Relationship: Married, 2 kids aged 6 and 8
Ethnicity: Taiwanese American
Location: Portland, Oregon
Occupation: Environmental Engineer
Owns an EV: Yes
Cooks outdoors: Yes
He grew up in a family that loved spending time in nature in Taiwan, and he wants to pass that love of the outdoors down to his own children. Kai is married to his wife, Mei-Ling, and they have two young children, Claire and Ryan. They live in Portland, OR and enjoy exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Kai works as an environmental engineer, so he is passionate about sustainability and the environment. He wants his family's camping trips to be as eco-friendly as possible, and he prioritizes gear that is both high-quality and environmentally responsible. Kai is willing to spend a little extra money on gear that is made from sustainable materials and can be used for many years.
As a Taiwanese-American, Kai incorporates a variety of cultural foods into his family's camping meals. He often makes Taiwanese-style noodle dishes, grilled meats, and fresh vegetable stir-fries. He also enjoys making s'mores with his kids over the campfire at night.
Q: When you are outdoors, what are your 5 most common breakfast foods, from most common to least common, and how do you prepare them?
Oatmeal - Oatmeal is a staple for our family when we're camping. It's easy to prepare and provides a hearty breakfast that keeps us fueled for our outdoor activities. We typically make it with quick oats, add in some dried fruit, nuts, and a little bit of honey or maple syrup for sweetness. We cook it over our camp stove and serve it with a splash of milk.
Breakfast burritos - We love breakfast burritos because they're portable, easy to eat, and customizable. We typically start by cooking up some scrambled eggs on our camp stove, and then add in some sautéed veggies like peppers and onions, as well as some cooked bacon or sausage. We wrap everything up in a tortilla and top with some salsa and avocado.
Pancakes - Who doesn't love pancakes? We use a pre-made pancake mix that we bring along with us, and then add in some fresh blueberries or sliced bananas for added flavor. We cook them up over the camp stove and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Yogurt and granola - For a quick and easy breakfast, we like to have some yogurt and granola on hand. We bring along individual containers of yogurt and then add in some homemade granola for crunch and flavor.
Bagels and cream cheese - Bagels and cream cheese are another easy and portable breakfast option for us. We bring along some pre-sliced bagels and a container of cream cheese, and then top with some smoked salmon or sliced tomato for added flavor.
Q: When you are outdoors, what are your 5 most common lunch foods, from most common to least common, and how do you prepare them?
Sandwiches - Sandwiches are a staple for us when camping because they're portable and easy to customize. We typically bring along some bread, deli meats, cheeses, and condiments, and then let everyone make their own sandwiches to their liking. We'll also bring some fresh veggies like lettuce, tomato, and cucumber to add some crunch.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup - On cooler days, we love to make grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. We bring along some bread, cheese, and butter for the grilled cheese, and then heat up some canned tomato soup over our camp stove. It's a warm and comforting lunch that's perfect for colder weather.
Tuna salad - Tuna salad is an easy and healthy lunch option for us. We mix canned tuna with some mayo, diced celery and onion, and a little bit of lemon juice, and then serve it with some crackers or on top of some lettuce leaves. It's light and refreshing, but also filling.
Veggie burgers - We love to grill up some veggie burgers for lunch when we're camping. We typically buy pre-made veggie burgers and then grill them up on our portable stove. We'll serve them on buns with some lettuce, tomato, and condiments for added flavor.
Ramen noodles - On days when we're in a rush or just want something easy, we'll make some ramen noodles for lunch. We'll boil water over our camp stove and then add in the ramen noodles and some flavor packets. We'll also add in some chopped veggies like scallions and carrots for added nutrition.
Q: When you are outdoors, what are your 5 most common dinner foods, from most common to least common, and how do you prepare them?
Foil packet dinners - Foil packet dinners are a favorite of ours when camping because they're easy to customize and cook. We'll typically start by chopping up some veggies like potatoes, carrots, and onions, and then add in some meat like chicken or sausage. We'll season everything with some Asian spices, and then wrap everything up in foil and cook it over the campfire or on a stove.
