as the Zip doesn’t even come with a self-igniter. Also, the Jetboil zip is pretty limited as to what you can do with it, essentially just a kettle that you can boil things in. Or you pay out more to buy attachments to turn it into a stove if you want to do some proper cooking on it!
ALTERNATIVES – There are many other Jetboils on the market – such as the JETBOIL FLASH, which is even more expensive, but does come with an igniter and a colour change heat indicator (just incase you don’t know what boiling water looks like, I guess!) BUT There are many other cheaper options on the market though, like the FIRE MAPLE which lets face it do it exactly the same thing but at a fraction of the price of the Jetboil.
It was Thom from Off The Beaten Pot who opened my eyes to the marvels of Trangia Stove cooking when I saw him cook a roast dinner on one! From then on, I was a convert, until I wasn’t because I’m really quite lazy out on the trail and tend to boil in the bag or packet noodles all the way!
PROS – A traditional method, this alcohol burning stove will never fail you like some of the more modern gas stoves could. Its also a very silent burner, which some prefer whilst sat enjoying the tranquility of the outdoors. As I mentioned before the range is amazing and you can cook absolutely everything on a decent trangia set up
CONS – It is a heavy set up, and can be slow to boil water, but for most enjoying the outdoors there’s never really any rush and it seems to be getting a lot more expensive.
ALTERNATIVES – The smaller, lighter and cheaper Hexamine stoves are another silent alternative that many still enjoy, perhaps not the scope to cook for as long (i don’t honestly know having never used one myself) but I know that many enjoy these for a brew on the hill.
The BRS 3000T a handy little 26g titanium camping stove, combined with the 750ml Titanium Lixada Mug is a great lightweight option. (Nath had this set up with the Toaks Titanium Mug which is a little more expensive for practically the same product!)
PROS – A tidy, tiny little ultralight set that can be stored into itself and packed away for a day hike or multiday camp. Extremely light, and with the mug being 750ml can easily store its gas canister inside too.
CONS – Not the most powerful stove head, but quite noisy! On a blustery day, I have had to go without a coffee on a few occasions when the wind had got up, even with the addition of folding windshield (which I say is a must have with this set up), so it really is a fair weather option. With it being a small stove head, sitting the mug on top to cook can be a bit of a balancing act. Also, the gas can when left inside will rust out into the titanium mug and can tarnish the metal, but that is easily amended with the addition of a J-Cloth lining the inside.
Not as lightweight, nor is it as compact as others in this section, but this gas burner from Naturehike is a solid and reasonable set up that I find myself taking out more and more these days. The Naturehike 4 piece cook set comes with 4 pots, which I admit I never take all of them, but it does give you scope to swap and change to suit your needs and requirements.
PROS – Having a hose between the stove and the gas canister means that this set up is not a balancing act as some other set ups can be. The legs fold out and and are easily adjustable which keep it sat firm and level on most surfaces and the serrated arms fan out to hold your pots and pans. A really easy to operate regulator means that you can use as little or as much gas as you wish, and ideal for actual cooking.
CONS – A larger set up – this is certainly a luxury item if you are a weight and space saver.
The One Tigris Evil Eye Woodstove is a great bit of fun really, and is ideal for anyone who likes the idea of cooking over a fire, but you are in an area where fires are not ideal. Simply put it up on a raised flat surface, feed it some twigs and cook your breakfast on it!
PROS – Its compact, folds down into a nice flat packaging and as I mentioned its great fun.
CONS – Places like Dartmoor are absolutely fire free zones, so I wouldn’t suggest that this is one you take there. Its also a bit of a fiddle to put together, and being made of sheet metal, is quite a heavy little option. For a little bit more you can also get the Evil Eyes Stove in Titanium to save some extra kilo’s in your pack
ALTERNATIVES – There are many alternatives on the market, the Bushbox XL being one of the better on the market, which is hinged and therefor folds out and packs away easier than the One Tigris, however they are a lot more expensive and so I bought the smaller of them, the Bushbox LF, which is so small that you are constantly having to feed it to keep it cooking. If you take your eye off it for a minute it goes out and stops cooking