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Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether? on 04/22/2013 22:51:16 MDT Print View

... and just go with dried foods and granola?

it would save on weight, complexity, and chores. I don't particularly LOVE any of the meals I cook.. so I guess I could do with out.

Not having hot chocolate, tea, or hot coconut milk would kind of suck though.


Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether? on 04/22/2013 22:58:39 MDT Print View

I have on a few trips - I like it if the trip is short. In the summer I usually eat a cold breakfast anyway, and I don't drink coffee, so for me the only difference is dinner. What I like about it is no prep, no cleanup. When you get hungry, you just open the bag, reach in and enjoy. Super simple.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether? on 04/22/2013 22:58:57 MDT Print View

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
"Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether?" on 04/23/2013 01:03:24 MDT Print View

I don't forgo "cooking" altogether, but I do take a couple of no-cook dinners for those times I'm too tired to fire up the stove (often the first night). Things like hummus and tabouli, easily hydrated with cold water in 1/2 to 3/4 hour, work great.

A number of other dehydrated meals work just fine prepared with cold water if you soak them several hours. Of course this means carrying the extra water the last few hours of the day. You'll obviously want to experiment at home to find out what tastes good when prepared this way and what doesn't. I suspect that a dish depending heavily on melted cheese might not be a good candidate, but, as usual, YMMV.

I'm following Balls' and Sunshine's journal of their CDT hike. They were so excited to start that they forgot to buy fuel when they arrived in New Mexico, so they are using the no-cook method.

In any case, my "cooking" consists only of boiling water, pouring it over my home-dehydrated meal in a plastic freezer bag, stirring and letting it sit in a cozy for 15 minutes. No dishes to wash; just lick the spoon. (Sarah of is my heroine!) I boil a bit more water than I need and brew a cup of herbal tea to drink while my dinner rehydrates. For breakfast, I eat cold cereal with dehydrated or freeze-dried fruit and dried milk (water added, of course). For "lunch"--actually all-day snacking--it's dried fruit, nuts and cereal bars. My real camp cooking is done at home when I prepare a big one-pot dish, freeze a few one-serving containers to zap for later home meals and dehydrate the rest of it for backpacking meals. I'm going to test these dehydrated meals by soaking small portions in cold water to see how many of them are adaptable to the no-cook situation and how long they take to rehydrat. I probably will never go stoveless, but it would mean carrying a lot less fuel!

Mark Russell

Locale: Texas
Re: "Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether?" on 04/23/2013 01:27:52 MDT Print View

Typically I do the same as Mary. Granola, nuts, etc, and some dehydrated meals packed away throughout the day.

Heading up to ERL in May, and plan on taking a few items to be cooked/reheated on the trail but most of our meals will be boiled water, with one night of actual cooking on the trail for dinner and then breakfast as well.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether? on 04/23/2013 03:52:11 MDT Print View

> Not having hot chocolate, tea, or hot coconut milk would kind of suck though.

Not having hot coffee would be even worse!


Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
No on 04/23/2013 05:26:39 MDT Print View

Personally I figure that I can have the option to cook for such a small weight penalty that I an unlikely to forgo cooking altogether. My cooking and eating gear is typically 9 or 10 ounces plus fuel, but it is certainly possible to go lighter.

That said I do not always cook every day. It would certainly be possible to go no cook, it just isn't worth the weight savings to me and I don't mind cooking.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: No on 04/23/2013 06:16:15 MDT Print View

+1 with Pete

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether? on 04/23/2013 06:22:34 MDT Print View

For some some summer overnighters I will, but I will be having a hot breakfast or Lunch before I start and a hot lunch or dinner the next day.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Mostly no on 04/23/2013 06:31:27 MDT Print View

If it's a summer trip with hot days and warm nights, then maybe yes. Other than that, no. Eating a warm meal and sipping on something hot is one of the joys and rewards after a day of hiking.
At home I cook a real meal every night and the time and effort are well worth it; on the trail the bit of time and weight seem worth it as well.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
tea mandatory, food optional on 04/23/2013 07:02:09 MDT Print View

I will almost always take a stove for some tea even if I don't bring any food that needs cooking.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/23/2013 07:27:58 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 01:21:23 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether?"-no on 04/23/2013 07:32:25 MDT Print View

I *must* have a cup of something warm as I wake up in tne morn. COFFEE, prefered by a lot.

Foraging along the trail as I go often yields a handfull or two of good stuff. Even if it is just dandelion greens, they are better cooked (boiled) in a soup if they are old, or, fried into some "greens" (olive oil, red pepper, and garlic) for eating with my supper (rice, soup, stew, macaroni, etc...) Eating hot comfortable food at night is one of the pleasures of camping I will not soon give up. Besides, EVERYTHING tasts better outside. Some of that stuff, I have tried at home with so-so results.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Re on 04/23/2013 08:23:48 MDT Print View

"Eating hot comfortable food at night is one of the pleasures of camping I will not soon give up."


And with the availability of so many esbit/alchy and mug setups that weigh under 3 oz, there's no reason you have to.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re on 04/23/2013 08:37:54 MDT Print View

Last few trips I've eaten cheese and pepperoni at evening and it was good, no reason to heat anything up, although I like eating a bean or pea soup.

In the morning, if it's cold, I like eating hot oatmeal and a couple cups of coffee and tea to warm up. If it was warmer weather this wouldn't be so important, maybe find something else with cafeine like chocolate.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether? on 04/23/2013 08:40:21 MDT Print View

I don't like hot drinks and don't eat hot breakfasts even at home so the only thing I bring a stove for is dinner. I do like to have a warm meal in the evening, even on hot days but I just stick with boil-in-the-bag style meals whether they're store bough or homemade. My cook kit weighs under 8oz including 2 Esbit cubes so I don't see it as much of a burden on a weekend trip. Getting the Esbit going is a breeze and it gives me a few minutes to sit and relax while the water is heating up. Unless I were on a trip specifically to see how fast or light I could go I always bring the stove. In much the same way I always carry more camera gear than I should. A warm meal and good pictures add to my enjoyment so there has to be a very compelling reason for me to leave them behind.


Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Do any of you forgo cooking food altogether? on 04/23/2013 10:44:52 MDT Print View

when going solo and/or fast I don't cook.
when out with others on a casual trip I cook.

but I don't live to eat when on the trails.
if I want gourmet food I stay home and go to a nice restaurant.

Edited by asandh on 04/23/2013 10:51:45 MDT.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/23/2013 11:40:52 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 01:07:08 MDT.

Bill Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: pack volume in no cook menu on 04/23/2013 15:53:22 MDT Print View

"I think you'll find that granola and other no cook items will take up more room in your pack."

I haven't found that. Granola, hummus, powdered milk, instant mashed potatoes, nuts, etc all have as many calories/gram and calories/cc as the to-be-cooked items I might bring instead. Gotta get the right kind of granola, of course.

If people are thinking there's a set of pack volume issues associated with going cookless, let's break out some calorie density data.


Bill S.

P.S. For me, what Art said. Pretty much stopped cooking when solo.

Edited by sbill9000 on 04/23/2013 18:46:15 MDT.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 04/23/2013 16:59:05 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/08/2015 00:45:06 MDT.