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If you want to kick up your hiking menu, don't hike so far, and carry along some frozen or fresh foods you can cook in camp. You can cook on a small backpacking stove, in fact many now come with two burners, but if you want to really go gourmet, you'll probably need a bigger stove and more fuel, which will be more difficult to carry long distances.
Look for a two-burner stove with an adjustable flame, so you can simmer, boil, and everything in between. Look for a sturdy stove that will stand up to your pots and pans, as well. Also, most manufacturers offer "boil and burn times" for their stoves, so you know how long it will take to boil water and how much time you can expect out of a fuel canister. Hiking stoves that heat up quicker and use less fuel may be more expensive, but they'll save you time and money in the long run.
These suggestions work well with camping, too, so you don't have to carry your food and tools so far. Invest in a good hiking stove and it will last you for many years of fabulous meals on the trail!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|