Hot, cooked food simply tastes better outdoors. Whether you’re grilling a feast or preparing an easy meal, this top-rated gear will get you cooking fast.
1. Pinnacle Dualist Ultralight Cookset by GSI Outdoors
A complete cook kit that weighs just 1.3 pounds, this backpacking-oriented set of pots, dishes, cups, a strainer and cutlery offers a no-brainer solution for the trail. All pieces nest together for easy transport. Bonus: GSI includes a watertight case for the entire set that doubles as an ad hoc “kitchen sink” for cleaning up.
2. Spork Titanium by Light My Fire
All you need to eat in one light, indestructible utensil, this spork has tines, a spoon base and a stealth serrated edge for sawing off bites. I’ve kept this model in my pack for years. At 20 grams, it’s so light I never notice it’s there.
3. Sumo Group Cooking System by Jetboil
The all-in-one design of the original Jetboil stove is popular with backpackers. For larger groups, the company offers its Sumo version, which has a 1.8-liter integrated pot. Fill it up and boil the water in a little more than four minutes. You’ll have enough to make a half-dozen bowls of instant oatmeal with water still left over for a mug of joe. Shown with fuel canister, sold separately.
4. Profile Dual Stove by Primus
Grill a burger on one side; heat a pot of beans on the other. The Dual stove offers the best of both worlds with its open-flame burner set next to a grill with a nonstick drip tray. Uses canisters as fuel (not shown) and has a no-matches-needed piezoelectric lighter to fire up the stove at the push of a button.
5. Mini Filter by Sawyer
Use a water-purifying pump or filter system for large liquid quantities. But for a backpacker in need of a lightweight personal water-purification product, this “straw” from Sawyer can do the trick. It weighs just 2 ounces and filters to the 0.1-micron level as a person sucks water straight from a lake or stream.
6. Vega by Optimus
Made for four-season use, this minimal backpacking stove weighs just 6 ounces and can jet a flame rated at 12,000 Btu. (Yes, that’s hot.) Standard pressurized gas canisters serve as fuel, and the Vega can boil a liter of water in as little as three minutes. Its low-profile design includes support arms that unfold wide to hold large pots. Shown with fuel canister, sold separately.
7. Swedish FireSteel 2.0 by Light My Fire
Spark a camp stove to life without matches. This magnesium fire-starter stick comes with a tethered striker for ready-at-will flying sparks touted to crest at 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit and light any stove fast.
8. Macaroni & Cheese by Mountain House
Tear open the bag, pour hot water inside. Now, wait a couple minutes. Your steaming, cheesy meal will be ready before you have time to set up a tent. There’s nothing like the taste of cheese after days on the trail. I’ve brought Mountain House dehydrated food along on trips for years. I never get tired of the savory, hot, easy-to-make meals. (Not photographed.)
Stephen Regenold writes about outdoor gear at gearjunkie.com.
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