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I'm a big fan of food. However, on most off-road trips I'll opt for a simple meal like a Mountain House pouch. This is easily made, by boiling 2 cups of water and re-hydrating the food. It's not exactly the best tasting meal though.

Recently, I've become more attracted to actually cooking. The guys over at Expedition Exchange really inspired me to get into back country cooking. You should see some of the stuff they prepare on their outings. Part of me wanted to remain more minimalistic and stick to my dried food and Cliff Bars. But I do appreciate a real meal and there's something impressive about whipping up a gourmet cuisine out of your truck.

So, onto the recommended gear.

As far as stoves go, I'm happy with my budget Coleman 2 burner. It gets the job done and has adequate flame control.

For utensils and eating surfaces:

Snow Peak Carry-On Chopsticks ~$20
http://images.rei.com
The Carry-On Chopsticks assemble and disassemble like a pool cue. The birch tips store within the hollow stainless steel handles, reducing the overall length from 8.3" to 4.5" and protecting the utensils against breakage. The tips of the Carry-On Chopsticks are constructed of birch to eliminate metallic smells and tastes created by stainless steel, aluminum, or sterling silver chopsticks. Furthermore, wood is naturally more "grippy" and provides a firmer grasp on food than metal chopsticks.
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Snow Peak Three-Piece Titanium Silverware Set ~$30

Titanium is substantially lighter than stainless steel. More important than weight is titanium's eminent suitability for utensil construction. If you have a habit of losing small things then just stick with plastic utensils.
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Snow Peak Trek Titanium Plate ~$14
and
Snow Peak Titanium Bowl ~$14

Titanium has low thermal conductivity, no metallic smell or taste (unlike aluminum or stainless steel), will not corrode or stain when left wet or exposed to acidic liquids or foods (unlike aluminum and stainless steel), and is very strong and scratch-resistant (unlike aluminum), and will not melt (unlike plastic). Most importantly, titanium is easily serviced in the field, as a simple rinse with water and a wipe-down with a rag are all that is necessary. 7.5" diameter. 63g weight. Very light!
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Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Cup ~$50

This is an ultra-lightweight mug that provides superior heat and cold insulation due to its double-wall construction. Hot liquids stay hotter and cold drinks stay colder inside the Titanium Double Wall Cup 450. Furthermore, titanium has low thermal conductivity (so the heat from hot drinks will never reach the lip of the cup). Features folding titanium handles. 14 oz. capacity. 118g weight.
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This is where you might expect me to show you a fancy titanium cook-set. While there is such a thing, I've found that most camping cook-sets are trimmed down with weight in mind. You end up losing a lot of comfort in handles and titanium cook-sets are simply way too expensive for car-camping. The best thing for pots and pans is a simple, inexpensive set that you don't mind abusing. Non-stick is key though, as you want to be able to clean them with a paper towel and water.

It also helps to have a decent set of tables, one to cook on, and one to eat on.

Travel Chair Canyon Table El Grande ~$79.00

This would serve as your eating table. This aluminum-top portable table offers seating for up to six people and folds up compactly for easy transport. It's completely heat resistant to handle hot pots and plates. The fold-out leg assembly has individual adjustments for each leg, making it easy to get a level tabletop on uneven ground. The height adjusts from dining table (27.5 inches) to cocktail table (33 inches) height for total versatility. Comes with a carry case for storage and easy toting. Quick and easy setup--remove from carry case, unroll slats, unfold legs, attach slats and adjust height.
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GCI Outdoor Top Shelf Roll-Top Table ~$35.00

This would serve as your cooking table. It's shorter than the table above but suits cooking just fine. It's also an all aluminum construction. It's got a built-in trash bag holder which provides an out-of-the-way place to put your cooking trash. It's come with five trash bags to start you off; will hold any standard plastic bag after that. Only four parts allows for easy set-up and break- down. Includes portable, water-resistant travel bag.

For easy access to anyone interested in any of this gear, some reputable retailers can be found below.
REI
Expedition Exchange They calculate your shipping cost after you make your purchase, so don't be alarmed.
Backcountry Gear.com
 

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I'll stick to my Sheetz subs or PB&J on the trail. ;)

If I actually have to cook, I'll break out the MSR Wisperlite International and the MRS mess kit w/ the dehydrated food (I am a big fan of instant oatmeal in the morning).

