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Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure
Ice Raven is a partner site of Ravenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills

Cold Weather Sustenance Solutions.

Arctic Cooking Kit Mk I - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

I must admit I do like my proteins fried and most pans designed for back packing are simply too thin to serve properly as a frying pan. This is not a light weight pan but I was prepared to put up with that for the sake of a good meal.

Unfortunately even though seasoned it was far from “non stick” and after a while the base started to de-laminate and blister.        Not a good score Primus.

My old favourite Hobo Stove unfortunately is not really sufficient for melting large quantities of snow for drinking water, so I’ve invested in a new cook set.

The large wide billycan suits melting snow but what particularly attracted me to this set was the shallow pan with a composite aluminium base.

Snowball Soup - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.
Frying Pan with home made lid - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

It has since been replaced with an anodised aluminium pan with a decent non stick surface which at the moment seems an excellent piece of kit.    I made the lid for it from aluminium.

Wood Gas Stove - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

I found that in practice the spirit burner was not very efficient in cold conditions and the fuel was not always easy to find in stores after the flight. ( Airlines will not allow you to carry fuel in your baggage. )

I decided on a different approach this time. A compact wood-gas stove.

The principle is simple. Burning wood in the combustion chamber heats air which is then fed into the combustion chamber just above the flames which produces a very efficient burn.

A stove like this will provide useful heat for over half an hour on a small bundle of twigs, Nearly an hour on a handful of cut and split branches and if it is available, over a hour on a fill of eco cat litter.

Yes, that is not a typo... Cat litter...

I’m taking a slight gamble that the local supermarket will carry the type of eco. cat litter that is made from compressed saw dust.

One bag of that thrown onto my toboggan should give me a weeks worth of fuel for cooking which reduces our impact to the camp area dramatically.

It is still a slight gamble that they will be available in remote areas but the ability to use light kindling is a good fall back.

On an extended trip I might even take two of them to give me a double burner stove set up.

Flasks and Bottles - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

The flasks I use are double skinned and keep the contents hot for about 24 hours.

That performance is reduced of course in sub zero temperatures but at least I can be assured of having liquid water stored overnight or through the day.

For shorter term storage, the stainless bottles are filled with hot water and then dropped into mt spare boot liners which insulate the water moderately well but more importantly, the heat from the bottles drives moisture out of the felt so that it can be brushed off as felt in the morning.

The plastic cup might seem an odd choice given my dislike for synthetic materials but it is quite deliberate.

It is insulated but far less efficiently than the flasks. This achieves two things. It means boiling water in the cup will not burn my hands but the slow release of heat through the wall of the cup also acts as a useful hand warmer.

I carry it with me in the sheepskin caddy that you see behind it. That adds extra insulation that is enough to keep the contents liquid for a few hours for regular hydration.

It is also made from recycled materials which makes me feel a bit better about it.

As you can see, a lot of my kit is marked with luminous, glow in the dark, tape to help with location in dark conditions. Something that I have found useful on many occasions.

Stove Rail / Grill - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

I also carry a light tubular steel rack with me that can either be used as a grill over a small fire or, if propped on a piece of wood at each end, can be used to stop the stoves sinking into the snow as it melts from the heat.

The Wayland Snow Shed with a kitchen area - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

Take advantage of the snow to build a useful kitchen working space. Any fool can be uncomfortable while camping. The real trick is the thrive in this environment, not just survive.

Arctic Cooking Set Mk II - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

So here is  pretty well my full cooking set. The grill bars are not shown and the second stove is somewhere between China and here at the moment but as you see it is about 4kg. With the grill and the larger stove it will be about 4.5kg. which represents less than 10% of my load.

The cork mats are useful to allow me to put the pots on the snow. The small chain can be used to hang a pot over the fire on wooden tripod or bar. The tube near the front is a blow poker and I think the rest is self explanatory.

Bain Marie Stand - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.
Bain Marie - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

For transport, the cooking pots, frying pan, stove and most of the small items pack into one bag.

The  flasks and bottles will be filled with small items like cordage and the bowl and kuksa have their own bag.

For a kit that is so versatile and capable it packs quite compactly.

Following on from making the lid for the frying pan. I used some of the scrap aluminium to make a small stand that I can use to raise the smaller nesting billy can a little off the base of the bigger one, which can be filled with water, turning it effectively into Bain Marie.

This is very useful for defrosting food items when needed and has other uses as well.

As you can see, it comes apart and lies flat  for packing and weighs very little.

Cook Set Packed - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.
Sub Zero Crew - Bushcraft UK

Unless noted otherwise, all photography, artwork and content on this site is copyrighted. © Gary Waidson 2020 All rights reserved

The Ice Raven Project promotes sustainable and low impact bushcraft and wilderness skills in Arctic and winter conditions. This includes the use of  tents, tarps  and snow shelters where possible. Fires are only used where safe and where use and collection of firewood will not damage the natural environment. We often travel to locations by public transport and then use snowshoes, sleds, toboggans and pulks to transport our equipment into the wilderness.