Trangia Tundra Cookset: Versatile, Durable, And Lightweight
No More Burnt Pancakes! As someone who's been backcountry camping for more years than I want to admit, I have equipment in active use that is probably best donated to a museum! That includes key pieces of my cookware. Could this be the reason behind my almost famous lack of enthusiasm for backcountry cooking? The chances are good! So, when I was sent a set of Trangia cookware to evaluate, I was eager to give it a shot. I had purchased a Trangia spirit burner from them earlier this year and I'm quite happy with it, so the Trangia Tundra Cookware Set was a natural fit.
Comprising a total of five pieces plus a carrying bag, this lightweight, hard anodized aluminum set includes: two pots (1.5l and 1.75l), a lid that fits both, a pot holder, and most importantly for me, a non-stick frying pan.
If you're not a metallurgist, you might not be familiar with the term "anodized". Anodizing is a process whereby high electrical current is applied to a metal to harden it and provide a durable, natural oxide coating. In the case of this set, the pots, lid and frying pan all have a smooth, hard black finish that is scratch resistant and won't degenerate when cooking, unlike cheaper untreated aluminum cookware. Based on what I've read, I would not personally cook on untreated aluminum.
Another benefit of the anodizing process is that the pots are easier to clean. Even when you forget to stir your food and some burns, it doesn't seem to stick to the bottom like a regular pot; it comes off much more easily. That's a big plus for me as I hate scraping food off pots, especially when I'm off trail, joined by a few dozen hungry mosquitoes!
Limiting excess weight is important to me too, especially on those long portages. I think this whole Trangia set, both pots, lid and frying pan is about the same weight as a single pot from my old stainless steel set! I won't even bother to compare the weight of the Trangia frying pan to my trusty cast iron version; it's just no contest! I've long ago relegated the cast iron to winter camping, where it can be easily towed on a sled.
So far, I've used this set on three trips, and I have a pretty good feel for it. I like the flexibility it gives me: sometimes I only need one pot, sometimes two, one for water, one for food. When I'm planning on truly cooking, I'll bring the frying pan and at least one pot. I find the extra pot can serve as a good mixing bowl too, which is a benefit (such as when making bannock or pancakes).
The frying pan deserves special attention. Over the years, I've pretty much stopped frying anything except for bannock. I've ruined too many meals with them burning and sticking to the pan. While I can eat just about anything, the taste of freshly carbonized food isn't one of my favourites. Since this Trangia set includes a non-stick frying pan, I decided to go back to basics and make pancakes on a recent trip.
The experience was great; I forgot how good fresh pancakes & syrup were in backcountry! Thanks to the non-stick coating, I could flip the pancakes in the air like a boss, and not a single pancake stuck to the pan! It's a small thing, but it was fun and broke the monotony of oatmeal and granola bars.
While I certainly could have purchased a cheap, non-stick frying pan, the weight and durability of the Trangia frying pan would be hard to beat.
To sum it all up, I think this Trangia Tundra Cookware set is a great addition to anyone's backcountry kit. It's versatile, durable, and lightweight. It would make a great upgrade for folks using older, heavier cookware (like me), or cookware that tends to stick and burn food. This set would equally be good as a starter kit, one that will likely last for years.
"Two paddles up"