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Riders’ Rucksacks: Camp Kitchen Setup - Tim Collins

The Riders' Rucksack series interviews noteworthy riders and takes a peek into the gear they pack on their bikes. In this article we interview the well-travelled Tim Collins and get his top tips for an adventure rider's camp kitchen setup.

Interviewing: Tim Collins - Forty Times Around motorcycle enthusiast, traveller and adventurer.

At the end of a day’s adventure riding, there’s nothing better than enjoying a delicious meal straight out of your own camp kitchen. But unlike camping with a car or an RV – where you can bring the entire kitchen with you – motorcycle camping is a whole different kettle of fish.

Apart from yourself, you’ll want to bring nothing along that’s just there for the ride. Everything in your kitchen setup should have a use – preferably multiple uses!

There are always new camping products being released, as well as those tried and true items that have stood the test of time. How do we know what’s still relevant and how much, and what, to pack for our camp kitchen setup? Once again, the internet provides! Without further ado, let's ask Tim Collins what he takes with him. 

Q1 - Do you prefer to pack light or fit everything in you can?   

I prefer to pack light without sacrificing all of the luxury items. Motorcycle travel is meant to be enjoyed, and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of packing smart, deliberating on weight verse need of each item, and fitting everything into my panniers just right. I look at it like a game, and I give myself bonus points for fitting in some items that will enhance the fun and comfort of my journey without breaking the scale. When it comes to my kitchen, some luxury means I can eat better and have more diverse coffee options (super important for me!).

Tim packs smart for adventure camping trips to avoid having to sacrifice every luxury.

Q2 - Do you have any preference for cookware (stainless steel, aluminium, silicone)? 

As far as material goes, I use what seems best for the piece of gear. For example, using a silicone collapsible cup makes sense for me, I can shed weight, and more importantly in that case, bulk volume. However, when it comes to cookware, for example, a frying pan, or even a collapsible silicone pot, the base needs to be metal. For that I would choose aluminum for its lightweight properties. That, of course, is at the sacrifice of added strength from stainless steel, but that balance works for me.

Tim camping in Belknap Hot Springs in Eugene, Oregon.

Q3 - Do you have a preference for cooking stoves (canister, liquid fuel, open fire)? 

Open fire cooking can be difficult to rely on when on longer trips from what I have found. It is nice to have as an option once in a while, if fire is allowed at that time and place, and makes for some delicious meals. My daily carry is a canister for the simplicity of it. I tried a liquid stove for a while, which meant I never ran out of fuel as long as my bike wasn’t on empty, but it was messy and took too long to set up. I recently switched to the Jetboil Flash and I can’t see any reason to switch back to anything else I have tried previously to that.

Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System

Q4 - What kind of meals do you carry (freeze-dried, tinned, fresh)?

I am a fan of the freeze dried camp meals, although high in sodium they do pack a lot of nutrients considering the weight to value ratio. The simplicity of cooking one, combined with the minimal amount of trash to pack out, makes them a great option for me. I do try to stop at supermarkets every few days and stock up on some ingredients for cooking and try to eat as healthy as possible when I do. My favorite option when cooking fresh is chili [chilli con carne], there is something so fitting about that meal around a campsite. Also, anything that can be cooked with one pot is a win in my book.

Freeze dried meals: just add water to the pouch and you're good to go in less than 10 minutes, with no cleanup.

Q5 - What are the key items you’d recommend for a motorcycle camp kitchen?

My gear setup is constantly evolving and changing. Right now I would recommend the Jetboil Flash for the ease of use and its insanely fast boil time, making morning coffee so quick it’s almost as if on tap. If you want to fry as well, Jetboil makes an adapter for frying pans. The X-Pot series from Sea-to-Summit is a great option if you are using any stove other than the Jetboil, you can pack your entire kitchen down to the size of a small book.

For coffee, the Wacaco Nanopresso is an obvious choice for me, who knew you could make espresso out in the sticks? This is a relatively new item for me, and only took one try to become a daily carry. Also, don’t forget about the hygiene side of a camp kitchen, so hand sanitizer is a must!

Sea to Summit X-Set 21: X-Pot & Bowl & Mug

Q6 - Do you have any other general camp kitchen tips for other fellow riders?

Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to try different things and find your own way with gear. No one else's set up will be perfect for you. Everyone has different needs and wants, to work around.

Try new options and get creative, but make sure to do your research first and consider all your purchases carefully. This passion for motorcycle camping can get expensive if you aren’t careful, and that is money that could be put in your tank!

Motorcycle Camping Kitchen Gear Setup - Tim Collins

About Tim Collins

Tim has been travelling around the United States on his motorcycle off and on for the last several years. His YouTube channel Forty Times Around, provides a valuable source of information about pretty much anything related to adventure motorcycling, camping, travel and adventure.

"I have found an immense passion for camping on a bike through my travels. There is just something so liberating about having everything you need to be self-sufficient and a self-contained unit on two wheels. Exposed to the elements and ready for anything. I have wild camped all over, in all different climates and terrain.

I have made a fair share of mistakes along the way, but loved every minute of the journey. I have found this to be a valuable teaching tool, and so I would encourage others to not be worried about getting all the tech, technique and tactics correct and perfect on the first try. Adventure is an excellent educator and will teach you everything you need to know, just make sure you have the base knowledge to be safe!"

Check out more from Tim’s website here Forty Times Around.