Kitchen Equipment

One of the most obvious areas in which people can ‘shed weight’ is by ensuring that they only take the most basis – but functional – camp kitchen equipment. There is a temptation to take far too much, indeed, I used to carry quite a lot a few years ago. I remember one backpacking trip where I carried 2 MSR black, pans, a frying pan and an MSR kettle; it’s quite amazing how this all adds up. So, Pair things back to the minimum. You will still have functional kit but will save quite a bit of weight.

I’ll look at two options, backpacking solo and backpacking as part of a pair.


This is my basic set up these days and it is light (although no doubt there are people who go even lighter).

When trekking solo you only need take one pot/pan. There are a number of these items on the market at the moment, all made of titanium, and they are usually referred to as kettles. The kettles are a cross between a pan and a mug, having fold back handles so that you can drink out of them.

When I stop I might make a hot drink in the kettle and then, after the hot drink, will simply heat my meal in the same implement. Some people worry that this is greasy but I’ve not found it so. I carry a small foam kitchen pad which can be used to quickly rinse or wipe out the stove. Most dehydrated food (even home dehydrated) uses little oil and so the pans will not really get greasy – well not so much that you will notice. Of course, after a good day’s walk you’re grateful of sustenance and any food will taste good!

So, I take a kettle and a spork and nothing else.

There are a variety of these lightweight kettles on the market now. For a couple of years I’ve used a Vargo Ti-LIte which weighs 150 grams.This has kept me quite happy on a TGO crossing and on several other, solo, treks. THe Vargo costs about £30 but you can find it cheaper than this on many of the ultralight web stores (see links below).

At the moment my preferred Kettle is the Titan from MSR. My kettle weighs in a 127 grams. This has a wider and lower profile than the Ti-Lite and I use it really because it is wide enough for a Bushbuddy stove to fit inside, although you can’t put the li on top – no real hardship as I stash everything together in a light stuff sack. The Titan is also probably more stable on a canister stove. This is more pricey, though, that the Ti-LIte and sells for around £40 (again you can find it a little cheaper if you look around). The Titan used to be quite difficult to find in stores but you can now find them in branches of Cotswold, Snow and Rock, etc.

There are loads of spork designs on the market. I use a vargo spork (16 grams) and sometimes a folding spork which is a whole 2 grams heavier! The folding spork sits nicely in your pot for easy transport. Some people prefer a simple plastic spoon and these are certainly easy to eat re-hydrated food with.

And that’s it. Total kitchen weight at the moment: 143 grams.

Duo Setup

This tend to be a little heavier. You may find – like me – that if your walking partner is female that they consider that they need a little more comfort, and they may also talk about higher standards of hygiene. But this doesn’t have to necessarily mean more weight.

Again, you only need one pot! I use an MSR 1.5 litre titanium pot (again widely available in stores and on the web). My pot came with a smaller 1 litre pot and when car camping I sometimes take this along, but I really don’t need it when backpacking.

The 1.5 titanium pot weighs just 158 grams, including lid. This is a pot and not a kettle and so you need a handle and any of the standard MSR ones will do – my handle weighs 44 grams. You have to hunt around for these a bit.

When walking solo I eat directly from the kettle but when there are two of us plates become important. I use folding plates/bowls from Each bowl weighs 42 grams each.

We also tend to a mug each, again titanium. A simple titanium mug weighs about 50 grams and will cost somewhere around £25.

So, the kitchen weight for two (including two sporks) totals 374 grams – that’s 187 grams each, not much heavier than the solo arrangement.

And that’s it, you don’t really need anything else. I stir food with a spork and use my swiss army knife to cut up food (and I’m always carrying that anyway.

Titanium is pretty strong and robust, despite being very light. I’ve used my pans extensively without any problems. They’ll last a lifetime and are probably a good investment.

Itchy Feet


  1. That is light Andy on the Solo set, must admit I like a mug as well as a pot, but agree you don’t have to have one.

  2. Derek Goffin says:

    When there are 2 of us we do the same as you but we use 2 nesting orange plastic bowls that come with some ready meals. I do not have the weight with me but they are much lighter than 42 gram each, and free if you like the ready meal. We use 2 nesting polythene mugs too which were about £1 each and are lighter than 50 gram. They nest because I got 2 different sizes, cut off the handles and cut the top off the bigger one so they are the same volume. A plastic pill bottle with a full width click lid nests inside the mugs. This carries coffee and tea bags but could also carry jam.

  3. Sounds about right Derek. And a good reminder that we don’t always have to use titanium!

  4. Jay Russell says:

    A few years back I was doing the Cumbria way on my own. Trying to keep things add light as possible I took a spoon and a titanium pan as my total kitchen gear. This worked great but one night, after an evening in the pub with a chap i’d met on the camp site I ended up drinking vodka and orange from my pan. Classy.

  5. I use lightweight freezer/tupperware bowls, 24g each including the lids. These are then useful during the day for carrying tomatoes or soft fruit that would get bruised in my pack. When the time comes to cook, the tomatoes come out, get cooked and the container becomes the bowl. I use the lid as a chopping board if a suitable rock is not available.

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