My Old Mess Kit


This is my stainless steel U.S. GI mess kit and utensils with my Ranger cook pot. These have been my old stand bys for a very long time. I have been using equipment like this since I was in the Boy Scouts at age 10 or 11. A lot of the reason I still use them is mostly nostalgic. Every time I use these sets, I remember the camping trips I took as a kid. The smell of the early morning dew, eggs and sausage cooking in cast iron cookware on the fire is priceless! I get laughed at by some when I pull these out and start using them during camping trips until I tell them about the time I shared my breakfast with a raccoon on one scout trip.

   I had gotten up just before dawn and started the morning fire. I had heated some water on the fire and made probably the best cup of coffee I had ever had. The other scouts and the scoutmasters got up because they smelled the coffee brewing. Once everyone was awake, we started cooking eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. The smell was amazing and it was no wonder the critters were curious. I filled my mess kit and noticed I had forgotten my utensils in the pack inside my tent.

   I was carrying my breakfast with me to the tent. Once I got the utensils, I heard a sound coming from the nearby brush. My tent was at the rear of the campsite and I was naturally curious. I thought I would investigate. The little raccoon came out cautiously looking up at me sniffing curiously. I bent down and startled him a little. He noticed that I had some of that good smelling stuff in my hand. I dropped it between him and I to entice him to come closer. When he noticed, I had more of that stuff he let his guard down. I soaked some of the food in some of the fat and grease from the bacon and held it in my hand. This time he came up to me and reached out to accept the gift. He took the egg out of my hand and we sat there eating breakfast until it was all gone. I even prepared a section of my mess kit just for him. I would add some water with his treats so he could eat it more easily. Once I got up he scampered back into the woods to get ready to go to sleep for the day. It is not every day you get to share your breakfast with an honored guest.   

Book Photos Gear 033

  Above is a photo of the U.S. GI mess kit with utensils and Ranger cook pot. These are hefty pieces of kit but they are tough. Kits like this have been through wars and lived to tell about it. I have cooked many meals in this cookware, including fresh lake trout next to the water. It does not get any better than that. 

   With the Ranger cook pot I have made a lot of soups and stews from wild edibles and trapped small game. I have even made a watercress, rice, and crayfish dinner with it. Some of the best outdoor meals I have prepared and eaten were from these clunky metal kits.