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#87046 - 01/13/08 11:34 AM Cleaning dishes on the trail?
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
My girlfriend and I have just started backpacking. We are slowly progressing from campground/car camping to backpacking. Just this weekend we hiked about a mile to the campsite (it's one of our favorites, or we would have gone further) and set up camp. The next morning we were able to further explore the area before hiking back to the car.

We have a JetBoil and used both the mug and the 1.5L pot to fix our supper. It occurred to me, then that I don't really know how to do dishes without some sort of wasteful water supply. Since we didn't have a ready source there really close to the campsite, I didn't feel like lugging any water just for dishes.

I had planned ahead, and we used some wet-wipes to clean the dishes and a little bit of water to rinse out any residual soap. The wet-wipes were placed in a plastic baggie and thrown away on the way out of the park.

Any better suggestions?
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#87047 - 01/13/08 02:09 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I try to not do dishes. Freezer Bag Cooking.

If I have to, then I fill the pot with water, take my finger and rub it around to get all the stuff to float. Then I drink the water. MMM. See why I like to not do dishes? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#87048 - 01/13/08 03:15 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'm glad you didn't wash dishes in the stream or lake as some beginners do. Contrary to popular belief, fish don't eat the food particles; the food just rots and degrades water quality. Not something you'd want to leave for the next hiker's drinking water.

The old-fashioned camp dishwashing method that I learned at my mother's knee required a washbasin. We horse-packed, so weight wasn't so critical. A kettle could substitute. She washed the dishes in a small amount of soap (not detergent) in really hot water, and I dried each item as soon as she washed it, without rinsing. The idea was to wipe thoroughly to remove any soap. I don't remember anything ever tasting soapy. The soapy water was, of course, dumped a long way from the campsite and from any water source. It is recommended that you filter the dishwater through a piece of paper towel or a coffee filter to remove the food particles, which you pack out.

Your wet-wipes sound like a great idea for a short trip, and I plan to try it! The weight of the wipes would be an issue for long trips, though. You could let the used wipes sit out for a few minutes to dry afterwards to reduce your garbage weight. I hope you're doing the final rinse with filtered or purified water. This just shows that beginners can be more creative than us so-called "experts"!

I avoid washing dishes as much as possible by using the Freezer Bag Cooking method. Nothing to wash except my spoon, which I lick, then rinse and dry. If I have a hot beverage, it's tea, so I just rinse the cup. I use my leftover cooking water for this operation. When my grandkids come on a trip, I have to wash a lot of dishes. (Did I mention that I hate washing dishes?) For next year I plan to make them individual cozies so I have a freezer bag for each child. I'll still have to wash their cocoa cups, though.

I assume that when you said "thrown away on the way out of the park," you meant deposited in the park's garbage can. I prefer to take my garbage home for disposal--a reaction to seeing too many park/forest/roadside rest area garbage cans overflowing after a weekend.

Starting out backpacking by going only a mile or so in is also an excellent idea. It sounds as though you're off to a great start!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#87049 - 01/13/08 03:23 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Froldt
Hello and welcome. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I see you are from Ky. Depending on the soils where you camp - in the Sierras you simply polish out the pot with your hand and some sand. Maybe rinse it, maybe not. I think most folks avoid soap and cook gear like the plague. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />
If you clean out your pot with some hot water before things dry, paper towels can be enough.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#87050 - 01/13/08 04:03 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: OregonMouse]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
Quote:
I'm glad you didn't wash dishes in the stream or lake as some beginners do.
That would have involved hiking downhill (straight) a couple of hundred feet, or about half a mile down the trail...
We're not new to camping, just exploring new ways to do it!

Quote:
The old-fashioned camp dishwashing method that I learned at my mother's knee required a washbasin. We horse-packed, so weight wasn't so critical. A kettle could substitute. She washed the dishes in a small amount of soap (not detergent) in really hot water, and I dried each item as soon as she washed it, without rinsing. The idea was to wipe thoroughly to remove any soap. I don't remember anything ever tasting soapy. The soapy water was, of course, dumped a long way from the campsite and from any water source. It is recommended that you filter the dishwater through a piece of paper towel or a coffee filter to remove the food particles, which you pack out.

