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The argument for cold food...
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Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 16:07:59 MDT Print View

Planning for a 3-day, 40mi backpacking trip in the Adirondacks. Highs of 53F, low of 31F on average.

At my disposal I have the following to eat:

-Mass Builder (weightlifting power):

-Powdered whole milk.

The Mass Builder is very calorie dense and the powdered milk can be used for making massive amounts of cereal. (I used to live off cereal in my younger years and quite like it!)

This combined with GORP, trail mix, dehydrated fruit etc.....I'm not sure I need the stove (mainly carry the weight of it). Other than the nicety of having a hot meal at the end of the day, am I missing out on stuff nutritionally speaking?

And if I am missing out (I don't believe I am), would it affect me over 3 days? (as opposed to a month on the trail)

If I'm not, I could knock off 6.63oz. of base weight. I guess it'd be easier to prepare meals as well.

Thanks for your opinion!

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 16:13:27 MDT Print View

Maltodextrin and fructose. Hmm...

Probably not bad for a 3 day trip though.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 16:15:05 MDT Print View

I don't see how the lack of hot food for 3 lousy days will kill anyone. But...

1. Do you like hot foods?
2. Is your pack too heavy for you?
3. Or are you just trying to break some gram weenie record?

Each to his own, but to me, if the answers to the above are yny -- then it's just silly. Period.

But if the answers are nyn, then hey, leave the lousy 7 ounces at home.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Meatrocks on 04/12/2010 16:19:55 MDT Print View

I'm not a picky eater and when I'm eating minute-rice and meatrocks for my headed meals....doesn't seem like I'm missing out on much. :p Just want to get the calories in and bang some more miles or get to sleep on a full stomach. I wouldn't mind losing the weight either. Why not?

For say a month long trip... would you guys/girls start to worry about me getting my nutritional needs met? (I'd take a multi-vitamin, I promise. :p)

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Meatrocks on 04/12/2010 16:22:17 MDT Print View

Well, I have another thread about how I basically brewed my own weight gainer formula and am using that along with gorp as my diet for my PCT thru-hike. It's been 2 weeks so far. I think it's going about as well as could be expected, although I'm going to try more electrolytes and other minerals to see if that improves my performance and recovery.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
If it works for you... on 04/12/2010 16:25:34 MDT Print View

Well if it's working for you over 3-weeks, I think I can as well.

Afterall the weight gainer is supposed to put on weight when you are in a mass/muscle-building phase. I've looks at the Nutritional Facts and it looks pretty well balanced. *shrugs*

(and I like chocolate...a lot. :p)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 16:47:47 MDT Print View



Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 17:34:52 MDT Print View

One person that I know (who shall remain nameless) is on a raw food diet, and it seems to have worked successfully for him over the last two years or so. There's only a couple of problems. First, I could not stand it to watch him eat the all-raw food. But, that's OK. That's my problem, not his. Secondly, he was looking for toilet facilities about three times per day. I guess that is not a big problem in some wilderness areas, but it seems like an inconvenience.

There is a lot to be said for a fairly normal diet, augmented with a couple of cups of hot tea or coffee. That has a good track record.


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 18:20:27 MDT Print View

"And if I am missing out (I don't believe I am), would it affect me over 3 days? (as opposed to a month on the trail)"

Not at all, IME. I do it frequently, although not in winter conditions. Still for a few days, it won't hurt you.

As for coffee. Just take a bottle of water to bed with you and pop a Starbucks Viva, or two, into it next morning. Voila, warm coffee.

James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 19:50:01 MDT Print View

That wouldn't be my choice of diet, but for three days, no big deal. I'd worry a bit about digestive disruptions over a longer time span.

Also, consider adding some Just Veggies to your diet. Incorporating just a bit of veggies seems to help a lot with your health, and the JV can be eaten like trail mix and is very light.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Coffee! on 04/12/2010 21:14:31 MDT Print View

>Coffee! (says Roger)

Coffee is, of course, the saving grace of the stargazer. Without coffee, I would probably be dead on some trail, or, as I often comment as I drive home from an all-night observing session, "There's a bridge abutment out there with my name on it."

Thus, for the sake of survival, one cannot be squeamish about taking one's coffee cold. I have, on occasion, eaten the instant variety with a spoon right out of the jar. Sound overwhelming? Then shoot a spoonful of Coffeemate into your mouth right after it. Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Goooood. Ah, ha, ha. Ah, ha, ha!

