Camping without cooking equipment

4:46 p.m. on December 28, 2008 (EST)
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Has anyone experience of Camping/hiking say for 3 days to a week without stove+cooking utensils, bringing all food that is needed be it dried or canned?

If so how was it?

Is the weight saved and extra space worth it?

Thank you for any feedback.

8:39 p.m. on December 28, 2008 (EST)
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Canned? How do you save weight that way?

My cooking gear weighs less than a pound on most trips. Not sure how much you think cooking gear needs to weigh, but I save more than a pound by dehydrating my meals. I love hot beverages on the trail and wouldn't really enjoy eating Clif or other bars and trail mix the whole time. I know some people eat cold all the way, but it's worth it to me to take along the alcohol stove and pot (teakettle, actually, weighs 5 oz.) I use my lexan longhandled spoon as a cooking utensil if need be. And the ability to boil water is important if your filter breaks.

9:16 p.m. on December 28, 2008 (EST)
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This will be weird to some, but I went on a spiritual development backpacking trip, and I took protein powder, nuts and raisins, craisins, cliff bars and some apples. I was fine.

9:59 p.m. on December 28, 2008 (EST)
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I know people do this, but usually it's because they are constantly on the move-speed hiking or something like it. Canned food is not a weight saver-not only are you carrying water, but you have to carry the can back in most places.

If you want a lightweight cooking kit, read the cooking forum on The Lightweight Backpacker. People make stoves out of various cans such as soda cans, cat food cans and similar sized cans that burn alcohol. Pots can be made from Heineken cans. Look up Jason Klass on the net. He has directions for making stoves and cooking pots from aluminum cans.

My Primus stove and a couple of small canisters weighs less than a can of beef stew. I don't consider hot food or a hot drink luxuries.

4:20 a.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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I should have been clearer in my first post.

Just wondering if camping without a stove of any kind can be done, forget about weight saving atm and canned food(bad idea!)

Sort of food to take, cold meals every day, is it worth it?

I dislike the time it takes to cook and clean after every meal and looking to to simplify this part of camping.

8:08 a.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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If you're not carrying water, you might want to think about carrying a stove, or at least a pot, to boil found water. If not boiling, a filter then - about the same weight as a backpacking stove. (7 gallons of water will weigh 58.8 lbs US.)

You can go quite a while without food, prepackaged or otherwise, but water...that's a different story.

11:32 a.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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Depends on what you are willing to eat. I can eat nothing but powerbars, nuts and dried fruits, homemade cereal bars, apples, oranges, banannas, etc for days. That can get pretty tiring for folks who are used to cooking meals.

2:40 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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Why would you even want to

I could see doing it for speed and time, for a comp, but any other time would take some of the enjoyment out of it.

3:41 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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To answer your real question-what to take, there are lots of alternatives to cooking. I would take a variety of dried meats such as salami or jerky, cheese, energy bars of various kinds such as Clif, Powerbar, etc., dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, apples, nuts and trail mix, chocolate, candy. You could even take a small loaf of bread and some butter in small packs and make yourself sandwiches.

Another choice is military MRE packaged meals or the civilian equivalent that have their own heating element in the package.

Websites and stores that cater to survivalists have lots of stuff like MREs you could carry.

3:56 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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I'm kinda siding with our new member tdog69 on this one. Why? Is the first question I asked.

I'm sorry Tom, In a life or death situation, MREs are fine. But the extreme amount of landfill they produce (because of the extreme amount of packaging they come in) when used for fun is just CRAZY. Weigh an MRE full, then weigh it empty. 1/2 to 2/3 of the meal's weight is trash, and you still need water to make the heaters work. If you're going to carry that extra weight, in AND out, I say carry a stove so you can prepare and enjoy some real food.

