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Transamerica, stove or no stove?

Old 03-16-22, 05:22 PM
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HendersonD
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Transamerica, stove or no stove?

On May 5th I am starting the Transamerica route from east to west. I am still debating whether to take a stove, titanium pot, and fuel.
Without a stove I would be eating some cold meals as well as stopping at restaurants for hot meals
I have read quite a few accounts of cross country trips where people brought a stove and then realized part way through or at the end of the trip they rarely used it
Thoughts?
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Old 03-16-22, 05:29 PM
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I love coffee so I would take it.
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Old 03-16-22, 05:46 PM
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I have been struggling with the same thing. I'd like to go without cooking gear, however the expense of eating at restaurants is a big deterrent.
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Old 03-16-22, 05:58 PM
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Its all about the coffee and oatmeal. you can get tired of oatmeal quick,you can get tired of cold oatmeal in the blink of an eye.
Unless your in a race i would take a stove.
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Old 03-16-22, 06:19 PM
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Bring it. If you decide you don't need it, mail it home. A backpacking stove and a sierra cup or two is really all you need.
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Old 03-16-22, 06:24 PM
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Even having the money to eat in restaurants there is still the pleasure of having a Cuppa, or a Ramin at the start or end of the day. At the very least I would take an Esbit folder and a large aluminum cup...
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Old 03-16-22, 06:43 PM
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There are enough people that travel without a stove, or on this forum claim not to bring one, that i am beginning to think it is personal preference on what they want to eat, when, where, how far they are willing to travel between a meal and campsite, and how often they eat.

I have two cups of coffee each morning before my tent comes down. If restaurants are conveniently located, I am inclined to use them. But mosty cook breakfast and supper in the campsite.

Recently there was a very long thread on stoves from every possible perspective.
Bike Packing Camp Stoves

My solo cook kit for bike touring is a titanium pot, a titanium mug that can double as a very small pot for pasta sauce. Double wall titanium coffee mug, and several other bits. The round thing between the green bowl and the large pot is a small aluminum fry pan inside a zip lock baggie that by pure luck nests perfectly inside the large pot. The plastic coffee can lid that is under the pot lifter is my cutting board.



When I travel by air, I use a butane mix canister stove, when I don't fly somewhere I use liquid fuels. Above photo has a butane canister stove in upper left corner.

Every minute or two I would move my pasta noodles and pasta sauce back and forth on the one burner stove to keep both hot. The trip in the photo below was with liquid fuel stove.



Below is a freeze dried breakfast mixed with an envelope of instant cereal for more calories in the mug rehydrating with my coffee mug next to it.



Now and then I splurge for something a bit fancier, if you call fried eggs fancy.



And of course the ham that goes with the eggs.



But, there is of course food that you buy from someone that prepares it for you too.

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Old 03-16-22, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Even having the money to eat in restaurants there is still the pleasure of having a Cuppa, or a Ramin at the start or end of the day. At the very least I would take an Esbit folder and a large aluminum cup...
Same here. Coffee+oatmeal for breakfast, ramen+tea for dinner and substantial lunch under way.

Esbit stove is 11g. Fuel is 14g or less for a meal
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Old 03-16-22, 07:48 PM
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Solo or more than one?
Low budget or mid budget?

A lot of folks who ride solo find cooking and clean-up a chore.
Plus being alone all day, it's nice to have a hot cafe meal.
Granted, eating out does cost more.
But having only yourself for company can drive you nutz.

Not to mention, if you are going the TransAm solo
you can share hot meals when you hit campgrounds with other cyclists.
(Which will happen fairly often)

<<<>>>

I will confess -
Years ago, I rolled into a forest service campground kinda late.
I interntionally picked a campsite next to the biggest RV there.
Then I pulled out my peanut butter & jelly and smooshed loaf of bread.
The guy in the RV came over to talk with me - ask the 10 questions -
Then he asked, "Is that all you have to eat?"
Without waiting for an answer he hollered,
"Gloria, throw on another steak for this guy!"

PS - I don't drink coffee, but I have toured with people who do.
It is sad, indeed, seeing them jonesing in the morning.
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Old 03-16-22, 07:52 PM
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I enjoy cooking, both at home and on the road. I find it relaxing and gratifying after a day in the saddle, and I donít like eating a lot of processed stuff. I also want my morning coffee, especially when itís chilly. My goal each morning is to have the French press brewing before I have to take a leak. My 2015 tour of the Black Hills was stoveless. Donít think Iíll do that again. Iíll bet the people who bring stoves with the intention of cooking regularly werenít really keen on preparing the majority of their dinners. And what are you going to do if you want a hot drink or breakfast and you are nowhere near anything?

Last edited by indyfabz; 03-16-22 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 03-16-22, 08:05 PM
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I can't imagine doing a long trip without bringing a stove but I realize everyone is different. I like the Trangia stove; it's bomb proof.
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Old 03-16-22, 08:31 PM
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-camp outside of the town you want to eat breakfast in. Maybe 5 miles? Eat a ton there and drink a lot of coffee, then ride.
-you will pass towns at least a couple times a day (more or less). They all have convenience stores with a microwave, or better yet, a convenience store that makes their own pizza. These things are almost everywhere.