Problem with this, the GF doesn't like to eat that way, so when we camp I am stuck bringing the cooler, portable grill, 3 buner cook stove, packable pot and pan set, etc, etc, etc...

I camp I can fit everything in a 55lb pack. She camps, we have to find a place for her 10 pillows and the kitchen sink. ;)
 

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You should see my car camping set up. The X is fully loaded if my wife and I are headed out for a climbing weekend.

Pretty much have a complete kitchen in a rubbermaid box along with a big propane tank to run my stove and lantern.

Cook Shelter:



Home: (4 man tent, I can almost stand in it)



Kitchen:







Of course when I am out deep in the woods on a climbing trip I carry as little as possible!
 

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Brian, you're forgetting the one thing that really allows those guys at EE to make such great trail meals:

The Engle refrigerator.

Of course, nothing that $800 won't fix. And, the light weight of all that titanium stuff will help balance out the weight of the refrigerator.

Take a look at Bobby's or Jason's (WolfmanX) this coming weekend. Those things are slick.
 

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Since I live in San Pedro, CA, and Expedition Exchange is in Torrance, I've been stopping by their shop all the time. The gear they sell is amazing. And check out the article that EE's John Lee wrote in the April 2007 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine, the same issue that features Shrockwork's sliders.

When I hit the road, I've got a full kitchen: cutting board, good knives--the works. Off-roading shouldn't be confused with backpacking--there's room to carry some serious ingredients and tools. Why not have fresh herbs, garlic, fresh ground pepper, wild mushrooms, steaks etc.? And two of the large blue rubbermaid bins stack perfectly in the back of the X.

One of the pleasures of camping for me is that I get to kick back and cook. And in the deserts of So. Cal., seasoned mesquite is everywhere.
 

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Cooking while camping? A small handful of guys here know half the time I don't even bring a stove, or form of creating a hot meal, with me while camping.

When I do cook I bring a 20+ year old Coleman stove (screw on bottle) and cast iron.
 

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I've seen those little stick stoves a lot but as was mentioned, letting them cool before storing them is an issue. I have a Coleman 400 Peak1 white gas single burner stove and a small Coleman 288a lantern that I keep in a box in the back of the Xterra.

It's easy to get going and will burn gasoline. It also cools quickly. I'm a bit if a Coleman junkie though, having 8 lanterns and 4 different size stoves in total. I find they are fun to tinker with and great to cook with.
 

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Jetboil if I'm traveling light. Coleman tabletop 2 burner propane stove is the next step. Camp Chef 30k btu single burner with legs will be getting added to the arsenal next for the trailer.
 

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I accidentally turned into a camping stove whore.... I have 6

Very old Coleman 3 Burner White Gas (1960's)
Newer version Coleman 2 Burner Table top ("car" camping without the trailer)
Free standing 30K BTU 2 Burner Campchef
Campchef Weekender, 30K BTU tabletop (Lives in the Trailer)
Jetboil
MSR Backpacking stove.


And.... HOLY THREAD REVIVAL OldNavy!!!
 

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I've just got two MSR's at the moment. One is an isobutane stove, the other is white gas. I use the isobutane one for summer backpacking, just cause it's easier than futzing around with the white gas and burning my eyebrows off in the process. Of I need something bigger, I borrow one of my dad's many 2 burner Coleman stoves

Sent from my VS986 using Tapatalk
 

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Cooking while camping? A small handful of guys here know half the time I don't even bring a stove, or form of creating a hot meal, with me while camping.

When I do cook I bring a 20+ year old Coleman stove (screw on bottle) and cast iron.
I'm almost the same, if i'm camping 1 day, I rarely cook. Tuna packets and go. if i'm going to be out for a few days, I gotta have a hot meal.

I've cooked everything from bacon & eggs to steak to heating up a can of ravioli with my jet boil...

I do need a better non stick camping pan (i just had a cheapo from wal-mart, it is no longer non stick) if anyone has any recommendations on a collapsible one that's good for camping.
 

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Everything tastes better while your camping. Simple meals to more planned out fancier ones. I like planning out my meals in advance. Freezing some things and packing the cooler.

Here's an example from last weekend, nothing beats steak and potatoes ;)
 
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