As part of our Summer Gear Upgrade series, we’re partnering with Snow Peak fans to show us how they put their gear to use, this week we’ve partnered with Jin Liu, an outdoor enthusiast who loves camping and hosting backyard dinner parties.
What’s your favorite Snow Peak product?
Too many Snow Peak products are a favorite of mine but the one I can’t live without is the LiteMax Titanium Stove. Since I am an avid camper and traveler, this little stove goes with me everywhere. It’s well designed, reliable and powerful. Even in the windiest and coldest mountain tops, it burns strong and hasn’t let me down once in the 10 years I’ve owned it. I tested this against the other brands of stoves my friends have and mine was the most reliable.
How did you first become familiar with Snow Peak?
10 years ago I was searching for sustainable, light weight and beautiful utensils and dinnerware for camping. My friends and I were going through too much paper plates, cups and plastic utensils on every camping trip and it inspired me to do better for our environment. Google search brought me to Snow Peak at REI and here we are today.
What do you love about being outside?
Being outside to me represents strength, freedom, and humanity. I think we get too comfortable and soft when we are indoors for too long and we become consumed by technology, TV shows and mundane tasks. To me, going outside is equivalent to turning off and on the power switch to our body and resetting our minds and souls. I love that feeling. The outdoors is limitless, and it empowers me to feel limitless as well. But what I love most about being outside are the ever-changing sceneries. No sunrise, sunset or clouds are ever the same so there’s always something new to admire.
What’s your go-to cocktail for backyard dinner parties? Your go-to dish?
Honestly, I am not a big drinker, so I don’t mess around with too many cocktails. My alcohol palette is simple – give me something sweet, sour and bright and I’m a happy girl. My go-to cocktail has always been the Moscow Mule but recently I pushed myself to try something new and I’ve landed on the Ume Sour. I have been so obsessed with this drink right now and it’s been a big hit with my family.
As for a go-to dish, it all depends on my mood and company. I like to do themed parties so it’s hard to pick one go-to. But I think the one thing each theme has in common is a healthy, light, and tangy salad. The importance is keeping it light by using only extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic or ponzu sauce with minced garlic. Don’t go crazy on the salad because I find it works better as a palate cleanser and it shouldn’t outshine your main dishes.
What do you think is the secret to the perfect outdoor dinner?
Fly Traps. No kidding, flies and bug will make or break your dinner party so get traps early and make sure the pests don’t become a nuisance at your dinner party and spoil everything. And always pick a theme! Themes will help you stay organized with your menu, setting and décor. I love multi-functioning furniture and equipment that are easily maneuverable and rearranged based on my needs or mood. Lastly, make it cozy. Coziness is the key. Get a fire pit. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, but fire is the soul of the party. My backyard is not big but I have two fire pits. One is natural gas and the other is the Snow Peak Takibi Fire and Grill. They provide ambiance, warmth, a cozy feeling of protection from the elements and so much lighting!