Mess tins are an ideal option for hikers and campers who need to pack light and want to enjoy hot meals in the wild.
In this article, I'll introduce the Skater Aluminum mess tin and teach you some ways you can use it to enhance your time in the great outdoors.
The product we used:
What is a mess tin?
Mess tins are lightweight, compact containers used for cooking and serving food in outdoor settings such as camping and hiking. They're typically made of metal or plastic and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit different needs.
The Skater is made from high-quality aluminum and is designed to be lightweight, durable, and easy to use. It also has a non-stick coating. This is important for a couple of reasons. If you're hiking, your rations will probably be fairly limited, so you don't want any food to go to waste from sticking or burning. The non-stick surface also makes it practical to cook certain kinds of food, allowing you more variety on the trail. Having a non-stick surface also makes the mess tin easy to clean. No sponge? No problem.
We'll put the Skater to the test later, but first let me give you some of my impressions.
Skater mess tins come in a few sizes, measured in milliliters. When I took the 600ml mess tin out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the lid and handle. The lid doesn't seal (important for certain cooking options), and the easy-unfolding handle doesn't lock into place. So although the Skater mess tins can be used to store and transport food, you'll need to plan how to secure the food.
After taking note of the handle and lid, I gave the whole mess tin a bend test. The lid has a bit of a give to it, but the mess tin itself isn't noticeably bendy. I'd feel comfortable using the lid as a plate.
There are a few things to keep in mind, however:
- The non-stick coating, like such coatings on frying pans, can be scratched.
- Although I haven't used the Skater for an extended time, I assume that the non-stick coating will come off over time, like with other non-stick coatings.
- Although they're tough, they can still be dented and otherwise damaged. Denting may affect the inner coating.
- The packaging warns against cleaning it in a dishwasher or with alkaline detergent (like orange oil-based detergents). Probably not a problem if you use it while hiking, but something to keep in mind if you're using it in a casual outdoor setting.
In other words, you make some trade-offs when you buy a mess tin with a non-stick coating. If absolute durability and long-term usability are important to you, you'll probably want a simpler mess tin without the coating. If easy cooking and cleaning are important to you, then you'll like the Skater.
For this article, I wasn't able to give it a thorough field test, but if I had, I would have brought a small silicone spatula to help scoop food out of it.
The non-stick coating is an important feature of the Skater, so I gave it a test using a popular camping and hiking food in Japan: rice.
How to make rice with Skater aluminum mess tins.
When you're out hiking, you need to use your time and storage space efficiently. You can't carry around a lot of ingredients, so your food options are typically simple. The box the Skater mess tin came in shows rice being cooked in it. Rice is a great source of carbs in the wild because you only need the rice and some water. And because rice is so dense, you can fill your tin and your belly with one batch. Believe me, 600ml of rice + some other protein will fill you up.
But the question is, can you really make rice in the Skater? Is it any good? Does the non-stick coating work? Let's find out...
Here's a simple recipe I used for cooking rice with the Skater (600ml):
- 1 cup of rice
- 2 cups of water
- Salt (optional)
Cooking time: approximately 30 minutes.
- Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear.
- Add the rice and water to the mess tin.
- If desired, add a pinch of salt to the water.
- Place the mess tin over a heat source, such as a camp stove or fire.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the mess tin with a lid.
- Cook the rice for 18-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
- Remove the mess tin from the heat and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the rice to steam.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Making the rice in the mess tin was simple, and the results were surprisingly good. First, it only took 30 minutes. I'm used to longer wait times with my rice cooker, so it was nice to have some rice ready in such a short time.
Since the lid doesn't seal, some water did boil out of the mess tin. It made a bit of a mess, but wasn't any big deal.
After we let the rice steam, my wife and I ate the rice together (600ml is a good amount for two people). It was like eating rice straight out of our rice cooker. We didn't have any burnt rice on the bottom, and cleaning the tin was painless. Two thumbs up for the Skater.
Other popular uses for mess tins.
In addition to cooking rice, there are many other popular uses for mess tins in outdoor settings. Here are a few ideas:
- Cooking soups, stews, and other one-pot meals.
- Heating up canned or pouched foods.
- Making pancakes.
- Boiling water for coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.
- Cooking eggs, bacon, and other breakfast foods.
In Japan, curry is a popular camping and hiking food. In the US, I could imagine using a mess tin to heat up some canned baked beans or chili. Given my experience making rice in the Skater, I am confident that the other foods would do well, too.
And if you buy the 1,000ml mess tin, you could feed a lot of people a wide variety of food.
Overall, the Skater Aluminum mess tin is a great option for anyone who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. Its lightweight, durable, and easy-to-use design, along with its non-stick surface and attractive finish, make it a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're cooking rice, heating up soup, or making pancakes, the Skater Aluminum mess tin is the perfect tool for any outdoor adventure.