Hmm... this would work, and boiling the little bit of water would help to soften anything stuck to the pot that might need it. We're still getting used to the new stove!

Quote:
Your wet-wipes sound like a great idea for a short trip, and I plan to try it! The weight of the wipes would be an issue for long trips, though. You could let the used wipes sit out for a few minutes to dry afterwards to reduce your garbage weight. I hope you're doing the final rinse with filtered or purified water. This just shows that beginners can be more creative than us so-called "experts"!

We purchased a big package of "refills," so we got a good quantity of wet-wipes for a cheaper cost. Then we divided them into ziplock baggies, so that we only carried the few that we thought we'd need.
We actually packed in all of our water (a camelbak and nalgene bottle full apiece) so the water was nice and clean. We do have a filter, but didn't expect to need it for such a short trip, and were right.

Quote:
I avoid washing dishes as much as possible by using the Freezer Bag Cooking method.

It seems that everyone here is a Freezer Bag Cooker... I have already stumbled across their site, and loved it! Of course, this means that we'll have to get some sort of dehydrator, and that's out of the question for the moment. Until we can save up the money (as college students, it might take awhile), we will have to stick with less easy-to-clean methods.

Quote:
I assume that when you said "thrown away on the way out of the park," you meant deposited in the park's garbage can. I prefer to take my garbage home for disposal--a reaction to seeing too many park/forest/roadside rest area garbage cans overflowing after a weekend.

Oh yes, we made sure to carry our trash and put it in the garbage can. One of these days we'll even remember to carry some extra trash bags so that we can collect more of the trash we see. I do so hate carrying a handful of someone else's trash out with me without a bag. Until I remember, that's what I'm stuck with!
I had never considered over-flowing trash cans, we might re-consider our trash disposal!

Quote:
Starting out backpacking by going only a mile or so in is also an excellent idea. It sounds as though you're off to a great start!
Thanks! We're definitely loving it and can't wait to get more practice in! Every chance we get!
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More adventure in your life today.

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#87051 - 01/13/08 04:03 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
First, I avoid heavy and/or oily foods that require heavy dish cleaning e.g. chili.

Then I use a very small amount very hot water and just swish out the cup or bowl with my fingers followed by wiping with my bandana. I use no soap at all and maybe 1/4 cup of water for this.

For breakfast I have oatmeal first and then I make my coffee (instant)or hot chocolate in the same container which rinses out the oatmeal. The coffee becomes, in effect, a dishwater rinse. Then I use a very small amount of water to rinse the cup followed by a bandana wipe.

If your palate is offended by little chunks of oatmeal in your coffee this may not be for you but I don't mind at all <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#87052 - 01/13/08 04:06 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: Jimshaw]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
Thanks for the welcome!
I've got a text file full of tidbits that I have gleaned from the few hours I have spent on the forums/website so far! So much information, so little time! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I feel that we'll have to refine our cooking methods before we can use just hot water to clean out the pot. The stove is still new to us and we've not quite perfected the flame controls! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

However, it is definitely nice to know that we don't have to lug around all of the old cleaning gear that was included in our car camping kit.
_________________________
www.Adventure-Some.com
More adventure in your life today.

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#87053 - 01/13/08 06:03 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
If you look more carefully at Sarbar's Freezer Bag Cooking website, you'll see that you can do fine without a dehydrator. A lot of her recipes use stuff that is bought already dried. It sure beats having to scrub a pot!

Oh, and at home is the place to try out new recipes and techniques! I remember the time I made and dehydrated a casserole dish with peas in it, and didn't test it at home. After 15 minutes of cooking (in the pot over the stove), the peas were still the consistency of buckshot, hard enough to break a tooth, while everything else was mush. I had to pick the peas out before I could eat dinner!