Stir fry - We love to make stir fry when camping because it's a one-pot meal that's easy to pack and prepare. We'll bring along some pre-chopped veggies like broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers, and then cook them up. We'll also add in some protein like tofu or chicken, and then serve it over rice.
Grilled salmon or other fish - Grilled salmon is a delicious and healthy dinner option for us when camping. We'll bring along some fresh salmon fillets and then grill them up on a stove. We'll serve them with some grilled veggies like asparagus or zucchini for a complete meal.
Fajitas - Fajitas are another easy and customizable meal that we enjoy when camping. We'll bring along some pre-sliced veggies like peppers and onions, as well as some chicken or steak, and then cook everything up in a cast iron skillet over our camp stove. We'll serve everything with tortillas, salsa, and guacamole for added flavor.
Pasta with red sauce - On days when we're looking for something simple and comforting, we'll make pasta with red sauce for dinner. We'll bring along some pre-cooked pasta and a jar of red sauce, and then heat everything up on our camp stove. We'll also add in some cooked veggies like mushrooms or spinach.
Q: How many people, if any, do you typically enjoy outdoor experiences with?
I typically enjoy outdoor experiences with my family - my wife Mei-Ling and our two children, Claire and Ryan. We love exploring the outdoors together and sharing in the experience of cooking and eating delicious meals in nature.
Q: What outdoor cooking equipment do you typically bring with you?
I'd be happy to talk about the outdoor cooking equipment I typically bring with me on camping trips. Here are some of the key items:
Two-burner propane stove: I use the Coleman Classic Propane Stove, which is compact and durable, with two powerful burners that can accommodate large pots and pans.
Cast iron skillet: I have a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, which is great for cooking everything from eggs to burgers to pancakes. It's heavy-duty and can withstand high temperatures, making it perfect for outdoor cooking.
Dutch oven: I bring along a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, which is great for making stews, soups, and other slow-cooked meals. It's also great for baking bread or desserts over the campfire.
Cooler: I have a YETI Tundra Cooler, which is highly insulated and can keep food and drinks cold for several days. It's also bear-resistant, which is important when camping in areas with wildlife.
Reusable cookware and utensils: I bring along a set of GSI Outdoors Cascadian Tableware, which includes plates, bowls, cups, and utensils made from durable, lightweight plastic. They're reusable and can be easily washed and packed away after meals.
Coffee maker: I have a GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip, which is a lightweight and portable coffee maker that uses paper filters. It's easy to use and makes a great cup of coffee in the morning.
Campfire grill: I occasionally bring along a Texsport Heavy Duty Camp Grill, which is a sturdy and durable grill that can be used over an open campfire. It's great for cooking burgers, hot dogs, or other grilled items.
Overall, I try to bring gear that is durable, high-quality, and environmentally friendly. I'm willing to invest in gear that will last for many years and can be used for a variety of camping trips.
Q: What kind of portable stove do you own? Please describe in as much detail as possible.
I own a two-burner propane stove, specifically the Coleman Classic Propane Stove. It's a portable stove that runs on propane fuel. It’s a reliable and easy-to-use portable stove that's perfect for outdoor cooking. It's compact and lightweight, making it easy to transport to campsites or other outdoor locations, and it provides plenty of heat to cook a variety of meals.
Q: How often are you bringing this equipment with you?
I usually try to plan a few camping trips each year, usually during the summer months when the weather is nice and the scenery is beautiful. When I do go camping, I try to bring my trusty Coleman Classic Propane Stove, cast iron skillet, Dutch oven, cooler, and other essential cooking equipment with me, but obviously it depends on the type of trip I’m going on.
The frequency with which I bring my cooking equipment varies depending on my schedule and the time of year. If I have a particularly busy summer, for example, I might only go camping once or twice, which means I'll only bring my equipment with me on those occasions. On the other hand, if I have a lot of free time or if the weather is particularly nice, I might plan multiple camping trips and bring my gear with me every time.
