Backpacking fare has advanced tremendously in the past several years. Greater variety has entered the marketplace but there is still room for improvement especially in the baked goods department. Or is there?
I conquer my cravings with the Outback Oven by Backpacker's Pantry. I will admit that I shrugged off the idea of backcountry baking when my wife suggested it a few years ago. I figured this was just another one of her frivolities that would make extra weight in my already heavy pack. After some coaxing I finally gave in to the idea and bought the ultra light model which uses your own pot and weighs only a few grams.
It has an ingenious design, employing a heat diffuser, thermometer and non-flammable tent. With my interest piqued I decided to follow my stroganoff with a fine finish of Outback Oven Brownies. I lined my pot with a circle of parchment paper, which is a good idea as it makes clean up a breeze and prevents sticking. I poured the batter into the pot, placed the heat diffuser on my stove, then my pot with the lid and finally the thermometer and tent.
I found that the stove works best on low or simmer. The MSR Dragonfly is an excellent stove for simmering but I find the Outback Oven works as well with my Primus Himalaya. You must be careful what type of stove you use with this product so be sure to read the caution notes concerning stove types in the instructions. It is a good idea to rotate the tent periodically to prevent it from scorching. Once the appropriate time has past you can unveil your delicious treat.
I must say that I was completely astonished when I took the first bite of brownie made in my Outback Oven. With some practice I was making cakes, pies, lasagna, pizza and even baking fish. The list of what you can make goes on and my wife has developed several recipes just for the Outback Oven. Backpacker's Pantry makes a good selection of mixes for this product such as Dutch Apple Pie, Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake and Banana Nut Bread. Having said this, don't be afraid to try some of the mixes from your local grocery store. Look for mixes that only require water and eggs. You can substitute the fresh eggs with powdered eggs successfully.
After all my resistance the Outback Oven has become
a priority in my backpack and I use it frequently.
2002 Laurie Ann March - courtesy of Outdoor