One thing that you may not have considered for your bug out bag is a survival mess kit and lightweight stove. In your rush to get the kit completed, you might have only packed power bars and peanut butter for your bug-out pack. Of course it’s your choice as to what what survival food you pack; just know that you don’t have to eat like a barbarian just because you are roughing it. Get creative and practice making delicious meals with the ingredients in your bug out bag. And practice preparing them using the implements in your survival mess kit.
A survival mess kit is a lightweight, compact collections of eating utensils and cookware that are used in a disaster or emergency. When choosing items for your mess kit, keep in mind that you want them as compact and light as possible. Most of the kits available have components that nest together and are made of lightweight materials, solving those two issues nicely. Things to consider putting in your survival mess kit include utensils, plates, cups, small fry pans, pots with lids, and even tiny stoves. You will be able to choose your utensils, stoves, and the main mess kit (consisting of the pot, plate, cup, etc.) separately.
First let’s put some utensils in the Survival Mess Kit:
- The Light My Fire Titanium Spork is a great choice for space and weight considerations. It is a spoon-fork-knife combo made of Titanium with a spoon on one end, a fork on the other, and a dull knife edge on one edge of the fork. You will probably want to use a separate knife to cut your food though. This spork weighs only 17 grams.
- The Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork/Knife Set is very light weight (1.3 ounces) and is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. The separate knife and spork are held together with a carbineer.
- The Brunton My-TI Flatware is another lightweight set of flatware. The fork, knife, and spoon are nested in a clear plastic tube, are made of Titanium and weigh only 1.7 ounces. Titanium is a good choice for durability and it doesn’t give a metallic taste to your food.
- The Deluxe Chow Set is another stainless steel utensil set which also incorporates a can opener. The different implements all nest within a plastic case. This is a JUMBO chow set, the spoon is almost serving spoon size and this is the heaviest set. Nice and sturdy though.
Next, lets choose some pans and cups:
- The Optimus Terra Solo 0.6L Pot is a great choice for the soloist. It measures 4.13” X 4.76” and weighs only 5.85 ounces (166 grams). For convenience, you can buy it with the Optimus Crux Lite Stove together in a package. The Crux Lite stove, a 110g gas canister (not included), and a folding spork (also not included) will all fit inside the Solo cook set for your convenience.
- The Texsport 5 Pc. Kangaroo Mess Kit includes a one court sauce pan with lid, a 7 ½ inch fry pan with a lid, a 6 inch bowl, a 12 oz. cup, and a removable handle. The pans are aluminum and are coated in DuPont Teflon interior for easy cleanup. It all comes in a mesh bag that would be easy to stick your utensils into. The bowl and cup are made of plastic. The kit measures 8x8x4 and weighs about 1lb 4 ounces.
- A good set for 2 people, the Texsport Black Ice The Scouter Hard Anodized Cook Set has a 7 inch fry pan, a 1 quart pot with lid, and a 1 ½ quart pot with lid. The set nests nicely together but your plates, cups and bowls will need to be purchase separately.
- Another good mess kit suitable for 2 people, the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Backpacker is a great choice. It is light weight (1lb 10.4oz.) and features a 2L Bugaboo cooking pot w/8″ fry-pan/lid, an uncrushable lexan lid/strainer that fits both the pot and pan, two 14oz insulated mugs, two 14 oz bowls, and two sip-it tops. The mugs can double as bowls to help feed 4 people.
- Built for a family of 4, The Texsport Black Ice The Trailblazer Cook Set should fit your family’s needs nicely. This set has a non-stick interior that they say is twice as hard as stainless steel yet is very lightweight. The set includes a 2 ½ quart pot with lid , a 3 ½ quart pot with lid, a 8 1/2 inch fry pan with stay cool handles, and a nice mesh bag to keep it all together. The set doesn’t include plates, cups, or utensils but they can be purchased separately with the Coleman Speckled Enamelware Dining Kit which is made for 4 people.
Finally some compact, lightweight stoves:
- The Jetboil Personal Cooking System is an excellent choice if all you are going to eat is dehydrated meals. It is an all in one system that allows you to cook, eat, and drink from the same 1 liter pot. It can boil 2 cups of water in 2 minutes which is faster than most stoves get setup. Besides dehydrated meals it is also great for tea and coffee. Simple to operate, just turn the fuel valve about half way and push the igniter button! This system, a spork, and some dehydrated meals is all you really need. The canister is sold separately.
- The Brunton Talon Compact Butane Stove is a very powerful compact choice. It weighs only 3.7 ounces yet has a powerful 10,000 BTU burner. It can boil a pot of water in 3 minutes. It works on 4, 8, and 16 ounce canisters. It comes with a mesh bag and a limited lifetime warranty.
- The Optimus Crux Lightweight Backpacking and Camping Stove is ultra-small and light weight but packs a lot of power. It has a 2 inch burner that distributes 3000w heat evenly over the bottom of the pot yet it only weighs 3.3 ounces.
- The Jetboil Group Cooking System is just fantastic, especially if you have two or more people in your group. It comes with a 1.5 Liter pot and will boil 32 ounces of water in 4 minutes. It’s dimensions are 7.0″ x 4.5″ and it weighs only 20 ounces. The entire system (including a 100g can of fuel) fits inside the pot. It comes with a piezoelectric igniter to quickly light it. To enhance this system even further you can add the Jetboil 3-Liter Cooking Pot and the Jetboil Pot Support and Stabilizer Kit.
Some final thoughts:
As you can see there are many choices and combination’s when designing your survival mess kit. You will probably choose one combination if you are just going to just eat dehydrated food and another if you are going to supplement with fresh caught game or fish. I suggest you experiment and practice preparing meals with your mess kit. Find a way to consolidate space and keep it all together in a bag, with Velcro, rubber bands, or some other method. And finally, don’t forget a sponge and a Compact Scraper to help with cleanup. Just because you ate like Royalty doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do the dishes!