Nothing much has been happening for us in the past two years in terms of advancing our Polar ambitions. However, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel: it looks like we’re finally set to go to Norway for some easy camping and skiing on Hardangervidda at the beginning of April. So it’s time to dust off and inspect our kit and to revisit a project I started two years ago, but then never actually tackled: building a better cooking tray for us. ‘Better’ in that sentence can be directly translated to ‘lighter’ since the functionality of a cooking tray is quite limited, but before I dive into the details, let’s start with what a cooking tray is and why you would want one.
We’re slowly coming out of the pandemic-induced hibernation. Lauren and I still can’t meet because of Travel restrictions, but I can at least go on trekking trips again. If you’ve read a bit of the blog already, you know I’m a gram-counter, so for this year I thought about my cooking setup and how to make it lighter. I’ve written about my default setup before, which is the Alpkit Kraku, Mytimug 650ml and a 100g gas cartridge. So these are the specs to beat.
One of the things we looked at in some detail early on in our polar training was our food. Making sure that you get enough calories in, and a good selection of fats, carbs and protein to boot, is a major challenge when you’re trying to cut weight down as much as possible. You need to find food that’s hugely calorie dense, as you’re aiming to eat up to 6000 calories every day! Add to that wanting something you can face eating a for weeks at a time, and it becomes pretty tricky.
Expedition Foods are based in the UK and are providing a wide-range of freeze-dried meals. They were kind enough to provide us with free samples, and I finally got around actually eating it. Huge thanks to Mary from Expedition Foods, who got us the samples, and sorry it took us so long to give feedback!
When camping out for a night, there’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee in the morning or a warm meal in the evening. Even on a single day trip, you may want to have a warm lunch or an afternoon tea. Unfortunately, a cooking kit takes up quite a lot of weight and space speaking in ultralight terms. Carrying an extra 700g or more for just a cup of tea or a single meal seems unreasonable. Luckily there is a solution for those of us who can’t live without anything warm in their bellies. Here’s what I use.