Bug Out Cookware
We all need to eat, right? During stressful times it becomes more important than most realize: food not only provides sustenance but increases your Positive Mental Attitude - especially warm, cooked meals. So one of the most fundamental items you need to have in your short-term and long-term emergency kits is cookware!
So what is the best Bug Out Cookware for your BOB or INCH Kits? Lets take a look at some options:
The first thing to consider is the fact that you may not be cooking on a stove-top the way you are used to. Campfire may be your only option - so you need to have gear that can stand up to a large area of heat. That means no plastic should be exposed to open flame - so much of the stuff you probably have in your kitchen may not work with an open fire. Inexpensive pots and pans will have plastic handles, and you cannot use metal utensils on Teflon (unless you want to ruin the pans and eat Teflon - yummy) so those options are out. Not to mention campfires will ruin the outside of your pots and pans, and therefore possibly your marriage (sorry hunny!)
You want to find durable cookware that can take a beating. That leaves us with basically the following options: stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, or titanium. Each have their own quirks:
- Stainless Steel: Easy to use, hard to clean outside, good for moderate heat
- Aluminum: Lightweight, heats quickly, not good for high temps
- Cast Iron: Heavy but very durable, can withstand direct contact with fire
- Titanium: Very light, tends to scorch foods, expensive.
Look into the different options out there - there are literally thousands! We've spent a lot of time cooking over camp fires and have landed on two that we use the most: stainless steel and cast iron.
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Lets start with the stainless steel items, since these are the ones which we use for our bug out cookware. We use three pieces in each bag: (1) MSR 775 ml Pot, (1) GSI Stainless Cup/Pot, and (1) GSI Stainless Plate. You can see them in the photo above cooking oatmeal and coffee from one of my solo adventures. Additionally a Guyot or Kleen Kanteen stainless steel water bottle comes along with us also.
The great thing about this little pot (the 775 ml is the size we use) is that you can cook in it and eat off it too. Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice when I'm out and about and my favorite way to make it is over a campfire.(I bring along dried fruit, coconut, walnuts, honey, and chocolate powder for the oatmeal - none of that needs to be refrigerated and lasts for weeks in and out of the pack.) It's also the right size for boiling water for a Mountain House freeze-dried meal.
The other item that comes along with us whenever we are outdoors is our GSI Stainless Steel Cup. Its the right size to make instant coffee in the morning (just mind you don't burn your lips, it can get hot) or tea, or for a quick lunch of rice or Ramen noodles. It also fits snugly into our H2O Pouches and inside the Guyot Bottles we use for water.
Speaking of the Guyot Bottle - that too can be used over a campfire - it can be used to boil and purify water. Make sure you remove the plastic cap before doing so, and consider making yourself some sort of bail handle for it. The GSI will also fit onto a 40 oz Kleen Kanteen Bottle.
There are a few more items you should have with you. The most important being a knife, fork and spoon. These you can grab from anywhere but if you want to get fancy with it, pick up and all-in-one like the Light My Fire Titanium Spork. A little awkward to eat with but its small and has everything you need in one spot.
NOTE: Be mindful of using your working knife for food purposes. There is a possibility of bacteriological contamination. Keep one knife dedicated to food prep.
Now cast iron pots and pans are not coming with you in a bug out cookware kit. They are just too darn heavy. However they can come with you for longer-term or camping outings - and if you are bugging out with a vehicle it's not a bad idea to consider having some cast iron around. Why? Well it's indestructible for one. Two: you can cook directly on hot coals if need be. Three: once they are seasoned they become non-stick and can be mostly cleaned without water.
Cast iron has been around for a long time and it's extremely versatile. It not only helps cook your food, but gives you a workout while doing so (did I mention its heavy?) Cast iron is available from nearly every outdoors shop, grandma's kitchen, or online from Amazon. We like the Lodge sets, and we cook on them everyday at home.
Consider it for your plan B. Or at least for use if the power goes out and you need to start cooking on the grill or open fire. It takes time to season them so start using them now and build up that nice patina so nothing will stick to them - by the way, they are easiest to clean while still hot, so don't let dirty pans sit around.
Now I'm off to eat - all this writing about cooking made me hungry!