Who has gone stoveless or to "cold soaking" exclusively?

11:05 a.m. on June 24, 2019 (EDT)
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I'm a couple years into the idea of bringing only cook-less food when I climb things like Rainier, Baker, etc.  I just eat cold pizza, bars, gorp, cold coffee, bagels with cream cheese, gummi bears, etc. 

When it comes to backpacking though I'm considering the weight savings of stoveless options like cold-soaking couscous and other dehydrated things.  Anyone doing this currently?  Is it soul destroying?  Do you miss warm food?



11:12 a.m. on June 24, 2019 (EDT)
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In the summer and mild conditions I often bring cook-less food.  We have pioneered the concept for use in Death Valley in winter.  We heat hot water for coffee and oatmeal in the morning, but for dinner everything is cold.   It saves a lot of work and allows for some serious conversation and soaking in the desert panoramas. 

In cooler weather I like hot food and drinks.  I like a fire even more. 

4:11 p.m. on June 24, 2019 (EDT)
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Got to have hot coffee in the morning - even in hot summer weather.  I therefore haven't tried no-cook food at breakfast except on long days when I drink coffee while packing up and snack on granola and power bars.  I always have a cold lunch except heating coffee or tea on a cool/cold season trip. Since I carry a stove for coffee, I don't remember a cold dinner in a long time (at least a planned one).  I recall a camp with Patman on a weekend trip and he hiked in with a foot-long Subway sandwich for dinner...not a bad way to start the weekend on a Friday.

I definitely would miss my coffee so can't see going no-cook in my future.

6:19 p.m. on June 24, 2019 (EDT)
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There was a time in a far off galaxy.. ..when I did some Gonzo trekking. Cold meals were planned to cut vertical weight hauls, and reduce the time/energy consumed by cooking.  (But since we had to melt snow, we did enjoy hot beverages.)  By that point you are so damn UL when you reach the high camp that your sleeping bag is an extra big parka and your mat sometimes a coil of rope.  What was I doing!  But short of that, I have always enjoyed a hot meal for dinner (really severe storms excepted).  I like to enjoy my time spent outdoors; and good food is de rigueur.  If I wanted to incorporate such austerity into my trips, I think I would have followed a different path in life and become a Buddhist monk, or something along that vein.


6:45 p.m. on June 24, 2019 (EDT)
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Jeff, you must ask yourself "what is the food doing?" Is the food is there as fuel, or is it there as a meal to be savored?

As an alpinist, you often only need food to keep the engine running, and this mindset is, of course, somewhat transferable to long-distance FKT-type adventuring in general. I find that on longer trips I generally like two to three meals of the more spartan kind to every one more indulgent meal. With longer spacing morale suffers.

Which is why cheese and chocolate is always in my food bag. It's just good head room. Couscous is a very good cold-soak grain, in my opinion. A shot of coconut oil and a squirt of hot sauce goes a long way, right? Oats, too. Oats, honey, raisins, cinnamon/chai powder, and powdered milk is crazy good cold.  

6:14 a.m. on June 25, 2019 (EDT)
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Come to think of it, I did have cold breakfast one morning on a week long trip where I misjudged fuel consumption. Last day with little food choices so I had cold maple and brown sugar oatmeal....could have been better but I recall it not being as bad as I anticipated. If you are actually planning on going cookless, the meals would be better I am sure.

7:25 a.m. on June 28, 2019 (EDT)
denis daly
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I knew tru hikers I met that went with cold soaking...I carried a stove for my trips but the seemed alright with the method.I would see if you like it at home before doing it on a weekend trip...Peanut butter jar works well....

3:54 p.m. on June 28, 2019 (EDT)
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And a little reflectix sleeve to put against the body when you're walking, to heat up your meal a bit...

1:58 a.m. on June 29, 2019 (EDT)
Randall Purrett @Boulder Strider
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I've done overnights with no stove.  The big thing I missed was a hot drink in the morning.  Probably not so much of an issue at lower elevations, but in the Colorado high country you can wake up to frost in the middle of summer.  Going stoveless on multiday backpacks becomes more difficult.  I think I'm stuck carrying a stove, at least in the mountains.

3:27 p.m. on June 30, 2019 (EDT)
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You can semi-heat water without a stove. Carry a black small trash can liner or a solar shower and fill with water and leave in a sunny place all day then when you come back to camp you have pretty darn heated water waiting for you. I hiked with a guy that used a large #10 can painted black on the outside, then filled with water and left in the sun for many hours , it heated the water fairly well.

Or carry those military packets with the magnesium in them, add a teaspoon of water and it makes heat without a stove. https://newatlas.com/trekmates-flameless-stove/23366/

July 12, 2020
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