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Riders' Rucksacks: Camp Kitchen Setup - Josh Martin

The Riders' Rucksack series interviews noteworthy riders and takes a peek into the gear they pack on their adventure bikes. In this article, I interview RemoteMoto’s own Josh Martin and see what is in his camp cooking kit when he is out adventure riding and camping.

Below are the questions I asked Josh about his adventure riding cooking kit

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

Over the years I have refined my cooking kit down to be super compact yet still have all the items I need to boil water for hot drinks, prepare breakfasts and cook evening meals. I have seen more elaborate kits that other riders have, some are quite cool, but my little compact kit has everything I need.

Q2 - Do you have any preference for cookware material, ie stainless steel, aluminium, silicone?  

I am a stainless steel fan. It is a touch heavier than aluminium, but definitely my preference. Aside from durability, I also like the fact stainless steel is easier to clean than aluminium after cooking a meal. My frying pan, billy and mug are all stainless steel. 

Q3 - Do you have any preference for cooking stoves, ie canister or liquid fuel? 

While I have used both canister and liquid stoves, and they are both good options, my favourite is a liquid fuel stove. My go-to stove is the MSR WhisperLite International and this is mainly because of its reliability and the fact it runs on the same fuel that my bike runs on. This makes it convenient to top up my cooker bottle from the bike mid-trip. I also wrote an article here on canister stoves and liquid stoves for adventure riding you may find interesting.

Q4 - What are all the items in your moto camp kitchen? 

Items 1 through to 15 are packed up in the billy which slips into a dry bag. The frying pan is stored in the main luggage bag of the bike

1 – Billy

I've tried various size billies over the years but have found 2 litres to be ideal. A good size for cooking while small enough to pack up on the bike and take up limited space. It is also a perfect size to pack my whole cooking kit into and protect the items inside.

2 - Camping Mug

My mug is relatively large at 600mls. It perfectly slips inside the billy to help with compact packing. I prefer a stainless steel mug as it can be used on the cooker essentially meaning my cooking kit provides me with one large billy and one small billy for cooking. 

3 - Pot Gripper

Fixed handles on pots and pans can be cumbersome to pack on a bike. Using a single pot gripper takes up far less space meaning I can pack up the cooking kit more compactly while still being able to grab hot pots and pans without issue. This pot gripper is used on the frying pan, the billy and the mug when it is used for cooking. You can view this here: Camping Pot Gripper

4 - Knife, Fork and Spoon Set

I’ve used a number of cutlery sets but the one I've found to be the best is the Sea to Summit AlphaLight knife, fork and spoon set. It is one of the most expensive cutlery sets on the market, but to me it’s worth every cent. It is made of hard-anodized aircraft grade aluminium, it’s extremely strong, ultra-lightweight, and really nice to use. You can view this here: Sea to Summit AlphaLight knife, fork and spoon set

5 - Small Cooking Knife

While the knife in the Sea to Summit cutlery set above is great for eating, nothing beats a handy dandy little dedicated kitchen knife for food preparation. Pretty much any good quality little kitchen knife will do the trick. In my kit I have the Victorinox utility knife which has a good blade and holds its edge really well. You can view this here: Victorinox Utility Knife

6 - Cooking Stove Mat

This is simply a piece of thick aluminium to place my cooker on. Most of the time I choose a solid bit of ground to place my cooking stove on so the mat isn’t needed. However, there are two instances where this mat is useful. Firstly, when I camp somewhere sandy, this mat stops the cooking stove legs sinking into the sand by providing a solid base for it to sit on. Secondly, if I am forced to place my cooker on dry grass, it helps to shield the flames and avoid ground fires. 

7 – Matches

Traditional striking matches are my pick over a lighter or any other fancy-pants ignition system. Because I use a MSR cooking stove that requires lighting the small bowl under the cooker, I find the extra length of the matches easier and more convenient compared to a lighter. 

