There are many stories of backcountry misfortunes that revolve around either not having the proper gear or not properly knowing the capabilities of said gear. We’ve all been there. Our light runs out of batteries and we panic, not realizing that we brought our iPhone, and it has a powerful LED light. You’ve heard them all, and in some instances, these stories don’t have a happy ending. My story isn’t a horrible one and it became a great chance to test an important piece of gear that I never began an adventure without.

On the first day of a weekend backpacking trip to the peak of Sassafras Mountain in South Carolina, I realized I had made an absentminded mistake. I forget the fuel for our stoves. Fortunately, I had just receive the Snow Peak 1400 Aluminum Cookset for Christmas and decided to bring it along. From this point you know how the story goes. It’s incredibly easy to “side-boil” water in one of these cooksets, although it does leave some permeant residue.

Once we had a small hot fire I placed a flat, and cold, rock inside the fire ring, close to the hot coals and fire. It only took ten minutes (not including time to start the fire) to bring over 1 liter of water to a steady boil. Since we were eating Backpackers Pantry dehydrated meals, there was no cleanup. It was an important lesson in how this essential piece of gear can be used in multiple ways to keep your belly fully on the trail.

Weighing only 10.8 oz, the Snow Peak 1400 is the perfect compliment to my MSR 1 Liter Reactor Stove System. When guiding I also use the 1.4 liter capacity to store a Snow Peak Trek 700 Cookset & Snow Peak 450 Ti-Single Cup with a backup MSR Pocketrocket Stove with some Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee packets.

Pros: Lightweight, muti-purpose, durable, easy to clean

Cons: Expensive, lid doesn’t fit tight to pot (must use mesh sack or band to keep together)

I give the Snow Peak 1400 Aluminum Cookset 4 trout out of 5 largemouth bass (which it basically 4.5 out to 5) and consider it a must have for any adventure I’m on.

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