View topic - Video: Low fire cooking style, simple pot hanger, under tarp

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2011, 10:22 am 
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
On an Easter long weekend 3 day hiking trip in April (last weekend), with snow still in the bush, I show a low cooking fire for boiling and simmering, using a simple adjustable pot hanger, and talk about my style of low fire cooking. (I did not have any rocks to work with, which normally I use when available, for improving heat reflection and draw). It starts raining and the fire stays fine under the edge of the tarp. Wood is cut from dead balsam fir. Fire start with my new favourite fun way: ferro rod on balsam gum coated lichen wick.


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PostPosted: April 30th, 2011, 7:55 pm 
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Joined: August 9th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Missouri, U.S.A
Your videos are great Hoop.

In the past I used that sort of pot hanger stick, but I always had trouble stirring the cooking pot because it would swing around at the slightest touch. Has this been a problem for you? I usually use a grill now.


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PostPosted: May 1st, 2011, 1:29 pm 
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Joined: July 16th, 2006, 8:59 pm
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Location: Now in Sudbury
Thanks for posting.

I like your fire starter! How did you make it while keeping your fingers gum-free?

Not a bad set up, if you can avoid tripping over the pot holder tree.

I also prefer the layered in alternate direction fire. I would give it a bit more time to get going before putting that big heat sink on top. Speaking of which, hot flames licking the pot is fine for boiling water, but you might want somethiing else (more distance) for cooking stickier stuff, especially if your pots are lightweight like mine.

Move the tarp? I would move the fire. I guess I like playing with fire more than setting up tarps.


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PostPosted: May 1st, 2011, 2:41 pm 
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Thanks BD,
I too use a grill when canoe tripping because I usually have rocks to work with, and of course its so much nicer to cook with. But for solo hiking I am cutting every last extra bit of weight, and the grill stayed home this trip. Yes I have had the pot swinging problem for stirring. Note in the video the squared off the top of that broad hanger stick. I used my axe to make several diagonal check cuts then shaved it flat with striking cuts – quick work. This makes 2 edges for the flat band steel bail to “grab” on both sides, and it makes stirring easier. In any case its easy to pluck the pot off with a pot stick or grab wearing my leather gloves, stir it on the ground, then slide it back onto the hanger. Slight agg factor addition over grill cooking, but I am getting old and gotta cut pack weight when hiking! :D (some say to leave my axe home, but no way! :D )

Thanks Ghost,
I collected the balsam gum using a sharp flat chiseled stick to pop the gum blisters, and then smeared the gum onto the other stick, and mashed in the lichen wick into that piece with the first stick – so its all gum-free for the fingers!

The fire start up was slow (I ran out of fine spruce twigs), but I am impatient and I get the pot on quick! :D Re distance: That pot hanger set up is easily slid left and right for adjusting that, as is the pot on the hanger itself, if one happens to use a rock or pin for the end of the hanger (non adjustable). I can also wedge a spacer piece into the Y stick and raise the hanger up if need be. There are much more elaborate and higher skill pot hanger rigs, like the excellent techniques that Ray Mears shows. Mine was just basic and limited.

Everything I cook for dinner has olive oil in it for a base, and in my stainless pots there is usually not a food sticking issue. I will be switching to aluminum and titanium pots for hiking. I have them but need to install bail handles on them first. (pots without bail handles and handles on lids are useless to me! :D )

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2011, 4:03 pm 
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Location: Kingston, Ontario, CANADA
Bear grylls would be proud.... :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :rofl:

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PostPosted: June 5th, 2011, 5:03 pm 
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Joined: September 15th, 2006, 5:09 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON
HOOP_ wrote:
... for solo hiking I am cutting every last extra bit of weight, and the grill stayed home this trip... I used my axe to make several diagonal check cuts then shaved it flat with striking cuts – quick work.
Hi HOOP_,
Do you carry both a saw and an axe while hiking?
How heavy is your axe?
Is carrying an axe consistent with an idea of "cutting every last extra bit of weight"?
By the way, was it a multi-day backpacking trip or just a day hiking?


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2011, 7:05 pm 
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Hi Yury,
Yes, both axe and pruning saw. The axe on that 4-day hike was the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe, 24 inch handle, 1 3/4 pound head, total weight on my digital scale is 2 lb'ss, 14 oz, or 1310g with leather sheath.

Yes it is consistent with cutting weight, since this is just an essential piece of gear for my style. "every last bit of weight" is relative. :D I camp in awful thick bush, strewn with blowdown and dense shrubs and understory balsam fir (which gets trimmed out), and it rains a lot. I have to clear stems, debris, and often split wood to get dry wood for my fires. I use fire and leave the stove at home often. Fire is one of the reasons I go out. I leave the water filter at home too and drink the water straight, or on that hike, I was melting snow.

The axe with a long handle is also my bear weapon. I do also carry pen launch bangers and bear spray. But that axe gives me piece of mind. Bear is going to bleed bad if it wants me. Never had to use it for defense, but I have used my bangers, and shotgun (sound only) on northern canoe trips, to deter black and grizzly bears. For canoe trips, I consider my axe indispensible, travelling through blowdown hell, clearing porcupine blowdown to clear sites for my tent or now, my hammock. I have travelled in the boreal forest on trips where it rains almost every day, and the wood stays pretty darn wet. I love that GB axe – its like it is part of my body. When its too heavy to carry any longer, then I will be dead (or just about ready to be dead! :D ). For me its all about my culture of living with fire, by fire, cooking on fire. :D

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PostPosted: June 6th, 2011, 9:05 pm 
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HOOP_ wrote:
For me its all about my culture of living with fire, by fire, cooking on fire. :D


I'll second that emotion, but have you considered taking a small wood stove? You can buy 1 of course, but it's fairly easy to make 1.

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PostPosted: June 6th, 2011, 9:32 pm 
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HOOP_ wrote:
Yes it is consistent with cutting weight, since this is just an essential piece of gear for my style. "every last bit of weight" is relative. :D
...
The axe with a long handle is also my bear weapon ... gives me piece of mind.
Thank you HOOP_ for a philosophical answer.
How heavy do you believe was you pack for a 4 days trip?

For my own "piece of mind" I carry Buck #119 following samsman advice: http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=107&t=17372&p=175915&hilit=Buck#p175915.
I do not have any rational explanation for #119. :)


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2011, 10:22 pm 
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Hoop,

Excellent video and lesson on low cooking fire. Some things on this site I take away and put them in my bush skill tool kit.

Thanks once again.

Barry

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