When I do go camping, I usually go with friends or family, so we often share equipment and resources. In those cases, I might not always bring everything with me, but I'll usually bring my stove and a few other key items to ensure that we can all enjoy delicious meals while we're out in the wilderness.
Overall, I try to strike a balance between being prepared and traveling light. I don't want to bring too much gear and weigh myself down, but I also don't want to be caught without something I need while I'm out in the wilderness.
Q: How long is a typical outing for you?
The length of my camping or outdoor adventure trips varies depending on my schedule and the location. If I'm just doing a quick overnight camping trip in a nearby state park, for example, I might only stay for one night. On the other hand, if I'm backpacking in a remote wilderness area, I might plan a longer trip that lasts several days or even a week.
On average, though, I would say that most of my trips are probably 2-3 days long. That gives me enough time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, relax in nature, and do some hiking and other outdoor activities without having to take too much time off from work or other obligations.
Q: What locations do you usually go to?
There are many amazing outdoor destinations nearby, including Mount Hood National Forest, Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon Coast. I also enjoy exploring the nearby states of Washington and California, as well as more far-flung destinations like Colorado and Utah.
Q: Have you ever used electric cooking equipment during any outdoor activities?
I have used electric cooking equipment on occasion during outdoor activities, although it's not my go-to method of cooking. I prefer to use more portable and versatile cooking equipment that can be easily transported and used in a variety of settings. That being said, there have been times when I've camped at a site with electrical hookups or had access to a generator, and I've used electric kettles and coffee makers.
However, I still prefer the simplicity and versatility of more traditional outdoor cooking methods, like using a portable gas stove or cooking over an open flame. These methods give me more flexibility and allow me to adapt to different cooking situations and conditions, whether I'm camping in the mountains or on a beach.
Q: Please specify the specific products used.
I believe I’ve used an electric kettle, coffee maker, and an electric griddle. It was not super recent or frequent, so I don’t recall the name of the brands. Maybe something from REI?
Q: How is the electricity supplied?
Usually with an electrical hookup to someone who comes in an RV, there are electrical hookups at the campsite, or if someone brought a generator.
Q: What was the destination, number of people, and duration of the outdoor trip when you used this electric equipment?
I believe the most recent time I used electric cooking equipment on an outdoor trip was last summer when I went camping with a group of friends in a designated campground in Washington state. We had access to electrical hookups at our campsite, so my friend who was in charge of the cooking equipment decided to bring along an electric griddle to make breakfast in the mornings.
There were a handful of us on the trip, and we stayed at the campground for couple nights. We used the electric griddle in one of the mornings to cook up pancakes, eggs, and bacon, which was a fun and easy way to prepare a big breakfast for everyone.
Q: What other equipment did you bring?
While we enjoyed using the electric griddle, we also made sure to bring along other cooking equipment, like a portable gas stove and a cast-iron skillet, so that we could still prepare meals even if we didn't have access to electricity. Overall, it was a great trip, and the electric griddle was a fun and convenient addition to our cooking setup.
Q: If you were to bring your cooking tools from home to the outdoors, without considering electricity and weight, please list three preferred cooking tools and reasons. Please be as detailed as possible.
Cast iron skillet: A cast iron skillet is a versatile and durable cooking tool that can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, from pancakes and eggs to steaks and burgers. Cast iron is also great for outdoor cooking because it can withstand high temperatures and can be used over an open flame or on a portable stove.
Dutch oven: A Dutch oven is another versatile and durable cooking tool that is ideal for outdoor cooking. It can be used to cook soups, stews, casseroles, and even bread, and it can be used on a portable stove or over an open fire. A Dutch oven also retains heat well, which makes it ideal for slow-cooking meals and for keeping food warm.
Grilling tools: No outdoor cooking experience is complete without a good set of grilling tools. I would bring a set of tongs, a spatula, and a grill brush to help me prepare and cook a variety of foods, from burgers and hot dogs to veggies and fish. I typically don’t bring these tools though because other things I bring take priority.
