May 27, 2011 at 6:24 am #1274489
We will be at the Blue Ridge Mountain Scout Reservation on the "High Knoll Trail" this summer. There are 12 total (3 adults, 9 boys) in our patrol.
I'm trying to settle on cooking equipment for our trek. And I would like your advice.
I own a jetboil PCS (1 liter). My mate (another dad on the trek) owns an MSR reactor (1.7 liters). Could we use that as a core — get one more jetboil (e.g., the larger helios with a 2 or 3 liter pot). Plus maybe get the larger pot to go along with the Reactor (2.5 liters). And with this (3 stoves, multiple boiling containers ranging from 1 to 3 liters) have enough cooking capacity for 12 (rehydrating and cleaning only — no real cooking)?
Is there argument for a different type of stove altogether? How would you calculate number of stoves needed? Number and volume of pots needed? etc.
all advice welcomed!May 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm #1742315
@markrvpLocale: North Texas
I posted a similar query earlier this year and was told to order some meals from Philmont to practice with. I have done this as well as bought retail Mountain House dehydrated meal packs. I've also used Oatmeal cooked in freezer bags. I taught our troop how to use the freezer bag method of cooking which requires NO water for cleaning… we simply throw away the dirty freezer bags. Spoons are licked clean and boiled at the next meal to sterilize them. This saves time, water, and fuel and lets us get away with smaller pots.
How are you going to rehydrate your food? In freezer bags? In a turkey bag? or were you planning to throw the food in the pots with the boiling water? This will directly affect the size pots you need to take.
For the sake of discussion, let's assume you will be rehydrating in freezer bags and won't need water to clean with:
Mountain House Retail Packs and Philmont meals usually require 3/4 to 1 cup of water per person. In a 12 person crew you would need up to 12 cups of water to rehydrate 1 entree for the whole crew. This is 3 quarts. You could conceivably get by with one stove and one 4 qt pot. Another more popular option is to use 2 stoves and two 2-3 qt pots. Instant oatmeal requires 1/2 cup boiling water per person so a crew of 12 would need 6 cups which is 1.5 quarts… only 1 stove with 1 2-qt pot would be needed to prepare oatmeal.
Now, if you don't use freezer bags to rehydrate in and eat out of then you will need hot water to wash bowls/plates. At Philmont, they teach using a 10qt pot to boil all the water for the meal and then tossing all the rehydrateable food in that pot. Then they have you use a separate 4qt pot to boil water to wash the pot and all the bowls and spoons. You can bypass cleaning a large pot by rehydrating in a turkey bag and serving the food out of that. Then you only have to clean the individual bowls/spoons and the serving spoon.
My recommendation is to at least TRY the freezer bag method of rehydrating with your Scouts. The scouts in my troop absolutely LOVED this method. If you do this, then you can get by with the MSR Reactor with the 2.5L pot and the Helios stove with a 2 or 3 liter pot. Our crew is currently using a Reactor stove with a 2.5L pot and an MSR Windpro stove with a 2qt pot. This is sufficient to provide enough hot water for a 12-person crew.May 29, 2011 at 6:32 am #1742405
Thanks for your very thoughtful response. (Btw, you might be interested to read a similar thread in "Gear" that I started . . . I came over to scouts after someone recommended it. FYI.)
But listen — help me on freezer bag method. We are a "turkey bag" troop. When you use freezer bags, do you do share two meals per bag (and eat from the same bag)? Do you divide up the dry food into individual portions before rehydrating?
You also cause me to realize that I am missing one critical piece of info from High Knoll — and that is whether each dinner is one entree only — or whether there are also side dishes that need rehydrating . . . in which case I'll need potentially double or triple the number of bags (whether turkey or freezer or otherwise). I'll look into that question — curious if you have a strong hypothesis?
Thanks again.May 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm #1742526
@markrvpLocale: North Texas
On our last campout we tried rehydrating a 2-person meal in one bag and then sharing. Then we divided the dry ingredients into 2 separate freezer bags and rehydrating that way. The boys seemed to like the second way better. Each boy took enough freezer bags to have one per meal with a couple extras "just in case." It's fairly easy to divide by holding both empty freezer bags together and pouring dry ingredients into each a little at a time. Since you can see how much each bag has in it, it's easy to tell when they have equal amounts.
On the meals we got from Philmont, most only had one entree that needed rehydrating. One of the meals also had an apple cobbler dessert that needed rehydrating. We did that one in fewer bags and all ate out of it (we were tired). However, if you have an entree with a side of peas, corn, or something else, you can always mix the dry ingredients together like a stew and rehydrate in one turkey bag. It may not be great, but it's easier.
Even cooking in turkey bags, I would still use the Reactor with 2.5l pot and the Helios with 2 or 3 liter pot. After you boil water to rehydrate, then boil some more to clean with while the food is rehydrating.
I hope this helps.
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