Trail cooking from AT to PCT

When it comes to cooking on trail I’m an alcoholic! I love the simple method of lighting some form of denatured alcohol in a small vessel and whacking a pot of water on to boil.

I don’t get the same feel from gas powered stoves, its too close to cooking in the kitchen back home, makes me feel like I’m cheating myself a little from more of an outdoor experience. You could of course argue that would mean cooking on an open fire every night, and yes I would agree but you do need a little bit of convenience when thruhiking a few thousand miles and I believe alcohol stoves are the happy medium, for me at least and I enjoy them.

On the AT I carried a Trail Designs Caldera Cone System with a tall titanium pasta pot and titanium mug. In Virginia I got rid of the mug and was cooking up meals just in the tall pot, which worked great apart from the clean up. Ramen and mash make a lot of mess so I was soon just boiling water in my pot and mixing my meals together in a ziplock freezer bag which works perfectly.
Here I am on trail cooking up a storm


Trail Designs cooking sets are fantastically light and your wind sheild doubles as your pot stand, enclosing the flame from an aluminium can stove around the cooking vessel which in turn results in a quicker boil than what you would get from other alcohol stoves and seperate shields out on the market.

There was absolutely no problem with my stove the entire journey, I just didn’t look after it as best I could so it got really bashed up by the end.

So for my Pacific Crest Trail thruhike I have upgraded slightly and gone for the Trail Designs Caldera Keg F stove pictured below


The cone, keg pot and stove come in at just 2.7oz. All in with the caddy, keg holder, lip protecter etc is just 6.3oz. If you were actually looking to cook meals in a pot then this probably isn’t the set up for you as the Keg pot is literally just a large beer can slightly reinforced. But as I do freezer bag cooking it’s perfect as I just need it to heat up my water or a hot drink.

So that’s my kitchen sorted for the PCT.
Just for fun I gave my own can stove a go just by following a you tube vid. It was farely simple, check it out and give it a go.