Dehydrated backpacking food has been a surprise and a revelation to me in recent years. It’s so easy and it tastes so good!
Still, it does have a really high salt content and fresh veggies are so much a part of my daily diet at home that after a couple of days of “just add water,” I’m generally craving “real food”.
Friends laugh at me when they see me lugging zucchini, green beans, and other fresh food in my pack and wonder why I’m willing to put up with the extra weight.
I’m also more willing than most people I know to really attempt to “cook” when I’m camping/backpacking, and so I’m often lugging breakfast and other meal components.
But while I’m willing to lug fresh food, I’m a bit of a nut about saving weight anywhere else I can, and that means I’ve fully embraced titanium cookware in recent years.
One thing that I’ve never been able to find until recently was a frying pan that I thought was big enough. A lot of titanium cooksets have a small one that comes with the pot for boiling water, etc., but I wanted something I could throw a couple of eggs and some sausage into without it spilling over.
None of the major gear makers stateside seem to make one. Aluminum yes, and they’re often non-stick, which makes zero sense to me because non-stick just does not hold up in an outdoor environment. I don’t care how careful you are. It’s going to get a hole rubbed in it by something else in your pack sooner or later.
So, I was excited when I was browsing online recently and discovered that Keith Titanium in China makes an 8-inch pan. I fired off my $45 and waited patiently for the parcel post from Hong Kong.
Out of the box, it looks great. It’s super-light. The folding handle is easy to use and it has a cool little locking mechanism that makes it sturdier once unfolded and deployed.
But once I got out in the woods I quickly learned why large titanium frying pans are so hard to find. They really don’t work.
Even with the most careful attention to flame control on your stove, a large, thin, and flat titanium surface warps – of course!
That means there are going to be high and low spots. Any high spot means no oil and whatever you’re frying will scorch.
Sooo, nice idea, but not a winner. I guess you could compensate for the warping by using massive amounts of oil, but then you’ve got super-greasy food. Back to the drawing board for Mr. Slack I think.