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Campers need to be able to count on their cookware. Space in backpacks is a premium, and supplies need to be small and lightweight. More importantly, they need to work. At Bridge Day at West Virginia's New
River Gorge, in between some serious whitewater rafting and gawking at the die-hards rappelling and base jumping off the third longest arch bridge in the world, I tested out some staples of a camper's kitchen-away-from-home.
Bleuet Pocket Stove and Solid Fuel Cubes
Without a reliable stove, there's no point to lugging around other cooking supplies. The Bleuet Pocket Stove is certainly light and compact – it folds neatly into a 3" x 4" x ¾" cube and weighs a little over three ounces. It's sturdy – made of galvanized, hardened steel, and it has two options for cooking to support a smaller mug or larger pot. It cleans easily after use and is generally a neat little piece of equipment.
Bleuet advertizes their Solid Fuel Cubes to burn for fifteen minutes and boil a pint of water in less than eight. The cubes are handy – they're small, and they do burn down to practically nothing without liquefying, and they can be extinguished and relit.
I set up our test site in wind-free conditions – under a lean-to at the campsite, in 50 degree temperature. I ran several different tests and attempted to bring an uncovered pint of tap water to a boil, using a Snow Peak mug.
The cubes lit easily, and at four minutes, small bubbles began to appear at the bottom of the uncovered mug. However, the water never came to a complete boil. Each cube lasted for approximately 15 minutes on the tests, but around ten or eleven minutes, the flame died down significantly. When the cube's was first lit, the flames came around the bottom of the mug, but after the ten minute mark, they were hardly visible.
For the second test, I covered the mug, but found a similar result – small bubbles but no boil. This setup works for boiling water for coffee or tea, and the water was warm enough to successfully cook a package of Ramen noodles, but not much more than that. (MSRP for stove and six fuel cubes $9.99/12-pack fuel cubes $5.99)
Sarah Klingler, a Pittsburgh, Pa native, was practically born on the snow. Before she was 18 months old, her parents strapped her into her first pair of skis, and she fell in love with winter.
She's a ski instructor at Seven Springs resort, but when Klingler's not on the hill with students, you can find her snowshoeing, cross country and telemark skiing, or hiking through the pow with her snow-loving Labrador, Emma.
When the snow melts, Klingler mountain and road bikes, hikes, horseback rides, whitewater rafts, and dreams about chairlifts.
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