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making breakfast with RUCAS

If there was a lesson to be learned this morning it's practice makes perfect. It's not enough to boil some water with a new piece of kit. It means making some food, purifying some water, making camp and testing your skills and the systems you are going to depend on.

And here is why...

Here is my cook kit minus my long spoon. It's a RUCAS alcohol stove and a stanley pot.

The complete setup... minus the spoon. Making biscuits and gravy.

I tested a homemade windscreen as recommended. Either my tinfoil was inferior or the stove was too hot. The foil burned.

I cannot be 100% certain but I think the tab melted. There is a small ratchet in the tab that I did not notice when I started. I'm just not sure; upon close examination it's wonky.

I've boiled a few cups with this stove but the windscreen did something to the heat pattern that it stained my table. I suppose I could have started a fire if I had not been watching. On the trail this could be a very bad outcome.

The biscuits required 1 3/4 cups of water. The pot was in ml and oz so knowing that 8oz to a cup is important. More importantly the pot was so hot that as I was pouring the water into the meal bag the water hissed and spit. Clearly the top of the pot had retained some heat. This could have ended up in a 3rd degree burn on the trail.

Pouring the super heated water into the pouch was a trick. I had to hold the pouch open. Pour the water. Not scold myself and then hold the pouch and stir. I should have made a cozy or pouch from reflectix.

While I did not have any instant coffee I should have boiled a little extra water for coffee for more practice.

At this point the water is in the pouch. The water and food have been mixed. I'm just waiting for the stove to cool.

I tried using the bandanna to insulate my fingers but it's synthetic and slippery. So it's good to clean or dry my kit and kinda hold the bag. Not much more than that. I need to add a scraper and sponge to my kit in addition to the cozy.

Finally I learned a few other things.

  • keeping everything clean in order to prevent disease is non trivial. If I had made the meal from scratch or in my pot I would have a lot of cleanup before the next meal. Meaning, using my pot for water made the most sense and I won't try anything else.
  • While I'm waiting for the meal to steep I really wanted to cleanup my kitchen. The stove was super-hot so I had to wait. But even after it cooled I could not put my kitchen away. Unfortunately for me I still needed to put my spoon away.

So I added an s-biner to my spoon to clip onto the outside of the pack. Or I might clip it somewhere else but more accessible. But I'll not likely carry it inside my cook kit.

I might also take this cup, or one like it, with me. This is likely to be the last thing I drink from before continuing on. It also means I can have a coffee while breaking camp and not have to be concerned that my kitchen is not packed. There are pictures or drawings of wanderers with pots and pans on the outside of their bindle.

UPDATE and a few more things to learn...

  • 1/2oz of alcohol did not boil a cup of water
  • once the flame is out the stove is still hot and therefore may still vaporize meaning that the jets might reignite instead of the typical cool-preignition state
  • my bandanna is 100% cotton but still slippery and maybe black is not a good color if I need to see if it's clean so that I don't get germs.
  • having a second spoon in the cook kit might be a good idea but then that's just one more thing to clean or keep clean.
  • Read the instructions carefully. This egg and bacon breakfast is awful. Possibly because I'm supposed to drain the excess water or could it be that I need more bacon
  • Using the stanley pot instead of my tin cup [a] measuring marks [b] the handle is longer [c] the bot is taller and so the handle is away from the open flame
  • The reason the pot spits is because the flames from the stove extend up the side of the pot increasing the area of the heat transfer. This is goof for a fast boil but bad when you don't need that much hot water. The bottom of the pot is cooler because the heat has been absorbed by the liquid... and so it spits when pouring.
  • The s-biner on the spoon is a pain. Put it on the thing it is attached to

I thought this spoon was going to be a good idea.  It's not. While it has the reach of the toaks and does not absorb or transfer heat it more than makes up for it with nooks and cranneys. The spoon an fork connect like a transformer but while stirring a meal food can get trapped in the grooves. Takes more time and water to clean.

Maybe there is some wisdom to cooking and eating away from where you sleep. The obvious benefit is that you do not track smells that attract animals. But more importantly you should be focused on that one task. The food, the fire, cleanup etc. This way you do not walk away from the fire leaving it or your meal unattended whether the consequence is a forest fire or attracting animals. Localize and focus on the task.


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