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#191896 - 09/16/15 10:38 PM go without a stove?
alph2294 Offline
member

Registered: 08/14/15
Posts: 30
Loc: NorCal
I recently read a book by someone who says he does all his trips without a stove (and thus no need for fuel, cleaing implement, etc.). Anyone do this regularly? If so, what are your thoughts about the best approach to getting needed nutrition. The thought of not having to carry a stove is appealing but I wonder if I would go crazy not having the broader food choices.

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#191897 - 09/16/15 11:06 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
This has been discussed before. The gist of the discussion usually comes down to this being perfectly possible. Over a time period as short as most backpacks nutrition is not an issue so much as simply getting the calories your body needs. Getting some fiber can become an issue if you rely mostly on junk foods. No fiber or low fiber leads to constipation.

The main issue is whether you personally find a diet made up of nothing but uncooked, ready-to-eat food to be palatable. That is purely a matter of taste. The more you are the kind of person who considers food merely as fuel, rather than as a pleasure in itself and a central part of your day, the more easily you'll adapt to the no-cooking approach. But the only way to know is to try it and see how you like it.

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#191900 - 09/17/15 10:10 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: aimless]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Washington State, King County
Great summary by aimless.

I've gone stoveless for about a month straight on one trip, and I liked it just fine. I had my stove mailed to me as I assumed that after a month or so I would be sick of eating that way, but I really wasn't.

Nevertheless, I tend to take a stove on (a) longer trips, (b) some trips where I'm hiking with others who are cooking their food, or (c) trips I do with my wife. But for trips of a couple of weeks or less I like the simplicity of not messing with a stove and fuel. Fuel can be a particular hassle on trips that you fly to.

A good way to try this is to first wean yourself off of a hot breakfast. Dinner is typically more difficult, but there are a lot of options really. It's mostly about just adjusting expectations, IMO.
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#191904 - 09/17/15 12:40 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: BrianLe]
OregonMouse Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I haven't yet tried this, but I've read that you can rehydrate dried food without heating if you allow more time. This probably involves adding the water to your dinner in the morning, which means you're carrying the extra water all day. Of course that would cancel out most of the weight savings, which is why I haven't tried it.

I'd want to experiment with cold water rehydration at home before being stuck on a trip with unpalatable (or unchewable) food.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#191907 - 09/17/15 03:23 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
dylansdad77 Offline
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Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
What about one of those mini wood burning stoves? Yes it will require more effort and makes the assumption you can find (dry) fuel local to your campsite, but it would eliminate the weight. Has anyone tried these? I would think the cooktime would be longer but perhaps worth the weight savings...
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#191908 - 09/17/15 03:57 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: OregonMouse]
alph2294 Offline
member

Registered: 08/14/15
Posts: 30
Loc: NorCal
At my home, I often prepare oatmeal (with raisins) just by adding water and letting it sit overnight. Tastes fine to me. Of course, that still runs into the problem you discuss about having to carry the extra water that you put in the oatmeal.

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#191909 - 09/17/15 04:01 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: dylansdad77]
OregonMouse Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Not in the West in times of high fire danger, or in high traffic areas, or at high altitudes--all circumstances in which campfires are forbidden or wood is in short supply or both. A wood stove is considered the same as a camp fire (it puts out sparks). Even where there are no restrictions, there's still the problem of trying to burn soggy wood in wet weather!

As for oatmeal, I can't stand the stuff cooked, which makes things simpler. My breakfast is muesli, which is raw oats plus nuts, dried fruit, etc. I rarely use my stove at breakfast unless it's unusually cold and I crave a cup of tea. I guess that gets me halfway to no-cook meals!


