San Francisco Bike Tours come alive on Video
We get a lot of questions about what our tour are like. As a photographer, I take hundreds of photos on all of our tours, but we realized that the unique experiences that are Pedal Inn tours could only properly be brought to life by making a serious video.
Over the course of 3 month in the summer, with the help of our amazing intern Jillian, a new Panasonic GH4 camera (the travel camera to rule them all!), and some fun in the editing room (with an awesome soundtrack generously licensed from Chris and Thomas), we think we’ve captured the essence of our Pedal Inn day and overnight tours.
Let us know what you think!
WATCH THE VIDEO
We’re excited to announce our newest tour, a collaboration between Pedal Inn and our good friend and awesome certified yoga teacher Josh Ehrenreich, to create an invigorating original experience that combines a beautiful bike ride through the city with a full yoga practice. Bikes, parks, yoga, repeat—what could be a better way to start your day?
We have a handful of dates scheduled through the fall, so check it out if you are looking for an exciting and energizing way to experience San Francisco.
Check out the photos from our first Yoga + Bikes tour
Discover San Francisco’s greatest nature destinations by bike
Pedal Inn now offer 3 awesome day tours focusing on the hidden history, culture, food, and beautiful nature destinations, all from a local cyclists perspective.
Our Beaches and Parks tour highlights San Francisco’s most stunning outdoor spots and landmarks, from SF’s Mission District and Mission Dolores, to Golden Park’s Conservatory of Flowers and Botanical Gardens, to Baker Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s our most expansive SF tour and highlights some of our all time favorite bike routes and destinations in the San Francisco.
Here are some of the moments from our SF Beaches and Parks Tour, offered every Sunday:
ESSENTIAL PEDAL INN GEAR: CAMP KNIVES
A good camp knife is as essential to a bike camping adventure as a well equipped tool kit (don’t forget your chain breaker!). Plus, it’s just a cool item to have, so why not pick up a good one that will be a trusted partner on all your future getaways?
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For us there are two knives that fit in our pockets, don’t cost much, are the highest quality, and are good for most any task outside defending against a zombie apocalypse: the Higonokami and the Opinel.
The two kinds of knives here are steeped in tradition, their designs remaining essentially unchanged for over 125 years. They represent some of the best and most iconic designs from East (Japan) and West (France), reflecting each culture’s take on the perfect pocket knife. You can’t got wrong with either and having one for your next camping trip should be top priority if you don’t own one already!
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WHY WE LOVE IT
It’s a mini samurai sword that folds and fits in your pocket. The Higo is the essential Japanese knife, made by one man, by hand in a factory whose process hasn’t changed in a century. It’s a model of design: simple, graceful, durable, with the cleanest lines and most compact folding profile of any knife you’ll find.
- Hand Forged Carbon Steel Blade
- No safety elements – blade doesn’t lock meaning it’s really easy to open and close (it has a tab on the blade where you rest your thumb, preventing accidental cuts when in use)
- Black annodized or brass cases
- Ultimate utility and simplicity
- Super slim design that’s functional and elegant.
The Higo comes in different sizes, the largest with a blade length of just under 4 inches. We find the largest Higo to be the most versatile and our top recommendation.
The phrase “Higo no Kami” translates into “The Lord of Higo,” and it’s here that the rich history of this knife begins. Higo is the former name of what’s now known as the Kyushu province of Japan. Despite its grand name, the Higo no Kami is known for being a tool for the common folk.
In the 1870s, a war between samurais and the “modern army of the emperor” resulted in samurais’ loss of power and status and, subsequently, their swords. Swordmakers turned instead to knifemaking to help recover lost profits from their flailing sword business. This took place in Miki, Japan, which is now known as the “historical birthplace of the higonokami,” according to the report. It wasn’t until 1907, when a knifemaker’s guild was established, that the name was trademarked.
After that, the popularity of the Higo no Kami soared. It became a must-have tool for many people of all ages, and the popularity continued throughout WWII. But a decline eventually began in the 1960s as the result of new knife laws.
Pro – Ultimate simplicity, just works. Cool case designs. The most useful sizes. Mini samuri sword style and history. Made in Japan.
Needs Work – No safety features. Can rust easily. Might require a quick touch up to be razor sharp out of the box.
Bottom Line – A mini Samuri sword that fits in your pocket– a must own knife that will never let you down.
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WHY WE LOVE IT
It’s a super sharp, affordable folding knife that comes in a variety of sizes and finishes. The Opinel is the essential French pocket knife, with it’s beautiful trademark wooden handle and gently curving blade, is essential unchanged since 1890. It’s still made in France to the highest standards and is our top choice for a versatile camp cooking knife.