Edited by OregonMouse (01/13/08 06:06 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#87054 - 01/13/08 07:26 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
Xelif Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 241
Loc: Bay Area, California, USA
Quote:
It seems that everyone here is a Freezer Bag Cooker... I have already stumbled across their site, and loved it! Of course, this means that we'll have to get some sort of dehydrator, and that's out of the question for the moment. Until we can save up the money (as college students, it might take awhile), we will have to stick with less easy-to-clean methods.


I currently don't own a dehydrator and I'm going strong on FBC meals. I've tried out 3 of them and I don't need a dehydrator at all, although it would increase my options significantly.

You can buy instant rice at the grocery store, pouches of chicken, dried fruit like craisins, bullion powders/cubes, and all assortment of spices. From this and other grocery store fare I can put together (so far) 3 dinners, lunch (which isn't really FBC), and of course my traditional oatmeal breakfast. Eating oatmeal out of a freezer bag is so much easier, clean-up wise, than cooking oatmeal in a pot.

So, give a few recipes a try. Worst case is you will forgo some dried vegetables that you could otherwise throw in.
_________________________
- John

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#87055 - 01/13/08 07:27 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: OregonMouse]
Xelif Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 241
Loc: Bay Area, California, USA
Quote:
For next year I plan to make them individual cozies so I have a freezer bag for each child. I'll still have to wash their cocoa cups, though.


Have you tried making cocoa in a freezer bag, and packaging a straw in the bag for drinking after it's made? I forget where exactly I read this, but it's a great trick. No cleaning cocoa residue <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
- John

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#87056 - 01/13/08 09:30 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: OregonMouse]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
Quote:
Your wet-wipes sound like a great idea for a short trip, and I plan to try it! The weight of the wipes would be an issue for long trips, though. You could let the used wipes sit out for a few minutes to dry afterwards to reduce your garbage weight. I hope you're doing the final rinse with filtered or purified water. This just shows that beginners can be more creative than us so-called "experts"!

It occurred to me that I forgot to give proper credit for this idea. While I can admit that I don't know where I got the idea from, I can't say exactly where it did originate.
_________________________
www.Adventure-Some.com
More adventure in your life today.

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#87057 - 01/13/08 10:30 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: Trailrunner]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
Quote:
First, I avoid heavy and/or oily foods that require heavy dish cleaning e.g. chili.

It seems that the consensus is we're taking the wrong foods. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
We're planning on expanding our menu anyway, so this works out quite well.


Quote:
For breakfast I have oatmeal first and then I make my coffee (instant)or hot chocolate in the same container which rinses out the oatmeal. The coffee becomes, in effect, a dishwater rinse. Then I use a very small amount of water to rinse the cup followed by a bandana wipe.

If your palate is offended by little chunks of oatmeal in your coffee this may not be for you but I don't mind at all <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I think that I might be more offended by the coffee than by the oatmeal in it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Then I re-read your post and noticed the hot chocolate (or tea for myself) addition and think that we'll make it through breakfast just fine. Good idea, thanks!
_________________________
www.Adventure-Some.com
More adventure in your life today.

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#87058 - 01/13/08 10:32 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: OregonMouse]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
Quote:
If you look more carefully at Sarbar's Freezer Bag Cooking website, you'll see that you can do fine without a dehydrator. A lot of her recipes use stuff that is bought already dried. It sure beats having to scrub a pot!

Oh, and at home is the place to try out new recipes and techniques! I remember the time I made and dehydrated a casserole dish with peas in it, and didn't test it at home. After 15 minutes of cooking (in the pot over the stove), the peas were still the consistency of buckshot, hard enough to break a tooth, while everything else was mush. I had to pick the peas out before I could eat dinner!


I must have focused on recipes that call for a dehydrator. I'll definitely go back and take a closer look! We've already discussed looking into new recipes, and plan on having some cooking attempts there at the house. I can't wait to see her room-mates faces when they see us using our stove on the back porch there at the house!
_________________________
www.Adventure-Some.com
More adventure in your life today.

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#87059 - 01/13/08 10:35 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: Xelif]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
Quote:
I currently don't own a dehydrator and I'm going strong on FBC meals. I've tried out 3 of them and I don't need a dehydrator at all, although it would increase my options significantly.

