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Cooking Gear for Travel

I cook my own food when traveling, I’ve written about the benefits of cooking your own meals many times before on this site. When in camp on bicycle trips, when in hotel rooms, when making a travel hub in an apartment I will generally cook at least one meal a day for myself. This is [...]


I cook my own food when traveling, I’ve written about the benefits of cooking your own meals many times before on this site. When in camp on bicycle trips, when in hotel rooms, when making a travel hub in an apartment I will generally cook at least one meal a day for myself.

This is the cooking gear that I always carry with me:

  • -A stainless steel plate that has a high lip so it can second as a bowl. I also will flip it upside down and use it as a cutting board.
  • -2 Pots so that I can cook a starch (rice, noodles) in one and my meat and vegetables in the other.
  • -Silverware. Nothing special here.
  • -A can opener. This is optional as cans can be opened with a spoon.
  • -A corkscrew. Also optional, as corks can be removed with a pocket knife.
  • -A pocket knife.
  • -A tuna can alcohol camp stove. If I don’t have access to a stove in a kitchen I will use my homemade tuna can stove. (Learn how to make a tuna can stove here.) If I’m staying in a hub for a month or two I will sometimes buy an electric burner and use this instead.
  • -I keep this cooking gear wrapped up tight in a dry bag. (Read about these dry bags here.)

I prefer stainless steel cooking gear to plastic, aluminum, glass, or Teflon alternatives, as this material is extremely durable, it can be placed on a live flame, and does not contaminate the food. Stainless steel pots and plates are also pretty cheap in many places in the world — though they can sometimes be difficult to find.

Cooking gear in action

My cooking gear is not extensive or in any way expensive, but it gets the job done. Carrying this gear gives me the liberty to go beyond relying on restaurants for my sustenance, allows me to eat cheaper and healthier, and, in the end, makes me a more self-sufficient traveler.

This article is part of the Vagabond Cookbook.

Filed under: Travel Gear

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

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  • Sean C June 25, 2012, 6:32 pm

    I love posts like these. Always great info. Wade, what do you use to transport your denatured alcohol? What do you think would be the best size for a spill-proof container for this purpose? Lastly, where did you buy your pot? I have been looking for a stainless pot like yours with fold-out handles but no luck. Thanks.

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    • Wade Shepard June 26, 2012, 10:53 am

      Thanks. I just leave the alcohol fuel in the plastic container it comes in. It generally has a screw off top and if it’s not met with any large impact will generally not leak. I’m also not too worried about it leaking as the contents are not too hazardous/ smelly, and would only require a quick washing to clean it up. That said, I still generally don’t keep it in the same bag as anything that could be damaged by getting wet.

      About the pots, the one you’re talking about I think I picked up at a sporting goods store in the USA a long, long time ago. It came in a two or three pot set, but the one in the video is the only one I still have. I don’t think I paid too much for it. I’ll look for an Amazon link to a similar set and put it up in this article soon.

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