Damper damn it

Damper is Australian bush bread, traditionally associated with swaggies and stockmen who were limited in what groceries they had access to and what they could carry when working away from the homestead or towns for yonks. Damper usually consists of flour, water, salt and sometimes milk, but the modern versions can have sultanas, sugar, cheese and/or herbs added to the mix or anything you have in your pannier.  Damper is traditionally baked in the coals of a fire or placed on a old branch and cooked over the fire. It was usually eaten with dried meat, or with golden syrup or honey dribbled on it (try maple syrup), but always accompanied by a cuppa made in a billy.

Ingredients: Basic Version.

  • self raising flour – 1/3 cup
  • salt – pinch
  • milk powder – teaspoon
  • water – couple of tablespoons
  1. Turn your stove on low and start heating the pot.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl and add a tablespoon of water and mix with a knife.  Keep folding the mixture on itself and then add the rest of water but don’t let the mixture get too sticky.
  3. Place a small amount of flour on a clean flat surface and place the dough on it, ensuring that dough has a light coating of flour on the outside and shouldn’t stick to your hands when handled.
  4. Cut a cross into the top of the damper and place it into your pot and cover.  Turning the heat up too much results in damper with a tough bottom and mushy insides.  It’s better to leave it on the lower heat and brown it slowly 25- 35 minutes is usually good.


  1. The above recipe uses dry goods to make the damper as they are easy to carry, store and last a long time.
  2. I use a old steamer that has had the folding wings taken off it to keep the damper off the bottom of the pot.
  3. You can add the milk powder to the water before mixing it in, and use a small amount of milk to coat the top of the damper to help it turn golden.
  4. Can be eaten with anything you fancy, vegemite, maple syrup, honey or can be eaten as is.
  5. This version makes a small bread roll size damper.


Things I didn’t know before I started touring

From the blogs I have read on longer distance tours, seems about 40% of bikes break at least one spoke.

Some tourers seem to lose mudguard or rack bolts.  (NB take some spares).

Cooked long grain rice expands more than double it’s uncooked size.

You are wasting your time cooking pasta at home, then dehydrating it as it has already been done before you buy it, it goes back to its pre-cooked state but stakesup more space as it isn’t straight anymore.  You aren’t saving any time out scrub precooking your pasta as it takes the same amount of time to cook pasta from the packet as it does from your dehydrator.

Seems to be a mice problem along the Nullarbor when camping.

Be prepared to hear outrageous camping site costs for what you get and then have to pay for showers.

Choosing which cookware set?

Whilst searching for any information on types of cookware I stumbled upon this site, www.rei.com who had a whole page dedicated to this subject.  How handy is that.

I’m leaning towards a stainless steel set myself.

Anyway below is the article from REI.com (I have spell checked it to English.)

Cookware: How to choose

Step #1: Consider the trips you have planned

The basics (per person)

  • Single pot, with a lid that can double as a plate
  • Cup
  • Basic utensils (spoon and knife)
  • Some way to pick the pot up (either a handle, bail or pot-grabber)

Step #2: Decide between a cook set or individual pieces

Collecting your cookware and utensils piece by piece gives you the freedom to choose exactly what you want.  You can use items from home, borrow pieces from friends or even raid garage sales.

But purchasing a backpacking cook set will save you space, weight and time.  Cook sets (specially designed collections of pots, pans and lids) are designed to “nest” together so the entire set takes up only the space of the largest pot.  Many are also designed so stoves (and other utensils) fit inside for even more space efficiency.  Because they’re designed specifically for outdoor uses like backpacking, most cook sets are made of lightweight, durable materials that weigh very little but last season after season.

Step #3: Consider the material options

  • Aluminium Positives: Lightweight, affordable, a good conductor of heat. Good for simmering foods without scorching.  Negatives: Breaks down slowly when exposed to acidic foods. Dents and scratches easily.
  • Stainless steel Positives: Tougher, more scratch-resistant than aluminium. Negatives: Heavier than aluminium, doesn’t conduct heat as uniformly (can cause hot spots that scorch food).
  • Titanium Positives: Super lightweight, extremely tough.  A must if weight is your number one concern.  Negatives: More expensive than other options. Conducts heat less evenly than stainless steel.
  • Non-stick coatings (available on some metal cookware) Positives: Make clean up a breeze.  Negatives: Less durable than regular metal surfaces.  Most can be scratched by metal utensils.
  • Plastic Positives: Lightweight, cheap, non-abrasive. Perfect for utensils and air-tight food containers.  Negatives: Not as durable or heat-resistant as metal. Some plastics can pick up and retain food flavours/odours.

