What makes a good camp cooking setup for motorcycle camping? Weight and size are obvious factors, but so are durability and versatility. For overlanding and ADV touring – where resupplying can be difficult – a stove’s fuel type can be a major consideration as well.
So to make sense of everything we turned to FOTG contributors Kira & Brendon Hak of Adventure Haks. This couple has spent years exploring Canada on their KTM Super Adventure and are now touring through Mexico and Central America. They share the camp cooking gear they bring along on motorcycle camping trips and explain why it works for them.
We have spent the past few years perfecting the art of fine dining while traveling on our motorcycle. We like to cook the same dishes on the road that we would at home. Keeping the menu interesting, healthy, and within budget is our main focus. Like most things, it’s a constant work in progress. There are many factors we have had to consider in order to accomplish this. One major obstacle is the limited space and weight capacity.
First and foremost, we needed a compact, lightweight stove. If we have the option, we prefer to cook over an open fire. However, a fire isn’t always practical for quick roadside meal stops and fire bans are often in effect here in Canada during the summer months.
The GSI Pinnacle Four Season is our go-to stove for hiking and backpacking trips. This GSI stove is extremely compact and very easy to use – about the size of a deck of cards (when folded) and weighs 5.8oz. The downside is it only burns isobutane canisters. We have found that these canisters can be hard to find in remote locations and carrying multiple is not an option.
For this reason, the MSR Whisperlite is our first choice for motorcycle trips. The MSR Stove is slightly larger – about the size of a small bag of chips (when folded) and weighs 15.2oz – but has the advantage of multi-fuel capability. You can burn the canisters, white gas, kerosene or unleaded gasoline. This is a crucial feature. There is no concern of running out when we can simply borrow a little gas from the bike.
We have experimented with many camp kitchen items to find what worked with our cooking style and space limitations. Our top case is designated as our kitchen. Just like at home, everything has its spot. It all packs together snug which stops shifting and prevents damage to our gear. This is our most current pack list:
‣ GSI Pinnacle Dualist – a compact 1.8L pot & lid that nests 2 x 20 oz cups (with lids) and 2 x 20oz bowls. The stuff sack doubles as a camp sink.
‣ 10” GSI glacier stainless frypan
‣ 2 x GSI Commuter Javapress Mugs – these mugs came at the end of a long road of camp coffee trial and error. These mugs make a great cup of coffee without any added equipment.
‣ 2 x Fairshare Mugs – great for food storage
‣ small cutting board
‣ 2 x GSI Cascadian plates
‣ 1.5L Nalgene water bottle
‣ GSI wine carafe with insulated carrying tote – because, wine.
‣ 2 x GSI Halulite cutlery sets
‣ Fillet knife
‣ Leatherman Wave – multi-tool (can opener)
‣ GSI compact scraper, pack grater, folding spatula, pivot tongs, pivot serving spoon (all stored inside a small tote)
No one likes to do dishes, but it’s a fact of life at home and on the road. We keep the job simple with a Sea to Summit microfibre towel, a camp dishcloth, and biodegradable soap. Our Pinnacle Dualist stuff sack doubles as a wash basin.
When it comes to food, we usually carry a 1-3 day supply depending on our travel plans. We can only carry a few condiments at a time. We have to rotate these as there is not enough room for everything. One week it might be PB and jam, the next it might be mustard and mayo. However, there are a few essentials that we always have on hand. These staple items are coconut oil, hot sauce, and real maple syrup (for sweetener and because we are Canadian). For dry items, we usually have rice or pasta, oatmeal or pancake mix, dry soup, tea, coffee, and an assortment of spices. The spices are stored in small ziplock bags, inside our GSI Pinnacle Dualist set and the rest is in a zipper cloth pouch. We also carry a small soft cooler, however, nothing stays cold or frozen for too long as ice isn’t in the picture.
Water is the most valuable resource you can have, but carrying enough for even a single hot day is not an option. On average a person needs 3-4 litres a day. When driving in the heat on a motorcycle this amount can double. We have the capacity to carry 3.5 litres at a time using a camel pack and small water bottle. Occasionally, we can find water at gas stations, campgrounds or restaurants. But usually, we get it ourselves from lakes, rivers or creeks. We use an MSR Hyperflow Microfilter. For the more questionable water sources, we also use a SteriPen, a UV water purifying device. We carry iodine tablets as a backup option, but we don’t like the taste they add. Of course, we could always buy bottled water but this is not something we believe in, not just for the financial reasons.
Last but not least, we always keep our grocery bags to pack the garbage out. We always leave our camping spot cleaner than when we arrived. It is everyone’s responsibility to help keep our planet clean and healthy.