- T.S. Oyama
What I Carry: My Ultralight Meal Kit
"What I Carry" features members of CAGS Backpackers sharing collections of gear — the tried and true pieces we make room for in our pack.
Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove, $59.95
Weight: 2.0 oz.
Dimensions: 4.9" x 3.14"
Snow Peak Mini Solo Cook Set Titanium
CUP Weight: 1.6 oz.
Dimensions: 4.25" x 2"
Holds 10 fl. oz./300 ml.
POT Weight: 3.9 oz.
Dimensions: 4" x 5.1"
Holds 28 fl. oz./700 ml.
(This set is discontinued and has been replaced by a new version, Ti-Mini Solo Combo 2.0, $79.95)
Snow Peak Titanium Spork, $9.95
Weight: 0.6 oz.
Dimensions: 6.5" x 1.6"
MSR Isopro Fuel, 3.9 oz., $4.95
Weight: 7.4 oz.
Dimensions: 3.5" x 2.7"
Pros: This meal kit is lightweight and compact. The stove (with included storage bag) and fuel fit inside the 700 ml. pot; the pot nests into the cup. The cook set came with a mesh carrying bag and spring lock clip that the whole kit goes into. It's easy to clean using biodegradable soap and a small quick drying cloth. I have a silicone lip guard that allows me to drink from the heated cup without burning my lips.
Cons: It's expensive and the titanium is dented easily. Once it's all packed up, I wrap this unit in an air entrapped foam sheet inside of the bag for added protection with no additional weight added.
I've used this stove multiple times over the past three years, and it does its job. This unit is good for a short one or two-day trip for one person. Longer trips require a larger fuel canister. This system has no wind screen, so on windy days at meal time, place the unit behind a rock or tree to block the wind. The stability is good and always place on the ground or a low rock. I do not use this stove on a high rock in order to avoid spilling hot liquid on the users. Just because we know Wilderness First Aid does not mean we need to use it. I use the spork and a pair of reusable chopsticks as eating utensils and also carry an aluminum pot grabber. This can be substituted with a folded bandana or pair of gloves if you want to forgo the additional ounces. This completes my meal kit.
If I'm heading out into the snow, I change to the MSR WhisperLite stove with a small white gas tank. Isopro does not like cold weather and may be difficult to light. White gas (also known as Coleman fuel) burns hotter than the isopro canisters. If you find yourself in cold weather with an isopro stove, sleep with the isopro canister inside your sleeping bag. I wrap the canister in a sock or bandana, then place the package inside of my sleeping bag so the cold metal is not against my body. Come the morning, the canister is warm and starts ups easily.
T. S. has been a backpacker for over 45 years and a Girl Scout troop leader for 20 years, volunteering with both Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and Girl Scouts of Orange County as a Master Trainer, Service Unit Manager, and Delegate for the Girl Scout National Convention. He has been a volunteer Red Cross Instructor in CPR/AED/FA, Babysitting, and Wilderness First Aid for over 43 years.