Jan 23, 2010 at 10:15 am #1254401
I've trimmed my cooking system down to the point where I'm just boiling water. But, I'm thinking I oughta be able to fry up some trout, or eggs, or stir-fry some veggies … Make me a grilled cheese samwich …
I've looked at several posts here and have learned some generalities – Ti doesn't spread heat too well, resulting in hot spots – Unless one's careful about heat and keep things moving … Al is heavier, but cooks better. Some of the coatings peel. Foods stick to those without coatings, making cleanup hard.
What's a boy to do?
So, I've looked at a few pans out there:
Primus Litech Frying Pan, Al, 6.5" base, 8.7" top, 9.4oz $22 – Heaviest, has sloping sides, a fairly narrow base. Probably great for flipping food around, & cooking eggs, but too small for a brookie.
MSR Flex Skillet Al w/Duralite DX, 9", 7oz $25 – Wide with straight sides. Harder to sling stuff around, but a small fillet, or several scones will fit well.
REI Ti Ware Nonstick Ti, 7.5", 4.9 ozs $49.5 – Light, Expensive, Has sloping sides, but folks claim it doesn't spread heat well (I understand that this is same as Evernew?)
MSR BlackLite Frying Pan, Al w/ blacklight coating, 7.25", 5.4 oz, on sale at REI-Outlet for under $10 – Reviewers claim this coating scratches and peels easily (Maybe why the changed?)
So, I'm torn between three possibilities – The REI Ti, The MSR Flex, or something I haven't considered…
What do ya'll think?Jan 23, 2010 at 10:28 am #1565506
http://www.traildesigns.com/evernew.html#pots-other has a bunch of Ti options from Evernew.Jan 23, 2010 at 11:58 am #1565547
If I were to go for a backpacking fry pan, I would definitely go for one of the Evernew sets:
or even bigger, depending on your size needs.
No backpacking pan is thick enough to spread heat effectively, whatever material it is made out of. Titanium is less heat conductive than aluminum, so all things being equal it will perform worse. But let's be honest, even the cheapest non-stick pan meant for kitchen use will outperform any of these pans.Jan 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm #1565548
I use a hard anondized fry pan made by GSI. I tried non-stick Ti a couple of times and found it too hard to make things like pancakes. The aluminum is way better and worth the slight weight increase if you want to cook real food.Jan 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm #1565570
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
but the most efficient backcountry frying pan is from Jetboil, which has heat exchanger fins. Mates with PCS (and new Flash) and GCS but not Helios. Too heavy if you trim your map corners or don't have a Jetboil set to use it with. The Primus Litech mentioned above is pretty good too.Jan 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm #1565580
"If I were to go for a backpacking fry pan, I would definitely go for one of the Evernew sets"
Perhaps, but I already have TI pots sufficient for solo and couple camping. I'm looking to supplement that with a decent pan … And, of course, I want it all – good cooking, light and inexpensive!Jan 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm #1565582
"I use a hard anondized fry pan made by GSI."
I looked at their site. Their Pinnacle 8" Al pan looks like a nice cooker, but is 13 oz. They make a hard anodized pan sold as part of a kit that looks like it might be interesting. Wonder if they'll sell it separately …Jan 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm #1565584
The light fry pans I've used have been pretty horrid, all things considered. Thin little things don't weigh much, but also don't cook well. The MSR Flex skillet might be good. I've never weighed a cheapo little "box store" nonstick fry pan, but I bet if you took the handle off it'd be pretty light. Gotsta have a thicker bottom. If you like backcountry cooking and baking, you might consider the Banks frybake; NOLS gets a lot of use out of them, I gather. No personal experience w/them, but if an institutional program gets good use out of them…Jan 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm #1565586
I have the nForm Gourmet 8" fry pan. It came as part of a set with a 2L pot, lid, gripper handle, and cash/wash basin. The pan is 5.2 oz and the gripper is 2.2 oz.Jan 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm #1565589
"If you like backcountry cooking and baking, you might consider the Banks frybake."
Alpine Fry-Bake Pan with lid, 8", Pan w/ lid = 10oz. $61 or $56 for a cosmetic second. Use like a dutch oven … Thanks! Me likey …Jan 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm #1565600
Kinda small at 4-3/4", but I've seen a couple of really positive reviews of a T-Fal "One Egg Wonder" fry pan. Weight is approx 6 ounces and available at Wal-Mart. Tinny at MBD has a pretty good video review at http://minibulldesign.com/myadventure/index.php?blogid=1&archive=2010-01 Go down to January 13th's videos.
I'll probably pick one up.Jan 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm #1565606
@chrisfolLocale: Denver, Coloado
Not much use when you are catching fish 8" and above.
As a fly fisherman who loves fresh trout for lunch everyday in the backcountry, I found that many of these lightweight pans are just too thin for any serious cooking. I tried the MSR flex and found that after a couple of uses it began to bow in the middle due to the heat of my stove, that got promptly return.
I then went for a Ti fry-pan but that was even worse for reasons already mentioned and at $40+ the price is outrageous for something that is just useless.
Probably the best lightweight fry-pan that I have used was REI's 8" Chefware (11.4oz). My father-in-law prefers the extra weight of a "real" fry-pan that he picked up at King Soopers.