4:19 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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I will never touch an MRE again after being in the military and the civilian ones, man are they expensive.
You can't get any better than ramen noodles in boiling water with deer jerky thrown in and some dried chilies :)
I have done over nighters before where we used nothing more than a fire and a wooden spick to roast some trout, but my cooking gear was in the pack just in case. have to add man these were good, stuffed with wild leaks (ramps as they are called here in WV) and that nice smokey taste with salt and pepper on the inside yum yum.

7:00 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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There are very tasty dehydrated meals out there that only require one to two cups of boiled water. You don't require a pot cause you can eat right out of the bag. I'm not sure if you class boiling water cooking so just thought I'd mention this. If you can start a fire and are allowed to do so in the area you will be in you won't need a stove but please practice "leave no trace" principles when making a fire ring if there isn't one already there. I use Esbit solid fuel and a very light stove. The fuel is safe, easy to light, and weight is minimum. I can certainly say that after a good rain storm or being out in the cold a warm drink is very nice and very much appreciated. Tom D gave you an excellent list of dry foods and if you can feel good and full with those for your meals then give them a try!

7:08 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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tdog69 said,

Quote: "I have done over nighters before where we used nothing more than a fire and a wooden spick to roast some trout, but my cooking gear was in the pack just in case. have to add man these were good, stuffed with wild leaks (ramps as they are called here in WV) and that nice smokey taste with salt and pepper on the inside yum yum."

Yeah baby.....that's eating! Add a little rice and some hot bread and your living right.

Unless I really need to cover some ground quick and fast I prefer to carry a stove. I at least take a small pan/pot to boil water in.
If you just want to heat and eat freeze dried or ramen type meals an alcohol stove is hard to beat for most light backpacking.
I personally just can't go without a hot meal at least once a day, to me it's part of the experience.
I take either a white gas or wood stove, some freeze dried meals, and some food that has to be cooked as well 'cause I think it tastes better.
You can dehydrate your favorite foods at home if you care to, just package & label.

It's also not hard to find dry foods at your local grocer, really, any 'just add water' food is a candidate as far as I'm concerned.
Add some healthy, high calorie dried fruits & nuts, a few protein bars, powdered drink mixes and you should about have it covered.
As Tom mentioned, check on The Lightweight Backpacker, lots of good info out there.

7:12 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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Being a college student I agree completely with tdog69 about the ramen but what you need to do instead of the dried chilies is ad some Tony Chacherie's (original). I'm from Louisiana and we have to have our food spiced plus it saves just about any food that you cook over an open fire. All you need is an old pill container full. And as far as MRE's being expensive and the civilian ones being expensive, I quit worrying about that when FEMA decided to give out boxes at a time of MRE's to any one that pulled up after hurricanes devastated the coast.

8:19 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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Franklin, I'm not saying MREs are a good choice, but they are a choice. I've never eaten one, but I have eaten some of their predecessors which my dad got for me when he was in the AF years ago. Bread in a small can, that kind of stuff-not very good, if I remember right.

Here's an article on what Ryan Jordan took on his ultralight 600 miles Arctic trip. http://www.ryanjordan.com/2006_arctic/2006/06/on_food_and_coo.html

They did cook, but very little.

8:48 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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This thread reminded me of Andy Skurka's 6,875-mile Great Western Loop hike from 2007.

He ate a LOT of bars, but still carried a small, homemade alcohol stove for dinners:

Diet: http://www.andrewskurka.com/GWL/diet.php

Gear List: http://www.andrewskurka.com/GWL/gearlists.php

9:39 p.m. on December 29, 2008 (EST)
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MRE's aren't bad. The newer ones are actually pretty decent. There is a lot of useless stuff in them though. One thing we did in the military was to "rat" out MRE's i.e. remove all cardboard packaging, throw out unneeded items,etc. Once you do this you can actually stuff several days worth of meals into one MRE pouch. They do tend to be heavier but at the same time they are full high calorie meals.The heaters and the actual package pouch they come with are pretty good and have multiple uses, they even have MRE recipes you can learn. The thing with MRE's also is that you can eat them hot or cold. Lightweight? Bullion cubes are excellent, Raman is always good for weight.Learn about spices, they go a long way to help give you that full feeling. There are plenty of choices, its all about how comfortable you want to be with you meals. me I like to eat so I don't mind a little bit of extra weight because at the end of a good day hiking, some good food and drink makes it all worthwhile.