- Carbon Steel or Stainless blades
- Thin yet tough, razor sharp blades perfect for outdoor cooking
- Locks open and closed
Opinels come with folding blades in 11 sizes, from cute key chain models to giant zombie-slaying ones. A variety of beautiful wood handles, from beechwood (standard) to the exotic like olive, rose, or ebony on some models. There is also a slim blade and handle version that is a bit more elegant (and expensive). The No. 8 is probably the most versatile size, though the No. 10 and No. 12 make awesome, if large camp and cooking/chef-like knives.
Joseph Opinel began making knives in 1890 in Savoie, France as a simple working man’s or peasant’s knife. It proved popular with the local farmers, herdsmen, and paysans-vignerons (peasant winemakers) of the area.In 1897, a series of twelve sizes, numbered 1 to 12, was developed.From 1901–1903, Joseph Opinel built his first factory in Pont de Gévoudaz and produced a machine for mass production of the knife’s wooden handles.
The company hired peddlers to sell the knives and opened a small shop near the Chambéry railway junction, where the knives became popular with railroad workers, who in turn spread word of the brand throughout France. By 1909, Opinel had registered his first trademark for the Opinel knife, choosing the main couronnée (‘crowned hand”) as his emblem. A few years later Opinel annual sales were in the hundreds of thousands, and by the start of World War II as many as 20 million knives had been sold.
The Opinel Virobloc or safety twistlock mechanism was invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955, increasing the safety and versatility of the knife by allowing the blade to be locked in the open position. In 2000, the Virobloc locking mechanism was improved to allow locking the blade in either the open or closed position.
In 1985 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London selected the Opinel as part of an exhibit celebrating the “100 most beautiful products in the world”. The Opinel was also selected as one of the 999 classic designs in Phaidon Design Classics, and has been exhibited by the New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) as a design masterpiece.
Pro – Super sharp blades out of the box, affordable, stainless option. Handsome wood handles. Made in France.
Needs Work – Can jam closed, wood is tempermental in different weather and can require oiling and cleaning.
Bottom Line – An iconic, essential knife for the outdoors and an indispensable companion for camp cooking. Pick up your first Opinel and get cookin’!
Five Pedal Inn Summer Recipes to Rule them All…
To actually get the feeling of “summer” during summer in San Francisco, we head to the East Bay. An easy BART ride, a leisurely roll along regional bike paths and through the Livermore vineyards, a little grocery shopping and a good, sweaty climb up to the lake. This ride makes us hanker for the simple but satisfying flavors of the Mediterranean—sun-warmed tomatoes, basil, figs, and the decadence of bacon to bolster the body. Not to mention a refreshing splash-about in the lake. Pure summer.
THE FOLLOWING RECIPES ARE SELECTIONS FROM THE PEDAL INN WEEKENDER COOKBOOK
See the Journal for the complete book + a free download
Menu philosophy: This menu uses a core set of ingredients so that you won’t have leftovers at the end of you adventure. The recipes you a common set of staples from the pantry listed below, along with some fresh and unique ingredients from each recipe. Mix and match as you please!
Planning notes: This dinner recipe requires a fire. Make sure to build it well in advance of mealtime, so you have mature coals ready for your cheesy cauliflower-roast. And for this lunch recipe, be sure to pack a sealable container to pack your sandwich fixins post-breakfast.
Vegetarian or Vegan Variations: Just sub your favorite vegan sausage (we love Field Roast) for bacon and substitute hummus (appetizer) / vegan cheese (dinner) /chocolate (dessert) / coconut oil (breakfast) for cheese.
GF Variation: Sub GF bread and pasta or use polenta for dinner recipe too.
BEER – Appetizer
We love North Coast Brewery out of Ft. Bragg. They have arguably the most consistent and well-rounded beer line of any brewery in California–no hops assaults here ! Try their refreshing Acme IPA or their awesome 4 packs (from lightest to heaviest) of Puck Saison, Pranqster Golden Ale, Brother Thelonious Abby Ale, and Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. Bonus, those 4-packs travel really well and don’t need to be cold to be enjoyed.
WINE – Dinner
We really like a picnicky red wine with this meal—like a Beaujolais or if you’re looking for body a Malbec. Or if you prefer white try the earthy, floral flavors of a Torrentones.
