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Going Stoveless
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Nate Lee
(nathan52) - MLife
Going Stoveless on 09/17/2011 18:31:17 MDT Print View

Politely requesting your input about going stoveless! Been rolling around simply not using a stove of any sort for quite a while. Now I know I won't know if its my bag tilli try it a few times, but in the meantime, had a few questions:

1, Will I be getting myself in trouble regarding the nightime food burn and keeping myself warm. Does eating hot food as opposed to ambient temp food make any difference?

2, In your opinion, what is the best reason for going stoveless?

3, have you personally gone stoveless and if so, for how long?

4, What would you recommend as a good cold dinner?

Thanks! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Nate Lee
(nathan52) - MLife
ah i see the recipes.. on 09/17/2011 18:36:43 MDT Print View

Hey I just saw the extensive recipe thread, from the gila wilderness, so nevermind about the recipe suggestion bit.

Particularly curious about number 1 tho..

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
stoveless on 09/18/2011 06:10:48 MDT Print View

While we don't go stoveless completely (I have a thing for hot drinks) we often have stoveless lunches and dinners.

Here is an article with some recipes for no-cook lunches.

The No-Cook Trail Lunch

Sample recipes include Citrus Lentil Salad and Mediterranean Garbanzo Bean Salad

You'll notice in the recipe tips that I mention how to rehydrate without boiling water. Enjoy.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 09/18/2011 06:12:08 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Going Stoveless on 09/18/2011 08:13:42 MDT Print View

Yeah that thread about the GW is a good one to read up :-) it easy to go stoveless? Sure! The only question to ask really you like/prefer a hot beverage in the morning or at night. You can always take a small alchy or Esbit stove and a Ti cup if you do - and to have a backup fuel source if you prefer.

Whatever you choose to do just enjoy the trip!

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Going Stoveless on 09/18/2011 10:17:06 MDT Print View

Depends on the situation:

Hawaii beach hikes with lows in the mid 60F range? Yes. Stoveless is my preferred option, though the hike itself will require carrying more water and other liquids due to heat and humidity. I have done 2 trips a few days apiece and food wasn't an issue during the 9+ mile hike phase as the heat and humidity (over sandy beach, up steep trail, down slippery slopes) made most food unappetizing.

The high mountain ranges of North America with summertime lows around 30-40F? No. I prefer a hot beverage and hot chow in the AM and in the evening to ward off the chill. Even trailrunners camping overnight have their UL stoves.

Any colder, it becomes a safety issue IMHO.

Add: my stoveless menu in warmer weather. Though food was unappetizing while hiking in heat, I sipped a bottle of Gatorade going in, later using it as a water bottle coming out.

Dinner at camp, I ate pre-packaged cooked fish with lots of salty juice. This was especially good after the heat. Mornings I had some cold cereal (Grape-Nuts) plus a couple of ambient temp Pop-tarts (do not eat poptarts in cold weather unless you remember to heat them up). Some local bread rolls for lunch. Booze: Malibu rum (hey, it's the tropics - have a TR on this years trip and some older pics to previous trips on my present web link to Photobucket). This menu would likely work on a dry camp into a warm desert but the water requirements would far greater and not really UL.

Edited by hknewman on 09/18/2011 10:46:27 MDT.

Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
Re: Going Stoveless on 09/18/2011 10:36:43 MDT Print View

Hi, Nate.

When I go on a solo trip for 3 days I usually go stoveless. I've never been on a trip of more than 3 days without taking along the ability to make hot meals or beverages, but I've been considering pushing my stoveless threshold to 5 days. My main reason is that when I'm on a solo trip I like to leave at about sunrise (or shortly after) and stay on the trail all day. When trekking alone it's easy to pace myself, and I prefer being on the trail to spending a lot of time in camp. I bring food that's easy to eat on the trail, and I enjoy the simplicity. I also go stoveless to lighten my pack.

If I'm going with a companion(s) who plans to bring a stove, I try to influence the decision to share stoves to save weight. Sharing meals with companions adds a social component to trips that make the stove weight worth it to me, and if we're sharing gear, we still end up with lighter packs.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Going Stoveless on 09/26/2011 01:27:37 MDT Print View

All I can say is that going stoveless is much more tolerable in warm weather. In my experience, after a hot day of hiking, my stomach prefers just a cold meal. I have only gone cold camping when I was too lazy to cook. Usually just snacked down on jerky, dried fruit, or check mix. Wasn't bad at all. If you are really that concerned about weight, consider a wood fire for those times when you want a hot meal.

