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  1. #1

    Default Been Stoveless for a Year Now

    About a year or a bit more ago I ditched the stove, fuel and all that pertain to cooking on the trail. I have mainly gone to high protein fish packets, Reese products, Cashews, Cheese and Beef Jerky. I have not one time missed my stove. I am able to sustain on those items while on trail, and get hot food when in town.

    I also have incorporated powdered collagen (Morning) and Electrolytes mix (Afternoon) and have had great success with those additions. Next looking at a protein powder as a breakfast solution that I can drink due to not liking to swallow dry chunky foods in the morning.
    Trail Miles: 4,077.4 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 116.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  2. #2

    Default Been Stoveless for a Year Now

    Did you go stoveless for weight? What is the weight for 5 days of food?

  3. #3
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Ya I went stoveless a few years ago myself. One less thing to mess with and have created a menu, albeit small, that is pretty fulfilling. I basically rotate between 4 different dinners (the only hot meal I used to have). I would like to find 1 more viable option to make it a 5 meal rotation that would, in most cases, give me 1 meal of each per resupply. All ingredients are generally available at any size market or well stocked convenience store. I couple of them are cold soak. But, I don't cold soak in a container but rather in a bread/storage bag. Much less bulk than a container. Probably looking at a Couscous recipe.

    Reference post #2: I don't know that it is lighter but as mentioned it is one less thing to deal with. No fuel concerns, less bulk in pack, easier to prep meals in tent, etc.
    Last edited by lonehiker; 02-01-2021 at 16:29.
    Lonehiker

  4. #4

    Default

    As another response to post #2... I frequently go stoveless just because I like keeping backpacking simple. Nothing whatsoever wrong with a stove, but sometimes it's great to just trim things down to the essentials.

  5. #5
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    I'm interested in trying stoveless, though I think (?) I might miss my stove.

    Last summer, on my four-night trip in Virginia in late August, nobody was on the trail and it monsoon-rained for hours at a time. I love solo hiking. I loved each day. And I looked forward to day's end - a hot meal and reading a book. That's just what I did. So those hot meals were meaningful.

    But I think I'd like to try saving some weight by going stoveless (no fuel or canister, portable stove, cooking pot). I think that might save a pound or two. If going stoveless doesn't result in a weight savings, I'd just continue doing like I always have.

  6. #6

    Default

    From a weight perspective I dont know how much I am saving. I use to use a cat food can and a 8 oz fuel plastic bottle with a small Ti cup. Now instead of that setup I am carrying the weight of tuna packages.
    But it is a great deal less to worry with.

    It eliminates tracking down fuel during airport trips.
    Eliminates the bulk of those items in my pack

    It allows me to pretty much be able to walk until dark and have my tent up in 5 min, grab some tasty tuna and snacks and off to bed.

    It eliminates a pretty big risk factor of spillage or loss of resources IE spilling my fuel, or my stove flipping over during cooking, left with freeze dried crumbles I can not resubstitute.

    Resupply is effortless at any gas station or Dollar General and up.

    I believe the the use of a stove is one of the greatest overlooked "packing your fears" items due to the safety rolled up into being able to have fire. But when it has come down to it, keeping my insulation safe from moisture has always kept me safe, not a stove.
    Trail Miles: 4,077.4 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 116.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  7. #7

    Default

    I'm a stoveless cold-soaker. Part for weight-savings, but mostly for convenience. I can hike late, until I'm tired and have a meal ready whenever. Also, since I prepare most of my food (I pre-package meal mixes from dried ingredients), I have good control over the weight of food I am carrying. I think one of the added benefits of cold-soaking is less 'food smells' on me and around camp compared to the preparation of hot meals that might attract animals. I think this makes me feel a bit safer when I am stealth camping alone.

    I generally prepare the next meal when I empty the jar (if I have the water available), so I can eat any time with no fuss.
    Plastic 16oz peanut butter jar and a spoon - total weight =1.3oz.

    My morning "coffee" is more like a chocolate milk - whey protein, cocoa, instant coffee, sweetener. A shake and its ready. Usually I eat a protein bar with it.
    After my coffee, I put my oatmeal mix (mixed oat & grains, chia, freeze-dried blueberries, bit of whey or other protein mix) in the jar and store in an outside pocket of my pack and its ready when I am, usually a couple hours down the trail. I am one of those that can eat the same thing day after day; I know some people cannot.

    When I finish one meal, clean-up is really easy - a couple of good rinses, which I drink. Rinsing works because I don't put anything oily, cheesy, or too aromatic (don't much enjoy garlic with my coffee) etc in my jar - if I'd like to add a bit of nutbutter or oil to my meal, I just eat it separate or drip it onto my spoon. I do take advantage of soap and hot water to clean my jar when I'm in town.

