Grew weary of existing limitations of my cookware and decided to change.
After trying to cook above 9,000 feet last summer, I grew impatient and grouchy. Fuel would not run, matches slow to light and it was cold outside as heck.
Altitude and temperature really affected cooking.
Carefully researched the “best” “most reliable “ stoves out there. Long story and much late night reading later, decided upon this:
MSR Whisper-light International Stove
Not too thrilled about carrying more bulk, (there is a stove, fuel pipe, and separate, BIG fuel canister) decided on the MSR Whisper-light Stove International and the fuel. There was also a nifty-looking bag to keep small items clean-ish.
I tried the whole stove out at home after reading printed in Chinese the “how – to” (Looked at line drawings) then carefully watching You Tube in English, taking voluminous notes.
Kids were featured one of the Youtube videos. Human children!
Turns out MSR has really good, if scary, visual instructions in English.
Going outside on my nice, flat, cement back porch, I followed my notes and was scared.
As a safety-first type, brought my red oven mitts covering wrists and elbows, wore my chemistry goggles, pressurized the fuel, struck a match, closed my eyes, held my breath, leaned back; nothing.
Went through steps again.
I looked very nerdy!
Even the dogs wary; smartly moving far away.
The stove lit the second time and gave off a “soccer size ball” of flame quickly surrounding the fuel even though I protected the fuel with the flimsy aluminum, wind guard.
Flame seemed HUGE as it licked fuel bottle!
The fuel bottle hissed!
Finally, the flame burned down and the stove signaled it was ready to “cook”.
Even though I attended NOLS, it has been too long ago to trust memory: I wanted to successfully light AND cook a meal; or at least, boil water.
I made a lousy pan of bannock. So bad, even the dogs would not try.
Being a really good outdoor chef; the kind everyone wants to have or be; takes a commitment of time, lots of practice, planning, fearless-ness, provisions; appropriate cookware.
It’s an art.
Also, staying in one place, having flat surface, (like pavement or a table) and not setting fire to anything necessary.
Boy, do I have to keep practicing!
“International” by the way, refers to the different types of fuel available. You MUST change out an important doo-hickey jet thing with a special tool.
You KNOW it can’t be easy for this regular Homo sapien, even if I have opposable thumbs.
The stove worked fast and well. It was pricey and hopefully lasts for many years.
Boiling water was simple…that’s hard to screw up…..but the cup had too small a bottom diameter and proved tippy.
Good, even cooking ? Not so easy. At least for me.
Try not loosing something, cooking on uneven ground, missing ingredient, dealing with weather, wind; modulating heat, or spilling?
Clean up? uhhhhhhh…..
There was a lot of soot from the fuel and I had to carefully clean the cooled stove to not filthy my pack contents with carbon deposits. Imagine if you are sore, tired, wet, cold; have limited water, or simply have a case of “the don’ts?”
For some, cooking is natural. For moi? Not.
Maybe I too will be as caveleire as those hikers who demonstrated this stove.
Gonna try the stove on uneven ground in wilderness area and see…
Share how YOU cook, please!!
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