By Contributing Editor Steve Casimiro, editor of Adventure Journal. See more of Casimiro's gear recommendations in our must-have gear gallery >>
Anybody who’s ever seen my backcountry pantry knows I’m not a foodie. Trader Joe’s Pop-Tarts and organic ramen, that’s about the extent of it. After decades of backpacking trips where I’ll inhale anything remotely edible at the end of a long day, I’ve learned it’s all about fast calorie consumption—and pretty much anything tastes great. Combine that admittedly pagan approach to meals with a wholehearted embrace of the lightweight ethos and you’ll understand why I’m so psyched on the GSI Halulite Minimalist. It sells for $23.
The Jetboil has long been my go-to for fast cooking, but the Halulite is smaller, lighter, and far less expensive (though you do need a stove, too). At just 5 ounces and 4.2 x 4.2. x 4.6 inches, it weighs less and holds slightly more than your average coffee mug. But it will carry a tiny folding stove, like the Optimus Crux, and a small fuel canister along with the included spork and pot gripper for a combined weight (without fuel) of around 8 ounces.
The .6 liter pot is your cooking and eating vessel, and it is the blessing and curse of minimalism: You can’t fit much in here. Instant soup will work, but a full ramen pack? Pretty tight. Plan on cooking a second course, at the least. But with tradeoff noted, the cookset is a terrific little system: Boil water, cook your food, remove from heat, slip on the neoprene cozy, and you’re, um, cooking with gas. The cozy protects your hands from the hot pot and the sippable lid prevents the food from cooling too fast.
The Minimalist certainly isn’t for everyone—there will be no group meals cooked in it—but when weight and size trump other concerns, it’s an excellent choice.