October 22, 2019
In 2006 I skied across Greenland, which wasn’t such a big deal, after all, I’d never even put skis on my feet before we started, so how hard could it be? One of the firsts was we took the first gnome across Greenland, and I did most of it without shoelaces (to stop blisters), but for me, the stand out was my eating equipment. Whereas everyone else had fancy insulated eating bowls, all I took with me was the bottom third of a 2-litre bottle of coke. This worked perfectly for 27 days on the ice, for breakfast and tea, and weighed only a fraction of a standard bowl, plus I was indestructible. This might sound odd, but on my first trip to Patagonia, I’d taken a dog bowl (very hard to knock over), so at least my partners made less fun of me! A more advanced version of this, for technical climbing, is to use a plastic bowl that can be rolled up tight and stuffed in small spaces.
The best option here is to take a polypropylene (the cheaper style, that’s less rubbery) flexible drinking bladder, one around 2 litres, and cut it in half. Make sure you get one that is self-standing, and the designs with extended baffled/flanged/crimped plastic are good, as you can add a clip loop here, for clipping it off (they blow away dead easily). With this, you should mark on the outside, with a sharpie, or make little v cuts alone the baffle, for 250, 500 and 750-millimetre marks. This allows you to take your freeze-dried food, in its heavy-duty plastic container, and decant it onto lighter freezer bags (write on the bag what it is, cooking instructions and amount of water). This both saves weight but also reduces bulk. Place two meals in a separate day bag, so the meals are double bagged, and you can just grab both meals at once.
The weight of one of these platy-bowls is around 15 grams, and they will last for a long time if you look after them, and you can also drink tea, or cereal out of them, so can get away without any bulky bowls or large cups. Note: this is only for short technical climbs, not for skiing across Greenland or expeditions, as in then you’re better off using a large GSI mug.