View Full Version : cooking under rain

01-04-2004, 02:52
I hope I'm wasting no one's time, but what is the best method for the above-mentioned activity? Wait out the rain? (What if it doesn't stop all night and you're s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g?) Set up a tarp for this specific purpose? (Excessive weight for something with only one use?) Carry a tarp for this purpose that doubles as a footprint? ( :-? ) What?
I was thinking about "extending" my tent to create a small sheltered area just outside the door, for only this purpose and which I would use only under persistent rain. There have to be simpler solutions. I enjoy making things, including the most from my time. A "tent-porch" could be a silly mistake, for a number of reasons--say one sets up camp, gets cozy and warm eating dinner, and meets Yogi Bear.... May just go with the double-use tarp notion.
Let me add that, while I intend to sleep in shelters sometimes, I want the option open of tenting each night. I think no one enjoys being forced into a crowded shelter, only because it's the driest location.
Any thoughts?

01-04-2004, 03:07
Unzip your tent flap and cook in your tent unless you're high or drunk. Done it plenty of times and never died from the gases or caught my tent on fire. Put something under your stove that will keep it from melting the bottom of your tent, , I usually use a flat rock big enough to set my stove on.

01-04-2004, 03:23
The only problem I see with this suggestion is that my tent flap kind of "flops" down to the floor of the tent, exposing some 2 feet of floor. True, it would be less than ten minutes of exposure, but those ten minutes would be moments to forget.

01-04-2004, 09:26
I have a large poncho that I use to cover myself and my pack when it is raining while I hike. I also use it to cook under when I'm camped and it is still raining. It has many uses other than this. Spreading out gear to repack, sitting on when the trail is wet, hang in a shelter to keep out the wind and rain.

01-04-2004, 10:30
"I intend to sleep in shelters sometimes, I want the option open of tenting each night. I think no one enjoys being forced into a crowded shelter, only because it's the driest location."

Most/many of the shelters are (slowly) getting covered "cooking areas" added. Some of us are cooking in these cooking areas, eating dinner, then moving on to a camp site a few miles down the trail, well away from the crowd. This leaves your tent mostly free of food smells, allows you to enjoy the company of the shelter yet the peace & quiet of your tent.

And of course it should be said here: NEVER COOK INSIDE YOUR TENT!

That said; my guess is that most who have done more than a few long hikes (more than a week) have cooked in or near the tent. My tent (Nomad by wanderlustgear.com) has a vestibule of sorts, I have cooked in that. As posted above: Be extra careful when cooking in/under your tent or tarp. Please leave the door open for maximum ventilation. DO NOT be drunk or stoned; even a quick toke or sip can slow your reflexes enough that when your stove flares you will be too slow to kick it out of the tent. All stoves can either flare up or spill fuel, your tent will burn quite nicely if this happens. If you have the option of cooking elsewear, do so. A "cooking tarp" is a good idea, also the cooking under your poncho should work if you are extra careful. There are a few overhanging rocks along some of the AT that would allow you a dry space to cook under, then move on a few miles to a campsite.

Be careful.


Hammock Hanger
01-04-2004, 10:39
you can always stop and cook dinner at a shelter and then move on to camp...

Sometimes I use to do that even in nice weather. Water sources were usually there and I could socalize a little with my dinner. Then move on up the trail a mile or so for a quite night out in the woods.


01-04-2004, 10:44
Your options are:

1. Eat a non-cook meal instead, like next day's lunch

2. Cook at a shelter. Shelters always have more people in them when it's nasty outside.

3. I set up my stove just outside my tent so I can be inside my tent and reach out and tend to the cooking. The only thing that get wet is my forearm.

4. could carry a tarp, but probably not worth the extra weight.

5. If you are using a sil-nylon tarp instead of a tent, then it can be rigged up so you can cook under one part of it. However, sil-nylon is very flamable.

01-05-2004, 01:44
Great ideas from all. I tend to plan things extensively, and this minor aspect of the hike could be involving overplanning. I guess if there were a science to cooking dinner there would be more talks about it.

And after a few tokes or sips, I might not even notice the rain. ;)

01-05-2004, 09:11
Most meals these days from Mountain House are really good and you only need to heat up some water. If you are hungry you will find a way. As with the others replies i find the best thing to do is stop and eat at the shelters if raining and then move on if crowded or if you just want to be more alone. I have just found a really full group of trees and found the one with the most coverage and cooked there.

