I’ve decided it’s about time I did another review of some of the gear I’ll be taking with me on the West Highland Way, so today I’m going to review my various cooking and eating implements, which surprisingly enough, are all Swedish made!
The items are:
Let’s take a look at them…
Ok, the main appeal of the Trangia is how well it packs down into a small space. The photographs below show it both packed and unpacked.
The kit comprises of the stormproof Trangia shield, the meths burner (and a simmering ring), 2x 1 litre pans and an 18cm frying pan. That should be pretty much everything one person would need when cooking!
The firesteel doesn’t really need much in the way of explanation, I’d hope. It’s pictured below.
The meal kit, to some people will seem a bit of a novelty item. After all, you could realistically eat straight from the pan. I’m a little more civilised than that, though, and besides, there are some items in the meal kit which are particularly useful.
Like the Trangia, it also has the advantage of packing down quite small for easy carrying. Photographs below of it packed and unpacked.
The Meal Kit comprises of 2x bowls/plates (one deeper than the other), a Spork (a combination spoon/fork, with a serrated edge to the fork), a cutting board/strainer, a spill proof cup and a small storage container.
Ok, so we now know what I’ve got, but how well do they work?
I’ve tried the Trangia a couple of times before, but today I decided to make the old backpacker’s staple… Super Noodles! I also decided to add a Pepperami into it, to give it some flavour (super noodles are not the most exciting eating)
First of all, cutting the Pepperami. This was clearly a job for the Meal Kit – specifically, the spork and the cutting board!
So, as you can see from the picture above, the serrated edge of the spork does manage to cut through a Pepperami. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting it to have any cutting power at all, so it was a pleasant surprise. In honesty, though… it doesn’t do it very well. I have a Leatherman Juice S2 Multi-Tool Flame Orange, which I’ll be taking with me on the West Highland Way, and it’ll do the job much easier and faster. I can imagine the little chopping board will be great for wild camping, though. It’ll be a good way to find a clean surface to cut things on!
Next, I needed to light the Trangia itself. Clearly a job for the Firesteel. I got it lit after 5 or 6 strikes. I have to be honest and say that I don’t entirely trust the Firesteel as a way to light the Trangia, so I’ve got some waterproof, windproof matches to take with me as a backup in case I struggle with the Firesteel.
It doesn’t take particularly long for the trangia to generate heat, so add the pan with Super Noodles and water onto it
Incidentally, as you can see, I’m cooking inside my porch today, rather than outside… it’s blowing a gale today and we’re getting the occasional hail shower. The trangia may be stormproof, but I’m not! 🙂
Once the noodles were boiling, add the Pepperami and the sachet of flavouring
I went a little over the top with the water for this one, but that was quite deliberate (we’ll come to that later). Now, I had to let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. This involved using the simmering ring for the Trangia. It was easy enough to use, just half close it, then put it over the meths burner to reduce the heat.
Once properly cooked, the next part was to drain off the excess water. The strainer from the Meal Kit was ideal for this. (hence the reason for the excess water in the first place – to test it!) In fact, I think it’s the one part of the meal kit which I’ll not be able to live without! It did the job superbly. Then, all that was left was to put the mixture in the Meal Kit bowl and eat with the spork.
The only problem I had at this stage was putting the Trangia out – normally, you’d close the simmering ring and put it over the burner to starve it of oxygen, but it was already half closed over it… I had to use the pan handle to try and close off the simmering ring and extinguish the burner!
Overall, I think the combination of Meal Kit plus Trangia will work well for most backpacking trips. A stormproof stove, coupled with the versatility of the meal kit is ideal. I will, however, be adding to it. You can purchase a Spice Box, which fits in the meal kit. I’ll likely do this so that I can add a little seasoning to my meals – the usual salt and pepper, and maybe a bit of cinnamon for my morning porridge.
My only concern is with the Firesteel. It may be that I’m not using it as well as I could, but I don’t trust the thing.
I can’t really faulty the kits, though. They complement each other very well, and because they pack down so well, they’re ideal for backpacking and wild camping. Highly recommended!