I’ve never been one to pack light. Even on trips into the backcountry, I load my bag until I can barely hoist it onto my back. But, hiking and camping just got a whole lot heavier with a baby in tow. Left with no choice, I’m slowly replacing my heavy and bulky gear with lightweight alternatives. While I’ll probably never be a true ultralight camper, I’m glad there are lighter options so I can continue enjoying the backcountry with my kid.
Recently, I managed to shed 2 pounds off my gear by replacing my camp cookware. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest places to start. In this post, I’ll show you what I used to carry, how much it weighed, and my new ultralight kitchen setup. Who knows, maybe this will inspire you to lighten up your own pack!
Original: Primus Classic Trail Stove
Weight: 6.9oz (195.6g)
I really like cooking on this Primus stove. I’ve had it for many years and it has not failed me yet. It’s durable (no folding parts), sturdy, and you can easily adjust the intensity of the heat. But, it’s heavy and bulky!
New: BRS-3000T Ultralight Stove
Weight: 0.9oz (25g)
The BRS-3000T is one of the lightest canister stoves on the market. It packs up super small and it’s cheap! Despite the folding parts and light weight, it’s surprisingly sturdy. I can adjust the intensity of the flame, but heat control is not as good as my Primus stove.
Both the Primus classic trail stove and the BRS-3000T perform poorly in windy conditions. When using them in inclement weather, you really have to get out of the wind.
Original: Light My Fire Spork
Weight: 0.32oz (9g)
This spork is actually lighter than my replacement. I’m replacing it because it bends too easily. I do, however, like that it doesn’t scratch up the non-stick coating on my cooking pot.
New: Toaks Titanium Spork
Weight: 0.4oz (11g)
The Toaks titanium spork is my slightly heavier, but much sturdier replacement. This thing isn’t going to bend while preparing food, but it is likely to scratch pots.
Original: Primus Litech Trek Kettle – 1L
Weight: 10.4oz (285g)
I’ve been using this aluminum pot for years and the non-stick coating is still going strong. In fact, the pot is almost like new. I really like the insulated handle which never gets hot.
My only problem is the lid. It’s supposed to double as a cover and a frying pan, but it fits poorly and is too small to be an effective frying pan. I’ve fried a single egg on it, but that’s about the extent of its usefulness.
New: Toaks Titanium Pot – 650ml
Weight: 2.8oz (79.4g)
This Toaks pot is made of titanium and is surprisingly light. Unfortunately, the handle isn’t insulated and it gets hot. If you’re considering a titanium pot, know that it’s not great for cooking in. Food sticks to titanium, especially if it overheats or burns. That’s likely to happen as titanium pots are thin and heat up fast. Constant stirring is a must! I’ll use this pot on trips where I’m boiling water, eating soups, and rehydrating meals.
Plate / Bowl
Original: MSR Deep Dish
Weight: 2.7oz (76.5g)
It’s a dish and it’s a bowl! While it’s nice to have something that can do double duty, it’s a real pain to fit into a backpack. It’s an awkward shape and nothing nestles into it well.
New: Fozzils Snapfold Bowlz
Weight: 1.4oz (40g)
Snapfold bowlz are light, non-stick, and collapsible. They are made from polypropylene and lay flat. When you want to use them, you fold along the creases and snap them together. There are a number of designs – bowls, plates, and cups. It’s like functional origami! Snapfold products are not insulated. You have to let hot food and drinks cool down a bit, or you risk burning your fingers.
Original: Morakniv 4.1 Inch Blade
Weight: 4.1oz (110g)
I used to think that having a fixed blade knife was essential for backcountry trips, but I’m not convinced anymore. The Mora is a great bushcraft knife that’s perfect for batoning wood, making feathersticks, and prepping food. But, not every trip calls for a campfire or extensive food prep and, in those situations, this 4-inch blade starts to feel like overkill.
New: The Gerber Dime Multi-Tool
Weight: 2.2oz (62g)
This multi-tool is super compact. It has a small knife that is perfect for simple tasks, like cutting cordage or opening food packages. It’s no good if you’re preparing a backcountry feast, but otherwise, it works just fine.
The best part is, it’s part of my repair kit. The Gerber dime has two screwdriver heads, scissors, a file, spring-loaded pliers, wire cutters, tweezers, and a knife.
Original: Katadyn Vario Filter
Weight: 15oz (425g)
I cannot believe how long I carried this water filter into the backcountry. It’s so bulky and so heavy and I’m only ever using it for myself or one other person. This thing is awesome for groups, but outrageous for one or two people.
New: Katadyn BeFree
Weight: 2.24oz (63.5g)
I love this filter so much that I’ve written an entire review of it here. To summarize, it’s a soft water bladder with a screw-on cap attached to a filter. It’s so easy to use. You just scoop up the water and drink directly from the cap. If you’re filtering water for someone else, just squeeze the contents into another vessel.
Original: BIC Lighter and Light My Fire Scout Firesteel
Weight: 1.34oz (38g) and 0.9oz (25.5g)
I used to carry a firesteel as a backup igniter. Firesteels are great because they last a long time and you don’t have to worry about them getting wet. That said, they can be tricky to use if you’re not familiar with them. In an emergency, an inexperienced camping buddy relying on a firesteel could get dicey.
New: BIC Mini + UCO Stormproof Matches
Weight: 0.5oz (14.2g) and 0.4oz (11.3g)
I replaced my firesteel with storm matches. They’re water and wind resistant and much easier to use. I also replaced my BIC lighter with a BIC mini. The mini will last around 530 – 2,200 lights depending how long you keep the flame going.
Original: Knitted Dishcloth x2
Weight: 2.5oz (70.9g)
I’ve never carried any camp-specific dishcloths or towels. Instead, I’ve just thrown whatever I use at home in my bag.
New: Lightload Towels 30x60cm
Weight: 0.55oz (15.6g)
Lightload towels come compressed into a small package. When you add water, the towels expand. They’re a bit unnecessary, but on trips where I’m really trying to reduce bulk, I’m going to use them! I plan to cut one in half for washing and drying dishes.
Original / New: MSR IsoPro Fuel 3.9oz
Weight: 7.4oz (211g)
No changes when it comes to canister fuel. An 8oz MSR IsoPro fuel canister weighs 13.3oz (378g).
Overall Weight Savings
Original: 51.56oz (1461.37g / 3.22lbs)
New: 18.79oz (532.39g / 1.17lbs)
Total Weight Savings: 32.77oz (928.98g / 2.05lbs)
I managed to shed 2 pounds and a bunch of bulk off my gear by switching to an ultralight kitchen! This may not seem like much, but it’s going to make a big difference.
Mix and Match
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that going lightweight has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m going to start mix and matching my gear depending on the camping situation. When I’m camping alone or with my kid, I’ll go for the lightest options. If I’m planning to cook, instead of just rehydrating meals, I’ll use some of my old gear. In the end, it’s all about finding the right balance between weight and functionality.
I’ll be sure to update this post in the future with more details about how this lightweight gear is holding up. Right now, it’s too early to make a fair assessment.
If you ever replace your gear and want to get rid of older items, I recommend donating them to gear libraries like the Free Ottawa Gear Library. It’s a great way to help out others and reduce waste!
Leave your suggestions for ultralight kitchen cookware in the comments section.