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No Cook Trips
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Kari Post
(karipost) - MLife

Locale: New Hampshire
No Cook Trips on 04/18/2010 20:15:13 MDT Print View

How many of you regularly do extended trips on just ready to eat, no heat food? I find that that whole stove, fuel, cooking process is sometimes more time consuming and annoying than I'd like. It also makes me think about all the room and weight my stove, fuel, and pots add to my pack. Is it feasible to plan meals based on items that don't have to be cooked, and can you get a nutritionally balanced diet while on the trail doing so?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: No Cook Trips on 04/18/2010 21:42:29 MDT Print View

You might want to check into the practicality of cooking with a tiny alcohol stove and a cup. You can get a hot meal in a short amount of time with just a few ounces of gear.

In my book, every backpacker deserves a hot beverage with breakfast, and some hot food for dinner.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: No Cook Trips on 04/18/2010 21:53:19 MDT Print View


I agree with you. But there is nothing wrong with cookless. I have done it many times. However, it seems that the extra weight of palatable ( <--- key word here for me) of cookless food ends up more than offsetting the weight of a alcohol stove set-up.

It is just a personal preference. To me, a hot meal just takes the edge off of things, and I am mentally more satisfied.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: No Cook Trips on 04/18/2010 21:54:02 MDT Print View

"Is it feasible to plan meals based on items that don't have to be cooked, and can you get a nutritionally balanced diet while on the trail doing so?"

There are a few lurking about who routinely do "no cook" trips. I'm not one of them, but it does intrigue me. Hopefully they will speak up.

I will also echo Bob's comment above. A Caldera Keg-H is no bigger than an eating tumbler. Other Caldera systems are exactly the size of a typical "eating cup". The only added volume and weight is the 3/4 ounce per day fuel weight.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: No Cook Trips on 04/19/2010 00:37:04 MDT Print View

"The only added volume and weight is the 3/4 ounce per day fuel weight."

And, if the stove was a titanium Caldera, you could burn wood, if available, for zero carried fuel weight.

It is a concept.

I can miss a few hot meals as long as the weather is mild. But if it gets cold or wet, a cup of hot tea is the mountaineer's delight.


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: No Cook Trips on 04/19/2010 09:24:56 MDT Print View

I never ate hot breakfasts, only a hot evening meal. A hot beverage does nothing for me, maybe except for in winter. My current evening meal is cold oatmeal followed by hot ramen with a meat packet. I love it! I did try the ramen cold and it was palatable at first, but I grew tired of it fast. You simply need to find out what you can eat cold and still get your calories.

My current (I occ use esbit or alcohol too) cookware consists of a butane stove, fuel, snowpeak 600 mug, foil lid, spoon. I've been using a foam sit pad for a windscreen. You don't need much to still have a hot evening meal. I am finished eating in about 20 minutes...gobble

Edited by jshann on 04/19/2010 09:30:43 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: No Cook Trips on 04/19/2010 09:52:19 MDT Print View

Sure! You can do it. It will take a little planning time but is quite doable.
Will you regret it? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on if you get a craving for a hot drink a couple weeks in. Some people need the brain boost that hot food gives (it warms the soul!) Others get by just fine.

Best bet? Try it on a weekend trip and at home to see what you like and don't like.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
This wknd on 04/19/2010 09:57:59 MDT Print View

I will be gone for 3 days and 40mi of hiking w/ no stove this wknd. It'll be my first shot at going cook-less.

trail mixes, various granola, cashews, yogurt covered raisins, dried corn.

We shall see...

Edited by bster13 on 04/19/2010 09:59:43 MDT.

Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Going Cookless on 04/19/2010 10:38:45 MDT Print View

I know there are several people here besides myself who routinely go cookless. I've been doing it for years. It's even more difficult for me, being that I don't eat anything on the unhealthy side. There are tons of recipes out there that require no cooking... just home prep.

On my longer hikes, more than a week, I will take along my cooking setup. I enjoy my coffee, and I see considerable weight savings with my ability to carry Mountain House meals. Cookless foods tend to be heavier for me, although much healthier.

My favorite recipe being...

Whole wheat pita bread, with pesto spread, tuna, and sliced apples. It's a great meal. It takes very little prep. I buy a few tuna packs, a pack of pita bread, and repackage some pesto. Ready to eat in just a couple minutes. Slice the apple at home if you don't carry a knife. I prefer to slice mine in the field to prolong shelf life.

Do a search online, and you can find endless healthy no cook options. I never find myself missing hot foods. Just my coffee. I'm addicted. :D

Edited by Junction on 04/19/2010 10:39:33 MDT.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
cookless on 04/19/2010 13:59:21 MDT Print View

We like to have a warmed meal at dinner but I do believe that cookless food that tastes good is easy enough to do - and it can be done in a lightweight way. We usually have cookless lunches - things like hummus, citrus lentil salad, eggplant spread/dip, pasta salad, and the like. Totally doable for a whole trip.

