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goneSW
01-17-2005, 22:52
Has anyone out there done away with cooking meals on the trail. Im going to try out this years section hike without cooking anything. Im just tired of carring any of the weight! Can any thru hiker let me in on any foods that they like to bring along so they dont have to burden them selfs with cooking. Id like to take it one step further. I dont just mean trail mix, but an intire days worth of food. And also, is there anyone who has completly made the switch from cooking food to just eating stuff that dosent need to be boiled, heated, cooked or any way needing the assistance of a stove?

SGT Rock
01-17-2005, 23:05
I like cooked food so much I wouldn't do that just to save weight or time.

Dances with Mice
01-17-2005, 23:22
Has anyone out there done away with cooking meals on the trail. Im going to try out this years section hike without cooking anything. Im just tired of carring any of the weight! Can any thru hiker let me in on any foods that they like to bring along so they dont have to burden them selfs with cooking. Id like to take it one step further. I dont just mean trail mix, but an intire days worth of food. And also, is there anyone who has completly made the switch from cooking food to just eating stuff that dosent need to be boiled, heated, cooked or any way needing the assistance of a stove?Neil McKenzie, a 2003 thru-hiker on trailjournals.com didn't have a stove. He seemed to do ok. He didn't make a big deal out if it, I think he'd hiked that way before. Do check out his April 17 entry...

grrickar
01-18-2005, 00:43
In the summer I might could cope with cold meals, but in the fall and winter I long for hot meals. I ate cold breakfasts and lunches to save time/fuel, and that gave me dinner to look forward to. It was pouring rain in buckets at Sassafras Gap shelter, and we had hot Minestrone soup and hot tea. A cold meal just would have been the same, and getting a campfire going in that downpour would have required some napalm.

steve hiker
01-18-2005, 03:45
Tim Treadwell lived on peanut butter and dry granola and soda cans when he was up in Alaska. He'd go up there in May and live with them big grizzler bears all summer and all the time he never cooked any hot food cause he knew better. But the grizzler bears weren't so fond of cold food cause eventually they ATE him and his girlfriend. :eek: Guess even bears like a hot meal now and then.

ToeJam
01-18-2005, 07:43
Hmmm, I know I couldn't do it either. I'm far from an expert but it seems to me that the weight you would save with the stove and canister would for most part be more than made up in the need for having to take along food that is already hydrated and doesn't need cooking? Like how light, say, a typical freeze dried meal is (4 oz. or so and pretty filling) compared to how much granola and pb for an example that one would have to tote to get the same filling effect and calories? But very possible there is food out there that DOESN'T need heating but IS dried ahead of time, and thus lighter, so I dunno!

Good luck to you if this is the way you decide to go tho!

Jaybird
01-18-2005, 07:44
Has anyone out there done away with cooking meals on the trail. Im going to try out this years section hike without cooking anything..............etc.,etc.,etc.,............. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. . Is there anyone who has completly made the switch from cooking food to just eating stuff that dosent need to be boiled, heated, cooked or any way needing the assistance of a stove?



you can always eat ENERGY BARS..but, if you're still carrying anywhere from 4 to 8 per day..., it might be as much weight as a freeze-dried food entree.

i'm lightening my load by a pound or so...by changing brands...from Mountain House to Mary Janes. (pkging is a load lighter & more compact)

section-hiking with "the Model T crew (http://www.modelt.net)" Apr 28-May 5=Hot Springs to Erwin
May 6-7 i continue onto Carvers Gap...with that i finish GA, NC, & TN & then i shuttle to Damascus, VA & hike NOBO as far as i can get til MAY 20 (hopefully Pearisburg).


good luck on yer hike! :D

Bloodroot
01-18-2005, 07:50
MRE's would be a way to go. If you wanted to go without a stove, the near weightless heater that comes in each MRE pack would be ideal.

Lone Wolf
01-18-2005, 08:39
If you're going to be hiking in cold, wet weather it would be extremely wise to have a way to boil water for a hot drink. It could save your life. Although some Go-liters ain't so bright.

Skeemer
01-18-2005, 09:32
It's hard to come up with relevant material that hasn't been beat to death.