Edited by OregonMouse (09/17/15 04:05 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#191911 - 09/17/15 08:43 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: OregonMouse]
alph2294 Offline
member

Registered: 08/14/15
Posts: 30
Loc: NorCal
The thing I think I would miss the most if I went without a stove is coffee (Ok, yes, I here admit I have a drinking problem). Don't know how I would manage that without a stove. Anyone have any ideas on this? I wonder how bad the taste would be just to put instant coffee crystals in water and wait for them to dissolve. I drink cold coffee all the time so I don't need to have it hot. But I DO need to have it. Everyone has their quirks...

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#191917 - 09/17/15 09:24 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
That would be pretty easy to try at home first.

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#191922 - 09/18/15 09:39 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: OregonMouse]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"I'd want to experiment with cold water rehydration at home before being stuck on a trip with unpalatable (or unchewable) food."


I second that emotion.

My limited experiments (sadly, on-trail out of necessity) with this hasn't worked out well. It depends on how you do it and what foods you do it with. In general I think that taking your average dehydrated meal (a la Mountain House) or a grocery store side dish (rice or noodle based) isn't going to be very palatable.

What does work for me is mixing up dehydrated mashed potatos cold.

I also like dehydrated refried beans. Some will do the same thing you talk about: have a dedicated container to rehydrate them over a couple of hours as they hike. I don't do this, as I don't want to carry the water weight (that's not available to drink) and then have that container to have to clean. So it doesn't rehydrate as well for me, doing it sort of "on the spot", but well enough for me.

But while I've eaten a lot of cold meals on backpacking trips, I nevertheless DON'T have much experience at trying to rehydrate random backpacking meals without hot water. I'm not optimistic, but there might be particular meals and/or techniques with which I'm unfamiliar.

For me, the only point in doing so would be if my only resupply options are that sort of thing. It's why I do carry a stove sometimes, to have a wider range of things I can buy at a limited store, but with creativity and flexibility it's almost always do-able, even buying several days worth of food at a gas station mini-mart.
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#191929 - 09/19/15 07:20 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
Originally Posted By alph2294
The thing I think I would miss the most if I went without a stove is coffee (Ok, yes, I here admit I have a drinking problem). Don't know how I would manage that without a stove. Anyone have any ideas on this? I wonder how bad the taste would be just to put instant coffee crystals in water and wait for them to dissolve. I drink cold coffee all the time so I don't need to have it hot. But I DO need to have it. Everyone has their quirks...


I just tried a product http://barniescoffeekitchen.com/pages/brewsticks, as we did a trip using 20 liter packs. I added some creamer and it was fine for me. Mixed easy, taste is good. No- cook works for us for shorter trips, I do like the stove more than 3 days.


Edited by bluefish (09/19/15 07:23 AM)
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#191930 - 09/19/15 08:57 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: bluefish]
41253 Offline
member

Registered: 12/28/14
Posts: 64
Have you tried cold-brewed coffee? It couldn't be easier: put grounds is water bottle before retiring and decant in the morning. If you pour slowly and don't mind a few grounds there's no need for a filter. If you do decide to heat it up it's easier to warm the prepared beverage to drinking temperature than it would be to take the water up to brewing temperature and then wait for the brew to cool.

As for hydrating times work at lunchtime is my laboratory time. I dehydrate lots of different stuff and practice re-hydrating it at work. Everything's different: mashed potatoes re-hydrate instantly with even cold water and are very satisfying. Sweet potatoes, squash, etc. are pretty good in a few hours if you drink the broth with it. A lot of stuff is fine as is, especially stuff that's dried to leather rather than crispy stage.

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#191932 - 09/19/15 03:10 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: bluefish]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
Originally Posted By bluefish
Originally Posted By alph2294
The thing I think I would miss the most if I went without a stove is coffee (Ok, yes, I here admit I have a drinking problem). Don't know how I would manage that without a stove. Anyone have any ideas on this? I wonder how bad the taste would be just to put instant coffee crystals in water and wait for them to dissolve. I drink cold coffee all the time so I don't need to have it hot. But I DO need to have it. Everyone has their quirks...