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: ah i see the recipes.. on 09/26/2011 11:20:57 MDT Print View

ok I did a search and couldn't find the thread that has the recipes from the Gila Wilderness

anyone got a link to it

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Experiment! on 09/26/2011 15:28:55 MDT Print View

The best thing is just to experiment on your own. Pick a time when you'll be just one or two nights out.

The main thing I've liked so far is that I have saved a lot of time fiddling with cooking! I've found it a lot faster to pack up in the morning.

My own experiments have had these results:

* Cold ramen (GreeNoodle brand soaked in cold water w/dehydrated veggies) - YUM. Like cold sesame noodle salad. Check out this brand.

* Rehydrated brown rice (cooked and then frozen at home; then soaked in camp to rehydrate with dehydrated veggies) - also YUM, though more work required in advance.

* Mashed potatoes - awful.

* Lunch type food (energy bars, trail mix, crackers, etc.) eaten for dinner - not satisfying. I miss "real" food.

* Pop tarts for breakfast - fine - and I don't mind them cold. They are more edible cold than energy bars are.

* Brewed coffee from a packet (like Starbucks VIA) mixed with cold water - yum.

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: Re: ah i see the recipes.. on 09/28/2011 14:03:24 MDT Print View

ok I did a search and couldn't find the thread that has the recipes from the Gila Wilderness

anyone got a link to it


Joe L
(heyyou) - MLife

Locale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
no cook on 10/12/2011 00:02:37 MDT Print View

Quick oats with Nido dried whole milk, peanut butter on the side, butter flavoring, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice (add the spices of your favorite cookie flavors), dried fruit, sweetener, and hot chocolate mix. Add cold water a let it soak for a few minutes.

Instant spuds with bacon bits (pork or turkey), low sodium chicken broth, Nido brand dry milk, butter flavoring, onion powder, garlic powder, curry powder, pulverized dried bean flakes(slightly chewy). Be careful of the pork bacon grease escaping from its container.

I take jerky and 4-5 different, non-sweet trail mixes and eat a few spoonfuls of each one at every meal, followed with a fruity one for dessert.

Push the cheese log into the middle of the half empty peanut butter jar. Those jars seal well enough to keep the grease out of your pack. Eaten with a spoon, sharp cheddar and PB is good.

Use a banana chip to dip peanut butter.

Consider your refrigerator's temperature (low 50s) and the outside temperature of where you are going. Pack accordingly. Stoveless does include eating cold food that you might normally heat at home. I've carried leftovers like pasta salad, or cooked rice and veggies, etc. on Spring and Fall trips.

Take fresh food for the first night.

I've gone stoveless for 400 miles last year and 750 miles this year. I do carry one for snowy conditions.

Edited by heyyou on 10/12/2011 00:21:57 MDT.

John Synden
(yoseman) - F
going stoveless on 12/02/2011 10:14:23 MST Print View

I have been going stoveless for about six years now. I use to use a canister top burner but I wanted to drop the weight. It has worked out fine for me once in a while I wish I had a late night or early morning hot drink but I get over it. I eat things like : tuna pouches, homemade beef jerky, granola, power bars, nuts, raisins, chex mix, string cheese.

there are lots of options for you.

good luck !

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
re: going stoveless on 12/02/2011 12:22:04 MST Print View

Interesting to see the earlier comments in this thread; we’re all different, and particularly I think when it comes to food.

Elizabeth said: “Mashed potatoes - awful.” Interesting, as that’s one my go-to dinners eaten cold. I agree that they’re awful if unflavored (but not too exciting that way when hot either).
Justin said “All I can say is that going stoveless is much more tolerable in warm weather.” Again, different viewpoints --- I did the first long chunk of the CDT this year stoveless in a lot of snow, and eating cold seemed just fine to me there. It certainly does help, however, to have access to a decent resupply source with good selection.

