American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wintertime Cooksets

I've been reading the new Snowpeak Catalog since I got it from my buddy Steve over at Erehwon the other day and it's gotten me thinking again about my cookset/mess kits and how I can maximize both space and content without increasing the size of the container.

I have three "usual suspects" that I go to when headed for the woods and each has served me well at one time or another. This is why they all are still in rotation and each addresses a slightly different need.

First up, the old Swedish Army Trangia. This is the very first cookset/mess kit I purchased and it is still probably my favorite for durability, price, flexibility, and reliability. It just plain works. It's a bit ugly and a bit heavy but function trumps form in the woods in my book.
Next is a 1L cook pot of thin-walled Aluminum. This one is made by Open Country and I got it at REI for less than $10. It's got a heavy-duty bail that allows me to cook over a campfire and the larger capacity allows me to stuff more gear inside.
Third is my Snowpeak Titanium cookset. This is my ultra-light solution and what I used last year at the Briar Patch Primitive Skills Course.

All three kits have the ability to be used over a campfire or camp stove, all three can boil water in quantities large enough to matter, and all three contain at least one method of firestarting, one eating utensil (the folding Titanium Spork is my go-to utensil right now,) and water purification tablets (I like the MicroPur MP-1s.) Adding the Snowpeak GigaPower stove and fuel canister to my kit would give me additional flexibility with the Snowpeak set and the 1L pot but at the cost of inside storage.

For the moment, the Trangia rides in my winter car kit, the Snowpeak set rides in my pack, and the 1L pot stays at home. The larger capacity is useful but I find it to be a bit too big for regular carry/use.

Building a survival kit to fit inside one of these would be very easy and the addition of your bedroll, a knife, and an axe would provide you with a very light option when headed into the woods. Once my schedule slows a bit (January '08 can't come soon enough) I may just try an overnight with one of these three cooksets and the gear I've just listed above. Should prove to be quite an adventure.

Thanks for reading,



At 2:13 PM, Blogger sam_acw said...

Great to hear it is all coming together - I look forward to hearing about those January trips!

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Stephen Renico said...


I just made a small belt axe on a lark, and Iwas wondering what your take on small belt axes is. Usually I see knives reviewed here, and you certainly spend enough time outdoors for me to listen.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...


After the Primitive Skills course I am a strong proponent of the axe/hatchet for use in the woods.

I'd go so far as to say it was more essential than a knife in many situations.

You lose some precision initially but experience will overcome the disadvantages an axe may present.

I've just had a quick look and it looks really great. I love the handle shape and finish and would be interested in hearing just how it holds up.

Keep me posted.




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