You can buy instant rice at the grocery store, pouches of chicken, dried fruit like craisins, bullion powders/cubes, and all assortment of spices. From this and other grocery store fare I can put together (so far) 3 dinners, lunch (which isn't really FBC), and of course my traditional oatmeal breakfast. Eating oatmeal out of a freezer bag is so much easier, clean-up wise, than cooking oatmeal in a pot.

So, give a few recipes a try. Worst case is you will forgo some dried vegetables that you could otherwise throw in.


I must have overlooked these recipes. Probably focused on things that we eat normally here at home and not on the other options. I'll go back and take a closer look to see what they've got listed.

Thanks for the encouragement and pointers!
_________________________
www.Adventure-Some.com
More adventure in your life today.

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#87060 - 01/14/08 08:38 AM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
Xelif Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 241
Loc: Bay Area, California, USA
I can manage the Cranberry Chicken + Rice, the Orange Salmon + Rice, and a variant of a Curry Chicken + Rice without a dehydrator. I did dehydrate some peas and carrots in the oven (took hours and hours) but haven't used them yet. Hopefully the specific names are helpful.
_________________________
- John

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#87061 - 01/14/08 09:44 AM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
I posted my dish cleaning method somewhere else in a different thread, but I'll sum it up once more here. I only use my stove to boil water, and I eat out of my pot. I usually eat freeze dried meals from companies like Mountain House. Sometimes I buy stuff like Lipton Noodles and Sauce at the grocery store and eat those. Unlike Trailrunner I do not shy away from the freeze dried chili (Chili Mac...mmmmmmm).

At any rate, I eat my meal, dump a small amount of water in the pot, swish it around and scrape everything off, and then I drink the water. Sounds nasty, but after doing this a few times it isn't a big deal. I usually carry candy or something like that anyway so then I'll have a little dessert after the the pot cleaning. After the first step I pour another small amount of water in the pot and rub my finger around in it to make sure everything is off. Then I go away from camp and dump it on the ground. I dry my pot with something like a paper towel (that I pack out), or just set it somewhere and let it air dry.

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#87062 - 01/14/08 06:19 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: Xelif]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Quote:
Quote:
For next year I plan to make them individual cozies so I have a freezer bag for each child. I'll still have to wash their cocoa cups, though.


Have you tried making cocoa in a freezer bag, and packaging a straw in the bag for drinking after it's made? I forget where exactly I read this, but it's a great trick. No cleaning cocoa residue <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


My friend Catzia make soup in freezer bags but unlike me...she packs a wide straw and sucks away <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#87063 - 01/15/08 05:14 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: sarbar]
tbaker Offline
member

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 37
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
Dried vegetables no dehydrator needed find them HERE

Good stuff.

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#87064 - 01/16/08 06:32 AM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: Trailrunner]
layla17 Offline
member

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 22
That's a really efficient way to have your breakfast, Trailrunner. I've been searching for methods of a quick easy breakfast that doesn't require a lot of cleaning. I'll be sure to try your method out.
_________________________
I'm currently trying a colon cleanser .

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#87065 - 01/16/08 08:14 AM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: tbaker]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Also check out Harmony House Foods <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Harmony House Foods
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#87066 - 01/21/08 12:43 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
onenortherner Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/13/07
Posts: 3
I just use mud. Don't need much water and the grains clean off the dishes.

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#87067 - 01/27/08 08:22 PM Re: Cleaning dishes on the trail? [Re: froldt]
totempole99 Offline
member

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 127
Loc: Memphis, TN
May as well put my two cents in here; can't remember where I stole this idea from (I think this site though).....

I usually eat Liptons, potatoes, soups, etc. and during the process of cooking, pieces (usually of whatever spice) get fairly stuck to the underside of lid or top of pot. I use the thin mesh bags that fruit is sold in. After eating, put some water in the pot, scrunch up the mesh into a sort of scrubber and have at it, then just shake it clean from water and any food particles. Let it sit for a few minutes to dry out or when you get it back out of your pot the next time you cook it'll still be wet.

And of course, drink the grey

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