I think it’s helpful to approach the idea of going stoveless with an open mind. I’ve talked to several people who just “know” that it wouldn’t work for them, and I guess it’s then likely to be a self-fullfilling prophecy. I was skeptical, but am now glad that I tried it out. My initial impetus was to not have to mess with or cook food in Grizzly country, which doesn’t seem like a particularly good reason to me now, but I do think I’ll be going cookless on solo trips from now on, unless resupply options are expected to be limited (as unlike Elizabeth I’m not at all fond of cold ramen --- unless maybe I just eat the dry noodles like a snack).

That’s what’s great about these forums --- sharing different viewpoints and interacting to see if there are new ideas or approaches worth considering.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Going Stoveless on 12/02/2011 12:32:02 MST Print View

For me I just enjoy a warm dinner and often a warm breakfast. Makes the trip more fun and when it is cold, I feel better.

I sometimes go cookless when I have little or no water availability, I am already carrying a lot of water and cannot afford to use it to cook. However, on cookless trips the food I carry tends to be heavier because the foods I choose taste better to me. So then it becomes a matter of balancing weights. I can save a lot of weight with my gear options, but I don't want to save weight on food if it doesn't taste great to me. But then I think that MH meals taste great... others hate them. My wife has been out of town for a couple weeks and I had a few MH meals at home. Quick, easy, tasty, and I didn't mess up her kitchen :)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Going Stoveless on 12/02/2011 13:27:24 MST Print View

Going stoveless is super easy for an overnight trip and tolerable for a couple nights, eating stuff like granola bars, cheese, crackers, bagels, pita bread, salami, tuna, dried fruit, chocolate, etc. The hitch is that some of the no-cook foods can be heavy and can quickly reach the weigh of the lighter stove and pot combos. I wouldn't worry about real nutrition over a short period; it's more a matter of satisfaction and enjoyment.

But my morning coffee is the real stumbling block. I use an Esbit ti wing stove and a 450ml mug for my tiny camp kitchen and the aim is to simply make hot water rather than boil or cook. If allowed, the smallest campfire would easily take care of my hot water needs. I could probably pull it off with a tea light candle and a few rocks. I need to find a good cold coffee drink mix.

Every once in a while, I will walk the aisles of a large grocery store with nothing but hiking in mind. It is amazing what you will see when you are shopping with a single purpose in mind. It can be expensive too :) You can easily go stoveless for a couple days at home to test your menu.

Edited by dwambaugh on 12/02/2011 13:28:15 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: going stoveless on 12/02/2011 14:32:51 MST Print View

Cold ramen is good if you do it right/ But it has to be dressed right! As a base for pasta salads it is great. But just soaking it and eating it cold? Yuck.......

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: Going Stoveless on 12/02/2011 15:31:28 MST Print View

I recall reading that Ray Jardine and his wife Jenny tried not cooking on the PCT (or AT or CDT?) and found that after a while they found it didn't work for them. I think this was after a number of weeks, not a few days. They switched back to cooking again and were much happier.

I further recall reading that you get more nutrition out of cooked foods since your body cannot break down and extract as much nutrition from uncooked foods. I vaguely recall 90% vs 60% extraction, but don't recall the details.

This might partly explain the Jardine's experience. I would conclude that not cooking makes no difference for a few days, but on a long hike it likely would.

Of course one might go stoveless and still cook over a fire (still need a pot, though). The Jardine's did this often on their long hikes, and it allowed them to cook things one wouldn't consider cooking on a stove because it would use too much fuel.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: ah i see the recipes.. on 12/02/2011 16:55:17 MST Print View

> ok I did a search and couldn't find the thread that has the recipes from the Gila Wilderness

I think he meant this one.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Going Stoveless on 12/02/2011 17:16:20 MST Print View

I've been going stoveless for the past two years, but it's a different type of food, not just regular cooked foods that I don't cook on the trail. Since my foods are very high in all the macronutrients and the carbs are complex, I have tons of energy to keep me warm throughout the night. I went stoveless because I found that I would not take the time to cook. After 5 days I would be starving and lethargic even though I had a pack full of food and cooking gear. I have no problem with my cookless meals, except when it's like I'm scared to get my food wet, so again I starve.

John Synden
(yoseman) - F
Re: re: going stoveless on 12/02/2011 22:24:31 MST Print View

Brian, I just wanted to say I feel the same as you. These forums are so interesting.