The Ultralight Trail Baker:

posted in: Backpacking, Cooking, Food, Hiking, Hunting | 0

You can make a baking stand (‘The Flashbaker’) – for cook pot baking – out of aluminium flashing which weighs 8 grams.  You just need to cut a circle a little smaller than your pot and leave three approx 1 ½” ‘legs’ on the outside of the disc which you fold down to support whatever you are cooking. (OK, this one has four legs!) This works well with a thick dough. I have often made ‘damper’ in my cook pot with such an arrangement. My original flashing ‘baker’ (below) weighs 13.5 grams.

L to R: Snowpeak 1400 ml Titanium Cook pot Frypan Lid, Brasslite Turbo 1D Stove, Brasslite Traillbaker, ‘Flashbaker’,  Evernew Titanium Sierra Cup, Snowpeak 1400 ml Titanium Cook Pot

Or you can also buy Brasslite’s excellent ‘Trailbaker’ here: http://brasslite.com/products/brasslite-trailbaker/ which weighs 50.5 grams. You can make a suspension system for an Evernew Titanium Sierra Cup (Weight 63.5 grams) which does the same thing – and doubles as a cup (Remember the ‘Hot Lips’ though: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hot-lips/). Some titanium windscreen material (if it had enough holes in it) or lightweight weldmesh rolled into a cylinder ends joined with a paper clip ( or hooked – see below) will ‘do the trick’ or a circle of thin wire with three attached hooks for suspension from the top of the billy, if you prefer.

The advantage of using the Sierra cup is that you would substitute it for your usual plastic cup (an addition of around 35 grams  including the weldmesh) but you get a third cooking receptacle this way – as well as the ‘Baker’ feature. This is sometimes useful when you want a little more diversity in your hiking meals (eg you can have a main, plus peas, plus mash) and you are traveling alone, as I so often do, often for many days at a time without resupply and sometimes a hundred kilometres from any road or track.

I gave up cooking ‘bread’ on the trail around ten years ago – just got so many other recipes happening I guess, and was finding it a bit tedious, especially due to advancing arthritis. Also messy prep and messy clean-up – and I have given up bread even at home for health reasons. I find these things good for: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/lunch-on-the-trail/ Of course another alternative is ‘Johnny Cakes’ or ‘fried scones’ – a great colonial Australian favourite, and a favourite with me for many years too! Or, you can cook ‘bannock’ on a stick.

The ‘Flashbaker’ just goes in your normal cook pot. This is all you need (except for a simmer stove. I use these: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/alcohol-simmer-stoves/) You don’t need two pots at all, one inside the other. Of course this only worked with a stiff dough which sits on the baking disc or stand. If you want to bake a cake, or something with a runny dough, you will need something like the Trailbaker or Sierra Cup (above)

PS: Use a wad punch to make the baking disc even lighter. I figure you could take off at least 1/3 of its weight to bring it down to say 8 grams! Or you could make the baking disc (The Meshbaker’) out of 1 cm stainless steel weld mesh. The holes would distribute the heat better too when baking bread.

I only ever baked bread (or ‘damper’) usually to use for my lunch the next day, along with eg a sachet of tuna or some peanut butter. It is actually just as easy (and quicker) to make ‘Johnny Cakes’ or ‘Bannock’, maybe even in the traditional way: on a stick! More about them, later…and my scone/damper recipes!

PS: You can use a Supercat stove and an esbit for baking: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/supercat-hiking-stove/ Works well.

PPS: You will find that the http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-egg-ring-ultralight-wood-burner-stove/ is very useful for baking. You can use it to adjust the height of your cook pot over your burner, or if you are baking with a fire, you can rake a few hot cols out of the fire every so often to keep your cook pot at just the right temperature.

Leave a Reply