When I returned to the Trail to re-hike several hundred miles (with a hiker I had met in '03 who had dropped out with a physical injury) we decided to "go cold" for a couple of reasons. Not just because of the anticipated weight savings but also the inconvenience of preparation and clean up. And, having hiked the Trail, I knew the availability of prepared meals along this section and was willing to go a few days on Pop Tarts, peanut butter, salomi, cheese, etc., knowing hot breakfasts, pizzas, buffets, etc. were just around the corner. We had no regrets except of course for the cost savings that went out the window. And, I can't explain it, but cooking your own food on the Trail seems to be part of the "backpacking experience" just like sleeping outdoors.

When a group of us did the JMT in September, I almost made the mistake of going cold to save space and weight. That would have been a horrible mistake. The evenings out of direct sun light in the high altitudes were cold and a hot food supper seemed indespensible. I did switch from alcohol to gas canister heat and am glad I did.


ToeJam wrote in part:
...the weight you would save with the stove and canister would for most part be more than made up in the need for having to take along food that is already hydrated and doesn't need cooking...
I never analyzed the weight difference but I believe there is a valid argument here. A jar of peanut butter, some cold cuts, cheese, extra snickers are all heavy.

My wife's friend gave me some MRE's. They are nice, but much to bulky and heavy to pack on a thru-hike and there is lots of packaging waste.

kncats
01-18-2005, 09:39
Just my opinion, but my sleeping bag and my food are two areas that I think it's unwise to sacrifice on in order to save weight. I'm not going to carry a sleeping bag that's grossly under rated for the temperatures I anticipate seeing and I feel that the loss of variety and morale boost that cooked meals provide are not worth any weight savings. And just as a note. MRE's are NOT going to save you any weight over not having a stove and fuel. Those puppies are heavy!

Bloodroot
01-18-2005, 09:50
And just as a note. MRE's are NOT going to save you any weight over not having a stove and fuel. Those puppies are heavy!
That's why you break em down and just take the main meal. Still I agree, they are much heavier than, say, a package of Ramens. Tons of calories, I think they are well worth it.<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->

ToeJam
01-18-2005, 10:00
That's why you break em down and just take the main meal. Still I agree, they are much heavier than, say, a package of Ramens. Tons of calories, I think they are well worth it.<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->

Ahhh Bloodroot - is THAT what ppl do? I always read about MRE this and that on this forum or elsewhere and wondered what on EARTH I was missing, how can MRE be a good BACKPACKER food where weight matters? The first year we went a friend gave us some MRE's , and besides tasting AWFUL lol, they were SO so heavy I swore I would never consider taking one again. (I can justify heavy if it is alcohol or has chocolate ONLY lol!) But I guess if chockfull of cals, then the main entree might not be an awful idea esp with the warmer thingy.

SGT Rock
01-18-2005, 10:10
The warmers suck, and the chock full of callories thing is the original MREs, check out the Natick site and you will find the new ones have lower callories.

Hammock Hanger
01-18-2005, 10:13
I have gone "stoveless" for a quick overnight hike but wouldn't think of it on a multiday trip. Even though I only cook one meal a day I like knowing that I have it in my pack. There have been those occasions when it was an unusually cold or wet day when a hot cup of tea or soup was exactly what my body needed. Even on hot summer days there were evning that got a chill up in the mountains and my tired body and soul still appreciated a hot drink before bed. A soda can stove and a bottle of fuel for one meal a day for 5 days is not that heavy.

That said I believe your question was what to take... Take lots of cheeses, meats (salami, summer sausage, jerky), seafood (tuna, sardines, crab, shrimp, oysters, you can even find tuna steaks in foil packets), Moo Goo (PB mixed equally with dried milk, honey & corn meal), dried fruits.

Sue/HH

Jaybird
01-18-2005, 10:14
MRE's would be a way to go. If you wanted to go without a stove, the near weightless heater that comes in each MRE pack would be ideal.




MREs are too damned heavy!
he is trying to go lite & not cook!

Bloodroot
01-18-2005, 11:14
Yes, Yes, Yes...Ok they are heavy. I get the point ultraliters.:)

Mouse
01-18-2005, 11:21
My stove went into the bounce box at Peasiburg and did not come out again until Salisbury CT. I had pretty much the same food, usually ramen noodles, now eaten dry, and tuna in foil pouches. I also discovered totelini is easy to eat right out of the pack as well!

Mouse
01-18-2005, 11:24
Oops, that should be Pearisburg, VA where I gave up my stove. I also found hot chocolate mix works well shaken up with cold water. If I go again I will probably go stoveless for even longer.

