We all have our systems when on trip.   We have our dish system, our shelter system, our sleeping system, and of course, our kitchen system.  I am definitely a ‘nester’ and must say that my kitchen system reflects this pretty well:)  I like canoe tripping because I can carry things that make my back country ‘nest’ more comfortable, especially my kitchen nest.   This is a sampling of the kitchen gear I like to have on hand when I head out on canoe trip with the family or my friends.all gear shot July 24 2013

Reflector Oven (little silver triangle thing): a lovely little Swedish-made oven that sits next to the fire and busily bakes dessert, pizzas and bread while the night settles in and you enjoy the fire. Great for trips with kids and youth who are quickly amazed at what can be whipped up and cooked with a fire. Here we are baking brownies below. I got this one through Rob Stevens at the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association.

Lodge dutch oven: another handy (but heavy ) device that lets you cook your dinner over the fire and cook your dessert in the fire.  It is the one-pot wonder dish for soups, stews, meats, pasta, apple crisps and cakes to die for! Lid doubles as a frying pan and is an excellent surface for frying bannock.  A must have with this and the reflector oven is a pair of long handled stainless steel tongs and some good stove gloves.  You can find some excellent recipes for both the reflector oven and the dutch oven on the Wilderness Canoe Association’s forum Canadian Canoe Routes.

dutch oven july 24 2013

Wooden wanigan: I love my wanigan!  I love that it never tips over and so if I pack it one way it stays that way for the day.  It is my bench, my stepping stool, my cutting surface, my kitchen.  And best of all, it is the only piece of gear that I have built myself!  Yes, I built it!  To build one yourself, click here. It is worth every extra pound and it is a great conversation starter on a portage. And in the off season my wanigan doubles as a side table in the living room.

wanigan July 24 2013

Lexan Bodum coffee press: This isn’t a fancy espresso maker or a big awkward percolator but a simple press that makes yummy coffee and cleans up super easy.  It is light, easy to use, and has lasted for years and years.

Guide tarp: light, compact, easy to use and totally waterproof.  The really nice thing to do though that makes this into a system is to get yourself some nice parachute cord that lives only with the tarp and in the tarp bag.  We got white rope, something like 20′ per corner and then some extras for other hang styles. And we got a nice red line that we use as the ridge rope and its color-coded so it is always the ridge line and never a corner.  This makes life so easy when setting up the tarp and taking it down. It also works great for when you are guiding because you can direct them to the red line when setting the ridge.  This rope is not super thick but super strong and easy to work with.

guide tarp cropped

The other component of my kitchen system that isn’t pictured above but features quite significantly is Zoe, our dog.  She is our food waste system and our animal protection system and our ‘keep the kids busy while I cook’ system.

zoe in canoe

If you are super keen about canoe trips and want to link up with some like-minded folk, become a member of the Canoe Museum and join us for the Inaugural George Luste Lecture being held at The Canadian Canoe Museum on Sunday October 27th from 2-4pm.   For more information about this event and others, contact me at [email protected] or call 705.748.9153 x205