I just tried a product http://barniescoffeekitchen.com/pages/brewsticks, as we did a trip using 20 liter packs. I added some creamer and it was fine for me. Mixed easy, taste is good. No- cook works for us for shorter trips, I do like the stove more than 3 days.

I would add that we brought not an extra ounce of cook set with us, and I made my coffee in a recycled Gatorade bottle. The weight saving was pretty considerable, as was space.
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#191934 - 09/19/15 04:41 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: dylansdad77]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I've gone without a stove and fuel ( forgot them) and made very small fires with twigs to boil water. From that experience learned I don't need a stove here at all. In fact, I felt rather silly for ever thinking I did all these years.

Obviously you can't do that everywhere, but most days you can here in the Ozarks.
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#191937 - 09/20/15 10:54 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
+1 for instant coffee dissolving in cold water, no problem. If you like shakes, consider a coffee or mocha "latte" as a breakfast option,

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#191941 - 09/20/15 11:45 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Hot food is such a comfort issue for me that I would not think of going without cooking, except for very short trips. Many times I have ended the hiking day super-chilled and hot food really warmed me. I have even stopped on the trail to cook soup to warm up. Hot coffee in the morning and hot cocoa or tea at night is non-negotiable for me! Plus, what to do with all the fish I catch if I cannot cook?

I spent many years cooking on fires only. As Bill said, his location is suitable for this, as are many others. In our drier conditions and the fire danger here in the Sierra, campfires are currently banned. Plus much of my trips are above timber. Stoves are also simply very convenient.

I also maintain that a "cook" ration is less bulky than a non-cook ration- a consideration when you are trying to cram 10 days food in a bear can.

I would rather shave weight off other ways than eliminating my stove and fuel.

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#191944 - 09/21/15 09:52 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
It all depends on where you are and what time of year. In hot Texas summer, the last thing you want is something hot.
Different story in winter, but I stopped carrying anything bigger than an Esbit stove, years ago, mostly to save weight. If there are twigs around, then Esbit stays in the pack. I've had too many alchy stoves flash over from bumping them, that I don't carry them.
Full sized camping stoves stay in the car for "base camp".
A tiny cook fire from hand fed twigs gets the job done just fine and leaves no trace.
For some reason, I'm less hungry on the trail and am happy to snack through meals as long as it's a balanced diet.
_________________________
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#191982 - 09/22/15 01:31 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: Dryer]
alph2294 Offline
member

Registered: 08/14/15
Posts: 30
Loc: NorCal
The Esbit stove sounds very appealing. However, I just read a review that said it "starts to smell like fish after use".
Since in bear country, Sierras and elsewhere, I believe we are advised not to use anything with noticable scent, would the Esbit stove maybe be a hazard by drawing hungry or inquisitive bears? Anyone have thoughts on this?

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#191989 - 09/22/15 04:26 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Usually when there are fire bans, both alcohol and esbit stoves are banned. Here in the Pacific NW during fire season, the USFS and the states allow only stoves with an on-off switch and that are certified by Underwriters Laboratories.

While some large wildfires have been started by careless use or accidental spillage of alcohol stoves, I've never heard that esbit caused a problem, especially since the flames can be blown out and the partially burnt tablet can be reused. Chalk this one up to the same bureaucrats who claim that "jellied gasoline" is an OK fuel, obviously not realizing that jellied gasoline is napalm! However, your trip will definitely be more pleasant if you avoid unpleasant ranger encounters and fines.

Any stove, of course, can start a fire if you use it in or near tall vegetation (see the photos in the "evil cows" thread, not that I'm implying any wrongdoing, but just as an example of where not to use your stove) or on organic soil such as pine needle duff (the top-mounted isobutane stoves can tip over, and liquid-fueled stoves can flare up when lit). In other words, find a gravel bar in the creek or at least clear the vegetation and organic material around your stove.


