Where Do You Pack The Kitchen Sink?

I recently posted on Facebook hiking groups asking what kind of content they would be most interested in reading or watching. There were two common responses, pack out information (what’s in your pack) and gear reviews.

One area we can significantly reduce our base weight, is cooking gear. I have two basic setups depending on the time of year or conditions we will face on the trail.


In summer months I carry a minimal setup. Breakfast is usually pop tarts, bacon jerky and Breakfast Essentials with instant coffee mixed in. Lunch and dinner consists of cold soaked or other no-cook options.

But there are occasions, like a cold morning, or a tired evening, where hot coffee or a warm bowl of Ramen would be morale building to say the least. This is my summer kit.

1. Zpacks Titanium Wing Stove for Esbit (0.4 oz) – see full review here.



2. Esbit Cubes (0.48 oz) – These cubes will provide two boils of two cups each. Hint: the leftover portion of the cubes make great fire starters.

3. Snow Peak Titanium Bowl (1.6 oz) – This bowl can be used to heat water or food and doubles as a coffee cup, just be sure to let it cool a little before that first sip!


4. Sea to Summit Titanium Spoon (0.4 oz) – Spork or Spoon, let the debate begin! My preference is a spoon because it works better for scraping the remnants out of a cold soak jar or bowl.

5. Talenti Cold Soak Jar (1.8 oz) – You cannot say you are a real ultralight backpacker without one! It also comes with free ice cream!

6. Bic Lighter (0.7 oz) – if I was serious about backpacking it would be a Bic Mini! Insert shame here…

This kit packs out at less than 8 ounces and is more than adequate for the summer months.


Months with an R’s in them require a more robust setup. Warm coffee on a 30-degree morning means the difference between hiking with friends or quickly being abandoned…

1. MSR Pocket Rocket (3.1 oz) – There are newer less expensive alternatives out there, but mine is 10 years old and has never failed me yet, so it comes along.

2. Small MSR Fuel Canister (8.1 oz) – One area we can quickly reduce weight is how much fuel we carry. A large fuel canister can weigh over two pounds and will be good for 30-50 boils. A minimal canister will weigh in at about 8 ounces and will be good for 10 boils, more than enough for a weekend hike and a significant weight savings!

3. Aluminum Cook Pot (3.8 oz) – A gift from my in-laws over 40 years ago, this pot is a comfort item for me. While it is overkill for the amount of water I need to boil, it can be set in a campfire to save fuel. It weighs in at a whopping 3.8 ounces… gasp! However, I am convinced that food tastes better from this pot!

4. Sea to Summit Collapsible Cup (3.2 oz) – To be transparent, I bought this because Dixie had one! It’s great for coffee, or scooping water from a shallow water source. Did I mention Dixie has one!

I may or may not toss in my cold soak jar. Some items cook better when they are cold soaked before heating.

My winter pack out weighs in at 1 pound 2 ounces.

What does your kitchen look like?

If you found this post helpful in any way, please leave a comment below or share it with someone who might need it!

Thanks for stopping by and we will see you on the trail!

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