8 - Matches in a Waterproof Container

This is purely a backup in case my matches get wet. It is a great way to guarantee I always get a nice hot meal at the end of the day. 

9 - Scouring Pad

In my cooking kits I've tried dish scrubbers with their plastic handles cut down, goldilocks, steelo pads and scouring pads. My favourite is the scouring pad as its super light, super compact and cleans up the pots and pans well. 

10 – Dishwashing Liquid

Cleaning up greasy cooking gear without dishwashing liquid is a bit of a nightmare. Just a few drops makes life so much easier. My preference is to carry dishwashing liquid in a Sea to Summit wilderness wash bottle. This is a strong little bottle with enough volume to do about 15 sets of dishes. They come prefilled with a general purpose cleaner which is perfectly fine for washing dishes, then once this runs out, I simply fill it up with dishwashing liquid.

11 -Tea Towel

I carry a tea towel cut down in size to about a 1/3. It weighs very little, takes up minimal space and is super handy.

12 – Coffee Bag Filter

I love how small this is compared to all other coffee options, and it makes just as good a coffee. There is more info on this coffee bag below.

13 – MSR WhisperLite International Liquid Cooking Stove

The MSR Whisperlite International is my favourite stove. You can read why I chose this stove here: Liquid Cooking Stoves

14 – Cooking Oil

A small and strong plastic bottle of cooking oil for the frying pan. 

15 – Dry Bag

A good dry bag that the billy snugly fits into. This makes the kit super easy to pack up as well as ensuring the kit contents stay dry.

16 – Stainless Steel Frying Pan

This is an Esbit pan with a good thick base. The thick base adds a bit of weight but I’ve used thin bottom pans with gas cookers and the hot spots can burn food really easily. A good thick base pan makes for a perfectly cooked steak ;) 

I don’t carry a plate in my kit as my frying pan is used as a plate.

Q5 - What is your favourite camp kitchen item and why?

As odd as it may sound, my cutlery set, the Sea to Summit AlphaLight. This set is awesome! So light, so strong and really nice to use. A little spendy, but this set has lasted me over 5 years of use, abuse, and it's still just like new. I didn’t think I’d ever be excited about cutlery, but there you go!

Q6 - What kind of meals do you cook and what are your favourites?

Because a lot of the riding I do is technical and demands a lot of effort and energy, I generally try to take good food that fuels the body. There is no set food packing list for every trip as each one can be so different. A trip that doesn’t pass anywhere to restock food for 3 or 4 days means I need to plan and take food that doesn’t quickly perish. This can mean a lot of dehydrated heat and eat meals.
If the trip passes by places I can restock, it can make meals a little more interesting and tasty with fresh ingredients, meat, fruit and veg etc.

As for my favourite, one thing I have been doing recently is on the first day of a trip heading away, I make a super tasty lamb curry. At home, I chop up the lamb and place it in a bowl. I season it with salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin and red curry paste. I then add chopped onion, chopped garlic and then mix it all together well. This is then placed in a bag and put in the freezer overnight. In the morning, it is pulled out and packed on the bike. At the end of the first day of riding, it is thawed out and ready to cook. I sear the lamb and then add a mini tin of coconut cream. Once cooked, I serve it on rice. It tastes super good at the end of a long day of riding!

Q7 - Do you have any other general camp kitchen tips for other fellow riders?

If you are a coffee drinker, then you may really like using a coffee bag. It is super simple, super compact and allows you to use nice quality coffee grinds so you can have a decent brew at camp. Most other coffee filters or coffee devices are fairly bulky by comparison. This one fits into a matchbox! I have never been able to find a good reusable coffee bag, in fact this one is actually a Bene Casa Coffee Colador that has had the handle removed, and a nylon draw string added to synch the bag up. It’s a super cheap setup that works brilliantly. You can buy one here from Amazon for under $5 : BC Classics Colador for Coffee

Interviewer: Jessie Meek 
Interviewee: Josh Martin from RemoteMoto (RMOTO)