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Trail Baking with a Foster's Pot, Caldera Cone, and Starlyte Stove

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Demeter at the Halfway Point of the Appalachian Trail
Backpacking is a lot of different things to different people. Ask a dozen backpackers what makes them love the sport, and you will probably get a dozen vapid stares.  Maybe you will get a couple coherent answers :-)

To me, backpacking combines several of my favorite things.  Foremost is celebrating nature.  There is no problem that can't be solved after pounding the trail for an hour or two. Why does this happen? Who knows, but my theory: when you are on the trail, away from people and external stressors, you focus on simply living.

Another reason I love to backpack is how it strips away creature comforts, allowing me to live like a cavegirl (with the best down quilts and cuben fiber stuff money can buy). Hmmm, okay, a modern cavegirl with a few creature creature comforts :-) 

Lastly, a healthy dollop of heart-pounding exercise is just Pure Bliss.  Collapsing into a comfy hammock at the end of climbing up and down ridges and mountains is amazingly satisfying.  The breathtaking views are the cherry on top!

One area of comfort where skimping is not an option is food.  After a few thousand feet of elevation gain, this body needs healthy meals that taste good and require little preparation.  While not into freeze-dried store-bought meals (they cost too much and usually have waayyy too much sodium for my liking), I do like to make my own meals from freeze-dried ingredients.  That is not to say I don't enjoy a steak on the trail - I just don't like lugging fresh food. I would rather lug wine and eat dried food :-)

Here is a little demo of trail baking with my current favorite stove set-up. Rand at Trail Designs makes the Caldera Cone; an amazing combination of a pot stand and wind screen. Combine that with a Starlyte stove from Zelph and a repurposed Foster's beer can, and you have one amazingly light and flexible COMPLETE stove system.  Yummy baked treats.  No sacrifice required :-)

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