Saturday, October 1, 2011
Camping Stoves - Pros & Cons
Happy Vegan MoFo, everyone! Last year, I unofficially participated (I was a day or two too late in my registration, so I wasn't including in the blog roll), and I blogged every day except the first day (though I made two posts the next day to make up for it). This year, I'm *officially* participating (my, but I feel so important and stuff!), and I've made a promise to myself to blog every day, even if it's something short and simple.
For my first posts, I've decided to focus specifically on vegan camping. My boyfriend/musical partner, Mark, and I are a little over halfway through our contracted run at the Kansas City Renaissance Faire, and we're camping there every Saturday night. This time, we were lucky enough to be able to stay on the top floor of a friend's booth, so we've actually got electricity and even a small refrigerator! *gasp* However, most of the time, our faire camping consists of just a tent. Since faires go for a weekend, and we're usually camping for Friday-Sunday nights (and there's not really any place to get ice), our camp foods include things that need no refrigeration. For our trip to Pennsic (an SCA event in Pennsylvania), we brought a big bag of grapes, but ended up having to throw part of them out after they molded after a couple of days.
As far as cooking goes, Mark has four of camp stoves that he likes using. They're all pretty compact, which is useful when one is trying to fit a lot of stuff in a fairly small car (I've got a Chevy Aveo). The first stove is a single burner that screws on to the top of a propane canister. Since our lantern uses propane as well, this is convenient. The next stove uses esbit tablets, which are supposed be non-toxic. However, you have to use an entire tablet once you light it, so some of it may be wasted if you're only cooking a small amount (for example, it's not good for heating just one cup of water). This stove is also the smallest, and is always in Mark's kit - we mainly use it when we run out of propane or when we're "cooking on the go"; it's the easiest to take with us to places other than our campsite. The third stove is a bit bigger, but has two burners (useful for cooking two things at a time) and runs on multiple types of fuel (mainly camp gas). The fourth stove is kind of neat - it has a catalytic heating element instead of an open flame, and can also be configured to act as a stool, a lamp, a tire chock, an emergency reflector, or a heater. It's supposed to be able to be used as a shovel, but no one has ever figured out how (to our knowledge). Unfortunately, the company that produced this stove has since got out of business. This stove runs off of isobutane mixtures (which are expensive), and doesn't get as hot as the other three.
Mark says he'd like to start using a solar oven, which is very eco-friendly, and can get very hot. The downsides are that it's much bigger, takes up more space, and has to be used in direct sunlight (so it's not so great for cooking at night, obviously!)
Tomorrow, we'll take a look at some of our favorite camping "pantry" staples, as well as cookware. Do you have a favorite camping stove? Let me know in the comments!