backpacking cooking system reviews

A backpacker on the Tonto Trail in the Grand Canyon.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2021

By Michael Lanza The Wonderland Trail. The Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Glacier National Park. The Ruby Crest Trail. Yellowstone. The Wind River Range. The North Cascades. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. The High Uintas Wilderness. The Tour du Mont Blanc and Spain’s Picos de Europa Mountains. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking …

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Gear Review: MSR PocketRocket 2 Backpacking Stove

MSR Pocketrocket 2 backpacking stove.
MSR Pocketrocket 2 backpacking stove.

Backpacking Stove
MSR PocketRocket 2 stove
$45, 3 oz. (4 oz. with plastic case, included)
backcountry.com

On three-season backpacking trips of two days to a week, with one or two companions—especially when you’re oriented toward cooking simple, one-pot meals—a single-burner canister stove offers efficiency and versatility in a very lightweight, compact, affordable, and durable package. On various trips, including an 80-mile, five-day backpacking trip with a friend in the North Cascades National Park Complex, and a three-day, 40-mile hike in Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, the MSR Pocketrocket 2 demonstrated to me why it’s a leading choice in this category of ultralight stoves, on top of representing an improvement over its predecessor.

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Gear Review: Sea to Summit X-Pot Set 31

Sea to Summit X-Pot
Sea to Summit X-Pot

Collapsible Cook Set
Sea to Summit X-Pot Set 31
$110, 1 lb. 6 oz.
Set includes a 2.8L X-Pot with lid, two X-Bowls, two X-Mugs, all collapsible
backcountry.com

At Helmet Falls camp on the first night of a four-day, 34-mile, family backpacking trip on the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies, a group of backpackers cooking near us looked at my X-Pot set and one asked, “What is that and who makes it?” When I answered him, he responded, “I gotta get one of those. Or I’m going to watch which bear locker you put your food and cooking gear in later and take it.” I was pretty sure he was kidding—but not entirely certain. The collapsible X-Pot cooking set is sure to change the way we think about cooking systems for backpacking, and many backpackers will covet it.

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Gear Review: Jetboil Joule Group Cooking System

Jetboil Joule Group Cooking System
Jetboil Joule Group Cooking System

Camp Cooking System
Jetboil Joule Group Cooking System
$200, 1 lb. 12 oz. (not including soft stuff sack for storing burner unit inside the pot)
moosejaw.com

When I’m backpacking with my family, I look for several important qualities in my backcountry stove: speed, versatility, simplicity, fuel efficiency (so I carry less, not to mention burning less carbon), and modest weight and bulk. Too much to ask? I don’t think so, and apparently Jetboil agrees with me. My family used the Joule GCS to boil water for our breakfasts and cook our dinners on a five-day backpacking trip down Paria Canyon in Utah and Arizona in late March, and the Joule met all of my demands.

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Gear Review: Jetboil MiniMo Personal Cooking System

Jetboil MiniMo
Jetboil MiniMo

Solo Camp Cook Set
Jetboil MiniMo Personal Cooking System
$130, 1 lb. 1 oz.
moosejaw.com

When I’m backpacking long days and traveling as light as possible, I want a cooking system that’s not only lightweight, but efficient and easy: I need it to boil water fast in the morning, and by the time I get around to dinner in the evening, I’m too knackered to want to make much effort. Jetboil’s new solo cooking system, the MiniMo, delivered that kind of performance and convenience on a four-day, 86-mile ultralight backpacking trip in northern Yosemite National Park in September, an overnight hike down Zion’s Narrows in early November, and a pair of hut treks in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park in March.

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