Backpacking

Alpine Fry-Bake Set

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Versatile camping cookware

If you are someone who likes to go into the outdoors, camping or backpacking, but you also like cooking real food the Fry-Bake ($74)from Banks is must-have piece of kit. The Fry-Bake is a frying pan, a shallow pot, and most importantly, an oven. I’ve used mine to make chicken alfredo with noodles, sausage and onions, rice noodles with spam and green onions, and the camp favorite — scratch-made cinnamon rolls.

Since getting the Fry-Bake I have made more and more ambitious meals on each outing because using it is so pleasurable. Long a favorite of the NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) courses, the Fry-Bake is versatile tool that helps you to make real food while out in the backcountry. Made of hard anodized aluminum, the Fry-Bake pan comes in two sizes and two depths. The larger Expedition model is 10 ½” in diameter and the Alpine model is 8”. Both are available in standard or deep models. The standard being 1 ½” deep and the deep models are 2 ⅜”.

The hard anodized surface is extremely durable and Banks recommends using metal utensils when using the Fry-Bake. This allows you to get all those last bits of food out of the pan and makes cleanup very straightforward. My Fry-Bake has a lot of miles and meals on it and still looks great. Also the aluminum construction does a much better job of spreading heat compared to titanium cookware often used in backpacking.

The real magic of the Fry-Bake is the lid. Made of raw aluminum the lid has a very tight fitting design that traps in heat and moisture. The raised lip on the top also allows you to either put coals or build a small fire (known as a “twiggy fire” to NOLS graduates) on top of the Fry-Bake, making it a small Dutch oven, ideal for baking bread, pizzas, or desserts. This versatility is what sets the Fry-Bake apart from most other backcountry cooking gear.

There are two lid styles available with the only difference being the “handle.” The standard has a small riveted on piece of aluminum and the NOLS style has a hole for a replaceable wingnut, making it more user serviceable. Produced in the USA by a small family owned company, the Fry-Bake has a devoted following from those outdoor enthusiasts who have tried it and appreciate making real food while on trail, not just boiling water to rehydrate pouches of packaged food.

And for a late night treat, the Fry-Bake makes an excellent popcorn popper.

-- William Kapes 10/27/18