Notes on aluminium

Some people wonder if using aluminium cookware is unhealthy.  Based on reports from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the London-based Alzheimer’s Society, no health risks are associated with the use of aluminium pots, pans or skillets.  States the Alzheimer’s Society: “There is no conclusive medical or scientific evidence of a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.”

An FDA report estimates that a person using uncoated aluminium pans for all cooking would ingest 3.5 mg of aluminium per day.  Meanwhile, a person consuming antacids (at about 50 mg per tablet) may accumulate up to 1,000 mg of aluminium per day.

A fact sheet published by the Alzheimer’s Society states: “Cooking in uncoated aluminium utensils can increase the amount of aluminium in certain foods such as fruits that are high in acid.  [Example: tomatoes.] Cooking foods in coated, non-stick or hard anodised aluminium pans adds almost no aluminium to food.”

While not a health concern, cooking leafy greens in aluminium cookware is not recommended since it can impact the taste and appearance of greens.  In addition, one REI.com reader wrote to us expressing a belief (based on personal experience, he tells us) that greens cooked in aluminium cookware can cause stomach distress.  Cauliflower is another vegetable to keep out of aluminium pots.  Because it has sulphur compounds, cauliflower may turn yellow when cooked in aluminium cookware.

Step #4: Focus on the important variables

  • Pot size: The largest pot in your cook set should hold about one pint per backpacker.  Smaller pots should fit snugly inside the largest one.
  • Number of pots: One pot is usually fine for 1 or 2 people (especially if the lid doubles as a plate).  A three-pot set should be enough for groups up to 5 people, unless you have complex meals planned.
  • Lids: Lids cut down on cooking time and save fuel.  They can also be used as plates or even frying pans.  Make sure your lids fit your pots snugly and that they’re easy to pick up.  You should have one lid for every pot in your set (or one that fits multiple pots).
  • Lifters: Make sure you have some way to pick up your pots and pans.  Wire bails and collapsible handles are convenient, but they can break and/or get too hot to touch.  Pot-grabbers are durable and easy to use.  But you have to remember to pack them!
  • The extras: Some cook sets come complete with “extra” pieces (cups, basic utensils, plates).  Ask yourself if you really need them, and keep in mind that many of these extras can also be purchased separately, often at a lower price.

Notes on utensils

When it comes to utensils, minimalist backpackers often make do with nothing more than a knife, spoon and a pot scrubber for clean up.  But everything from garlic presses to miniature espresso makers are available these days, if you care to treat yourself and bring them along.  The utensils and “extra” cookware you carry with you should match your tastes and your menu.  REI carries a variety of cookware extras to spice up your back-country kitchen, including:

  • Utensils: Spatulas, serving spoons, whisks
  • Extras: Frying pans, coffee/tea pots, back-country ovens, espresso makers, spice containers, squeeze bottles.

Kitchen Bits

Kitchen Bits by Sea to Summit.

Came across this item during my foray into Anaconda at Fyshwick on the weekend. (seriously I was there for the camping stuff.)

A great (?) collection of lightweight and fully functional camp cooking accessories. Kitchen Bits feature the contents of the Kitchen Kit with a few extras. The bottles are incredibly handy for herbs, spices, olive oil, vinegar or any other culinary condiments.


  • Even more bits than the large Kitchen Kit
  • Loads of bottles and/or jars, mini grater, whisk and chopping boardOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA.
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes one of those items is a grater, also a whisk and a rip off of the ol’ faithful army can opener.

Can’t see myself using let alone taking along the whisk or that can opener, an old army one will one as it’s also a spoon of sorts on the other end.
The larger bottles most likely olive oil, salt, pepper and TBI on the other bottles.

Bought myself a scanpan knife and cover and a small eggflip from one of those kitchen shops in the DFO, who seem to always be having a large percentage off sale.