You might wonder what in the world a lightweight fry pan and tenkara have in common. They may seem totally unrelated, but in fact (in my world) they are tightly connected. Bear with me, because tenkara and backcountry cooking keep me busy!
Well over a decade ago, my good friend and frequent wilderness companion, Patrick Smith, gave me a 5-ounce, 9" cake pan he bought at King Soopers. I'll bet he didn't pay over three dollars for it. Well, that pan, forevermore called the "fish pan", has cooked up literally hundreds of trout, made-from-scratch biscuits, sliced elk tenderloin, freeze dried hash browns, sausage patties, dried eggs...you name it. It's been dented, scorched, washed with sand and creek water, and hauled all over creation in my backpack. It was a really good pan. However, it lacked a few things...durability, a fitted cover, and the ability to bake.
Enter the Banks Fry-Bake Pan.
I had been researching a replacement for the venerable fish pan for quite some time. One day while I was actually doing some browsing online about backpack cooking, I stumbled upon the Banks Fry-Bake Pan. As soon as I read the specifications and reviews I knew I had to order one as soon as possible! To my surprise, there was also a good amount of information out there about cooking with it, including recipes, in the fine little book entitled "NOLS Cookery", produced by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and published by Stackpole Books. The Fry-Bake Pan is a cornerstone of NOLS' bacI kcountry cooking program.
The Banks Fry-Bake Pan comes in three different sizes - an Expedition (10.5" X 2" deep), an Alpine (8" X 1.5" deep), and a Deep Alpine (8" X 2 3/8" deep). Each comes with a close-fitting cover specifically designed to hold hot coals or charcoal on top for baking. Since most of my use would be for backpack trips and guiding tenkara trips with a large day pack, I chose the smallest and lightest pan, the Alpine.
Here are the specs for the Alpine model Banks Fry-Bake Pan from their website:
I was impressed that several options were offered for the pan cover. Standard lids, NOLS-style lids, and lightweight lids are offered. Here are the specs for the three from the website: