We are rather happy of the Primus Omnifuel. We can cook with fuel or gas but, for cost reasons, we use mostly fuel. Gas is good to clean the stove.
We had several problems at the beginning of the trip, not always easy to understand the causes. Every time we had to dismantle the stove. We got the impression the MSR Whisperlite was more reliable but it only works with fuel and the pump, in plastic, is more fragile. After two years, we now know the stove is a fragile piece of equipment that requires to be cleaned regularly.
Noisy… The Omnifuel is relatively noisy. The Whisperlite, as its name indicates, whispers. The MSR XGK is very very noisy, we liken it to a rocket!
Remember to roll the aluminum windbreaker around the fuel bottle. Folded, it will tear very quickly.
We have two titanium pots of 1L and 1,5L each (REI Ti Ware). With two pots we can cook quickly: while we finish preparing the pasta off the stove, we can already put to warm the water for the thermos for breakfast. Titanium is lighter than aluminum and heats more quickly. But we cannot use the lids as frying pans, the food burns. So we have an aluminum pan for pancakes and omelets.
Breakfast: the must, porridge. Since we have porridge in the morning, we don’t have energy low-downs in the morning. We have it with cold or hot milk. We mix oats, powder milk and chocolate powder and pour the hot water over it. You can also add honey, dried nuts, sugar… Semolina is also filling but not as much as oats. We found oats everywhere: Kazakhstan, Thailand, Japan, Argentina…
Coffee: if you don’t like instant coffee, you can get a fabric filter that you can reuse for ground coffee. You can also make it: sew a piece of t-shirt on a circular piece of metallic wire the same diameter as your mug. Another system: a metallic grid (we bought a sink plug!). We put the ground coffee in the mug, hot water, wait a few minutes and put the grid at the bottom.
Snacks: loaded with calories, peanuts, nuts, dried fruits, bananas. Good for the thirst, apples and peaches. Biscuits are yummy but don’t fill as much as dried fruits.
Lunch: in Asia we used to eat on the road, there is always a small stall selling pasta or soup. In South America, we had a lot of sandwiches until one day we couldn’t bear to see a tuna tin anymore. Since then, we cook a salad the evening before: rice or bulgur with lentils or chickpeas, accompanied with carrots, hard-boiled eggs, tuna… We put rice and lentils to soak when we arrive and by the time we had our dinner, they are soft and cook quickly. We keep hard-boiled eggs for three days in a cardboard egg box.
Dinner: when we camp, we are lazy. As a starter: a dehydrated soup so we can get back ½ l each of water and salt. The soup fills us up while we are waiting for the main course: pasta and tomato sauce with powder cheese, garlic, oregano… Other cyclists sometimes cook more elaborate meals but we like to have our meal ready quickly. We tend to cook with fresh ingredients on rest days. Vegetables are also very heavy to carry on the bike.
Washing-up: we left with 500ml of washing liquid until we noticed we were not using it much. We don’t want to pollute rivers when we rough camp. A scouring pad is usually enough. For very dirty pans, you can use sand. To save water, MSR water bags have a small opening. You can also remove a lot with grass.
We have enough with two water bags of 6L each (MSR Dromedary Bag). On top of a 1L water bottle and a ½ L thermos each, we carry a 1.5L bottle of water. The lids of the water bags leak, maybe we didn’t store them properly.
Thermos are very useful in the morning: we boil up the water in the evening and the thermos keep the water warm until the morning for breakfast. We save time in the morning as we don’t have to get the stove out. Thermos are also very useful to keep water cold for hot days or to keep some warm tea for cold days.
We prefer to use a filter (Katadyn Pocket) rather than Micropur tablets. It’s quick and we don’t have the chlorine taste. We also discovered recently another alternative: the Steripen, as small as a pen, sterilises water (only useful if the water is not muddy).
Take a strong filter. Katadyn has three categories of products: 1st one is for clear water, 2nd for mildly muddy water and the 3rd one for muddy water. If you think you will have to filter water from rivers, take at least a filter in the mid-range category. We know two couples whose Katadyn Mini broke very quickly (aimed only at tap water!).
Clean the filter: when the pump gets harder and harder, it means the cartridge is dirty. Dismantle the filter and clean the cartridge with a scouring pad and clean water.
Folding bowl (Ortlieb 10L). Light and compact we couldn’t do without it for:
- Washing the clothes: we can put to soak a few t-shirts or 2 trousers. Stains are easier to wash if you let the clothes soak 30 min – 1h rather than just wash it under running water.
- Getting water from the river to then filter it into the water bags.
- Taking a shower: once the bucket filled with water, we wash ourselves with a mug.
- Carrying things: very useful as a shower pannier to put shampoo, soap, towel…
- There are probably other purposes that we haven’t discovered yet!
We use Ziploc bags for powder stuff (washing powder, sugar, powder milk etc.) and also to protect our passports, the laptop, avoid that the shampoo leaks in our panniers. Nalgene bottles are very useful for liquids (olive oil, body oil, salt). The pharmacy is stored in a Tupperware box to avoid damaging the blister-packs.