Plates, cups, bowls
The standard 40 years ago was the Sierra Cup ($3-5) with A nesting knife, spool, fork set. I didn't like it because I felt that my coffee or hot chocolate got cold and spilled easily. Actually it doesn't make that much difference. Page 273 of The Complete Walker IV lists results of his test. After leaving a cup with boiling water out in 15°F for 10 minutes the sierra cup water was 120° while the plastic cup was 126°. My general guidelines are: Something that allows nesting your cup in your bowl to take up less space. Something that is smooth (no ridges or hard corners) for ease of cleaning. Camp meals are usually simple one bowl affairs. Maybe soup to start then a main course and desert, which can all use the same bowl. There's a whole variety of silicone rubber utensils now that squash flat for easy packing, but they are harder to clean. I'm into "why buy high priced stuff from the camping store when you can get things that serve the same purpose at the grocery, dollar or hardware store". I experimented ziplock bowls with a screw on lid so I could save leftovers for lunch. and a metal coffee mug. I wanted something that would nest to take up less space in my pack. The coffee mug was difficult to ladle soup into and the bowl was a little too small. I wraped a thin foam rubber (leftover from lining the bottom of an old tool box I refurbished) for insulation around a plastic cup I got at dominos pizza. which fits inside the MC2 (below) with the lid expanded. It's big enough to work well for soup as well as coffee. Be careful using plastic utensils from fast food stores. They tend to break. Give them the bend test first. A net bag is nice to put your utensils in for drying overnight.I finally broke down and got one of those new fangled silicone and stainless systems on sale from EMS, The MC2 food storage system.
The MC2 is 6 in long, so with a pot gripper, I can use it as a frying pan. I can cut the head and tail off a 15 in trout and cut it in half to cook it. Good for a solo trip, but you'd want a larger pan for a group.
The GSI Stacking cup ($3) is 1 1/2 cups with measuring cup markings on the side. It can be used as a drink cup, measuring cup, or in place of a ladle for serving. It also fits inside the MC2 above.
I like the Sistema Klip It Lunch Cube:
Happy Camper Cup (right) $10
Soda Can Stove
Plates and Bowls at REI.com
CookwareHow to Choose the Right Cookware: Expert Advice from REI
Backpack food and recipes
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