My advice however is to take your stove to a retailer and test out the different pans to make sure that they fit and are stable. Nothing worse than needing to constantly hold the handle to stop it from tipping over due to the size of your stove and heavy handle.Jan 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm #1565608
REI has (or had, a couple years ago) a 6" corrugated aluminum heat disperser which exactly fits the Evernew coated fry pan. Pan=4.8 oz, disperser=2.6 oz. The disperser eliminates scorching your scrambled eggs, as it efficiently distributes the heat over the entire bottom of the fry pan. Keep in mind that the heat disperser seems to lessen the stove's fuel efficiency (heat is lost somehow).
If you plan on doing a fair amount of simmering, frying, or making pancakes, you might want to get a stove with a wide flame head, such as Coleman's F-1 (5.7 oz). These tend to spread the flame over a greater area (a wider hot spot?). With an Evernew fry pan or pot, disperser, and F-1, I find I can cook most anything I want to without scorching it. There's an obvious weight penalty with this setup, but on most overnighters it won't be too much of a problem. Sometimes, the 7.5 oz. added weight is worth it, when one can have real food for a change. It's not an SUL or UL approach, but I think it can still occasionally be part of a lightweight kit, depending on your culinary priorities.Jan 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm #1565610
I posted videos about the one egg wonder almost 2 years ago on YouTube. Showed a bunch of different ways to use it as a baker….
At the time Tinny poo poo'd my idea along with my stove. Now suddenly he's calling it a "must have". Whatever, the point is, it's great when you're by yourself but it's size is hard to deal with for things like pancakes. You have to keep cooking and eating one at a time and so forth. But at 4 ounces, its ok.Jan 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm #1565611
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I use the lid to a GSI Backpackers set (the same nForm mentioned up above). It is light, thin and more so: works well.
You want a super slick surface for best results. As well, for canister stoves a heat diffuser can work wonders on even heat. You can make diffusers out of pie plates even……
The one egg wonder does work but it is a small pan. It has thickness which does prevent burning though.Jan 23, 2010 at 3:36 pm #1565624
"REI has (or had, a couple years ago) a 6" corrugated aluminum heat disperser …"
Seems I've seen such an animal, but I can't find it now… I'll have to keep looking …Jan 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm #1565626
a 10 dollar GSI "Toaster" works just as well and can be dual use.Jan 23, 2010 at 5:36 pm #1565654
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
If you already have a pan that tends to burn you might try bringing along a can of sterno or equivalent. The flame pattern is weak and wobbly across a wide area. I think this makes up for whatever limitations a thin pan may have. I've cooked spam on uncoated AL pans with success because of the weak flame. The extra fuel does weigh a few ounces but it might be worth a shot.Jan 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm #1565657
""REI has (or had, a couple years ago) a 6" corrugated aluminum heat disperser …"
Seems I've seen such an animal, but I can't find it now… I'll have to keep looking"
Width – 8.25” diameter
Weight – 6.4 oz (with handle)
5.1 oz (without handle)Jan 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm #1565690
Nah, William–all those things are too heavy. I'll try to hit my Boulder REI tomorrow and see if those 2.6 oz. guys are still on the rack. If so, I'll post here and see if you want me to send you 1 or 2 of them. Thick aluminum foil/plate, as Sarah mentioned, should work OK, but these are the way to go.Jan 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm #1565705
"I'll try to hit my Boulder REI tomorrow and see if those 2.6 oz. guys are still on the rack"
Thanks. The closest REI to me is three hours away. Was there a couple days ago, but this wasn't on my radar.
I saw a design on Overstock.com (now outtastock) that looked like one or two layers of stainless window screen material in a metal frame. Looked like something a DIYer could build.Jan 23, 2010 at 9:32 pm #1565715
My suggestions only help if you can build a fire but:
Trout is best cooked wrapped in aluminum foil over some hot coals. Squeeze some lemon juice(if you like it) on the fish, wrap it up and check every few minutes for the eye balls to turn white(indicator that its done). The skin will be hard and will pull right off and you have little to no clean up.
I also fry bacon, country ham, potatos and make fritters on aluminum foil. Take a metal coat hanger and form it into a circle with the hook as a handle. Then put the aluminum foil folded over two or three times on the coat hanger by pinching it around the rim. Works great, is much lighter than a frying pan and cost almost nothing.
JosephJan 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm #1565722
I agree with Gary and Theron. One of the problems with LW canister stoves is the concentrated flame pattern. A lazy sterno (or, for that matter laminar alcohol stove) flame, or wood flame/charcoal heat works much better with these thin pots for heat distribution. A cat-can stove + fuel weigh very little. Wood (if it is possible where you hike) makes a nice ambiance too.Jan 24, 2010 at 5:17 am #1565741
"Kinda small at 4-3/4", but I've seen a couple of really positive reviews of a T-Fal "One Egg Wonder" fry pan."
I checked out the vids, and this looks like a cool solution for a soloist! I like it. I wonder how much that handle weighs …Jan 24, 2010 at 8:21 am #1565776
I don't have one (yet) so this is just me thinking aloud; but it seems like you could cut up the fish to fit the pan and just cook multiple batches. Multiple batches would require more fuel, but I very much doubt the weight of the extra fuel would come close to the extra weight of a larger skillet.
I'm also wondering about drilling out the rivets that keep the handle on and substituting something lighter. If you install the new handle with wing nuts, it would also be removable and require less pack space.
I don't remember the price Tinny quoted; but I recall thinking it was really inexpensive. Sounds like experiments are called for!!!
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