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Cooking On A Budget



If your looking for a stove, pot and other utensils on a budget for your “bug out bag “ (BOB), then you might be interested in some of the items I have been using.

I have been searching for a while to find the perfect cup and stove for my BOB.

I found a heavy duty stainless steel cup from GSI that is virtually indestructible and fits nice and snug under my largemouth Nalgene 16 oz water bottle.  The fold out handles stay nice and cool over a fire or on a stove.

Even after many uses the stainless steel cleans up like new.

It is just thick enough to make you feel confident it will last a long time without being overly heavy. It’s Just right for a single serving of a freeze dried meal.

GSI Outdoors Inc.  Glacier Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Bottle Cup/Pot 4.8 oz. (I paid under $14 delivered)



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Next on my list was a reasonable priced stove that was small and light weight. I took a chance on a very inexpensive Chinese stove that looked very similar to many of the higher quality units used by many professionals.

It is called a ultra light camping stove and actually has a built in piezo igniter which has come in real handy when its dark and the lighter is in the back pack.  It consistently lights the stove under almost any condition and allows you to not waste any fuel.  It uses a standard  butane/propane mix canister that I get at the local Wal-Mart for just a few dollars.

The flame is well dispersed, quiet and good quality.  On a fairly low setting it will boil water in around 5 minutes.  This allows the canister to last a lot longer.  I imagine that if your in a hurry it could be opened up and you would have hot water a lot quicker.  I have only tested it wide open once and it was like a blast furnace!

The size of the fold out supports are perfect for the GSI cup, just make sure your on level and stable ground since there are no clamps.  I have used some large paper clips folded into makeshift clamps and they work just fine.

The unit folds up extremely small and compact.  I find it ideal for the BOB.  Only time will tell if it will hold up but for emergency use it is perfect.  Plus you can’t beat the price!

Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition 3.9oz!Check out Cooking On A Budget at   (I paid under $7 delivered)
The final item I decided on was the Columbia River Knife Tool.  I have had good feedback from a lot of people and decided on it because of how light and durable it is reported to be.  It is a good quality “spork” /  multi tool and it came with a small carabineer for easy attachment to anything.

In the past I have used a heavy plastic utensil set but they can get separated and you must take care not to burn or melt them.  The spork is virtually indestructible heavy gauge aluminum that is anodized and very compact.

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In a emergency or when you have to travel light it is what you will want.  If your hands get sore easily or you have arthritis it will not be the same as regular utensils so keep that in mind.  Sometimes the feel of regular items that you are using every day can give a comforting and relaxing feeling but if your looking for something that gets the job done and can fit in your change pocket…this is it!

Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Eat N Tool 9100C Silver Multi ToolCheck out Cooking On A Budget at paid under $5 delivered)

I hope this information helps you in your decisions!  I have added some more pictures of the stove and cup below.

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Want more? Check out these related articles from our site:

6 Off the Grid Cooking Tips

[Video Review] Wood Gas Stove…Now We’re Cooking!

COOKING SKILLS: 8 Reasons To Hold Onto Old Cookbooks


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  1. Miles

    January 17, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I bought two of the stoves and loved them. The construction is very solid and they appeared to be worth more than the cost. I returned them because they do NOT fit on Coleman tanks. I have a bunch of Coleman tanks and did not want to have to buy a second kind. If you have the right tanks, these stoves are great. You can check reviews for them on Amazon.

  2. Winter Camper

    January 17, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    The stove will probably work well as long as it does not get too cold, and it looks like a good buy. But in really cold weather (below zero) the gas does not have enough pressure. Then, you need to have a pressurized gasoline stove.

    Another cup that works well is the Sierra Club cup. It has the wire handles you like, but also has a wire rim on the lip. That allows you to drink hot beverages while it is hot, without burning your lips. The angled sides allow you to scoop water from shallow streams. The wire handles can hook over your belt.

    • Camper Cal

      January 21, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Thanks Winter Camper! I’ll have to give that cup a try!

  3. Allen

    January 21, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I bought a couple of nesting camping pots made by Coleman a few years ago at WalMart. I think they were about $12. They are black anodized and each one has a top and bottom that are each cups/small pots with folding wire handles and fit on top of each other and all fit in a small drawcord bag. I used them for a long time as grab and go type pots for quick trips, coffee maker and cups etc. You can store a small amount of coffee, tea, dried food etc inside the inner pot. I discovered recently that the smaller two will nestle under a 1 quart Nalgene bottle, like your MSR cup (individually of course), so if you carry two you have two cups or a small covered cooking pot. I plan on getting some nalgene bottle carriers and carry in the mode described.

    That is another option, a military type canteen carrier can carry canteen, stove and cup. The stove requires heat tabs or a small fire under it. This setup works well. You can now buy nalgene canteen too.

    • Allen

      January 21, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      I got the wrong brand of cup, yours is GSI not MSR.

  4. mike

    January 22, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    I got the stove. I think i paid $12 for it, Delivered. I love it I ran to rei and got a small task for it the day i got throws out a lot of heat on high. It does need to be level to cook or the pan will slide off.I have used the stove to heat up a small room in about five minutes. I KNOW IT CAN BE DANGEROUS. I had the windows cracked. But in a survival situation I like to know what i can do. I got this STANLEY 24 oz pan with 2 nesting plastic insulated cups a lid and wire handle from target for $30 I love it. Has a lifetime guarantee. Now I need that spork,It’s awesom .Here’s a tip. I have cooked many meals off just a single candle and a piece of wire to keep the can of food above the flame watery foods work best but i have cooked a can of chilly. I don’t open the can. I shake the can every five to ten minutes and flip it. shake thick food more often and harder. It takes about a hour or more. Enjoy the candle light and heat while you cook. I have never had a problem cooking like this. leave the paper on the can.or your hands will get sticky from the glue. Only use one candle and I’ve never had a can build build up to much pressure to ex plode but be careful when you open can as a little hot food may jump out and get you.good luck and happy survival and thanks for all the tips…..

  5. Melissa

    February 5, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Sporks and I do not get along well. I am considering punching holes into the handles of the shorter sized toddler flatware (removing the silicone coating of course) And putting them on ring. That way I have both and I can clip them into the bags. I have 4 kids as well and these would be more user friendly for them. I like the stove idea but I keep small alcohol heaters in an empty can with holes punched in the bottom for a cooking surface. Still needs to be in a level area but I can refill them cheaper that propane and they are sturdy enough to use a larger cup or pot. Feeding 4 kids one at a time would be a nightmare for us. Still working on the perfect pot for us, right now its a stainless steel sauce pan that is light and has a hole in the end of the handle to clip it to my pack. Is not big but it will cook a larger amount and provide more hot water. Not to mention other than the flatware I’m still working on, the alcohol heaters were $2 each, the pot I found at a thrift store for $1 and the can for a cooking surface are recycled from my kitchen. I can get good alcohol at about $2 a bottle with the right concentration and one bottle will fill the heater 2x.

  6. krys

    February 11, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Thanks for all of the great ideas! I came across this video that shows you how to make a rocket stove. While it may not be as light as the above-mentioned backpacker’s stove, it doesn’t require propane fuel for it’s use. It will cook foods on just a few small sticks. I hope you find this useful! Here’s the rocket stove video:

  7. christina

    November 27, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    looks lore like cocaine on a budget with the rolled up bills and that white next to it,

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