My other problem with the penny stove was -- believe it or not -- the light weight! A normal "camp stove" has some mass to it, and you can set it
on the ground and it's pretty stable, but this stove is so light it was hard to get it to set right in the grass so we could cook. I ended up
setting it inside the frying pan of my mess kit, so it had a flat, even surface to set on. A large flat rock or something could work as well.
The mess kit I bought left some to be desired as well. Definitely high on my list of items for our next outing is a decent packable set of pots/pans.
Stay away from anything resembling
. The frying pan could be useful I suppose for frying up game you've caught but cleaning is a major PITA unless you've got some oil to
cook with. 80% of what you'll use a stove for is boiling water or heating up other liquids. This kit has a small saucepot but the handle on it
sucks, water spills everywhere when you try to pick it up. It's lightweight but a sturdier pot is more desirable, IMO, despite the additional
would be much better, with handles on the sides of each pot, rather than a pivoting handle that goes across the top. Plus the non-stick surface would
be a bonus too.
The Mountain House meal was GREAT. Quite possibly the best meal I've eaten while camping. A nice, hot chicken noodle soup in this weather was
absolutely delicious. The package says two servings but for a hungry hiker I'd say it's a single serving. Great product though. Boil two cups of
water, pour into the bag, seal it shut and it's ready to eat in 8 minutes. The packages (bag meals) are supposed to last seven years, if you buy the
larger meals in cans they're supposed to last for 25 years! The "2-serving" bags can be purchased at Wal-mart or almost anyplace that sells
camping stuff for about $8 each. The nice thing about the bag is when you're done, just throw the bag on your fire and no clean-up!
We talked around the fire for a bit and decided to hit the sack. By this time the snow is coming down pretty hard, wind has kicked up slightly but
not too bad.
The sleeping bags worked OK. According to weather.com on my phone (yes it actually worked out here!) the temp was 4*F that night. We were both too
chicken to get undressed before climbing in the sleeping bag so we slept in our coveralls. Despite the 0*F rating on these bags we were COLD. I
discovered later that sleeping in heavy clothes like that is actually worse than stripping down to your skivvies before climbing in your bag. In
clothes, you're warm for the first 30 minutes or so, then you sweat, and you get cold as hell after that. Lesson learned. It was a long night.
By morning there's 5" of snow on the ground and the wind is blowing fierce. Still snowing pretty hard. We head straight for the blind and hang
there for an hour or two, not a deer in sight. Apparently we were the only ones dumb enough to be out in this weather. Deer tend to bed down in
extreme cold like this, but I was hoping we'd see at least one come out and nose around for food. No such luck.
Lunchtime -- MRE's. Frozen solid. Canteens -- frozen solid. Unfortunately MRE heaters don't put out enough heat to warm up a frozen entre.
Defrosted, yes, but definitely not hot. The canteens we use are standard GI canteens with cover, cup, etc. Used the cups in our canteens to melt
some snow over the penny stove for a drink.
Continued . . .