Edited by OregonMouse (09/22/15 04:48 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#191992 - 09/22/15 05:42 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: alph2294]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Smells "like" fish....that's an opinion. I've never noticed it. Never had a bear problem either. I break them up into 1/4's, burn as needed. They are very safe, made of "hexamine" which is also used to treat urinary problems, and blow out easily to stop the flame. They are lighter than hauling fuel bottles around, and the little stoves do double duty with twigs.
I've also used military trioxane tabs but find Esbit much easier to use. Double bag your Esbit, blow out and reuse unburnt tablets.
I've even made a little alcohol burner listed on this website called the Dryer Altoids Stove which replaces the Esbit tablet, burning alcohol instead. But, Esbit and twigs are my fuels of choice. ONLY IN AREAS WITH NO FIRE BAN! I'd rather eat cold food, then risk torching a forest.
My Altoids Stove: (for when you run out of Esbit and twigs)
http://www.backpacking.net/makegear.html
Then scroll down to "stoves", then "Altoids Stove"



Edited by Dryer (09/22/15 05:52 PM)
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#192005 - 09/23/15 09:25 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: Dryer]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
I do find that Esbit and the like can be a little smelly. AS it has been said, "Bears are very curious animals." They may go after toothpaste, deodorant, food, sunscreen, anything. Hang or bear can your solid fuel as you would your food and toothpaste. Also, using a repurposed snack bag, as from chips, can trap some of the odor, as might a small can with a tight lid.

As to stoveless-good for some people and some trips. Even on the hottest days, I seem to be soothed by one hot meal. During the summer, I might eat cold except for one main meal and get by on half an Esbit per day. Coffee can be "consumed" cold, in shakes, or as beans in a breakfast trail mix. Chocolate covered beans taste especially good to me with craisins, a tip I may have read on this forum. Cheaper is just mixing coffee beans with nuts, chocolate chips (M&Ms in hot weather)and craisins, etc.

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#192006 - 09/23/15 10:12 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: CamperMom]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Ohhhh...I like the coffee bean idea! grin Chocolate covered coffee beans will now be part of my mix.

All fuels have their up/down sides. Camp gas/multi-fuel is what I like around the car, or for snow/cold hiking...lots of BTU's but, can get you killed if aren't paying attention, it's gasoline. Butane/propane runs out and is heavy, not always available. Alcohol is heavy, doesn't light well when cold or high altitude, burns clean. Sticks guarantee you and your stuff will smell like smoke and you technically won't have a "stove" by the strict definition in places that require such, soots up your pans. Esbit is light, does the job, can have an odor. Trioxane, fast to light, light weight, toxic, old military surplus sometimes unreliable.
I tend to gravitate toward light weight...or no weight (no stove).
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#192007 - 09/23/15 10:16 AM Re: go without a stove? [Re: Dryer]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
If I have a hot cup of coffee, I tend to linger and want another in the AM. A shake, coffee bean mix, etc., I can eat while packing up or as I hit the trail, so I get out faster. It depends on time available and weight concerns, etc. HYOH, right?

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#192020 - 09/23/15 02:03 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: CamperMom]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
To an extent, I have tried it. I have only tried it for overnights. Summer sausage, cheese, bagels or tortillas.

You can easily do it, if you find that right food that you personally like. Hey, people drink soylent days on end. In fact, a soylentish way of doing it might be best. Just make up a mix of "stuff" with all the right nutrition/calories that you want, and mix it with water when ready to drink.

And, then there is pemmican.

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#192022 - 09/23/15 02:23 PM Re: go without a stove? [Re: CamperMom]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Pemmican, finallyme? LOL Depends on what's in it. Sometimes it so tasty I'll eat the whole stash in one day.
Read "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose. It's about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Some of the most interesting parts is what they ate.

Campermom, I LOVE coffee, cold, hot, luke warm, strong enough to corrode the cup. I'll typically haul instant, drink it ambient temp when lazy, or heat a couple cups worth and just sit and enjoy.
Not a coffee snob, either. grin


Edited by Dryer (09/23/15 02:25 PM)
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