Two Islands – UK & IOM: Cooking & Food

Posted on Jul 12, 2015 in Cooking, Nutrition

This is the meal set up we used for the Isle of Man trip.  For additional details about this trip, check out this project.

Dinner is Almost Ready - photo - Rob Vandermark

The camp meals are getting pretty good, I have to say.  Once we arrive at camp, from unpacking to getting water to boil takes less than 10 minutes.

Cooking System

Total weight of the current set up – not including fuel – is 150 grams, 5.3 ounces.

  • Stove:  Vargo titanium multi-fuel.  34 grams.  The only thing this isn’t particularly good at is burning wood; it works but it’s kind of short.  It has prongs so I can stick it into the ground so it won’t move at all.
  • Wind shield and heat containment.  Aluminum folding, 38 grams.  I think this actually help water heat a lot faster.
  • Matches:  Waterproof.  I carry two packs and keep them separate and double wrapped in plastic bags.  The matches may be waterproof but the striking surfaces are useless if they get damp or wet.  I used to carry flint stones as backups but I’ve never had to use them so I stopped carrying them.  ~30 grams.
  • Fuel:  I’ve really become partial to gel packs.  I’ve tried just about every flame method and these work best for me.  Each pack boils about 8 cups at sea level; it’ll burn for about 13 minutes.  Each pack weighs 35 grams.  I brought 8 packs.  It doesn’t smell, it’s extremely stable, you can travel with it on a plane.
  • Fire starters:  I carry a few wicks and bars to help get a wood fire going if the wood is wet.  I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to have an open fire anywhere on the island; I brought them just in case.  It turned out that there was no way were were going to have an open fire.  ~ 50 grams.

Cooking Equipment

  • Cook Pot:  One aluminum pot that holds about 6 cups of water, with one plastic lid that’s starting to melt.
  • Four bowls
  • Two cups
  • Three utensils
  • Soap


  • Meal packs:  We had a half dozen meal packs and we picked up a few more while were were in the UK.  For the first time we tried ‘wet’ packs, too, and these tasted significantly better than the standard freeze-dried packs we typically use.  However, the wet packs are about 3x heavier for a given calorie density.  We ate some breakfasts and dinners at the camp.  We were always riding during lunch.  We also had breakfast and dinner at restaurants a few times, too.
  • Salt:  We carry spicy salt with us.  It’s the best.
  • Food:  We spent a lot of time searching for food that we could cook and prepare at the camp.  There was only one store within about 10-miles of our campsite.  We used the Drake Cake Equation to determine how much food to get, and when.

New Items and Tests:

  • Fewer cookware items:  We’ve whittled the system down to 1 cook pot, 1 pot lid, 4 bowls, 2 cups, and three utensils.  That’s about as minimal as we can get.  Aside from the cook pot everything is plastic or rubber.

Improvements for the next trip:

  • Try more wet meal packs.
  • Get more creative with the freeze-dried meals.
  • Eat more meals at camp.

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