Jack Tarlin
01-18-2005, 17:09
I agree with Toejam; switching over to a cold-food diet will not save you much, if any, pack weight.

On many of my trips, I got tired of hot food when it got really hot out (like August), and on several occasions I got rid of my stove, fuel, and cookset.

What I discovered is that whatever weight I "saved" by doing so , I more than made up with the types of food I then started carrying: Lots of bread, cheese, pepperoni, peanut butter, etc. (These are foods you may well have been carrying anyway, but when you're switching over to all cold food, you'll be needing these items in much greater quantity, and by switching to big bars of cheese, 18oz jars of Skippy instead of little ones, twice as many bagels, etc., your food-bag weight will increase greatly). A typical Trail dinner (Lipton, mac 'n cheese, etc). might have only weighed a few ounces, but when you throw in the weight of your cooking stuff, it adds up quickly, and even without the cooking gear, a "cold food" dinner---peanut butter sandwhiches, bread and cheese, whole fruits, etc. will easily replace the weight you thought you lost.

In short, switching over to all cold food will not decrease the weight of your pack and may in fact do the opposite. I also agree with Lone Wolf that a hot meal (or especially a hot drink) can really brighten up your day, especially if it's been a long, tough, and cold one. Looking forward to a nice hot meal and a cup of tea at the end of the day can sometimes be a lot more fun than knowing that at day's end, you'll basically be having exactly what you had for lunch. Most people get pretty sick of cheese sandwhiches and peanut butter anyway, never mind having to eat twice as much of it, which is what you'll be doing if you elect to travel without a stove and cookset.

PKH
01-18-2005, 17:31
It is worth noting that Ray Jardine tried stoveless hiking and reports that while obviously it can be done, for him it was unsatisfying. I concur - no cook hiking can be fine for a few days but I think it would be very wearying over the long haul.

Cheers,

PKH

SGT Rock
01-18-2005, 17:50
When you think about old RJ saying this it also even more amazing considering all the room in his book he gave to the all raw food diet and how it cured him of every disease he ever had including malaria or something like that - or was that the magnet therapy. RJ is a little out there.

Freighttrain
01-18-2005, 19:53
in my quest to go no-cook & ditching my pot,pot stand, stove, windscreen, fuel n bottle,and lighters. ive been making no-cook casseroles and power breakfasts... and filling in between with dry goods
for the casserole... break up a chicken raman into very small pieces and put into a qt freezer ziploc, add water to cover and let sit 15 minutes.

drain off excess water and add raman seasoning packet, 2-3 packets of mayo, and a packet of mustard and mix by turning bag end over end

add favorite meat... pouchs or cans of tuna, chicken, turkey,spam, poted meat, shrimp, ....... mix again.

my fav is- 1 chicken raman,1 can white chicken, 3 mayo , 1 mustard

this can be changed up with packets from many places..relish,. horsey sauce, BBQ honey mustard, from arbys, spices from pizza hut... the options are endless . Most places will sell ya a handfull of packets for .50



breakfast: in a qt freezer ziploc add powered milk, a vanilla carnation instant breakfast and some of you fav cereal. to eat... add water and shake for 1 minute... makes a double breakfast

both make their own leakproof garbage bag... i use old style ziplocs over the pulltab ones which seem to leak more often than not. I pre package-carry a weeks worth at a time.

FreightTrain

bailcor
01-18-2005, 20:46
Like Jaybird I switched over to Mary Janes meals on my last hike. Better for you and very good tasting. You can buy her products in bulk and pack them in the little zip lock (snack) bags. Buying in bulk reduces the cost substantially and if anyone thinks that organic canít taste that good, try them. She also has energy bars that are excellent.

goneSW
01-18-2005, 21:19
I see alot of points that most of you are making. However, I dont see the relationship of carring more food just because you dont cook it. The perportions are the same minus the water. And the water is the key. so you say, thats more water that you have to carry. I dissagree. You always end up with some water all day long that you carry anyway. perhapse I can devise a way to use water for some type of prepared meal. I guess what im getting at is, that I dont want the bulk in my pack of carring a pot and or stove with me. I tired of having to cook meals when Im just dog tired. I just want to eat sometimes, and not have to prepare an elaborate meal. Im tired of having to stop hiking and lose time to cook. And P.S., I only hike sor about 4 nites in a row anyway.

