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May 10, 2005

BakePacker field test

Just got back from an amazing trip to California's central coast. I'll be posting some pictures soon, but in the meantime I thought I'd give an updated review. A while back, we purchased this cool-sounding camping gadget called the BakePacker that purported to cook -- and bake -- great meals in your camping pot with no dishes to do.

Our field testing resulted in mixed reviews. We used the BakePacker to cook meals we bought from Adventure Foods, which creates dishes especially for the BakePacker.

It turns out that cooking with the BakePacker is a bit of an acquired skill. The first night I think we had the burner flame up too high because a little hole developed in the bottom of our cooking bag, getting baked ziti sauce all over the BakePacker and pot. So much for the "eliminates dish washing."

The next night, we turned down the flame but didn't cook our Potatoes au Gratin long enough, leaving the grated potatoes a bit crisp. Both nights I think we added too much water (even though we followed the directions) because both dishes were pretty soupy. Both of these dishes were fairly good, just not as tasty as the stuff we normally bring camping (which is really yummy organic backpacking food from Mary Janes Farm).

But where the BakePacker performed quite well was, understandably, with the baked goods. We made some honey cornbread and a big potato pancake, both of which turned out pretty well, although they were a bit dry. All-in-all, the BakePacker was pretty cool, but it took some adjusting to get the desired results and I think it works best for baked items. Part of my disappointment was probably with the food we selected for the BakePacker and not the cooker itself. The BakePacker comes with some recipes and tips for experimenting, which I might try instead of relying on pre-mixes from Adventure Foods.

One last note: one item from Adventure Foods that was a total hit was the Mud Pie Bar. The web site says "Wow!" and it really is amazingly good. Just add a tiny bit of water to the mix, knead it a bit, and press it into a bar shape. It's a gooey chocolate, caramel, and nut slice of heaven. This is the one luxury you've got to pack on your next hike! (Of course, depending on your definition, you might label toilet paper a "luxury item"... but not me, babe, I'm not that gung ho!)

Posted by rigd0003 at May 10, 2005 4:23 PM | Hiking n' Camping