AFTER DINNER DRINK – Dessert
peppermint tea with a splash of bourbon
PANTRY – SHARED INGREDIENTS FOR THE RECIPES
- 3 oz olive oil
- 3 oz balsamic vinegar
- 8 oz orecchiette pasta
- ¾ cup polenta
- 1 tbsp honey
- peppermint tea
- flask of bourbon
- red pepper flakes
- coarse sea salt (sub regular salt)
TOOLS – DON’T BE ONE, BRING ‘EM
- aluminum foil
- camp stove (preferably two)
- sharp knife (always)
- cutting board
- tongs for working the fire
FIRST BITE: DUNKED CAPRESE
prep. time: 5 minutes
- olive bread or other fresh, crusty loaf, thickly sliced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 heirloom or early girl tomatoes, sliced
- handful of fresh basil leaves
- 8 oz burrata, sliced (sub mozzarella or even a firm sharp cheese like dry jack or pecorino)
- coarse sea salt
- 1 large orange, halved and thinly sliced
If stove is easily set up, toast bread in frying pan over medium heat. Otherwise, serve fresh and untoasted. In a bowl prepare, a stir together a simple vinaigrette, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little squirt of orange. Dunk tomato slices in vinaigrette before placing on bread. Top with cheese and torn basil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve with orange slices.
DINNER: ORECCHIETTE w/ PANCETTA + FIRE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
prep time: 40 mins
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 small head of cauliflower, broken into florets
- ½ medium red onion, cut into crescents
- 4 oz parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 8 oz orecchiette pasta
- 8 oz applewood smoked bacon (like Niman Ranch), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped/torn
- salt & pepper to taste
Put olive oil and salt in a bowl. Toss cauliflower and onions into oil mixture to coat. Set out a large piece of foil, enough to fit cauliflower mix with 2 inches of space on either side. Place cauliflower on foil and top with about 1.5 oz grated parmesan and red pepper flakes. Pour any remaining oil over cauliflower mixture. Cover with an equal amount of foil and roll edges until you create a solid seal. Set pouch on grill or near coals. Let pouch roast for 10 minutes. Flip cauliflower pouch 180 degrees and roast for another 10 minutes. Test for doneness with a fork and remove from fire when completely tender.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water (with a dash of salt) to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 7-10 minutes. Drain and set aside. While pasta cooks, begin the sauce in a second pot. Cook the bacon over med-high heat until it begins to crisp. Stir in drained canned tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add basil and 1.5 oz parmesan cheese, then cook, stirring, until cheese begins to melt. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over pasta and serve with roasted cauliflower. Garnish all with a little more grated cheese, basil, and salt and pepper.
DESSERT: CAMPFIRE-ROSATED STUFFED FIGS
prep time: 10 mins
- 1 basket of fresh figs,
de-stemmed and halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 oz marscapone (sub: ricotta) cheese
- ¼ cup pistachio nuts, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
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Drizzle honey on fig halves. Roll out a large piece of foil. Reassemble fig halves and place upright on center of foil, packing them closely together. Wrap foil around figs, twisting closed at the top, and place near coals in the fire. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn 180 degrees and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes, until skins on figs soften. Remove from fire. As figs cool, mix ricotta cheese, cinnamon and pistachio nuts together. Plate fig halves and dollop with ricotta mixture. Serve and savor.
BREAKFAST: RAINBOW CHARD POLENTA
prep. time: 35 mins
- 1½ cups water
- ¾ cup polenta
- 4 oz parmesan cheese
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
(stalks chopped, reserved for lunch)
- 8 oz sliced bacon, cut into 1” pieces
reserve 1 slice for lunch recipe.
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs
- fresh basil
- red pepper flakes
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Bring water to a boil with 1 tsp salt. Place chard leaves in water for 2 minutes then remove pot promptly from stove. Remove chard and set aside to dry. Slowly pour polenta into the same water, stirring continuously to prevent lumps. Return to stove to simmer. Add parmesan cheese and continue stirring until cheese is melted and polenta is tender. Remove from heat. Cover.
Meanwhile, lightly oil pot on second stove and set to medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until it starts to crisp. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute then add drained chard leaves; stir and cover. Cook for approximately 3 minutes. Crack 2 eggs and gently drop over chard and bacon. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until egg whites have fully set but yolks remain soft. Serve polenta and top with bacon, chard, and egg mélange. Garnish with torn basil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
LUNCH: OPEN FACE CHARD + EGG SANDO
prep. time: 25 mins (prepare at camp, eat on the road!)
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- 1 bunch chard stalks, chopped
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 slice of bacon, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- red pepper flakes
- 4 slices olive bread, sliced
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- a few basil leaves
Before cleaning up after breakfast, boil another pot o’ water. Add chard stalks and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon out chard stalks and add 4 eggs. As soon as water returns to a boil, remove from heat and let stand in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain water and allow to cool. Meanwhile, in second pot, add chopped bacon, sliced garlic, oil, and salt. Stir ingredients together and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chard stalks and cover. Cook for another 4-6 minutes, until chard stalks are tender. Remove to a transportable container to cool. Cover.
