Fortunately for hungry campers, there are plenty options for preparing meals while being swarmed by bugs. To keep ourselves from starving we tried out four different stoves to see which would get food in our stomachs the quickest. For car campers we lit up the impressive -- but pricey -- Jetboil Genesis Base Camp System and old standby, Coleman Triton Stove. For backpackers that need to travel light, the smartphone charging BioLight Campstove was pitted against the Snowpeak Gigapower Stove Auto Ignition.
We decided to do a timed-water boil on each to establish a baseline. Just like you'd expect, the Jetboil (it's in the name!) did the best in our trial but, you need to watch the video to see how everything stacked up.
Once we got the fires all lit it was time to get down to some actual cooking. We opted to use a prepackaged food service called Fireside Provisions. While the quality of the meals swung wildly between tasteless mush with cashews on top, to succulent, fire-charred pork chops, we were able to replace all the calories we burned up while pitching our tents.
One issue we did have with the ready-to-cook system was the amount of waste generated by all the tiny packets Fireside Provisions gives you to prepare your meal. Getting closer to nature shouldn't involve creating more trash than usual.
But, like Lewis and Clarke, we survived the ordeal and can't wait to venture into the great outdoors in the future. Well maybe after having a few slices first.