Posted: 04/12/2007 16:54:26 MDT by Sarah Kirkconnell (sarbar)
>This morning I took a detour to Barnes & Noble, and picked up a copy of the NOLS cookbook (for some reason I don't own it, and I own pretty much every trail cookbook). So I got reading and whatnot.
Here is my question:
What is the reasoning behind the carrying of supplies of food? Is it to keep it as a group? I guess my question is behind carrying bulk items, not premade up meals. My question comes, I guess, from that I have never done much traditional group backpacking. I have always carried my food, and only my food. Even in group trips we all do this. We are responsible for feeding ourselves. That means unless we make arrangements with another person, we are cooking, cleaning and feeding ourselves. Doesn't mean we don't share ;-) But I guess if I had been a boy and did Boy Scouts or such I might have got the group mentality.<
Great question Sarah,
The idea behind cooking as a four person grouop is that each person has to learn to cook and do things for others, rather than just for themselves. This is an excellent educational tool that helps facilitate group dynamics, conflict reolution and teamwork, even communication. I might go so far as to say it can be one of the most powerful tools in teaching those skills.
I think that solo cooking is somewhat unique to lightweight hiking, though I can't say for sure. I actualy think it is a neat piece of self reliance in the wilderness, and the fact that it can be done is really cool. My experience (even outside of NOLS) has always been group cooking. It wasn't until I got into lightweight that I experienced solo cooking. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!
>The other question I have about the book is they use traditional items like raw rice, etc. Will that change in an effort to lower weight? If you go to instant items, you use less fuel, hence less weight. Your cleanup is also easier, meaning less things like scrub pads, soap, etc. <
I haven't looked at the cookery in depth in a while. As far as I know, we DO use instant rice and other items, like oatmeal. Do you know which edition of the cookery you got, I know there is a new addition out. I'll have to run down to the issue room and take a look to see what's going on there!
>And cuts camp time down. <
absolutly premade meals will cut down camp time, but there is a big difference between learning to cook and learning to boil water ;)
> It sounds like the small groups cook their meals in one pot? Will this change at all to cut pack weight? What type of pans do they use currently? Will they go to Ti?<
One pot and a "frybake" pan (see earlier posts in this thread). Not sure how you could go less that one pot for four people? If you mean a smaller Ti pot each, that is about what the lightweight courses do. Some courses will be using Ti pots in the near future, or aluminium at the least instead of Stailess steel - EEK!
You are right about fuel consumption for sure! Right now we aren't using soap and scrubbies to clean up, so not a lot to lose there.
>Also, you mentioned that cooking is a big part of the curriculum. That is interesting.<
I hope the info above helps explain it a little bit. On the lightweight courses it is less of a focus than on standard wilderness backpacking courses. Mostly b/c we haven't figured out how to bake a calzone in a 1 liter Ti pot, over an alchohol stove yet!
>Anyways, sorry for the ramblings.....maybe if I hadn't gotten back into backpacking in my late twenties, I might have done something like NOLS.<
No worries on the ramblings these are good questions!
FYI - We offer 23 & over courses which usually have an age spread of 23-48 y/o. That's how the lightweight courses are running for now.