cheap cookware & canoe camping

Was interested in opinions of teflon coated pots, or aluminum, that have been used on river camping trips. How do you clean them after a meal on the river? Let’s not assume we’re paddling on waters you would want to drink…then again maybe you boil/treat your water to clean your pots? Call it cabin fever, but this is something I have thought about for next season. For those who never use cookware… I understand…just interested in hearing from those who actually prepare meals in pots and how they go about cleaning and/or any other tips pertaining to subject.

Many thanks.

wash them with the water available…
…then fill the bottom with water when you next use them…heat that water to boiling; hold the pot by the handle and swish the boiling water over the inside to disinfect them before you use them to cook in…

I use the same principle when I’m just boiling a cup of water for freeze dried meals…boil the water, put my spoon in the water for 30 seconds or so before I use it in the meal…water safe, spoon and cup safe…pretty simple really…

I often just grab wild plants and eat them as I go. No dishes or silver!

get a “Banks” fry pan. Look them up.

You will love it

Wipe, wash once in awhile
Often I just wipe the pan as clean as I can get it, starting with bread. Ecologically unfriendly as it is, I will use a paper towel, too. Unless I’ve cooked something very messy that might be as far as I go. I’ll be boiling water in the pot for coffee and oatmeal in the morning and my meals are meatless (less prone to spoil), so it usually not a big deal.

If I cook something that’s too messy to wipe, I will wash with the water upon which I boated to the site. At this time I catch any spoons or plates, too. Wash and rinse, then as a final step boil some water and pour it out onto every thing you washed. It helps to have a cup you can use to ladle the boiled hot water out of the pot and slowly drizzle it onto objects to be rinsed. Lay the pot and dishes out on some sticks or rock to dry.

Strictly speaking, it’s not “no trace.” But my traces are minimal.


if there is sand or dirt near by I use that with a little water to scrub the left overs out.On salt water trips I dont bother to bring something to scrub the pots, as washing in the salt with sand seems to do the trick.

I pretty much do it as chip
only I’m even worse: I’ll use beach sand and salt walter in my large camping sink in the first round, then a small squeeze of soap in water in round two. Then go out a ways away from people and “broadcast” the water far and wide. I knew an outfitter who would spray things with some sort of solution after that. I just set them out to air dry. Carry a towel too.

pot washing
The no stick material is much eaiser to clean. After cooking a meal I fill up the pots with lake or river water and let it sit for as long as possible (soaking method). Most gunk will come off with a paper towel or bandana (pine needles make an excellent scrubbing material). I then boil water and swirl around for a final rinse of everything. I rarely use any soap. Obviously, I never dump any dish water in the lake or river.

No difference
Still leaches in. Just takes longer.

Fry Bake pans
Check them out. We use these institutionally HARD, and they just keep kickin. No stick, and the non-stick surface will not be damaged by cooking, or cleaning.

what I use
for camping I use pretty cheap gear. The cookware is all WalMart grade. I travel with minimal gear, a percolator coffee pot, which I use for coffee and tea, and a 1 gallon enameled steel pot with lid that I use for cooking meals. I wash with plain ol water and sand, etc, and boil all my meals. I carry one bowl, spoon, and cup. Everything is eaten from those dishes, and I lick my bowl and spoon clean, and boil in my food water before I cook. Steel or cast is nice because you can burn it clean or sterilize it easily.

Never had any problems with it. Buy a water filter and purification tablets, any problems you will have will be from water rather than food IMO.

Check out the Teksport Hiker 3-pot anodized set with the nonstick interior. great size for 2 people and cheap too (think they were $25 at Walmart). They also make a larger set called Trailblazer. Very easy to clean with just hot water; I carry a cut-in-half scrub pad and a 2 oz bottle of camp soap inside but usually don’t need them.

I’m camping but not kayaking experienced, but…

for cheap, check out the Wal-Mart greace pot. just a lightweight aluminum pot that’s dirt cheap.

I never cleaned my cookpot while camping. Whatever’s stuck to the pot from the day before just gets eaten the next day!

my experiment with a scouring pad just meant one more thing to get moldy and disgusting.

don’t worry too much about the buggies. Giardia isn’t that common, and the cooking process will kill anything bad.

Cabin Fever in KC
Thanks for your posts. Just got back from shoveling the driveway…again! Nasty outside and the thought of canoe camping sure sounds good with the forecast for the next few days.

I like the ideas floated here and look forward to a good river meal in a few months.

biodegradable soap
As to the question of dumping dish water directly into the source or broadcasting it onto soil:

Biodegradable soap is only biodegradable in soil thanks to the micro-organisms therein. If you dump soapy water into a river/lake it can be toxic to the aquatic buggers. They just don’t know what to do with soap. So just toss it into the bushes, and everyone’s happy.

Prairiedog, if you go west for BLM
rivers like the Dolores, there are mildly complicated requirements about straining dishwater to remove food bits. You might visit the BLM sites for western rivers where you’ll get details on instructions.

I didn’t even plan to cook, and subsisted on granola, etc., while on the river, but I still had to carry a fire pan and a strainer to meet regulations.