Q: What do you find inconvenient or want to improve in your current outdoor cooking experience?
One thing I find inconvenient about outdoor cooking is the amount of waste generated by traditional camping meals. Single-use plastic utensils and disposable cookware are not only bad for the environment, but they can also be cumbersome to transport and difficult to dispose of properly. That's why I always bring along reusable utensils and cookware to minimize waste, but I think there is still room for improvement in this area.
Another thing I find inconvenient is the time it takes to clean up after meals. While I enjoy cooking outdoors, cleaning up after a meal can be time-consuming and messy, especially when using cast iron cookware. I would love to see more innovative and environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions that make it easier to clean up after outdoor meals without leaving a lot of waste behind.
Q: How important is cooking and food in your planning and preparation for an outdoor activity?
Cooking and food are a really important part of our planning and preparation for any outdoor activity. For me, it's not just about fueling our bodies with nutrients and calories, but also about enjoying the experience of cooking and sharing meals together in nature.
Before any camping trip, I spend time planning out our meals and making a grocery list. I try to bring a variety of ingredients and flavors, including some Taiwanese dishes that my family loves. I also think about how to minimize waste and reduce our impact on the environment by bringing reusable utensils and containers, and by making sure we properly dispose of any waste or trash we generate.
When we're out camping, cooking becomes a fun and enjoyable activity for the whole family. My kids love helping to prep and cook meals, and we all enjoy sitting down together to share our creations. It's a time to bond as a family and to appreciate the beauty of nature while also enjoying delicious food.
Q: Imagine an outdoor activity setting with an electrical supply and whatever electrical cooking equipment you may need. What would your ideal cooking environment and experience be like?
If I were to have access to an electrical supply and all the necessary electrical cooking equipment for an outdoor activity, I think my ideal cooking environment would be a shaded area with plenty of space to move around and prepare food. It's important to have enough counter space and storage to keep everything organized and easy to find.
When it comes to the cooking equipment, I would want to have a high-quality electric stove with multiple burners and an oven for baking. This would allow me to prepare a wide variety of meals, from simple stir-fries to more complex casseroles and baked goods.
In addition to the stove and oven, I think it would be helpful to have a microwave for quick reheating and defrosting, a blender for making smoothies or sauces, and a coffee maker for that morning cup of joe.
For food storage, I would want a large, well-insulated refrigerator and freezer. This would ensure that I have access to a wide range of fresh ingredients and can keep perishable items like meat and dairy products safe to eat.
Finally, I think it's important to have a comfortable and inviting dining area where everyone can gather to enjoy the meals we've prepared. A large picnic table or several smaller tables, along with comfortable chairs or benches, would be ideal.
Q: How do you organize, store, and transport your cooking-related tools?
When it comes to organizing, storing, and transporting my cooking-related tools, I like to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible. I have a dedicated tote bag that I use specifically for camping cooking gear, and I try to keep everything in its proper place to make setup and cleanup as easy as possible.
In terms of storage, I try to keep everything in its own container or bag to prevent things from getting lost or damaged. For example, I have a dedicated bag for my cast iron skillet. I also keep a separate bag for utensils, spices, and other small items that we might need while cooking.
When it comes to transport, I try to keep everything as compact and lightweight as possible. I pack my stove and propane tank in the same bag, and I try to stack my pots and pans in a way that maximizes space. I also bring along a collapsible water container for washing dishes and a few dish towels for cleanup.
The way I organize, store, and transport my cooking-related tools can vary depending on the type of trip we're taking. For example, if we're doing a more rugged backpacking trip, I might pare down my cooking gear to just the essentials and leave behind heavier items. I might also pack items in a more space-efficient way to reduce the weight in my backpack.
On the other hand, if we're doing a car camping trip with plenty of space to spare, I might bring along the heavier items. I might also pack things a little more loosely, since I don't have to worry as much about conserving space.