Out in the wilderness, even making a simple hot dog can be complicated. I found this out while trying some backpack equipment prior to setting out into the woods on an overnight trip. With the weather currently so warm, I thought it would be a good idea to give everything a shakedown prior to venturing out this fall when the much cooler weather I prefer can be expected.
On this occasion, I wanted to cook a hot dog using a simple piece of bread with some relish, mustard and ketchup as the condiments. I also had a small onion I wanted to cut up and add to the mix. Everything used is designed to fit nicely into a backpack without taking up much space. Now, on this test, I did sub some items; a regular kitchen plate instead of the metal one I normally take and condiments that were from commercial container instead of the small packets you can steal from fast food stores. Also, I used regular utensils instead of the ‘spork kit’ I normally carry on the trail.
During this particular test, I quickly realized that the metal grate was too high off the table to heat the metal pot quickly, so I improvised and used a metal cup to help elevate the burner. The burner, by the way is a MSR Whisperjet stove that is available for about $70. This little stove uses white gas and works very well. It even came with spare seals and such when I purchased it years ago.
The pot is made of stainless steel. There are lighter ones out there made of metals like titanium, but for the small weight differential, I don’t think they are worth the extra money. However, if weight is critical, that could be a concern. Here is a picture of the basic equipment, and as you can see, it’s a pretty small pile. Not pictured is the food I would carry in a small cooler until time to hit the trail. If possible, all meats are pre-frozen prior to leaving. This allows the meat to be carried for much of the day without worry that it will spoil.
In my pack, I also make it a point to carry other essentials no matter how long or short the hike. This is the so-called ‘ten essentials’ that always go with me no matter what. This covers items such as the ability to make fire, water and such. After everything is loaded, an average day hike pack will weigh in at about twenty pounds. In the woods, what you have on you is what you got, so think that way when preparing for your excursions.