Meal: Tuna Casserole
1/2 cup dried or instant rice
1/4 cup dried tuna
1/4 cup dried peas
1/4 cup powdered cream of mushroom soup mix
1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder(optional)
You can use more soup mix to make it more creamy. By the way, the soup mix is great as a winter lunch too! It was an amazing meal, if you don’t have a dehydrator, then you can use foil pouch tuna, but it adds weight.
Tips and Tricks
The peas can take a longer time to rehydrate then other vegetables. I have been using a simmer ring on my alcohol stove lately to increase the heated time, but you could just as easy keep your meal in the cozy for longer too, if you are patient enough.
We needed a bear canister for our trip into the Olympic National Park and instead of renting one, I decided to look for light weight options. The Lighter1 cam out on top for us. Not only was it the lightest bear canister I could find that was certified for use in Yosemite, but it also uses a metal lid that can double as a cooking pot. It is a great system and it worked perfectly for us. If you are in the market, check it out!
Meal of the week: Curry Chicken and Rice with Broccoli
Want curry in the backcountry? No problem! I will even show you how to make your own curry powder that tastes great. It is really simple. Add all the following ingredients into a bowl and mix well. A whisk or morter and pestle is best as it really mixes the spices well, but I have used a spoon before and it works fine.
One great way to reduce your fuel usage and keep food from burning on the bottom of your pot is to use a pot cozy. A pot cozy is an insulated cover for your pot or zip lock freezer bag. I make them out of Reflectix (foil covered bubble wrap). You can find it at your local hardware store. You can also use the reflective windshield screens that are usually used on hot summer days. In the video below you can see how I make my double walled version. It keeps food incredibly hot. I have had food in the cozy for 30 minutes and it is still too hot to eat! As you eat, you leave the bottom cozy part on and it keeps the food warm.
Tips and Tricks
Meal of the week: Cream of Mushroom Soup
trailfood.com. It has a lot of great food ideas for the backpacker. What got me most excited about the site is that it has a section devoted to dry mixes and sauces! This is exactly what I wanted. She has come up with recipes for your own broth powder, cream of mushroom soup, Salsa, cheese sauce, pesto and a few others.
Flat Cat Gear and is the best alcohol stove I have ever used. First off, the Flat Cat stove is not a pressurized stove, so there is no prime time. You pour the alcohol in, you light the stove and put the pot over it. Done. It is much more similar to a canister stove in that way. Second, the stove can be used with any windscreen, but Jon has a windscreen/pot support system that is heavy duty and lightweight at the same time. It folds down small and will fit in small diameter pots. My lightest system so far uses a simmer cat stove and a piece of hardware cloth as a pot support(10.2 oz). The Flat Cat stove system is 11.8 with simmer ring and 11.2 without, but with all the advantages, I like it way better. It is worth the extra oz. In addition, you save that amount of weight in fuel alone if you are going on a two night trip. The simmer cat works great, but you can not put out the stove once lit. You have to wait for it to burn out of fuel. With the Flat Cat, you can place your pot right on top of the stove and it goes out quickly. Bobcat system as I always go out with my family of three, and I need the larger volume pot (1.6 L Toaks titanium pot). Jon also sells some smaller systems for solo hikers.
Tips and Tricks
What about using an alcohol stove in the snow? Alcohol stoves don’t work well in cold temperatures right? In general that is true. You don’t have a pressurized container pushing the fuel through the system. You need the heat of the stove to do the work. In addition, alcohol stoves do not burn as hot in general, and are influenced by the outside temperature a lot. I was surprised to find out the Flat Cat stove, had very little issue with the cold. All that was required was to put some kind of insulation between the snow and the stove. I put a piece of carbon felt on the snow, then put my heat shield on top of that, then my stove. Carbon felt(you can buy this on amazon, or at any local hardware store that sells plumbing supplies) is a high temperature material that plumbers use when working with copper in a house. The flame can touch the felt, but it will not burn. Great stuff for stoves. The carbon felt did the trick and the stove stayed hot during the burn and the water boiled without any issues. It was just as hot as during the summer. This was my first test out in the snow, but the temperature had dropped to 11 degrees Ferinheight overnight, so it was plenty cold to test the low temperature abilities of this stove. No excuses now, you can use your alcohol stove in the snow, so get out there and enjoy some great meals during those winter treks. I am particularly looking forward to some hot cream of mushroom soup when I go out on my cross country skiing trips! Enjoy! Dustin