My Cook Kit

| March 30, 2010

Here is a blow-by-blow description of my cook kit.  I’ve developed this over many years and it is definitely geared towards melting lots of snow and cooking simple meals which don’t require simmering.

Click to enlarge

  1. 9″ x 9″ cotton cloth for general clean up
  2. 6″ x 6″ faux chamois for wiping down tent condensation
  3. Scrunge – cut in half
  4. MSR XGK stove – the heart of the system
  5. Backpackers Pantry Pot Cozy
  6. Seasoned Salt
  7. Tea/pube strainer
  8. MSR windscreen
  9. MSR XGK pump
  10. MSR Spondonical (pot grabber)
  11. Snow Peak titanium Spork
  12. Bamboo pot scraper
  13. REI 3 liter aluminum pot – black
  14. Stove board (wood with aluminum foil)
  15. MSR heat exchanger (for anything over 3 days)
  16. Pot liner (home made – pack cloth)
  17. 33oz/1 liter fuel bottle with cap and stickers covering the word “fuel”
  18. Bic lighters (not shown – don’t fly with them in your kit!)

Everything except the fuel bottle and stove board fits inside the pot, which in turn has a little stuff sack to keep it all together.


  • The heat exchanger needs a wire “extender” to fit around the 3 liter pot
  • I’ve heard the Pot Cozies are next to impossible to find nowadays
  • I use the pot liner to hold all of the cook kit while the pot is in use – this keeps stuff from getting lost
  • The little tea strainer works well as a crude filter when you are melting dirty snow
  • My water melting set-up is shown in this previous posting

Help support and flame-on with a MSR XGK EX Multi-Fuel Stove from Click on the photo below…

Category: 02 Gear

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (9)

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  1. Steven says:

    Any idea where to buy the Bamboo pot scraper?

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Steven – I think I got mine at REI and they were something like $.99, which makes it very worthwhile.

  3. David says:

    I think you can still find those pot cozies, at least as part of the Outback Oven kit. I found just a cozy back in January.

    I keep waiting for a friend to buy one of those new Primus (?) pots w/ the integrated heat exchangers on the base, so I can check their worthiness.

  4. Bob says:

    “7. Tea/pube strainer”

    I laughed.

  5. tucker says:

    hey andrew – i’m curious about the pump . . . it looks like it’s different than the pump that comes standard with the xgk. reading the description on, it looks like it might have a valve that helps with simmering? is that right?

  6. Andrew says:

    Hi Tucker – I use the pump that came with the XGK, which is about 2-3 years old, so as far as I know, it is just the standard pump. I have had some luck getting the XGK to simmer by adjusting the tank pressure. To do this, you start with a cold stove (you have to know you are going to simmer, like cooking a pancake), then unscrew the pump assembly to let all of the tank pressure off. Next, instead of giving it 10-20 pumps, just start with 2-3 and get the stove lit up. When there is less tank pressure, the dial valve isn’t as sensitive so you have more latitude in adjusting the flame. If the flame starts to fade, give the pump another stroke or two, then wait a minute or so – usually the flame will come back up to simmering levels.

  7. Andrew says:

    Hi David – exactly, those pot cozies were part of the Outback Oven kit and you use to be able to order them directly from the company as a spare part, or buy them at a few random stores. My original one worked great for about five years, then one day something happened and it started smoldering and gassed out the tent, so it got pitched. I guess they have a life span to them, so I hope they are still around as I only have two of them left.

  8. John says:

    You mention not putting the lighter in your kit for flying. How do you get your stove and fuel on the plane? I’ve had problems before with them finding my stove even without fuel (just fuel residue, I guess).

  9. Andrew says:

    Hi John – I thoroughly wash my fuel bottles out and deodorize them with something like vinegar or detergent. When I pack them, I use a screw-on cap and keep it tight. I also separate the stove from the fuel bottles in my bags so they are not an apparent item. If I’m going somewhere where I know I won’t be able to get another fuel bottle, I’ll rinse it out REALLY well, place some stickers over choice words and carry it on with me as a water bottle. At least that way you have some chance of debating and/or proving that it really is a water bottle instead of just getting to some obscure location and finding one of those TSA notices saying they took some items. If it is somewhere like Anchorage, you can always stop by and get another bottle at the REI or where ever, but if you are counting it to a trip to somewhere like the Artic circle, you really need to know whether or not it is going to be there.

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