The Wetfoot Blog

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gear Review - Banks FryBake

As a backpacker, I find myself tuned-in to the volume and the weight of items that I am going to be hauling around.

Unfortunately, outdoor companies enjoy profiting from sales of lightweight gear, resulting in inflated prices. Brands such as Golight make their living solely from this backpacker obsession. In all honesty, most gear with a pronounceable name and marked at a modest price will average out to be the same amount of weight and get the job done.

These similarities in gear end once you cross paths with a canoeist with the grandest cooking hardware to ever hit the trail, the
GSI Dutch Oven. For generations, backpackers were forced to fry their meals, struggle with solar-bake ovens, or, even worse, carry around the obnoxiously heavy Dutchy. Alas my fellow backpackers, those days have come to an end.


Enter the
Banks FryBake. This lightweight, anodized aluminum grace-of-all-things tripping has brought the backpacker cinnamon rolls, biscuits, pineapple upside down cake, deep dish pizza, Mexican cornmeal pie, and various other mouthwatering delights while simultaneously sparing the backpacker a trip to the chiropractor upon their return home.

Advantages:
- The 10.5” FryBake weighs less than 29 ounces--half the weight of a 10” GSI Dutch Oven.
- It provides a great baking AND frying surface thus eliminating the need for a fry pan.
- The FryBake is also available in an 8” model for those traveling in smaller groups.

Disadvantages:
- It can be difficult to gauge how much heat to apply and how long to cook your food. You WILL burn a meal or two the first couple uses. Don’t get discouraged.
- The top will inevitably bend or kink. This does not ruin the FryBake, but it becomes less aesthetically pleasing.
- Standard pan grippers aren’t available for the FryBake. A channel lock pliers is probably your best option, but be careful not to bend the edges of the pan.


The FryBake is not the backpacker’s perfect answer to the Dutchy, but it enables us to make our bellies full of wonderful baked goods.

Happy Baking,

Ryan Wagner
Wilderness Program Director

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