The Bike Tourist’s Kitchen: Cooking Essentials

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

Cooking on the road can be difficult. After countless hours of cranking up giant passes or cycling into gnarly headwinds, exerting energy at the end of the day to cook just isn’t appealing. I prefer taking it easy during the rides so I can enjoy a nice warm meal at the end of the day. Eating warm food rejuvenates the soul so making time to exercise cooking, for me, is critical. Since I am not the lightest traveler when it comes to bike touring I pack for two. Having the option to share during meals is worth the extra few ounces in weight. Below you will see a detailed image of all the kitchenware I carry while touring. Click the image for a larger enhanced version. Below the image I give my personal review of the gear as well as purchase links and home page links to the gear’s corresponding website.

MSR Dromedary 6L Bag:
Home Page N/A
Purchase $39.95

The MSR Dromedary Bag has saved my life…literally. This has proved to be two things: HEAVY and LIFE SAVING. At 13.2 lbs filled it is a considerable amount of weight, but for those who find themselves cooking or in desert a lot this bag will prove to be very useful. I for one cook tons and with that comes cleaning. Cleaning does use more water than I would like to use from my water bottles, especially if I am days from the next town, so I usually resort to using some of this bags water. I also travel with an Australian Shepard/Blue Heeler mix and running her means I need to have a consistant water supply. Using the water bag is great if you have a way to carry it. For instance I travel with a Burley Nomad and I can easily store this bag in the storage area. If you are riding solo and would like to carry more water than the traditional water bottle, consider purchasing something similar like the CamelBak UnBottle Insulated Reservoir [Purchase Link]. With a little ingenuity you can attach this to your downtube then bring the water hose up to your handle bars making it easy to drink on the go. I toured with this setup for a while and loved the idea. It really allows to you pack on water weight to your frame.

(2x) 750ml, Insulated 621ml, (2x) RuffWear 1L plastic water bladder,  & 1.5ml Stainless Steel Water Storage:

You may be asking the question, “How the hell does he get all those water bottles on his bike?” Well the answer is simple, utilize all of your bicycle eyelets. I do not use the two eyelets on my front forks so I have come up with an improvised way of connecting water bottles with cages [SEE IMAGE HERE]. Basically I went to Home Depot and bought an L Bracket made for building fences and used that to support the cages. Without this L Bracket the flimsy aluminum cages do not hold up well while carrying a full water bottle. With these two water bottle cages on my front forks I am able to drink on the go which is nice when the two on my frame are empty, although, I usually drink the water attached to the forks first. A note of warning, I am touring with carbon fiber forks and as you can see by the image, they are looking a little sad. I am worried that one of these times with all the weight on the front of my bike they will explode on a hard impact. The silver water bottles I bought at a K-Mart for around eight dollars a piece. The large 1.5L bottle I bought at a Whole Foods in Salt Lake City for around $20. The product can be purchased [HERE] If you decide to sport larger bottles on your rig then you need to get cages that can handle the wide bottles. I sport Lezyne Power Cages [Product Page] [Purchase Page] They are designed so that you can stretch them to fit any width of water bottle.

The Ruffwear 1L water containers came with the Palisades Pack™ which can be purchased [HERE] I use these specifically for my pup.

In total I carry 11.621L of water  or roughly 3 gallons including the MSR Dromedary bag and the Ruffwear pack. This amount water can easily last a week depending on weather. On average I drink 1.5-2 L per day given the terrain, heat index, etc.

  • Showering I usually use 750ml-1L. (1 time every week or two)
  • Cleaning both pots, bowls, and cups I use roughly 250ml. (clean after every cooking sesh)
  • Cooking I usually use 250ml.

MSR SuperFuel
Home Page N/A
Purchase $12.95

Having extra fuel is always nice. On my first tour I used a Colman single burner propane stove which I jimmy rigged into an old peanut can to save on weight and space. Most recently I used the stove depicted above. I used to fill the stove with unleaded gasoline from the nearest gas station and even though it ways it can take unleaded gasoline, the flame burned yellow and created large amounts of soot on the bottom of the pots. Since then I have only used this type of fuel. It may be a little pricy but given the clean burn it is worth the extra money.

Optimus Nova+ and Fuel Bottle:
Home Page $215.15
Purchase $159.95

This stove is excellent at any altitude, humidity, wind level, etc…

The only down side to this stove is the fuel line which comes out of the base of the stove. As you can see by the image above it is very curved. This curvature proves to be an annoyance when trying to adjust the flame. Lets say your flame level is just so that the fuel line is angled downwards, like an upside down “U”…this ultimately makes the stove want to lift up and flip/tilt over. Other than that it is a great stove. I would not purchase it again because I am eager to try out the MSR WhisperLite. Other than what I have described above I am very happy with this stove.

The fuel bottle, like most camping stoves, is sold separately. It works great and I have only one complaint, the “O-Ring” wore out very quickly. I ended up buying a small sheet of plumbing silicone stuff and making my own o-ring which has worked great.

MSR Ceramic MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Purifier:
Home Page N/A
Purchase $89.99

I love this product and have owned it for over three years. Hands down one of the best purchases I have made. The base of the filter screws on perfectly to all Nalgene bottles as well as the MSR Dromedary and the 1.5L SIGG water bottle. It takes roughly 100 pumps to fill up 1.5L which may seem like a lot but I assure you fresh water is worth working for. Cleaning is simple, just unscrew the bottom and plop out the ceramic filter then simply rub your fingers across the filter under water and wala…clean. I still have yet to replace the ceramic filter. Replacements are roughly $39.00. I have used this to drink my urine and once I had to dig a trench in a cow pie filled field during a super-cell storm in Kansas…let me just say the water was black going in and I had to clean the filter every 10 pumps or so, but the end result was drinkable water. I have never got sick from using this product and would not think twice to drink any water which has made it’s rounds through it. No cons!

Wine Sack

Well let’s just say everyone needs a drink from time to time. I like the thought of storing fluids in malleable storage because it fits better in the nooks and crannies within my panniers.

Camping Utensil:
Purchase $6.59

This is awesome. I use it daily and have no complaints. It is one of those cheap purchases which have huge benefits. I would be sad if I lost this but stoked because it is cheap to purchase and replace.

Kershaw Knife:
Home Page $119.95
Purchase $71.89

This knife was given to me by my brother and his wife for christmas 2011. I use it to cut apples and other hand held food. It is sharp as shit and acts as a switch blade. I love it!!!!!

MSR Quick 2 System Cookset:
Purchase $99.95

This piece of cookware has come in SOOO much use. The cups are insulated which means drinks stay either warm or cold in the weather conditions. The quick release handle works great on both pots and the bowels are bomb proof. The entire system fits ultra snug into the large pot. The only thing that has broken on this set is a plastic piece in the center of the lid. Depicted in the image is a rubber center piece which rotates so that the handle snaps to it keeping all the bowls, cups, and pot from falling out when packed away. Around this rubber piece was a hard red piece of plastic which broke off. That being said it has not affected the functionality of the system so I have no complaints. Great size and very light.


 

If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment or feel free to contact me directly at pat@worldsbetweenlines.com

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