The point is, I don't feel the need to cook anymore. This country has it all laid out for you.
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Old 03-16-22, 09:31 PM
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As much as I detest cooking while on the road, and prefer to eat out and am willing to eat cold "stuff", I can't imagine a tour that long without having a stove with me.
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Old 03-16-22, 11:14 PM
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Stove. It will give some freedom on where to spend the night
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Old 03-17-22, 12:35 AM
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Depends on what you like to eat and how far you ride everyday. I wouldn't eat ramen if starving to death. If a tour is remote and/or cold/wet, I have taken a stove. Depending on your pace, you could get to the Rockies in early June and it is cold at night. I'd bring a stove. OTOH, if you would be getting there later June/July, I might go without a stove. If your daily distance is very short, you might not hit as many places to stop and eat prepared food. If it is just morning coffee, nesbitt and a small Ti pot/mug with decent instant coffee would work for me. There is no right or wrong answer. I hate cooking at home, why cook on a tour.
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Old 03-17-22, 04:35 AM
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There is relatively cheap food at convenience stores as well. Just need to be a bit picky to make sure you are eating something relatively healthy
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Old 03-17-22, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Depends on what you like to eat and how far you ride everyday. I wouldn't eat ramen if starving to death.
Iíve mentioned this before, but when I was on apart of the TransAm in Montana in 2016 I met a guy with a case of Ramen precariously strapped on top of all the other gear he had on his rear rack. Wish I had taken a photo.
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Old 03-17-22, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Solo or more than one?
Low budget or mid budget?
I am riding solo. Budget is not a big concern hence the thought about using convenience stores and restaurants to supplement food I can purchase at the grocery store that can just be eaten without being cooked

Last edited by HendersonD; 03-17-22 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 03-17-22, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
-camp outside of the town you want to eat breakfast in. Maybe 5 miles? Eat a ton there and drink a lot of coffee, then ride.
-you will pass towns at least a couple times a day (more or less). They all have convenience stores with a microwave, or better yet, a convenience store that makes their own pizza. These things are almost everywhere.

The point is, I don't feel the need to cook anymore. This country has it all laid out for you.
This was my thought as well. I can purchase some food at a grocery store, only items that can just be eaten without cooking. That plus convenience stores and restaurants round things out. Of course this is the Transamerica route across the US, going out of country could change things
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Old 03-17-22, 05:58 AM
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HD -

There's also Warmshowers - you know about them, right?
I tend to more remote rides so I haven't stayed with anyone, but I have hosted.
I feed folks who stop in to my house - and usually I know what cyclists crave.
Big ole spaghetti dinner with garlic bread and fresh, local salad fixins.
Or Puerto Rican arroz con pollo and a big salad - and always ice cream.
There are lots o warmshowers hosts along the TA.

There are not many hostels left, but they also have kitchens.
And the church lodging along the TA usually let you cook in their kitchen.

I don't have to have coffee right away -
So, I like to have water and a granola bar as I pack up.
Then ride about 10 miles and hit a country cafe.
It adds a human connection on a solo tour.
(And I've toured, mostly solo, since 1987.)

If you really enjoy camp cooking and are good at it -
then take along the camp stove and utensils.
But, if not, you can always buy the tuna salad pouches and salad mixes.
I think coffee is the #1 big thing - unless you can drink those cold Starbucks cans.
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Old 03-17-22, 06:24 AM
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My touring has been on the trans america an similar routes ans I wouldn't even consider leaving my stove home. I eat in diners quite a bit and also eat cold food some of the time, but I also want hot oatmeal in the morning some times or a hot meal in the evening when away from town. On the TA we used a canister stove and when we had trouble finding replacement canisters we really missed having a working stove.

I figure there is very little to gain by leaving the stove home even for a weight weenie like myself. If I take my full kitchen setup it is about 12 ounces. That inclues a Ti bowl and .6 L cup, as well as my Ti spork some other small stuff (lighter, etc). The stove portion is home made pop can alcohol burner plus stand and wind screen that all weighs about 1.4 ounces depending on which pieces i choose. I take most of that stuff whether I cook or not so there is maybe a 2 ounce penalty in hardware fr taking the stove with the alcohol burner. Of course it needs fuel, but I can carry the stove and only buy fuel when/if I decide I want to cook. In my case I always do, but someone who is unsure could have the option, but carrying only the 1.4 ounces. I buy a 12 ounce bottle of yellow bottle Heet and use the bottle it comes with as my fuel bottle so there is at most about 14 ounces of extra weight carried.

My heavier liquid fuel stoves weigh closer to a pound so the weight is more significant. A canister stove with the smallest canister is a pretty light option for the once in a while cooker and you could pick up more or a larger canister if you decide to cook on a regular basis. I might commit to one of these two types where I want to be able to use a stove where there will be fire bans requiring an off switch/valve on the stove. Also both types are more suitable for groups than my pop can stoves which are best for solo or at most two people.