9:39 a.m. on December 30, 2008 (EST)
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I'd consider the idea of cold food during June-August, but not the rest of the year. A warm drink and a hot meal can help take the edge off a cold, wet day. If you buy the boil water/eat out of the bag meals the prep and cleanup is minimal.

2:14 p.m. on December 30, 2008 (EST)
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When I go backpacking, I do sort of a compromise between the "food bars" and hot meals. A hot oatmeal and tea do a lot to get me going in the morning - and if the weather is cold, they're almost "indispensable". And for dinners, it's nice to have a "real" meal to eat (even if it's only a re-constituted freeze dried package). However, for lunches, I've taken to using the dense food bars one finds at stores like REI (like these: http://www.rei.com/product/519135).

I admit, there are times when I agree with the OP... it'd be nice to short-cut the meal preparation ... especially in the morning when I'm eager to get moving, or in the evening when I'm tired from a long day... but overall, it's still worth it to me to take the time to eat "real" food.

4:36 p.m. on December 30, 2008 (EST)
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A real man would simply build a fire by rubbing two sticks together and kill some near by animal and eat it or find some eatable plant life.

7:58 p.m. on December 31, 2008 (EST)
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I have enjoyed reading the posts to this thread.
Perhaps I am confused as to why someone would not want to carry a small stove w/cooking items. To me this is a small part of emergency gear which should be carried at all times. This being winter time, a hot cup of something would go down great. What if you became stuck/trapped in the backwoods? How about if you came across another party who needed help? I don’t think there is any real savings leaving the stove/pot at home. It can make for an uncomfortable time.

Alan says he would consider cold food during June to August. I think he forgot that it can be cold and wet during those months as well.

You don’t need to bring the fridge, pantry and kitchen sink with you. You just need to explore the food options and plan ahead. This might take a little time. I have seen many suggestions here already.

One of my preferred stove less meals is a hard sausage eaten with cheese, and maybe crackers or a bun (usually a lunch item). I have also seen others who have packed tortia wraps. This just requires a little planning on your part.

Mikekey – I think that you would be surprised how long it could take and how much energy would be lost trying to “Simply build a fire and kill some nearby animal or find eatable plant life” here on the West Coast of Canada any time of the year. I would suggest you come up and try it but Your safety could be at risk trying to do so. Keep in mind that the “Survivor Show” has never, ever tried to do a show here on the coast at any time. I think that it would be too dangerous for the people on the show.

A SMART Man would plan ahead, and be prepared.

9:45 p.m. on December 31, 2008 (EST)
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I agree with redpatch5,

We all need to plan ahead, keeping in mind that things may not go as planed. That is the part you most need to plan for.
It is better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it.
I say this as someone who used to travel lightweight on thru hikes, and suffered a few times because of unexpected weather or other problems outside of my control.
To me the extra weight of essential gear is worth it.
Two or three extra pounds can make all the difference in the world, and may save your life one day.

On the subject of cooking, it's not really that hard or time consuming if you will take the time to get good at it, I personally enjoy it now and get a boost out of a decent meal. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out event that you dread.
When I backpack with a group, we sometimes take turns preparing meals (some are better than others)but in any event it is a good skill to develop, one that should not be avoided. IMO.
Sooner or later you will get tired of cold food, and realize it really isn't worth it, at least I did.

10:31 p.m. on January 2, 2009 (EST)
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When bicycle touring I just carry a can opener and a spoon. Then buy all my food in grocery stores along the way, open and eat straight from the can without recooking.

July 30, 2014
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