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Embrace “Overlanding Lite Cooking” and Minimize Your Gear and Budget.

The Camp Cooker that Is 10 times better than a skottle!

When I got into “overlanding”, one of the things that I noticed was that SERIOUS enthusiasts could be determined by their gear. First, the vehicle must be sporting a high-dollar trash bag off the back. Second, the campsite must feature an elevated “cowboy wok”, also known as a discada or skottle.

Now I’m not new to 4-wheeling. I bought my first new 4x4 in 1979: a Jeep J10 pickup with Quadratrac! I’ve owned too many 4x4’s to count since then. And I’m not new to camping, since I’ve spent cumulative YEARS in tents, campers, and off-grid cabins in all four seasons across the U.S. and Canada.

So it was with some surprise that when I joined the “Overlanding Fraternity” that I learned I had been doing it all wrong! How had I survived for decades without a dedicated “Trasharoo” just for empty beer cans? Even worse, how had I not starved after thousands of camping meals canoeing, backpacking, bikepacking, motorcycle camping, van camping, and boondocking?

The fact is as soon as you designate that a piece of gear is ideal for “overlanding” you can kiss your budget goodbye. But overlanding should not ALWAYS equal overspending! “Overlanding Lite” seeks to minimize the quantity of gear, the cost, and the energy expenditure.

Overlanding Lite Cooking" saves time, money, and fuel!

I recently added a new cooking utensil that is very versatile, replaces several other pieces of cookware, costs a fraction of the fashionable “overlanding” alternative, AND can also be used at home! It’s the Weber cast iron wok, designed for gas and charcoal grills.

In my opinion, this wok is 10 times Better than the skottle. Here are my reasons:

1. Versatility: The Weber frying pan/wok can be used on a stove – in camp or at home. Does anyone use their “skottle” at home?

2. Versatility in use: The cast iron pan can not only cook over any residential stove (including induction cook tops) but you can also cook efficiently over a wood fire, charcoal, gas grill, or any camp stove.

3. Versatility for meals: The deep wok can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The shallow discada is worthless for cooking stews, soups, or anything with a liquid base.

4. Versatility when planning meals: The Weber frying pan/wok does not include a lid. But I bet one of the lids in your kitchen will fit – or that you can find a serviceable lid at the local Thrift store for $1.00. With a lid, you can cook roasts, steam vegetables, or even bake fry bread in camp.

5. Cooking quality: No one can cook as well over a thin steel plate as a thick cast iron frying pan. The heat distribution ranges from white hot to barely hot across the thin steel surface. Cast iron, on the other hand, has a much more even heat distribution and holds the heat better.

6. Ease of use: Any mild steel cooking pan is going to require a year of conscientious use in order to properly season the cooking surface. In the meantime, you are going to be fighting burnt food and undercooked meals. Cast iron seasons well and the Weber frying pan/wok actually comes with a decent seasoning right out of the box.

7. Cost: I paid about $60.00 for my Weber cast iron wok (although cost are sure to be higher now.) You can pay as much or more for just the steel discada flat cooker. If you buy the entire skottle cooking rig, expect to pay about $300.00.

8. Economy of use: The most expensive means of cooking is using one-pound propane bottles. Even if you MacGyver the refiling process, the cost is far higher than using a cookstove connected to a bulk propane tank. Yes, you can buy an adapter hose for your skottle but that will cost you another $30.00. For the same amount, you can buy an inexpensive propane stove or butane cooker.

9. Space requirements: You are going to need to carry a stove anyway – in addition to the skottle. Why not use it along with a cast iron wok? Likewise, you are probably looking forward to building a campfire. Why not rake some coals aside and cook for free?

10. Weight: The cast iron pan is not light – but it is LIGHTER than the skottle package. Overlanding LITE cooking also saves pounds! Who needs another clunky piece of equipment clogging up their camping rig or taking up shelf space at home?

The objective of Overlanding Lite is to minimize the amount of gear carried, the cost of acquisition, and the cost of operation. For all ten of the reasons above, I choose to pack the cast iron frying pan/wok instead of the discada cooker. Save that extra $250.00 and put it towards more adventures!

Overlanding lite cooking

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