    I sometimes do a protein/chia shake in the afternoon, in addition to other on-trail snacks like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, jerky, nut-butter/crackers, etc, that I eat throughout the day. Dinner staples are dried refried beans, coucous, ramen, dried hummus, poha - sometimes a couple of those mixed together, and all typically with some powdered kale, freeze-dried broccoli, etc. I can mix my dinner up at any time in the afternoon/evening and it's ready to eat when I get to camp, or before.

  8. #8

    Default

    By "Reese" products, what do you mean. Hershey's candy? OK... So you pitched your stove and you are eating candy.
    And the long term effects of this will be...

  9. #9

    Default

    I've gotta have my big hot cup of coffee every morning and I like a hot dinner, so I'll carry a stove setup.

    But with Esbit it needn't be a gargantuan amount of gear... Toaks 550, Esbit Tri-wing and a tiny Ti foil windscreen, MSR folding spoon, inCycle cup, for a total weight of 4.4oz. Fuel is 1oz per day (2x 14g tabs) so for a 3-night trip the total cook kit+fuel weight is 7.4oz. I can live with that.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  10. #10
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    By "Reese" products, what do you mean. Hershey's candy? OK... So you pitched your stove and you are eating candy.
    And the long term effects of this will be...
    A happy camper ?

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    The first day may not be lighter, but the last day sure is! Imagine having emptied your food bag for breakfast, town is 12 miles away, and you have no pot, stove, or empty fuel container. You don't even notice you have a pack on and you fly into town by 10 am.

    I've been stoveless since the end of my 2004 PCT hike. I hiked the CDT, AT, AZT, PNT, WT, CT, all the alphabet soup, without a stove. I was a lousy camp cook and hated cleaning up. My diet is better without the stove. I never want to see another Knorr's or Lipton or Kraft. On average, my load is lighter, because by going stoveless I was able to fit my seven-pound kit into the lightest frameless pack.

    I'm happy to hear stoveless is working out for the OP. Even if it's not a total commitment, it's another valuable tool to have for some conditions. Stoveless works well in days of steady rain, for instance. And it's great for dry camps on desert hikes.

  12. #12
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    This is an interesting topic. I have a slight tangent, and that is rather than going stoveless, going without attempts at making fancy/delicious meals on trail with lots of ingredients packed separately, etc. Nutritious yes, but nothing fancy. To me, keeping it simple on trail makes you appreciate real food off-trail all the more!

    I suppose if you're out long enough it would be tough to endure really boring food all the time.

    Now, I'm intrigued by the notion that you might eat more healthy by going stoveless. But I'm guessing that implies more fresh food, which means more weight and bulk, right? Anyway, happy to learn.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    . . .I suppose if you're out long enough it would be tough to endure really boring food all the time. . .
    Totally depends on the person. My wife can't eat the same meal twice in a week. I could eat pizza twice a day 5 days a week. I know people that have gone from eating simply on the trail, to giving up on the weight and time savings because better and more variety is more important to them. I also know people that started off with average backpacking food choices and went to one or two super repetitive meals for months at a time without issue on multiple trips. I think most of us fine a middle ground we're happy with.

    For me, I love stoveless for short ultralight trips and enjoy the added variety of at least some stove-cooked meals on longer trips.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  14. #14

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    I hiked from the SNP to Connecticut eating PB+J sandwiches for dinner, GORP for breakfast and lunch, with a Snickers bar at 3 O'clock break to get over the afternoon slump for the last push to a shelter. I had to invest in a plastic bread box for the loaf of bread and that probably weighted as much as a stove, but at the time my choices were a SEVEA 123 white gas stove or a ZIP wood burner and SS quart pot, so I think I saved a little weight. I also found a plastic jar for the jelly, as small jelly containers are usually glass. I did carry a mason jar of homemade jam I bought at farm stand in PA, that was good stuff

    The main advantage was I could find all the ingredients at gas station convenience stores if worse came to worse. BTW, it was early summer so having a hot drink or meal was not that important or desirable. There were a couple of occasions I did envy other hikers hot dinners, but more often then not, they envied my PB+J's.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  15. #15
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    I have been experimenting with the "no stove" concept on my latest trips as well with success.
    Interesting to see that so many others are doing it. I guess I just assumed that almost everyone carries a stove on a LD hike.

  16. #16
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    The main advantage was I could find all the ingredients at gas station convenience stores if worse came to worse. BTW, it was early summer so having a hot drink or meal was not that important or desirable. There were a couple of occasions I did envy other hikers hot dinners, but more often then not, they envied my PB+J's.
    I could see going stoveless during the summer. During the rest of the year I don't think I could do it.

