Sometimes it’s not all that practical to place a pot directly on a fire or along its edge. However, coming up with an alternative can be easier said than done, especially if you’re short of gear to make a suitable rig. Fortunately, you can take advantage of the following tried-and-true techniques, and none of them require anything other than a pot with a handle and a branch.
Simple Dangling Stick
If your pot has a metal handle that can be hung, you can set up a decent and relatively-sturdy rig with a long branch and a big rock. Twist one end of the stick a couple of inches into the ground. Carefully lift until it reaches at least a 45 degree angle before wedging the rock against the branch. Simply hang the pot from the other end and dangle it above your fire. This method will work under most circumstances as long as the branch is buried deep enough, the rock is big enough, and the branch is flexible enough to support the weight of the pot. You can make adjustments to the height of the pot by moving the branch and rock back and forth respectively.
Another excellent and simple method is to create a support system that kind of resembles a crane. Fashion one branch so that it has a fork on top, facing upward. Fashion another branch the same length that has a fork facing downward. Both branches should be around 3 feet tall, and you may need to whittle down the non-forked ends into points. Push and twist the pointed ends of each branch a couple of inches into the ground until they are secured in place, and space them about 2 feet apart. The branch with the upside-down fork should be the one at the far end of your rig.
Next, find another long and flexible branch that is thick enough to support the weight of the pot. Feed it through the forks to lock it in place, but make sure that the hanging end extends at least a couple of feet from the supports. All you need to do is hang your pot over the fire and you’re good to go. You can also adjust the height by using longer or shorter support sticks as necessary.
Find a 2-3 foot long soft and flexible branch that has a fork on one end. Whittle off about half of the thickness of the other end. Next, carefully split the branch somewhere along the center until you create a gash that is a few inches long. However, you want the gash to be in the center in order to minimize the chances of the branch splitting and breaking.
Next, decide whether the fork or loop will attach to the anchor piece or pot. You can either latch the pot to the forked end, or you can attach it to the loop before you secure it in place. In any case, this simple trick can give you a lot of flexibility.
Try these three tricks for yourself, and see how easy it is to improvise a simple, yet effective way to cook with a dangling pot. Either one can be assembled in just a few minutes, and it can make cooking in the field a lot easier, especially when you’re contending with limited resources.