To cook or not to cook?

Specifically for cycle touring subjects & questions
two choices
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To cook or not to cook?

Postby two choices » 30 Dec 2016, 2:16pm

Ok, now the tinsel and stuff are almost over, I'm getting excited about planning for our first proper cycle tour in the summer. It will be through Holland, Germany & Denmark and we'll be camping with the odd B&B stop (WE being me and my husband). So far, we're not planning on cooking and are not, therefore, intending to carry a stove and associated kit. To do so will mean having to buy a front rack and panniers for one of our bikes, plus the cooking gear.

The question is, will we regret this? Is the outlay worth the saving on coffees and occasional self cooked meals? Will we miss not being able to brew a cup of tea in the comfort of ou tent? I'd welcome your thoughts.

rualexander
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby rualexander » 30 Dec 2016, 2:55pm

No need for a front rack and panniers just to carry cooking gear surely?
To carry a lot of food maybe, but just for a basic stove and a couple of pans, no.

PH
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby PH » 30 Dec 2016, 3:03pm

Cooking - No
Heating things up - Yes
There's a lot of variation between those two and it depends on where you go and what you like doing, but for me a Jetboil, coffee filters, spork and mug is enough for any summer tour I'm likely to do. I travel with two small panniers, saddlebag, barbag and tent poles on the top of the rack.

bohrsatom
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby bohrsatom » 30 Dec 2016, 3:06pm

In my experience it's absolutely worth bringing cooking equipment along with you. I couldn't live without a coffee before breaking camp in the morning and the hassle of having to find somewhere to eat an evening meal isn't always good after a long day in the saddle. You just never know what facilities the campsite or local town will have.

Is there a way you can get something small into your bags without the need for the extra equipment?

On a previous trip I used the MSR Trail Lite Duo set which consists of a 2L pot plus two mugs and bowls which nest inside. It doesn't take much space in your bags and you can nest a small gas stove inside one of the mugs, too. Or if you are really pushed for space you could get a Jetboil which will be perfect for the morning cuppa and some basic pot-noodle type evening meals too.

JackRabbitSlims
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby JackRabbitSlims » 30 Dec 2016, 5:46pm

I carry a Trangia & Fuel.

Enjoy making a proper cup of coffee or two each morning. I grind my own beans (Porlex Grinder) and brew up a strong, black brew in the Aeropress....it's a morning ritual whether I'm at home or on the road.
Also cook up a bowl of porridge each and every morning.....I also do this each morning whether I'm on the road or not.....the recipe changes a bit depending on location.

I need coffee and breakfast before setting off for the day :)

I'd say I use the Trangia for cooking dinners around 75% of the time when Touring.....mainly just heat and eat style...nothing gourmet or with too much prep required.

I know the Trangia is not exactly a small / light option, but there are loads of other alternatives to consider.

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Heltor Chasca
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To cook or not to cook?

Postby Heltor Chasca » 30 Dec 2016, 6:20pm

Filtered, drip coffee for me. I do cook, but eating raw, fresh food encourages a healthy diet while on tour. And it gets me out into the local markets and shops. Cultural.

I have never understood hikers and cyclists who subsist on tins of salty, sugary gloop. It's little wonder they bottom out whilst they are meant to be enjoying their trip.

psmiffy
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby psmiffy » 30 Dec 2016, 6:33pm

It depends on how much you value things – If a hot drink in the morning before setting out is not your thing and you are content to picnic in the evenings having stopped for a meal in the daytime then a stove and the bits is probably not worth it.

Holland, Germany and Denmark notwithstanding that both Germany and Denmark can be a bit of a desert between Saturday lunchtime and Monday it is easy finding places for a meal in significant towns and along the coast – however, as you go north the empty spaces get bigger and it becomes more difficult to find places at the times you want them.

Personally, I’m not one for stopping during the day for a meal I’m more of a snacker during the day and then cook myself a decent meal in the evening – I have always found it difficult to find places serving what I want, when I want it and whilst it is nice just to sit for a while as a solo I tend to get a bit bored and begrudge the time I spend in cafes or restaurants

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=tS&page_id=274354&v=2N

bohrsatom
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby bohrsatom » 30 Dec 2016, 7:16pm

I forgot to mention the biggest benefit to cooking your own meals: variety. Often when riding outside of large towns and cities you come across the same menu over and over again. For example Germany - schnitzel and currywurst are delicious but after three days in a row I find the craving for pasta and vegetables gets too strong.

two choices
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby two choices » 30 Dec 2016, 8:20pm

Ok, I'm convinced. :D We need a stove and at least the minimum cooking/heating up equipment. Thanks for all your advice. I like the look of the MSR Trail Lite Duo.

whoof
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby whoof » 30 Dec 2016, 8:31pm

Here's a link to people's camping recipe suggestions

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=92029&hilit=recipes#p839002

willem jongman
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby willem jongman » 30 Dec 2016, 9:40pm

I like freshly cooked real food, and tea and/or coffe in the morning. Eating out will be pretty expensive, so cooking gear is a very good investment. However, I do not think it requires front paniers. I never need them, even travelling solo. My favourite stove system is the Trangia, a 27 for solo use and a 25 (boith HA UL) for trips with my wife. I carry my fuel in a 1 litre Trangia fuel bottle in a Bikebuddy cage underneath the downtube

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Gattonero
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby Gattonero » 31 Dec 2016, 7:20pm

I like a warm breakfast, possibly away from noise and too many people around.
Which happens to be the reason why I would tour with a bicycle in the very first place :D

A well-though cooking kit doesn't take more space than two water bottles, weighting less then 1/2kg 8)
(aside from the plate, everything stacks inside the main pot)
Image
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

two choices
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby two choices » 1 Jan 2017, 12:19pm

Crikey! Now I start researching camping stoves, fuel options, types of gas canister & availability and I'm totally confused! :shock: :shock: :shock:

willem jongman
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby willem jongman » 1 Jan 2017, 1:19pm

The first decision to take is if you want to cook real meals or just boil some water for a drink or to add to a ready made meal. Many (mostly american) ultralight systems are really only good for boiling some water. The reason is that they were designed for US style weekend warrior hikers who on a Friday drive to some starting point for a weekend's hike into nature, to return on Sunday evening. They bring some dried meals, and that is obviously fine for a few days. As a cycle tourer you are closer to civilization, and because of your much more extended range shopping is a lot easier. So you can buy fresh ingredients for a real meal. Here, simmering is important, as is a large frying pan. In practical terms, the availability of fuel matters. For that, I have found meths to be the easiest option in much of Europe. And the Trangia systems are excellent for cooking real meals. They are a bit heavier than the lightest systems, particularly for solo use, but not that much. The weight is in the windscreen system, but that is also its strength. The UL pots are about as light as it gets, and because aluminium pots spread the heat they are much better for real cooling than titanium.
However, if you want to cook in the snow, or in third world countries, a multifuel stove is the better choice (possibly in a Trangia system). Gas cannister systems are the most convenient (there is in fact a gas burner for the Trangia) but the cannisters are not always easy to get.

bohrsatom
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Re: To cook or not to cook?

Postby bohrsatom » 1 Jan 2017, 2:08pm

willem jongman wrote: Gas cannister systems are the most convenient (there is in fact a gas burner for the Trangia) but the cannisters are not always easy to get.


I doubt the OP will have any difficulties finding canisters in the countries they mentioned in their initial post. Carrying a small converter for the Camping Gaz easyclick cartridges (CV300) will cover the rare occasion when there are no threaded canisters for sale (and means you can use their helpful retailer locator to find somewhere when on the road).

My advice to the OP would be to get a gas stove which simmers well - some are designed for boiling water only and will be too ferocious for cooking with. A remote stove (rather than canister top) would be better too IMO as it's much stabler to cook on.

I did like the MSR Trail Lite Duo and it served us well for a 4 month European tour. For the last trip we upgraded to a gas trangia (25) but it does take a lot more space in a pannier.