Chimeric Cookset, and show us your manufacturer's mash-up

kayakwriter

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CPS's pictures of his creative hybrid of tent body and tarp shelter got me thinking about my own Frankenstein follies where I mix bits from one or more manufacturers to suit my own needs. It's most visible in my kitchen set up. The building block for it is the Trangia 25 cookset. Over the years, I've accumulated various accessories, selected because they stack nicely in or around the Trangia 25. (It's great to be old enough not to give a fig about the looks I get when I whip the existing kit out of my pack in a store and test fit it with whatever I'm considering buying!) The additions include:

Red plastic plates (visible in the photo, probably from GSI)

The frypan and lid from the sadly-no-longer-made Outback Oven. (On trips where I want to show off, I bring the Oven's reflector tent and heat disperser and bake pizzas, pineapple upside-down cake, roast potatoes, corn bread etc.)

GSI 3.2 litre pot. Allows industrial-scale cooking of pasta in one go, instead of boiling pot after pot.

Unknown brand (possibly Broadstone - Crappy Tire's house brand for camping gear) stainless steel bowl/wok. For stir frying dishes. OKish, but so thin that food sticks and/or burns if you're not careful. Doubles as a handy sink for washing up.

Lagostina cast iron frying pan/skillet. Just got this recently to address the problems of the wok above. Haven't used it in the field yet, but it's doing well on my home stove. Too heavy for longer trips, but should be great for those shorter luxury cruises where you're not quite sure whether you're eating to kayak or kayaking to eat.

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The modular components allow me to configure the set-up for different missions, vis:

Solo tours: basic Trangia cookset with Trangia frypan, plates, Trangia alcohol burner for its simplicity and silence.

Shorter group trips: basic Trangia cookset, plates, Outback Oven pan and lid, GSI pot, wok or cast iron pan, Trangia LPG canister burner because it's hotter, longer-burning and quick to light and relight.

Longer group trips: basic Trangia cookset, plates, Outback Oven pan and lid, GSI pot, wok, Nova white gas stove, with adapter to fit the burner in the Trangia windshield, because it's hotter, longer-burning, and maximizes heat output per packed volume.

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So obviously manufacturers would prefer if you simply buy their complete, Russian-doll style sets and get hooked on their One True Way. But I prefer the cafeteria approach to gear selection. Anyone else got hybrid maker's gear? (Doesn't have to kitchen stuff - anything kayak camping related would be interesting.)
 

cougarmeat

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I used to think those collapsible cups/bowls were a gimmick. But I finally tried them and was happy to find a set for two - cup/small bowl/large bowl = fit inside the cooking pot. Much easier packing. After some experience, it was clear that one bowl would do. Then I found some solid plastic bowls that also fit and they were a breeze to clean. So these days I might just carry the collapsible cups.

The trick with the cup is, your little pinky goes underneath and your thumb and index finger garb the solid top rim. If you grab the flexible body, especially when the cup is filled with hot coffee, in the words of RoboCop, "... there will be - trouble."
 
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kayakwriter

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I used to think those collapsible cups/bowls were a gimmick. But I finally tried them and was happy to find a set for two - cup/small bowl/large bowl = fit inside the cooking pot. Much easier packing.
It didn't show in my picture, but under the Trangia LPG burner bag in the pot set, there's a folding Fairshare Mug. Which is pretty much a bowl. Great for holding chopped ingredients while you cook, eating pastas/stews/soups, and saving leftovers for tomorrow's lunch stop.

I'm old enough that when I first starting hiking, they still sold the separate-sections telescoping metal cups to unwary campers. Something like this. They leaked water like a sieve but retained dirt excellently. They were later offered in brittle plastic versions that offered all the performance of the metal ones, plus exciting fragility.

I do like the smaller modern one-piece silicone folding cups for wine - they're stable enough for that, and don't adulterate the bouquet or taste of my Chateau du Kayak plonk-in-a-bag. (Though I gotta say, you can get some pretty acceptable vino in a box these days. My current favourite red is this. Good enough that I'll drink it at home.)

The trick with the cup is, your little pink goes underneath and your thumb and index finger garb the solid top rim. If you grab the flexible body, especially when the cup is filled with hot coffee, in the words of RoboCop, "... there will be - trouble."
For coffee, I roll with a lidded, double-walled stainless steel mug. No tragic spills (it's always so undignified to be down on all fours, slurping desperately at the duff for any vestiges of caffeinated liquid.) Plus better heat retention. One hack I use both in the field and at home is to preheat the mug for several minutes with boiling water before putting hot coffee in. The colder the weather, the nicer it is to have coffee hot (or at least warm) to the last drop.
 

CPS

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It's funny to think that how well things nest is such an important part of gear selection. I've got some pieces that nest together well, though they're by no means the most efficient use of space.

I like cooking over a fire sometimes, so I want a steel pot that is nice and fat and doesn't want to tip if balanced on a improvised hearth. So I use the larger pot an old Coghlan's cook set. But it balances very poorly on my stove. So I like a little Primus kettle for that. It is just enough for me to make a rehydrated meal and a cup of tea.

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I usually keep my stove in the kettle, along with a lighter and a bag of dry stuff to help get a fire going.

I have an aluminum water bottle that I will sometimes put hot water in to warm up my sleeping bag as well as just using it to drink from. It fits delightfully into my GSI Bugaboo mug.

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Most of my meals are home made dehydrated fare, which helps me manage my digestive issues. In winter I use a little thermos, but when things aren't at such risk of cooling down to fast, I use a Fairshare mug. The lid is nice to have, and it's a good portion size for me. I don't really like plates if I'm not at a table.

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A camp stove gas canister just fits in and allows the lid to thread loosely on.

I'd be happier if it all stacked into a nice brick like Kayakwriter's set up, but it works for me.

Not pictured is my infrequently used other cook set. It fits a gas canister inside, with the stove and lighter on top. It's a more efficient package if only using the stove.
 

kayakwriter

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In winter I use a little thermos, but when things aren't at such risk of cooling down to fast, I use a Fairshare mug. The lid is nice to have, and it's a good portion size for me. I don't really like plates if I'm not at a table.

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A camp stove gas canister just fits in and allows the lid to thread loosely on.
As well as the folding Fairshare mug I mentioned earlier, I have one of the non-folding, insulated Fairshare ones like this. It's great for bringing squishables such as Roma tomatoes on the outbound voyage; for future homebound voyages I shall totes be stealing this idea. Love the little hacks we can all share.
 
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