Ultralight Backpacking Camp Coffee

Backpacker Magazine emailed me a link this morning to its review of a “field tested”  backpacking coffee. It’s instant! Ugggh! My choice is fresh ground Peet’s French Roast or Thanksgiving’s Mirembe Kawomera (Delicious Peace) coffee in a one-cup filter (lightweight and as good tasting as home). To read Backpacker’s review of the instant they are raving about, follow this link.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

The Green Spork – 100% Biodegradable

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Corn feeds us and fuels us. Now, utensils are being made of it. My wife, Gerry, found a set of six Italian-made, corn-based spoon/forks (sporks) that last six uses and then completely compost in 45-60 days. Less than one ounce each. At about 65 cents each (6 for $3.99) a package. Order from Karla@hausfortuna.com.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

Ultralight Backpacking Trail Foods

Backpacking companions Wild Bill, the Duke and I share meal prep duties. If we’re out for a typical three night trip, each of us brings a dinner. I usually bring a half pound of linguini, broken so it fits into a sandwich bag, a four-ounce plastic bottle with garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil mixed together and a foil packet of hickory smoked tuna or vacuum-packed smoked salmon. Either choice is amazingly good at home or the trail. This week, my wife Gerry, who works at the local library, bought home the latest edition of “,” an Sierra Club Outdoor Adventure Guide which features more than 200 all-natural trail-tested recipes. This is the third edition (2005) of a guide first created in 1976. The author really has it down what to mix at home and what to do on the trail. They offer sample menus for two and three day trips and lots of interesting recipes. Check it out — at the library or follow my link to Amazon where you buy buy it for around $10.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

miniTISSUE: Ultra Ultralight Backpacking Towels

minitissue.jpgMy regular readers know I’m a gearhound. And I’m always looking for the latest and greatest ultralight backpacking “thing” to include in my pack.

My latest find is the MiniTissue. Comes eight in a pack for $1 (1 ounce total weight). Individually wrapped like peppermint candies, you splash them with water making them instantly rehydrate, creating a very sturdy 8 by 9 inch face/hand towel. The company website sells them 96 to a box of 12 packages for $13.95, but I purchased mine at a kitchen store.

They contain no preservatives, alcohol or anti-bacteria solution and are environmentally friendly, 100% biodegradable and self decomposing. Individual compressed tissues don’t even register on my postal scale.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

Backpacking Kitchen: An Ultra Light Pot for Three

One of my readers said he was getting into backpacking with his family — there are three of them total — and wanted to know the best choice of a lightweight cooking pot. I’m sure you’ll get lots of opinions on this. But I purchased a pot set four years ago that works great for three guys, including myself and trail companions Duke and Wild Bill.

We cook pasta and add either smoked tuna, smoked salmon or pesto, and find we’ve got plenty. Although pasta recipes say to fill a huge four or five quart pot with water for a half pound of pasta, trust me when I say — based on several years of experience — that you can cook 3/4 of a pound of pasta in less than two liters of water just fine.

The pot and lit weight seven ounces. The pot lifter adds another ounce. You can leave the bag at home and save an ounce.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

A New Backpacking Light Spork

I love discovering new ultralight backpacking gadgets — anything that has multiple uses and is really light.

I was at the local outdoor store, looking for a birthday present for one of my backpacking pals, when I discovered a plastic knife-spoon-fork utensil from “Light My Fire Spork.”
Light My Fire Spork from Amazon
It weighs less than a half ounce and costs only $2.99. I have a titanium spork which cost $12.95, is about one ounce and doesn’t have a integrated knife. So, this is a nifty little device which offers more for less — less weight and less money. Your pocketbook will be the only thing that is a little heavier.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

Backcountry Kitchen: Irish Cream and Hot Chocolate

My backpacking pal Wild Bill always brings big bars of dark chocolate and shares them at lunch and dinner. He claims it is good you. Full of anti-oxidants. I’m not sure about that, but I am sure it tastes great. Sound good? Well I’ve got something better.

Mix Hershey’s Good Night Kisses Hot Chocolate (99.9% decaf) with Bailey’s Irish Cream liquer and you’ll be in wilderness heaven. As I recall you get five individual packages in a box.

The secret: mix the exact amount of water suggested on the package and then liberally add the Baileys.

You’ll sleep like a baby.

Eat well. Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

In The Kitchen: Smoked Tuna Pasta

At the end of the day on the trail just about anything tastes good. But I love pasta. The spicier the better. One of my favorites is capellini with smoked tuna. Hickory Tuna.jpgThis is really simple:

-Get a plastic bottle. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, some red pepper flakes and garlic (you can chop it or get some in a jar).

-Buy a 5 oz package of StarKist “Tuna Creations” (hickory smoked) in a foil package. (contains 100mg of Omega3 fatty acids).

-Cook a half pound of pasta (add a handful of salt to the water).

-Dump in the olive oil mixture and then the tuna.

-Mix and eat.

This is just bursting with flavor. Feeds three.

Tip: angel hair or capellini cooks up faster than thicker pasta. The olive oil gets infused with the garlic flavor which really perks up the taste.

Eat well. Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

Justin’s Nut Butter: Organic Peanut Butter in Lighweight Packs

There are all kinds of ways to save weight on your backcountry kitchen. You can transfer food such as cookies, crackers, trail mix and pasta to zip lock plastic bags. Or you can take less food. But what fun is that?Justin's Nut Butter

My wife, Gerry, just brought home samples of Justin’s Nut Butter Jr.’s — organic peanut butter in 1.15 ounce foil packs. They cost $6 for 12 packages and currently come in three flavors:

Classic Peanut – unsweetened and unsalted
Heavenly Honey – a blend of dry roasted peanuts, honey, organic palm fruit oil and sea salt
Sinfully Cinnamon – a blend of dry roasted peanuts, honey, organic palm fruit oil, sea salt and organic cinnamon.

In jars, they also offer pumpkin pie and honey almond.

You could get one of these jars and put your peanut butter in a refillable tube you can buy at outdoor stores. But they are a mess to fill and a mess to clean up.

Combine one of these nut butter packets with some cheese, nuts and an apple and you’ve got a great lunch.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

Make Your Backpack Light: The Esbit Stove

Esbit solid fuel stove

I plan four tablets for each day (three for pasta and tea) and one in the morning for coffee. And, I include enough tin foil for use as a wind screen.

The Esbit stove is cheap — about $10. Another, lighter Esbit version available from BackpackingLight.com weighs about an ounce and is about $16.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.