A Vagabond’s guide to kitchenware and dishwashing.


Whether you are on the road, trail or home this is a simple system for cooking and cleaning that will save you time and water:

Cook dinner in pot
Eat heartily, out of the pot, with big spoon.
Lick spoon clean
Scrape out pot with spatula. Licking off the spatula as you go.
Fill pot with water
Pour hot water into Nalgene bottle and add instant coffee, hot chocolate, or tea.
Drink up.

Now your pot is clean and you didn’t have to waste any water or time to clean it.
I have gone 6 months without ever washing my pot. . Total mess kit weighs 6.80 ounces (193 grams)

Pot I have the MSR Titan Kettle. It weighs 3 oz (85 grams) without the lid. This pot cost a lot. You can find a small aluminum pot in discount stores that will be just as light for 3-4 dollars. Don’t look for the pot in the pot section, look for it in the section that has cheese graters and lemon juicers. I found a pot there that holds a liter of water, weighs 3.5 ounces and has a handle. It was called a chocolate melting pot, I think. For more pot options see this helpful page on pots: Zen Stoves- pot page.

Foil lid– Weighs .10 (2 grams) Makes a lighter weight lid then the one the pot came with. It can also be used as a pot holder to grab the hot handles with. Also handy to have if you need to funnel a seep into your water bottle. A piece of foil probably has hundreds of uses.

Spoon. My favorite spoon was a metal Chinese spoon that I got in Thailand, but it disappeared and I can’t find another in the US. Right now I’m using a polycarbonate spoon, it weighs .35 ounce(9 grams).

Bottle. The 16 oz nalgene wide mouth loop-top -polyethylene water bottle weighs 2.5 ounces (70 grams). The Nalgene bottle of course is also useful for carrying water, dipping cup for shallow water sources, a teapot, and a hot water bottle. I have kept warm on many cold nights with a nalgene bottle filled with hot water in my sleeping bag. It has never leaked. Eventually the Nalgene bottle gets pretty stained and sort of gross looking. Just fill with water and a little bleach and let it soak for a bit, add the spoon while you are at it. It will be clean in no time. The hard clear Nalgene lexan bottle doesn’t seem to stain, as badly, but it weighs an ounce more.

Spatula head. I find the smallest most flexible spatula I can, and take just the head off of it.  Here is one that also has a scraper on one side of  it.

P-38 can opener. Weighs .30 ounces (9 grams) Tie a piece of flagging tape through the hole so that it is not so easily lost.

Knife– weighs .75 ounce (21 grams) I pack the Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife. Again, tie a piece of flagging tape through the eye so you don’t lose it. Besides a knife it also sports a pair of scissors- that are strong enough to cut my toe nails, a tweezers, tooth pick, file and screwdriver.

Mess kit:

Pot 3 oz (85 grams)

spoon .35 oz (9 grams)

piece of foil for lid .10 (2 grams)

Spatula head .25 (6 grams)

Nalgene 16 oz bottle 2.5 oz (71 grams)

Knife .75 (21 grams)

Total weight: 6.80 oz (192 grams)

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Hermit, long distance hiker, primitive cabin dweller, seeker.

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