Mouse
01-19-2005, 00:05
I don't see the savings either. I ate the exact same food, I just did not cook it. <crunching raw ramen thoughtfully>

Crash
01-19-2005, 00:38
Great thread. How about more non cook recipes. I wont ditch my stove but I'd like to use it less when I think I might not have enough gas.

DuctTape
01-19-2005, 02:49
I hiked 1900 miles of the AT without without a stove...

-It was very convenient to just sit down and eat. This was my primary logic in it.

-It was much easier to camp where there were no water sources. Two quarts, and often less, lasted through the evening and following morning just fine.

-I ate a lot more calories for dinner than you find in your typical Lipton/freeze-dried meal.

-My food bag was heavier and bulkier than most other hikers'.

-My typical staples were poptarts for breakfast, snickers/summersaugage/pepperoni/cheese/whatevercaughtmyeyeatthestore/ througout the day, and bagels, peanut butter, and honey for dinner.

-I ate at least half a jar of pb(9oz) and three thomas bagels each day.

-When I couldn't stand poptarts anymore, I ate bagels in the morning, too. There were often times my food bag consisted solely of bagels, snickers, peanut butter, and honey.

-In Gorham I picked up a pepsi can stove from a hiker box, and used it the rest of the way. I will cook on my next trip.

jackiebolen
01-19-2005, 19:59
This past summer, I hiked 700 miles or so on the AT without a stove. I just got really sick of Liptons/mashed potatoes, ramen. If was the best thing I ever did! No more cleaning pots or huddling over a little stove trying to cook when my legs were tired and I just wanted to lay down. So while everyone else was scurrying around collecting water and cooking, I would lay out my mat in the shelter, elevate my legs while laying down and just consume large quantities of food. It was quite enjoyable and my legs were always quite thankful the next day. Plus if it was cold out, I layed in my sleeping bag doing all of the above, which was nice.

I ate A LOT of bagels with cheese and summer sausage, nuts and dried fruit and then in smaller quantities:

granola bars/pop-tarts/cereal with powdered milk/chips/chocolate bars/tuna on crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables.

I also cooked over an open fire or borrowed kind people's stoves 10 or 15 times out of that 700 mile stretch...mostly with food that needed to be cooked that I got out of hiker boxes along the way or backpacker meals that people sent me in the mail.

On all future backpacking trips, I'm not bringing a stove...just not worth the hassle.

Footslogger
01-19-2005, 20:16
I always cooked either my lunch or dinner meals. But ...if I was going to try and go "sans stove" I would probably just take more lunch type meals. Maybe cheezes, pepperonies, crackers, nuts, dried fruits.

Man ...that sure would make a hot meal in town a really special event. Interesting and thought provoking idea.

But nah, I'm sticking with the stove for a while yet ...

'Slogger
AT 2003

Jack Lincoln
01-20-2005, 03:01
Like Jack and Lone Wolf said, I really believe that having the ability to prepare something hot adds immeasurably to one's day.

Personally, I begin to think of what good things I will have for dinner at least a couple of hours before I make camp...


Jack

Windsock
01-20-2005, 13:24
On my southbound this summer and fall I encountered already in the northbound overlap a handful of hikers who were stoveless. My first such encounters were in NY-NJ, which is perhaps the one section of the AT where you can most easily get away with dropping cookware, fuel, etc. if not much of your food altogether and still eat pretty well. I'm also aware that it is a slim percentage of the Trail corridor that offers delis, pizzerias and pubs within a mile of the Trail at every crossing.

That in mind, Baltimore Jack's comments present a common obstacle to losing the stove, but carrying heavy food is not always a co-requisite of going stoveless. I love cheese and bread as much as the next guy, but there are still plenty of ways at least to nourish oneself without the excessive weight. Though such diet is not for everyone (not even for me) there were a few fellow southbounders in this 04 season who ate cold ramen in various preparations, always cold. Homefry ate it either straight from the pack usually, either completely dry or by first pouring some water over it and garnishing with the seasoning packet. Porch crushed his ramen noodles into an empty peanut butter jar, added a sporkful of PB, and shook the fatty, nourishing mixture until the noodles were reasonably flacid.
Moonpies weigh less than an ounce and have 330 calories. Nutter butters have 65 apiece. On and on. One of the great tributary studies of LD hiking is the discovery of different foods for their astonishing caloric density.
But this is really just a devil's advocate presentation of some minimalist options. This is not my idea of trail grub. As Colin Fletcher describes in "The Complete Hiker" a hot meal is mostly a moral issue, especially as the mercury plummets toward November. And, as Jack rightly insists, when you do resign yourself to eating cold, that cold food must remind you in every cold bite of its density of each of the components of the hiker's nutritional triangle: fats, carbs, protein (I recommend tuna and cheddar burritos for a cold meal that will not disappoint). I simply cannot end a 20+ mile day with cold, crunchy, PB-infused ramen. Maybe you can though.

