When disaster strikes, you don’t want to be caught unprepared.
In the following section, these products will enable you to create a quality meal on the go even if you don’t have the picture-perfect checkered tablecloth and a pitcher of bug juice. Consider these options when dining in the wild.
Key features: Lightweight, strong and durable
Description: Having a meal on the go may involve eating as you hike, sitting in some brush to dine, or leaning against a tree while you balance a bowl on your knee. But if you tuck the Walkstool into your backpack, you’ll have a place to sit and dine wherever you go. The ultra-portable stool folds and the legs telescope inward until it’s the size of a packed tripod. Then you can slip it into the included case and get back on your way, since it adds less than 2 pounds to your carry load.
During our test, it was great to be able to sit down and enjoy a drink or a quick sandwich, and the Walkstool was very sturdy and durable for testers of all sizes (we tested it up to 220 pounds, but the company says it can hold 440 pounds). It didn’t cause strain and didn’t fold up on us while we were in it.
Key features: Durable, lightweight, sustainable
Description: Disposable cutlery may be convenient, but when you’re on the go, it’s hard to find a place to dispose of it. Instead, check out the To-Go Ware Utensil set, which includes durable bamboo utensils nestled into a folding container made entirely of discarded plastic bags. This means zero impact to the environment, and a safe and reusable cutlery set for you.
In our test, the fork and knife cleaned up easier than expected in hot water, and the knife was capable of cutting tomatoes, cheese and hot dogs. The case didn’t absorb water and was lightweight in our packs.
Key features: Durable, compact, non-stick
Description: If you plan to be out on the trail for an extended period of time, you’ll need a way to cook your food, and the Carbon Steel Cookset does not disappoint. Featuring a non-stick surface, the set also has several clever space-saving features that will keep you happy when you’re packing your gear. For instance, the pot lids all have built-in strainers so you needn’t bring a colander. In addition, a pot scrubber and measuring cup fit into the configuration for easy stacking.
During our test, we found the set to heat quickly and clean easily. The only thing to keep in mind is that the 10-piece set is heavy (12 pounds), so you should pick your favorite piece from the set to take on shorter treks when you may not have a car or camper to carry the bulk of the load.
Key features: Holds your water bottle and small gear
Description: Lighter than a backpack but functional enough to carry everything you need, the GoCaddy is a great addition to any trek into the woods. Whether you’re camping, hunting or fishing, you should be able to fit your essentials into the GoCaddy, including a water bottle up to 1.5 liters in volume, money, ID or credit card, phone, keys, sunglasses, and other items.
In our test, the included strap was comfortable and adjusted easily for testers of various sizes. The water, although cold, did not “sweat” into the outer pocket, which is important since you don’t want your electronics in the pocket getting wet.
Key features: Durable, rustproof, easy to clean
Description: Waking up in the wild can be much easier if you have a bit of java to get you in gear. This Coghlan’s coffee pot is a great no-frills addition to your gear pack, as it percolates coffee quickly. The handle stays cool and helps you pour it easily.
During our test, we liked the fact that it held nine cups of coffee, which stayed warm for a surprisingly long period after brewing, thanks to the aluminum pot.
It can be expensive to stock up on bags of trail mix, but when you’re heading out for a fishing excursion, you might welcome a small container of it in your pocket when your stomach starts to rumble.
To save money and maximize the odds of enjoying the flavor, you can make your own trail mix at home in bulk, and then package it in individual zip-top bags.
While you’re free to add any ingredients that you like to the mix, you’ll have more energy—and you’ll hold onto it for a longer period—if you use protein as your base, such as peanuts, cashews or almonds. Then you can add an equal amount of a dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries or banana chips, as well as extras such as granola, pretzels, oyster crackers, cereal or sesame sticks for your favorite flavorings.
Many people like candy in their trail mix as well—just remember that chocolate can melt, rendering the rest of the mix quite messy when you’re on the go.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the 2013 print issue of American Survival Guide.