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: Going Cookless on 04/19/2010 14:01:20 MDT Print View

there are a few threads on Whiteblaze about going stoveless. I picked this one

also Garlic has done a few thru hikes stoveless. You might look up his trail journals for the AT, PCT and CDT

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: No Cook Trips on 04/19/2010 17:41:18 MDT Print View

"Is it feasible to plan meals based on items that don't have to be cooked"

I do it about half the time on trips up to 10-11 days. Lots of nuts, chocolate, crackers, chips, olive oil, Nido powdered milk, Hammer Perpetuem and First Endurance Ultragen.

"can you get a nutritionally balanced diet while on the trail doing so?"

I find it harder to eat my normal, healthy diet going cold food because I don't like to fool around with mixing up hummus, cous cous, cracked wheat, etc. It takes time and a container, and cleanup. Other posters have lots of ideas for these more elaborate, and healthy, foods. My premise is that 9-10 days of a less than optimally healthy diet isn't going to shorten my life appreciably. My main goal is to provide adequate calories, properly balanced between fat(dietary and stored body fat) and carbohydrate, plus protein for tissue maintenance.

Kari Post
(karipost) - MLife

Locale: New Hampshire
Thanks! on 04/19/2010 21:32:50 MDT Print View

Thanks for your thoughts. At home in ordinary everyday life I go days without cooking. I have a good number of friends that need "real food" but I can live off of sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, cereal and the like for a surprisingly long time. In the field, I guess the biggest obstacle for me would be eating foods that both don't require refrigeration or cooking. The only time I crave hot foods are when I'm really cold (like in winter).

I think I'll start doing all of my shorter trips cookless and then for longer trips start calculating weight savings of cookless vs cooked meals. I realize some pre-prepared cookless meals are a bit heavier than their dehydrated counterparts that just need to be reheated with water. I guess its all about experimenting.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
no cooking on 04/19/2010 21:44:02 MDT Print View

Only on cold and long trips would I think I would need to cook. Not cooking is easy. Jerky, dried salmon, smoked bacon, peanut m&ms.
Most of the time when I bring a stove and I have a big bag of jerky I end up just eating the jerky and skipping the stove. Its so much easier and so much more tasty than some dried up potatoes or something and I don't have to clean any pots or set up any stoves. Instead of cleaning up after dinner I just sip from my flask, now thats the right way to do it.
Caveat: when its chilly or cold it very nice to at least have a warm drink.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
no cooking on 04/19/2010 22:30:09 MDT Print View

Go for it.

Not cooking simplifies a lot!

Bring a metal cup. If you have to build a fire, you can always make a cup of hot water.

JT Croteau
(Tobit) - F

Locale: Shadows of the White Mountains
Re: Thanks! on 04/26/2010 16:45:50 MDT Print View

Kari, if you are comfortable eating "cold" foods at home, you will be fine not cooking on the trail. There are many shelf stable meats and cheeses out there that pack well along with freeze-dried vegetables that rehydrate just find in cold water. Many freeze-dried items don't even need to be re-hydrated and make a nice crunchy snack.

As you may have noted, especially on a site like White Blaze, many people find a certain "comfort" from a hot meal or drink and just can't get around the mental aspect of not having a hot meal. One can certainly eat healthy on the trail without cooking.

Thanks for starting this thread, I honestly don't know why I carry a stove and fuel. I rarely end up using it so I may ditch it altogether this year. I don't eat cooked meals at home much these days and don't like hot beverages so there should be no mental blocks for me to eat the same way on the trail.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Thanks! on 04/26/2010 20:13:32 MDT Print View

Demetri “Coup” Coupounas did the JMT, Long Trail and CO Trail unsupported back in 2004. His food strategy was no cooking.

My son and I tried this on a three-day trip. Was fun and we had no problems.

What I really missed was a cup of hot tea. Not having a hot meal was not too bad. However, it is much more fun to cook IMO. : )

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Thanks! on 04/26/2010 20:19:43 MDT Print View

A mountaineer deserves to have a cup of hot tea!

Maybe I could hide a tiny Gram Cracker for Esbit with one metal cup. I have to have a hot cup of tea.


rhonda rouyer
(rrouyer) - F

Locale: deep south
tying "no cook" on 04/26/2010 22:59:44 MDT Print View

I have found that on a hike I really rather snack or eat a varitey of lighter foods. The rehydrate in bag meals that really are fine are sometimes too much for me. My appetite is supressed when I hike. Smaller more frequent is better for me. This year on our 46 mile AT section, I am planning no cook meals, tuna, hummus, cheese, jerky nuggets, apple slices, dried mixed fruit,pbj, pita and bagels along with a vaiety of trial mixes. Breakfast will still be my instant oatmeal and I must have my hot tea and coffee. I will bring a couple of Mary Jane Organics soups for those nights I need a little more or just the comfort of something hot.

rhonda rouyer
(rrouyer) - F

Locale: deep south
Re: Re: No Cook Trips on 04/26/2010 23:02:24 MDT Print View

If you like Hummus, sells individual serving in tubes. You can order only the amount you want from 1 to whatever. It really is good. They have classic and roasted red pepper hummus.