At lunchtime, fetch chard stalk mixture, hardboiled eggs, and sliced bread from your pannier. Peel and slice eggs. Place them on bread and top with chard stalk mixture. Splash with balsamic vinegar and garnish with any remaining basil. Eat open face or make a sandwich.
THE PEDAL INN WEEKENDER COOKBOOK
for Lovers of Adventure and Good Eating
The Pedal Inn Weekender was inspired by 5 of our favorite bike camping destinations, easily accessible from San Francisco including Half Moon Bay, Mt. Diablo, Samuel P. Taylor, China Camp, and Lake Del Valle.
INSIDE THE COOKBOOK YOU’LL FIND
5 Weekender menus, inspired by 5 enticing Bay Area bike camping destinations
25 camp-tested recipes for two hungry cyclists
Tips, insights, and inspiration for the overnight bicycle getaway
Meal plans ideal for weekends outdoors (and still smart for everyday home-cooking)
ENJOY AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
Pedal Inn Adventure to Angel Island Pt. 2
Dramatic weather and full tour of adventure-minded guests made this one of our most memorable Angel Island tours to day. Explore the photos and get away by bike.
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San Francisco, CA Established in 2012
There’s no better match than Swift Campout and a homegrown touring company in San Francisco called Pedal Inn. When the founders, Nick and Lindy, discovered their love for travelling by bicycle they set out to share their delight with the public. When we discovered Pedal Inn it was in the form of a beautiful bike-camping recipe book the duo published called the Pedal Inn Weekender. Nick and Lindy’s passion for food, cycling, and the social and geographic connections that come with bike travel, shone through in their compilation. We were smitten!
Sit back for some story telling, a huge dose of inspiration, and an invitation to the grand opening of the Pedal Inn pop-up shop in San Francisco’s Alite Outpost on April 16th, 2015.
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Pedal Inn is about sharing our passion for bikes, cooking, and the outdoors with everyone.
Q: Introduce your products, tell us about your design and development process.
A: We offer bike camping tours based out of San Francisco to the most captivating nature destinations in the Bay Area. We’ve crafted what we believe is the perfect all-inclusive, active outdoor adventure for locals and visitors alike. We supply the camping gear, adventure bikes, food, expert guides, and all the special details in between.
We believe in setting off on bikes and going camping as way to excite people’s spirit of wonder and adventure. By slowing down and staying local, possibility and discovery abound: nature tells a story, you get a unique perspective on a place, the food tastes even better, and you’re able to reconnect with what really matters. Pedal Inn brings the full experience together, makes it accessible, and shares it one memorable overnight Bay Area bike camping tour at a time.
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Q: What role does wilderness/the great outdoors play in your personal/company’s life?
A: We feel really lucky to live in a place like San Francisco where a bike can take you to a diverse range of environments, all with a distinctly beautiful perspective on nature. It’s what inspires us, keeps the ideas flowing, and rewards the effort we’ve put into the Pedal Inn. Every tour we go on has those Aha! wilderness moments that surprise us, bring new discoveries, and make us forget we just rode in from the city.
PEDAL INN FAVORITES
Q: What item(s) are you sure to bring along for your weekend afield?
A: Apart from our Swift panniers, we packing the usual camping kit necessities but with a few extras stashed in to liven things up. You’ll find a couple Trangia stoves for cooking, a pretty extensive camp kitchen (with lots of spices), aluminum foil, strands of LED lights to set the mood, Alite camp chairs, a weather-beaten Japanese hatchet, Nick’s harmonica, our trustly Olympus OM-D camera with vintage glass, a smallish tripod, and plenty of Four Barrel coffee. Of course, we’ll also be stopping along the way to pick up essentials like cold beer and a bottle of whiskey to share. We don’t put too much emphasis on packing light, rather we follow our interests, stay comfortable, and eat ridiculously well ‘cause it’s only one night and we want to do it in style.
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PEDAL INN’S TOP DESTINATION FOR A SWIFT CAMPOUT
Looking for a stellar spot for your Swift Campout? Pedal Inn’s top choice is Tennessee Valley in the Marin Headlands, about 20 miles from the Mission District. You can strike out from San Francisco on a tour through the city, including Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and taking in sweeping views of the Pacific. From there it’s biking paradise on the waterfront trails and sublime bike path of Marin County.
