My backpacking cook gear has never been what one would describe as gourmet. The last few years have been a constant exercise in trying to find the least heavy saucepan in the kitchen, attempting to fanangle the pot (and its unwieldy handle) into my backpack, and then shoving everything else (a cup, my stove, utensils, gas canisters, etc) into various crevices of my pack. Needless to say, it was a bit of a disorganized mess.
Enter the GSI Pinnacle Soloist and Halulite Minimalist Complete. The Soloist cook set comes with a mug with a lid, spoon/fork (foon), 220 g canister, and a carrying sack that doubles as a sink. All these parts nest together, and there’s room for a fuel canister, lighter, stove, and other small accessories as well. Plus, the Teflon coating means that the stove heats quickly, evenly, and is scratch resistant.
The GSI Minimalist comes with a foon, pot gripper, pinnacle canister stove, .6L pot with a lid and insulated sleeve for drinking out of, and a windscreen. These all nest together as well, so you have room for a 110 fuel canister. When I took the Minimalist and the Soloist camping, I nested the Halulite pot, stove, and windscreen with the rest of the Soloist gear so I could use a combo of the two. That way, I had both a bowl to eat out of and a mug to drink from. I definitely liked having both sets together, but depending on your needs you could go with one or the other. The Minimalist is good for very bare-bones backpacking where you only want to lug around the basics, while the Soloist has a few extra comforts (like the sink bag). They both weigh about ten ounces though, so having both around made dining even more convenient for only a little bit more weight.
Pros: First, on a purely organizational level, the GSI Soloist is a dream. Being able to have all of your cooking and eating utensils in one compact place makes backcountry cooking incredibly convenient. I also liked how the folding handle on the pot locked in place to make sure nothing spilled. The pot boils enough water for two people, so if you’re traveling with a friend they only need to bring their own bowl and fork which is nice. In case you can’t remember the nesting order to make sure everything fits easily, they have it printed on the outside of the pot so you’re not wasting precious hiking time fiddling around with your gear.
The stove on the Minimalist was very efficient, and boiling the water for my dinner didn’t take long at all. I also liked the insulating sleeve on the mug because I could pour piping hot water right in and not have to worry about burning myself.
Cons: The foon that comes with the both sets is pretty flimsy, so I would recommend investing in another one of GSI’s utensils. Also, even though there are measurement markings on the Soloist bowl there aren’t any on the pot which made determining exactly how much water to boil slightly inconvenient.
Where I took it: Hiking and camping in the James Peak Wilderness and other places around the Front Range.