01-05-2004, 14:35
Set up a tarp for this specific purpose? (Excessive weight for something with only one use?) Carry a tarp for this purpose that doubles as a footprint? ( :-? ) What?

You are so close! It is the tent that is excessive weight. ;) One can always cook under the tarp. Or, find a tent with a vestibule. Tie back the vestibule door and cook in that if needed. The vacant door space is enough area to avoid flareups. When tenting in inclement weather, I will first start the stove away from the tent, then move it to the vestibule. Cook an easy meal, like adding boiling water. I will also just stand outside in my raingear if it's not blowing freezing rain. Don't advise cooking inside your tent.

As mentioned, cooking at the shelters then moving on is an option, but it can be hard to get going afterward. Best bet is stop a little earlier for dinner so that you can guilt yourself into moving on. Too close to the end of the day and you will just want to stay.

01-06-2004, 11:28
This is a good reason to hike with a dawg!

Here's why . . .

Mine carries her own pack, and one of the items she carries in it is a 5x8 tarp (about 9 oz.) which I usually set up not far from my tent. That's where she sleeps, on top of one of those all-purpose emergency ground cloths.

It's also where I cook/eat if it's raining. Best of all worlds, multiple uses for the same weight carried, and I don't even have to carry it!

If I get just the right campsite with trees in just the right places, I can even set up her tarp as a covered "porch" to my tent, using my Lekis.

01-06-2004, 12:29
...either find a dry spot under a rock overhang, a nearby shelter, or cave, or just grab a couple of energy bars til the rain lets up....or eat 3 & call it a night & cook in the morning..... ;)

i'm a bit leary about cooking in the tent (even with a small vestibule), especially if your tent is a small one like mine....not much room in there, except for a tired hiker, his boots & his very heavy (@ least it feels this way @ the end of the day!) backpack!

see u UP the trail in 2004!

01-11-2004, 11:28
Like others above during adverse whether I have cooked in my tent despite the admonition of "Thou shalt not". I keep the situation so that I can jettison the stove if necessary. If you are so cold that your fingers are numb and stiff that heat sure feels good. If you use the chemical tablets to cook, then that's not an option, but with a stove with good controls makes it doable to cook on low simmer. I even leave the screened flap open and the rain fly mostly closed and the stove on simmer. Although the AT shelter system offers some solace, stopping during the day to cook in a shelter is not often available. Sometimes that shelter might be 1/2 mile off the trail and when cold and wet it is best to keep moving until you are done for the day. Note if you are in the west and in grizzly country cooking and food aroma on your tent is not a good thing and I more closely follow the "Thou shalt not" for other reasons than the possibility of burning up the tent.

Even cooking in or around a crowded shelter in the rain is a challenge.

johnny quest
06-28-2004, 14:19
when it is raining is exactly the time you most need a hot meal, or as my buddy in the british royal marines used to say, "hot wets"

my experience is that if you hanker for a hot meal or drink you will squat in a puddle in a pouring tumult to make it. it will work out.

10-01-2004, 14:53
Mine is on the way and have never used one, but I would think the Hennessy, or any similar hammock system, can provide a built-in kitchen shelter. The tarp on top can be stretched out straight to provide a "roof" while you and everything you have are dry underneath your shelter.

I would think this is obvious to a hammock user but it's one of the extra benefits that isn't immediately obvious to tent user.

10-01-2004, 21:54
I hope I'm wasting no one's time, but what is the best method for the above-mentioned activity?I've cooked under the vestibule of my Light-Year CD numerous times, during rain, using a canister stove. I'd be nervous about it with alcohol.

10-01-2004, 22:23
The problem is the flammability of silnylon. Anything that results in a toppled stove could leave you with no shelter, no sleeping bag and a great deal of pain.

Find a relatively sheltered area to cook and get everything boiling. Extinguish the flame. Pop the boiling pot into your pot cozy or wrap in a fleece or two. Wait 20 minutes and eat hot cooked food in your tent and sleeping bag.


Pencil Pusher
10-02-2004, 00:13
I thought this is what the tent vestibules were for. The times I've done it, I've just made sure to keep the ventilation good because of the fumes (Whisperlite). Johnny Quest's post was pretty funny and true. Also, I don't think you have to worry about fumes when cooking with a cartridge stove. If you have a regular tent, you can get a hanging pot setup where it is suspended from the top of the tent. This is a rather posh setup when the weather gets cold... fire this puppy up in the morning and wait in your sleeping bag while it both warms the water and the tent. Just be careful...