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Who received Christmas gifts for their T@b? I did not, but I did receive several Amazon gift cards, so, I sort of did receive gifts for my T@b for Christmas and I used mine to restock my T@b kitchen.
For some people, cooking and eating is a big part of the camping experience. Sitting around the campfire and sharing a meal is the first thing that pops into their heads. This is not the case for me for two reasons. First, I am the opposite of a foodie. Give me the plainest food you can find. Second, I am out and about too much to have camp life revolve around food.
Nonetheless, everyone needs to eat, right? I had been using a Texsport cookset of nesting cookware. It wasn’t bad, but I had melted a couple of the handles and I have read a few things about a link between aluminum and Alzheimers so I wanted to switch to stainless steel. I am not typically, a medical conspiracy theorist and I am not a doctor or scientist, but I had seen it mentioned enough to lead me to rethink my choice of Aluminum. If you know more about the aluminum issue than me and are comfortable with aluminum, this is a decent low cost cookset. The non-stick surface works great, other than the melted handles, it has held up well, and I always prefer nesting sets in the T@b for economy of space.
A couple of months, ago, I discovered that Stanley had launched of very reasonably priced camp stainless steel cookware, so I started reading and watching reviews of their various products. I was, overall, impressed with the reviews so I went on-line shopping.
Let’s Go Shopping
The first thing I ordered was the Stanley Adventure Two Pot Prep and Cook Set. It features 2 small stock pots, 2 bowls with lids, a cooking spoon and turner, and cutting board. The lids to the pot are vented and can be used to drain water. It is a nesting set, and the handle folds over the tops lid to keep everything together. The pots are made of stainless steel and the bowls of plastic. I have tried this set out a few times, at home and am very pleased with it. The weak spot is the plastic tab on top of the lids, which appears to be subject to melting, but is easily repaired by using a key ring. Some users have pre-emptively replaced that plastic tab. When I tried it, I thought the set cooked evenly and washed up easily. The plastic bowls with lids are very nice. They bowls are shallow enough to make them easy to use for both soups and chili as well as meats, dehydrated foods. This set would work OK if you overnight backpack, but if you are focused on ultralight backpacking, this will not pass the test, you will want to stick with titanium.
Keeping it Hot
I usually have the challenge of eating either an incredibly early or late dinner, because I am out shooting sunsets around dinner. I was looking for something that I could use to prepare my dinner before I left and keep it warm until I am done shooting and return to my car, before I drive back to the T@b or even in the morning, when I leave for the day. I ordered the Stanley Adventure Vacuum Insulated Food Jar because the reviews were very positive. It includes a small pot that you can cook that serves as an outer insulation layer, the inner vacuum jar, the stopper, which has a small storage compartment for things like salt and pepper, and the top, which can be used as a bowl. On the side a nice plastic spork is mounted. I tested it at home with potato soup and it kept the soup hot (steam visible) overnight. It has a really solid build.
Cream and Sugar?
Are you someone who can’t live without their coffee? I really enjoy an occasional good cup of coffee, but I no longer drink it every day. I have used a Moki Pot for the occasional cup and found it worked very well, but I really despise grounds in my coffee and I wasn’t able to get away from those with the Moki pot. I ordered the Stanley Adventure 32oz Coffee Press Cook + Brew. This is an awesome coffee press and it doubles as a camp pot! Zero grounds in my coffee! I did alter the coffee to water ratio because I prefer a stronger cup, before I water it down with cream and sugar, but it is an excellent press. I can make two of the oversized Starbucks coffee mugs full with the set. Goodbye, Moki Pot. If you are making more than 2 cups or need to also be able to take it with you, the Stanley Adventure Mountain Coffee System might be a better choice.
The next item seems to have been discontinued by Stanley, but you can still find them in stores and on-line. It’s the Stanley Adventure eCycle Nesting Food Containers. These are the best food storage containers I have ever owned. First, because they are not huge – they are actually rather small. Second, the lid creates the best seal I have ever seen for this style of food container. I would feel comfortable throwing these in my bag and not worry about leakage. I liked these so well that I asked for and received a second set for my birthday. These would be great for camping, sending to school with the kids (if you could trust them to bring them home) or just going out for the day. I love that they don’t take up a ton of space in the small T@b fridge.
I also ordered the Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set 24oz Stainless Steel to keep in my tow vehicle with a small Snow Peak camp stove. This gives me the flexibility to make a hot cup of hot chocolate or a quick, easy meal if I am somewhere longer than I intended or just need a quick warm-up. If I took it backpacking, I can cut down the weight by leaving a cup behind.
Lastly, I ordered what I consider to be an adult sippy cup. To help prevent unwanted spilling from either me or the pup unintentionally knocking over my cup and spilling it, I bought a tumbler that had a lid with a straw. It worked well until the straw broke. I will be honest, the shape, size, and color of these Stanley mugs are not my favorite, but at some point, practically wins the day. I do like that the will work for both hot and cold beverages. They come in groups of 4 and are relatively inexpensive. They can also be used as a bowl for a cup of soup or chili.
“Designer” Dinner Plates
In addition to my new cookware, last year, I designed my own plates, featuring map of Yellowstone. They are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. I use a lot of paper when boondocking, but occasionally, I pull out the “fine china” and it’s nice to have the plates match my décor.
After having the T@b for a couple of years now, I have a realistic understanding of how I will actually do things like cook and it really helped me make better informed choices for cookware and food storage. I started out with a huge set of food storage containers, all way too big for me. What do you use for your camp kitchen?