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  1. #1
    Registered User GritzMEGA's Avatar
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    Default To cook or not to cook: advice for going cold

    I am thinking of leaving the stove at home. I used one on my thru-hike to cook only at night. Looking to save weight and space. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    My last 3 trips have been stoveless (each trip in the 80-100 mile range). I like it and intend on continuing cold. Still looking for a bit more diversity in dinner choices however. Will be trying it again on the Washington portion of the PCT starting in August. That should be the test as to what the future holds for me.
    Lonehiker

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    Look into cold soaking. Ramen, instant mashed potatoes, and couscous work well.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


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  5. #5

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    No thanks. All I have to carry is a very lightweight stove, some dehydrated food and instant coffee. My preference is to have that morning cup and make a hot dinner at night.
    The older I get, the faster I hiked.

  6. #6
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    1. I cold soak ramen, drain/drink water, then add 3-4 packets of Miracle Whip and a packet of tuna.
    2. add water to instant potatoes, right in package, add chunks of foil packets of Spam.
    3. Tortilla with some type of cheese with shelf-stable bacon and a packet or two of Miracle Whip.

    Want to look into cold soaked couscous and various bean dips.
    Lonehiker

  7. #7
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    Stoveless is viable

    I'm in the category...

    You could put together a very UL esbit or alcohol setup and carry just a small amount of fuel for those times you want something hot.

    A gramcracker stove, vienna sausage can, and windscreen weigh like 1.5 ounces or something. Carry a few esbit tabs.

    Problem solved.

    You wont notice the weight in your pack and it takes up very little volume.






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  8. #8
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    I dunno, bro. I've pondered this a bit, too. If you can get to a trail town in a reasonable timeframe, I could see it being a possibility. But when you want something hot, you just want something hot, even if it's oats or a cup of coffee. Something that could keep me up into the wee hours asking, Why the heck did I do that?"

    Quote Originally Posted by GritzMEGA View Post
    I am thinking of leaving the stove at home. I used one on my thru-hike to cook only at night. Looking to save weight and space. Any advice?
    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
    AT miles: 185 / Total miles: 816.97

    Author of "Hiking Into Trail Days"



  9. #9

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    Some of the cold foods I enjoy, are a bit heavier than the dehydrated rice staples. Tortillas, peanut butter, nuts, salamis, tuna packets. I try to eat the heavy food first of course. I make an overnight chia pudding that's lightweight. I don't like my oatmeal mushy, so I can easily eat that cold even with minimal soaking. My alcohol stove has such minimal weight, it's only the fuel that weighs much. I think at most, I'd still carry a little fuel and retain the ability to have a hot meal once in a while. That's me of course.

  10. #10
    Garlic
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    What worked well for me was to stop thinking about "meals." Fill your food bag with whatever you can find in the grocery store that looks good at that time, and stop and eat some of it every couple of hours.

    Personal favorites are muesli made with oats, nuts, raisins, instant mashed potatoes, ramen (eaten like a large cracker), tortillas with peanut butter or cheese if it's not too hot, plain nuts and raisins, Wheat Thins, Fig Newtons (the last two are my nod to junk food).

    A nice benefit for my hiking style was forgetting all about fuel resupplies. I don't like errands in town, and that's one less. I started eating better, too, once I got past the need for the warm, salty carbs'n'sauce glop that was my usual kitchen output. I'm not much of a camp chef. And I certainly don't miss cleanup, or cooking in the rain or mosquito swarms.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  11. #11
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I always make sure to go to the store and resupply after eating. Everything will look good if you are hungry. I eat a lot of rice and noodle dishes, as well as oatmeal or muesli for breakfast. My one extravagant is real coffee vs instant.
    Blackheart

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    It's not just the weight for me but also the ease of prep and clean up. I have used everything from jetboil to alcohol stoves but have gone stoveless for about a year. Now my standard dinner is 3 tortillas, pre cooked bacon, chik fil a honey bbq sauce, packet of justin's peanut butter per tortilla and maybe some Genoa salami or pepperoni. Its delicious, easy and I can start/stop eat at my leisure. And when I'm done, all trash goes into bag. No pot to clean, nothing to store. After 20 miles, I began to loathe the cooking process. But thats me.

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    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I have gone stoveless for the past 5 years. Did LT thru stoveless and haven't gone back. I don't drink coffee so the caffeine is not an issue for me. Never used my alcohol stove for any thing other than evening meal. I like the idea of not having to heat and wait. I can eat along the trail when I am hungry. When I am tired make camp and not have to mess with the mess of cooking.
    More walking, less talking.

  14. #14
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    Am I the only one that eats raw ramen?

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    Registered User Luna Anderson's Avatar
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    Really dont need a stove. I just need some dry wood to cook the hot dog on the trails.
    Visit my blog HikerTrack to find useful tips for hiking, camping, survival skills and read thorough reviews about outdoor gears like best 10 person tent...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gracebowen View Post
    Am I the only one that eats raw ramen?
    No you are not.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  17. #17
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    Due to more limited food choices or just Ďdifferentí food choices stoveless may not be lighter weight depending on what foods you chose and how you chose to prepare them (such as presoaking for hours while hiking instead of minutes in the cook pot). Just saying just donít assume it is lighter. The main reason to chose stoveless seems
    To be those who donít like food prep/ cooking more then weight savings.


