The Vålådalen excursion undertaken by the Nordic Lightpackers was, as has been described, soggy. Temperatures where not in the region that would make anyone eager for loitering in their swimming trunks. That kind of weather emphasizes the need for fuel. Food, grub, chow is really the fulcrum around which our lives turn. That is more than obvious when you are hiking and using up quite a bit of calories. Here is a look at my kitchen for that particular trip. It is pretty austere and some of my fellow hikers were more innovative not to mention culinary. But they have to speak for themselves.
By Jörgen Johansson
Starting with the stove, my choice can be seen above. For some years I have been hooked on the convenience of gas canister stoves and have used the Primus Micron during that period. Weighing 95 grams it used to be ligth, and in fact still is. At least in my opinon, since the lightest comparable stoves would only be around 30 grams lighter. Of course, if I bought a new stove today I would by one of the lightest right now. But I am quite satisfied with this stove and have no plans for radical change.
The biggest advantage with the canister stove is convencience. I often cook in my tent, if bugs and rain do not encourage eating out. There it is perfect. The Piezo igniter makes it just dandy to take breaks in the cooking and to reheat your meal of coffee or whatever. It is also very quick, which really is of no importance when you are hiking solo, but can be an advantage when you are tired and want something hot ASAP. I use 25 grams of gas every day in summer and 75 grams in winter. Same stove works down to at least -20 C if you keep the canister in your pocket or in your sleeping bag.
On top of the canister there is a Primus windscreen attached. Primus wanted me to give it a try and I will. Unfortunately there was almost no wind while we did our cooking on this trip, so I cannot really say much except that it is twice as heavy as my old falling-to-pieces titanium foil windscreen from BPL. It is also less crackly in the pack and a lot easier to pack, since it fits around the canister if you invert it.
The bowl which, as can be seen on the photo, doubled as pot lid is one of my favourites simply because it is light (17 grams), incredibly sturdy and free. It is bowl from a ready made frozen soup meal. This means it will handle temperatures from -18 C too +100 C. It can be crushed and manhandled in the pack like you would not believe and still do its job.
The spoon I used was wooden and I have made it myself, so it will win no prices at any designers convention. Hence no photos. The advantages are that it is environment friendly, very sturdy and also light and cheap. Plastic spoons are fine, but the plastic tends to age and break seemingly without reason after a couple of years. At least I hope they are not made to self destruct. I also have a couple of titanium spoons that do not break but I feel that they are ridiculously expensive and probably leaves a terrible carbon footprint. In deep winter, as I discovered in Sarek a couple of months ago when I could not find my wooden spoon, they are surprisingly cold to the touch and the metal chills your fingers through the gloves even if the other end is shoveling hot food.
That was the hardware. The software differs slightly and will no doubt continue to do so as long as I find new and tasty solutions. This is my current winter menu, used in Sarek and also used now in Vålådalen.
-Lunch. One bag of Real Turmat freeze dried. In summer only freeze dried every third day. The others are usually powdered potatoes and dried meat or beer sausage.
-Three o'clock coffee (it is compulsory for Swedes). 25 grams of hard cheese rolled up in a soft tortilla. 25 grams of 'beer sausage' rolled up in a soft tortilla. 2 Maryland cookies.
-Dinner. One bag of Real Turmat. In summer replaced by a package of noodles.
Snacks during the day are 100 grams of milk chocolate, 100 grams of hazel nuts and 50 grams of rainsins. I stop every hour for a cup of water and some snacks. In summer I replace the Real Turmat dinner with noodles, which puts me back around 300 kcal. The mashed potatoes and dried meat are about equal to the freeze dried meals.
It all adds up to around 3500-4000 kcal per day, which is enough to keep me from either loosing or gaining weight even during hikes of 2-3 weeks and 12 hours of walking. The weight is 800-900 grams. It would not have been enough to keep me fed in my younger days, so food is very much a question of trial and error and constant tweaking. This is just my current menu. It will probably change without warning.
Comments in English below and in Swedish at Utsidan.se here
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