Guide to buying outdoor cookware|
Cooking in the outdoors can be one of the most rewarding and fun experiences if you have all the proper equipment. Almost any type of food tastes better after a long day outdoors and a little exercise. There is just something about being out in the woods that makes even something simple like spaghetti taste like a five star meal. Remember to keep your meals simple and cooking time short. There are better things to do in the outdoors than spend all your time cooking. Additionally, one or two dish meals will reduce your cleaning time, as will pots and pans made with non-stick coatings.
If there is a time and place for non-stick cookware, it’s in the outdoors where cleaning up is more difficult and dishwashers are hours away. Almost everything cleans up easier on a non-stick enamel pan. Over time, enamel does chip away, but if you take good care of your outdoor pots and pans, they will last a long time, especially since most outdoor enthusiasts are not using their outdoor cookware daily. One way to make a non-stick enamel pan last longer is to keep your pans in cotton sacks, which will help avoid chipping.
If shaving ounces is your goal, titanium cookware is the way to go. It is durable, lightweight, and is a great conductor of heat. The downside is that you must closely monitor your meals because food does burn easily on titanium cookware. Snow Peak makes excellent titanium outdoor and camping cookware that nests together well. They even have titanium sporks. Talk about saving weight!
Stainless steel will last you a lifetime and make some of the best outdoor cookware because of its durability. It is easy to clean (mostly meaning that you can use a copper scrubber and it won’t scratch) and stainless steel pots and pans conduct heat well (meaning you will eat sooner). If you plan to cook pancakes or breads, it’s a good idea to bring along a stovetop diffuser because stainless steel is notorious for being an uneven conductor of heat. If you want your pancakes black in the middle and gooey on the outside, leave the diffuser at home, otherwise, it should be part of your regular camping cookset.
While cast iron is completely impractical for backpacking, it makes some of the best cookware for camping, especially if you are rafting or car camping (basically anywhere that you don’t have to carry your kitchen far). Cast iron Dutch ovens can be used to bake many amazing dishes, but they are also excellent pots and the lids make great pans for frying eggs or sautéing vegetables. They are easy to clean (a sponge and water, or you can just leave them on the coals overnight) and they are as durable as any material on the market.
The best outdoor cookware manufacturers usually have a variety of options ranging from stainless steel and aluminum to various trademarked names of lightweight anondized aluminum or other allows. The main thing to remember is that cooking in the outdoor is slightly more challenging than in a home kitchen, however good equipment (a reliable and even-burning stove, nice utensils, and high-quality pots and pans) will make your cooking experience not just easy, but also incredibly fun.
A few outdoor cookware manufacturers:
Backcountry.com: They make their own brand of camping cookware: (www.backcountry.com)
Cabelas: for cast iron: (www.cabelas.com)
GSI Outdoors (http://gsioutdoors.com/)
MSR made by Cascade Designs (http://cascadedesigns.com/MSR)
Snow Peak: (http://www.snowpeak.com/)