Tennessee Valley is a short turn from the Bay, nestled between rugged, wind-swept hills with the campsite nestled in a tranquil little valley. There are some great trail riding with fun rollers that reveal a small, untouched beach that delivers some of the most memorable sunsets anywhere. It’s part of a vast network of protected parkland that makes up the Marin Headlands and features some of the best trail riding anywhere.
Pedal Inn Adventure to Angel Island
Glorious weather and awesome guests made this one of our most memorable Angel Island adventures yet. Explore the photos and get in bike camping frame of mind.
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Our Favorite Bike Camping Gear: Trangia Stove Review
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THE SEARCH FOR
THE PERFECT CAMP STOVE
You’re going to need a stove for your bike camping adventures and you might as well get a good one. But there are a lot good stoves out there so what makes a stove great? For us it’s the ability to cook almost anything, a stove that is simple, versatile, and is easy to travel with… one that is part of a whole cooking system. But there are other details that matter to your enjoyment of using a stove and for a long time, so that’s what we’ll go for here.
With so much outdoor stuff, there is always the latest and greatest shiny product, those that REI loves to stock. But people have been camping and backpacking and touring by bike for a long time and doing it quite well and comfortably before carbon fiber and Jetboils. While lightweight stuff has its place and price and is often quite sexy, it’s more tech than most people need and often not built to last or soon to be replaced with by a new “better” version, which is no fun. Plus those fancy backpacking stoves, while they can boil water real good and fast, don’t really work well to cook fresh food
But some outdoor products are timeless, classics that are so well designed and built, that you can use them for a lifetime and pass them down as heirlooms to the next generation. There are two things we bring along on every bike camping trip that fit that bill: our steel bikes and our Trangia stoves.
ENTER THE TRANGIA: CLASSIC, EVOLVED STOVE DESIGN
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Trangia’s are the national outdoor stove of Sweden and nearly every Swede has one passed down from their parents. All Trangia stoves and cookware are still made in Sweden and are incredibly simple and reliable, sharing a design that has remained essentially unchanged for half a century.
Trangia’s are our favorite stoves around (and we’ve used a bunch) because you can cook anything you can imagine, anytime without a whole host of limitations and annoyances that are characteristic of most of the “high-tech” stoves out there.
THE TRANGIA SYSTEM
The heart of the Trangia stove is a brass alcohol burner. Basically it’s a small open bowl that you fill with pure alcohol and light on fire. That burner fits inside a windproof stand that holds pots and kettles to create a super stable cooking system. There is also a simmer ring that nests on the burner so you can dial in the heat and cook things really gently if you need. Apart from having a bomb-proof burner and windscreen, the stove also has an integrated cookware that includes 2 pots, a fry pan, and a sweet kettle. A strap holds it all together in one tidy package that for the sum of its parts is still pretty light.
But what you’ll really notice from any other camp stoves you’ve used is that this stove is completely silent– no jet engine whoosh!
Here is a full breakdown of alcohol stove benefits:
- Quiet – you can hear the birds while you cook instead of the roar of your stove
- Simplicity – no priming, pumping or rebuilding your stove – just add fuel and light
- Odorless – the fuel doesn’t smell while burning and quickly evaporates when spilled
- Environmentally friendly – alcohol is made from from clean, renewable plant-based sources (look for “green” denatured alcohol)
- Fuel readily available – fuel is easy to find at gas stations, hardware, and auto parts stores.
SETUP AND USE
SIZE AND FINISH OPTIONS
The Trangia comes in two sizes, the 25 and the 27. The 25 model is a bit larger and good for cooking for 3-4 people. It weighs about 2 lbs. 4 oz for the whole set with a kettle. The 27 model is good for 2 people and weighs a bit less than 2 lbs. full outfitted with pots, pans, and kettle. We recommend and use the hard anodized models since they are easier to clean and won’t oxidize. We’ve also been using the nonstick frypans in both sizes. For camp cooking, the nonstick just makes sense for ease of cleanup and it’s a bit more forgiving for what we use it for most: eggs and pancakes.
Wanna go lighter?
You can also grab Trangia burner with a superlight pot support and add a windscreen. Just bring your own pot and you’re ready to cook. We always carry one along as a second stove for making coffee or hot drinks while cooking on our full size Trangia setup.
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TAKE A TRANGIA HOME
Pedal Inn sells the best Trangia cooksets, both the 2-person 27 model and the 3-4 person 25 model in the best equipped, most durable hard-annodized version with kettle. We’ve has ours for nearly 5 years and they still look new! We also sell an ultralight, minimalist Trangia kit, without pots that’s the best of its kind we’ve used. We think the large size is by far the best value and cooking experience, so get that one if you can.