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  18. #18
    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
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    If you are going to be hiking for a long duration, a couple months or more, hot food is the salvation after a long tiring and sometimes cold and wet day. You need all the creature conforts you can affiord to carry and a stove is definately one of the top few. During my thru, other than the real hot days, it was nice to have something hot to start the day. It was also nice to be able to look forward to a hot meal after a day of hiking.
    Grampie-N->2001

  19. #19
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    Try going stoveless on a couple of shorter warm weather trips. Try it at home eating in the back yard on a cool rainy day when you're soaked. Try it in the morning before work. Come home from work. Go into the back yard and try it again for dinner when it's now cold outside. Climb into your shelter...OUTSIDE. Sleep. Do it for consecutive days. Don't cheat! Don't retreat back to the fridge, stove, or into the house. Is it satisfying? Is it worth it... to always go stoveless...on every trip, every meal, everyday? Ask yourself, " should I/could I leave my options open for different scenarios?" Could I take a hybrid multi layered wt and bulk savings eating and consumption approach rather than it be an all or nothing cooking decision?" Additionally, I'd be asking myself "am I truly that UL/SUL evolved that this is going to save me the wt and bulk that I assume especially when compared to other kit categories possibly not yet as deeply examined for wt and bulk savings?" Most going stove less to save wt and bulk don't realize the savings they assume and do so sacrificing other often ignored positive consequences.


    Intended wt and volume savings could be approached, whether using a stove or not, by: wiser highly nutritious UL(lower wt and bulk) selection of food...AND packaging/repackaging...AND choosing to not cook every meal or every day to extend fuel use...warming up food over a small twig fire to additionally extend fuel use...AND resupplying more often...AND mixing into trips highly dense nutritious powders...AND being acutely aware of wiser water logistics.


    BY conservative guesstimate at least 50% I observe going totally stove less in an attempt to never consume hot food to save wt and volume offset their stove, cookpot, and fuel wt and volume savings by consuming bulkier often heavier highly processed overall nutritionally dismal foods. These are often the people that smell like pepperoni or have deli meat breathe with food stuck between their teeth. Those that truly save wt and volume going stove less while not sacrificing nutrition, food diversity, and other desirable characteristics are few. Many I see going stove less on LD hikes have very narrowed food selections. Wraps all week? Cold or dry oatmeal or cold soaked Ramen again? PB again? Cheese again? Deli meats again? Foil tuna packets again? A glob of mayonnaise squeezed out of a packet again? Convenience and gas station store pretzels and chips again? That is what I see the most eaten by the stove less. Although not monopolized by the stove less approach this can lead to accumulating excess packaging waste.

    I see going stove less to save wt and bulk as an advanced potentially wt and bulk saving approach. I don't see the majority going stove less to be truly that UL/SUL advanced. So, then in my mind, it turns into a convenience of not cooking issue which appeals to many in the U.S. culture...cede to someone else food(food like) preparation. Personally, I enjoy making my own diversity of meals and snacks, knowing what's in my food, where it came from, and tweaking nutrient content...on and off trail. I find it not a hassle but a satisfying and worthy component in achieving this goal. I always like to have fresh "living" produce on trail...NOT found in Dollar Stores and typically in short or no supply at gas stations and convenience store resupply. This can be done also by the stove less but I see it as the exception rather than the rule.


    I don't see a great UL hassle in terms of volume and wt or time consuming cooking or clean up hassle including a UL/SUL DIY alchy warm weather set up or Esbit system on a LD U.S. hike... I don't see a necessity for a great clean up or food prep hassle when, from the get go, they are kept simple. Is boiling water that much of a hassle? Is cutting up some green onion or adding fresh chopped garlic to a Good to Go Thai Curry dinner that much a chore in today's on trail community? Is mac n cheese that hard to clean up, even without water, when cleaned before it's dried onto the pot? Is cleaning up after a light broth based soup that big a hassle?


    I really like to go stoveless on shorter duration warm weather weekend type trips where I'm practicing advanced UL/SUL philosophy going very fast. Other times I like including the stove but not cooking every meal or every day. AND, I have absolutely no issue doing BIG miles and experiencing a profound trail LIFE even if I'm cooking. Looking into the flames and having the light of a fire has additional pleasurable appeal for me.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntmog View Post
    It's not just the weight for me but also the ease of prep and clean up. I have used everything from jetboil to alcohol stoves but have gone stoveless for about a year. Now my standard dinner is 3 tortillas, pre cooked bacon, chik fil a honey bbq sauce, packet of justin's peanut butter per tortilla and maybe some Genoa salami or pepperoni. Its delicious, easy and I can start/stop eat at my leisure. And when I'm done, all trash goes into bag. No pot to clean, nothing to store. After 20 miles, I began to loathe the cooking process. But thats me.
    Now thatís an interesting combo.....Iíll give it a try.


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