    I do all my backpacking in the spring/fall and there's usually at least a day or two on every trip where I'm cold and tired at the end of the day and the hot meal is a huge morale booster. There have been a few times on a cold and rainy day where stopping in at a shelter and eating a hot meal has given me the ability to keep hiking through the afternoon. Without the hot meal I probably would have just stopped for the day.
    FWIW, resupply places usually have Knorr sides and oatmeal, which is all I eat for hot meals. I usually have more trouble finding the items I don't cook (e.g., Clif bars, summer sausage).
    It's all good in the woods.

  17. #17
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    ...I suppose if you're out long enough it would be tough to endure really boring food all the time.

    Now, I'm intrigued by the notion that you might eat more healthy by going stoveless. But I'm guessing that implies more fresh food, which means more weight and bulk, right? Anyway, happy to learn.
    One of my mentors in stoveless hiking had a trail diet consisting of nothing but muesli and peanut butter. I tried that on one resupply and it didn't work well for me. I kept with the stoveless idea but added a few items.

    The quality of the diet doesn't depend on cooking or not. Good and bad choices can be made in either camp, so to speak. Cooking can produce tasteless junk like the warm salty glop I used to make, and a cold camp can produce delicious nutrition. For some, going stoveless is an excuse to eat nothing but Little Debbies and Pop Tarts.

    The fresh fruit and veg I carry weighs more for the first half the trip, less for the second. The deciding issue for me is the futz factor--more time for hiking, fewer things to go wrong.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  18. #18

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    Lets look at the top 5 cooked vs cold items I have brought in the past. I say "I" so that others dont object to there not being other options. But we all know that Lipton, Knorr, Ramen, Mountain House and potytoes are the top 5 seen, and that Mountain house drops in popularity for longer distance hikes.

    -Cooked-
    Lipton- 4.2 oz
    Calories 70
    Sodium 640mg
    Proteins 3g

    Knorr- 4.0oz noodles
    Calories 230
    Sodium 750mg
    Proteins 7g

    Ramen- 3oz chicken broth
    Calories 190
    Sodium 830mg
    Proteins 4g

    Mountain House- 2 servings beef strog ($8.99/ Meal)
    Calories 560
    Sodium 1570mg
    Proteins 24g

    Potytoes- 4 servings(whole bag)
    Calories 440
    Sodium 2080mg
    Proteins 12g

    -Cold Dinner-
    Tuna pack- 3 oz
    Calories 110
    Sodium 260mg
    Proteins 26g

    Beef Jerky- 1oz
    Calories 80
    Sodium 500mg
    Proteins 12g

    Reese's Big Cup- 2 pack
    Calories 400
    Sodium 310mg
    Proteins 9g

    Sharp Chedder Cheese- 1oz serving
    Calories 110
    Sodium 180mg
    Proteins 6g
    Trail Miles: 4,077.4 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 116.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  19. #19

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    I think the first continuous triple crowner did them with cold meals. He did it after Flying Bryan but he didnt hop around from trail to trail. I think he was a Scotsman

    That said in cool weather hiking conditions I would want a stove. I spent 5 weeks one year in near freezing conditions at night and 40 to 50 degrees in the day up on the Blue Ridge. No snow on the ground but hard frosts many nights. That hot cup in the AM and Knorrs at night really helps to keep warm.and warm up again. I also used it as crutch on very cold nights with marginal gear by heating up a water bottle for the sleeping bag. If you look at the weight its less impact used a bit of extra fuel than carrying a heavier sleeping bag.If I was short on fuel because I used it for heating a bottle I would just cook supper with wood.

    Warm weather hiking is another story, in hot weather I have switched over on rare occasions.

  20. #20
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Gambit McCrae;2280260]Lets look at the top 5 cooked vs cold items I have brought in the past. I say "I" so that others dont object to there not being other options. But we all know that Lipton, Knorr, Ramen, Mountain House and potytoes are the top 5 seen, and that Mountain house drops in popularity for longer distance hikes.
    Few things: 1) I almost always eat the Knorr rice sides which have more calories & slightly better nutritional value than the pasta sides. 2) I throw in an ounce of cheddar cheese which adds calories and makes it delicious. 3) If I'm still hungry, I'll eat a couple slices of summer sausage which adds a lot of protein.

    Breakfast is oatmeal with dried fruit and crushed almonds (which is pretty calorie dense) and a cup of Zest Tea (same caffeine content as coffee but without the hassle).

    I can cook these meals for 7 days with one 110g Jetboil canister.
    It's all good in the woods.

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