In other words, I don't need no hot water for coffee, so I don't need stinking stove. ;-D


Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Hummus on 04/12/2010 22:02:26 MDT Print View

If you're going with cold food, try hummus. My local grocery store has some that you just add cold water to. It's fairly calorie dense (110 cal/oz) and really tasty. It makes you forget you didn't cook a meal. I like packing it a bit of pita bread and dipping it in the hummus, but you could just eat it straight or do other stuff with it. For $2.50 I got two big meals worth.

Pepperoni sticks are also really good. You can find ones that are quite calorie dense (ie. 150 cal/oz). These are the ones that aren't too moist. They are tasty and easy to eat while hiking. One big one in the afternoon is a nice snack.

Edited by dandydan on 04/12/2010 22:03:41 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Hummus on 04/12/2010 22:19:24 MDT Print View

Oh man hummus is like miracle food for me. I ate it often on my PCT hike with crackers or fried pita chips. I could just crumble the crackers into it and eat it with a spoon. Add olive oil for extra calories.

Now that I'm not living on the trail I put hummus in a big tortilla with fresh onions, lettuce, tomatoes and anything else that looks good like cabbage or red bell peppers.

I can eat a hummus burrito and hike for hours with no hunger and plenty of energy.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Hummus on 04/12/2010 22:37:27 MDT Print View

I agree. You need to add that olive oil to make it right.

Also, if you are making a big bowlful of it for several eaters, then sprinkle a little paprika spice (reddish-brown) in a circle around the outside, and sprinkle a little dill spice (green) in another circle on the inside. Spices like that don't weigh anything, and it adds so much to the presentation that the eaters will think you are a cooking god.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/12/2010 23:59:41 MDT Print View

Everyone tries to reduce weight, and I think it is a good thing. There are two things I always strive for -

1. Efficiency when backpacking. This does not require sacrificing or packing extra weight. It is about selecting the proper gear for your needs.

2. A happy mind. Hot food makes me happy. Also, provides me many more options. I enjoy my coffee to start the day. Not just the drink, but the warmth as I sit and contemplate the coming day. I also enjoy sitting back in the evening with a cup of hot coca, and again contemplating the day, the next day, and solving the ageless problems of the universe as I watch the night sky. And of course I can purify water by boiling should something happen to my supply of tablets.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Nick's advice +1 on 04/13/2010 00:21:02 MDT Print View

...Seems you have taken a more pragmatic approach to the question, as have others. I think that comfort is a factor, and what works well for one person doesn't necessarily suffice for another.

Light gear is good, the right gear is better, if you can find the right, light gear well then, you have it made.

On food? I agree, a warm meal or a hot cup of coffee can make all the difference in the world...

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Nick's advice +1 on 04/13/2010 07:09:21 MDT Print View

Over 3 days I don't think you can suffer nutritionally as long as your getting sufficient calories.

However, this wouldn't be for me. Like Nick and Dirk I really enjoy hot beverages in the morning and evening and really look forward to a hot meal for dinner. Hot soup always hits the spot too.

If hot meals and drinks isn't something you really look forward to on the trail, and you're only talking 3 days, then I say go for it - you will be fine.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: The argument for cold food... on 04/13/2010 07:28:02 MDT Print View

"I enjoy my coffee to start the day. Not just the drink, but the warmth as I sit and contemplate the coming day."

And if it's a cold morning, you would be burning energy to stay warm. Which makes me wonder where the calories it takes to make water hot go to when you drink it as coffee. If you have a light metal cup and can brew up on a few sticks found at hand, this seems like a weightless energy gain.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Fires on 04/13/2010 07:45:33 MDT Print View

Fires work well for a number of different things. They allow you to cook and boil/purify water, not to mention the psychological effects. However many parts of the US don't allow them in summer, especially where Nick is hiking. I'm not one to think a small, well managed fire will get out of control, but the rangers won't agree with me and will definitely cite me for it. Thus, a stove is the only option, alas...

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
...cold food... on 04/13/2010 07:47:40 MDT Print View

I enjoy, and prefer, the ease and simplicity of going cookless. I start walking before first light and eat breakfast on the move. Mid day meals are either incorporated into breaks/water stops or eaten on the move. My evening meal is a late day rest stop prior to a final push for those extra cool evening miles. After setting up camp I just relax, cleanup and pass out.