The average TA rider is probably going to be 10-12 weeks on the road and there will be times and places where there will often not be restaurants to eat at. It is a long haul and maintaining some kind of normalcy is helped by being able to at least heat up food IMO. It will pretty nice to be able to heat up food if not actually cook anything elaborate. Camped in the middle of nowhere I enjoy pulling stuff like instant oatmeal or ramen noodles (I add a dash of hot sauce and sometimes some hard cheese) out of the bag and heating them up. It is nice to cook more elaborate meals to, but most of the time when solo I don't bother getting too carried away. Travelling with company we have fixed real meals with a nice bottle of wine and all.
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Old 03-17-22, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
My touring has been on the trans america an similar routes ans I wouldn't even consider leaving my stove home. I eat in diners quite a bit and also eat cold food some of the time, but I also want hot oatmeal in the morning some times or a hot meal in the evening when away from town. On the TA we used a canister stove and when we had trouble finding replacement canisters .
You and I are the same age and I do like hot oatmeal in the morning and a hot meal in the evening especially when it is cool can be great. Thanks for your feedback
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Old 03-17-22, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I think coffee is the #1 big thing - unless you can drink those cold Starbucks cans.
Aren't all of those Starbucks cans and bottles pretty crazy expensive? I always have sticker shock when I see what folks spend in general for coffee drinks. I am a diner coffee or Maxwell House/Folgers at home kind of guy though.

I have made it a habit to not do coffee in camp, not sure why. At home the first thing I do in the morning is fire up a 5 cup pot which I polish off right away. Backpacking sometimes I go cafeine free. Bike touring I usually get coffee at second breakbast in a diner when I can. The plan is to have a granola bar in camp or sometimes instant oatmeal. Then after riding 10-30 miles hitting a diner for a nice breakfast with coffee. It is a great plan when it works, but it is a frequent occurance that there is no place to stop in the desired range and there is no second breakfast and no coffee. If you don't check ahead you will often be disappointed. Even if there is a place on the map, places go out of business frequently these days.

Something like Starbucks Via or Alpine Start are better than run of the mill instant if you want a quick easy cup in camp. They are kind of expensive. I tend to just carry a few single serve packets as a once in a while treat.

I have considered spoiling myself a bit more in my old age and treating myself to coffee in camp every morning, but most of the time I like to break camp fast and get rolling real early, so it is most often a granola bar and hit the road. In the future I may try making a habit of doing oatmeal and coffee at a roadside second breakfast when a diner isn't an option. It seems like an obvious way to go for me. Not sure why I have not gone that route.
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Old 03-17-22, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HendersonD View Post
This was my thought as well. I can purchase some food at a grocery store, only items that can just be eaten without cooking. That plus convenience stores and restaurants round things out. Of course this is the Transamerica route across the US, going out of country could change things
Some planning and carrying food for a distance may be necessary in more rural areas. Not everything is open every day, and some places close relatively early. One example on the Trans Am is west of Dillon, MT. The Jackson Hot Springs Lodge is closed until later in the week. Thursday, IIRC. Rose's Cantina, assuming it survived the pandemic, is closed on Mondays. There is no other food source in town. 18 miles later there is Wisdom. There is stuff there, including a market. But if you are pressing on over the the passes and might not make Sula by 6 you are going to have to carry all the way from Wisdom because the restaurant at the Sula campground closes mid-afternoon, and their general store usually closes around 5 or 6. At least you will able to get breakfast. A few miles west of Sula campground is a nice USFS campground (Spring Gulch) that includes a site that is reserved for hikers/bikers until 5 or 6 pm. But if you wanted to drop you gear there it would be 10.5 round trip to get to the nearest restaurant. Slightly down hill there, slightly up hill back.
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Old 03-17-22, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Some planning and carrying food for a distance may be necessary in more rural areas. Not everything is open every day, and some places close relatively early. One example on the Trans Am is west of Dillon, MT. The Jackson Hot Springs Lodge is closed until later in the week. Thursday, IIRC. Rose's Cantina, assuming it survived the pandemic, is closed on Mondays. There is no other food source in town. 18 miles later there is Wisdom. There is stuff there, including a market. But if you are pressing on over the the passes and might not make Sula by 6 you are going to have to carry all the way from Wisdom because the restaurant at the Sula campground closes mid-afternoon, and their general store usually closes around 5 or 6. At least you will able to get breakfast. A few miles west of Sula campground is a nice USFS campground (Spring Gulch) that includes a site that is reserved for hikers/bikers until 5 or 6 pm. But if you wanted to drop you gear there it would be 10.5 round trip to get to the nearest restaurant. Slightly down hill there, slightly up hill back.
Thanks for the great information. I have driven across country several times and have a sense of how some rural areas in the west have few services but biking is different. I certainly will make sure I have at least 1-2 days worth of food on my at all times to handle scenarios like you have mentioned
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