Mouse
01-20-2005, 14:33
I found it helped to spread eating out more, having two "lunches" and less in the evening. In a way it was nice to just shovel down a little food and go to sleep rather than bothering with cooking and cleaning up.

But as you say, not everyone can put up with cold food every day.

Footslogger
01-20-2005, 14:46
This thread is definitely thought provoking, at least for me. When it comes right down to it, I think I could do the whole cold meal thing with the possible exception of a warm beverage on those really cold nights. I wasn't what you'd call a very elaborate cook on the trail anyway. The further I got into my thru-hike the simpler my meals became. Little by little my food bag had more snacks and daytime food than it did ingredients for warm dinners.

I think that the idea of carrying a stove and making hot meals is a sort of "programmed behavior" for many hikers. We just assume it's necessary, proper and expected.

Then again ...to NOT have a stove and a small amount of fuel with me on cold weather hikes just doesn't seem right.

Who started this thread anyway ...ya darned trouble maker. Now I'm all confliced and stuff !!

'Slogger
AT 2003

SGT Rock
01-20-2005, 14:49
What I did on my last long AT hike was a hot meal for breakfast and dinner with two cold lunches. Mainly my cold lunches were:

Burritos. Take some dehydrated refried beans and some jerky and put it in a container with some water and a little olive oil after breakfast. By the time you stop for lunch, you will have rehydrated, cold beef and bean burrito mix. Add in some cheese and Tabasco then wrap in a tortilla for a stick to your ribs meal.

Pasta salad. Mix a pack of ramen noodles with some dehydrated veggies in a container with about 8 ounces of water and in about 30 minutes to an hour you will have completely hydrated cold noodles and veggies. Add in some Italian dressing and parmesan cheese to flavor and enjoy a pasta salad for second lunch.

Lone Wolf
01-20-2005, 14:51
I'm gonna carry bacon/eggs, fresh fruit/veggies and meat forever. Plus the fry pan to cook it. Always fun to watch a Go-Liter drool when I'm frying up bacon and he's gnawing on tough-ass Power bar. :)

SGT Rock
01-20-2005, 14:54
How about hamm and cheese omlets with fresh sausage and hash browns? MMMMM...

OR

Medium rare steak with oins, bell pepers, and fresh bread chased down with some nice bourbon?

Going ultralight only means more room for good food ;)

Footslogger
01-20-2005, 15:02
Hey you guys ...cut it out !! Pretty hard thinking about cold oatmeal and granola with you talking like that ...

'Slogger

goneSW
01-23-2005, 21:50
I see that his thread is leaning twards long section or thru hikes. That wasent the point I guess. But im glad that most people agree that hot food preperation over along time gets to be tiresome.

minnesotasmith
01-24-2005, 21:32
Is there a brand commercially available, or is the only way to have any to mix it yourself?

NotYet
01-24-2005, 22:37
Every "no cook" hiker I have ever run into has had enormous food bags. They were much more bulky and heavy than what I was carrying...and I'm not shy about eating a lot (I don't skimp on food!).

I don't think that it would be required to lug the giant sausages, cheeses, and peanut butter jars, but that's what I always see them carrying. Everyone of them told me they did it to save weight. :-? (And they all seemed to eye my very simple but cooked meals with envy).

If I ever did decide to go without a stove, I think I'd carry a small cookpot to eat out of...that way I could use it over a fire to warm up water.

Mouse
01-25-2005, 10:48
Enormous food bags? You must not have run into me. :jump

NotYet
01-25-2005, 20:07
I probably haven't run into you at supper time, Mouse. Unless... Are that mouse that was foiled by the expertly designed tuna can that hung above my "medium-to-large-ish sized" food bag?!?! :jump