There’s only so much trail mix and dried fruit one can eat before getting sick of it. And after a long hike, there’s nothing better than a hot meal. Before going on our three night trip at the Grand Canyon, which included one overnight backpacking excursion, we researched all sorts of hikers stoves and compact cook systems we could take with us on the trail.
We went with the Jetboil Flash Cooking System, which boils water in about 2 minutes, and condenses down to fit well in your pack. Aside from the propane tank (purchased separately), all the parts fit inside the body. We couldn’t have picked a better product, and we’re looking forward to getting to use it again.
With the Jetboil purchased, we were eager to try some freeze dried food. You can purchase them online or at most sporting good stores that carry camping supplies. We got ours at REI (along with most of our other gear). If you’re going for a few days, pack a few extra meals if you can, and try various brands and meals to see what you like best. Our favorite dinner (to our surprise) was Mountain House’s Beef Stroganoff. For breakfast, we’d recommend Granola with Bananas by Backpacker’s Pantry. The only thing we’ll change next time is to look for dinners with less sodium, and steer clear of the “bare burrito.”
It’s expected to give up certain luxuries when out on the trail, however, when it comes to coffee, Pat couldn’t do without his morning brew. We threw some ground coffee and a few filters in doubled ziplock bags, which didn’t take up much room. He bought a GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip, which condenses flat. (about as thick as the gray lid in photo below) Simply sit the java drip on your mug. Then, pour boiling water over the ground coffee over a filter and you get delicious coffee in the backcountry!
Have any cooking gear or food you can’t do without? We’d love to hear new suggestions! Please let us know via comment below!