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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / To Go/Brown Bag/Picnic/Camping/Potluck / Backpacking Cooking
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    Backpacking Cooking

    Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:09 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I enjoy backpacking and cooking something beyond just pre-packaged freeze-dried meals. I have a backpacking oven so it's possible to assemble and bake a mean lasagna! I also enjoy dutch oven cooking if I'm car camping.

    I was a Scout for many years. Even back then, my friends and I tried to out-cook each other on backpacking trips. As a Scoutmaster, I enjoyed teaching the guys how to plan menus, buy their food and cook on their own. Hopefully, there are no helpless men coming out of Troop 54!

    Here in SoCA, we are often not allowed to have open fires on campouts, so we are restricted to using backpacking stoves. Sometimes in the summer we are not even allowed to use flames, so I cook using a solar stove. Believe it or not, it gets food hot enough to boil!

    Hoping to find some fun recipes to try out.
    Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:46 am Groupie
    Hi CoronaRich wave.gif

    What are some of your favorite recipes that you make while backpacking/hiking?

    Do you have any tips that you have learned over the years that you can share?

    Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:18 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Well, let's start with a few tips for Dutch Oven (DO). Not really for backpacking cooking, but great for base camp. Hope this is posted in the right place and I don't repeat too much that was already posted.

    How many coals? I like to use double the number of briquets as the diameter in inches of the oven. (Sorry, you have to do some math. I'm an engineer and love to do math).

    So...if your DO is 12" diameter start with 24 briquets. Subtract four from the twelve to put under the DO and add those four to the 12 briquets on top. So we have 8 on the bottom and 16 on the top!

    To avoid scorching the food on the bottom of the DO, put the briquets in a circle around the bottom. That way you heat the walls of the DO and don't put as much heat directly into the base.

    Some DO enthusiasts are able to dial in the temperature by adding and subtracting briquets. Since the conditions I cook in vary so much (wind, no wind), I just worry about adding briquets so they don't all ash away!
    Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:20 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster

    Hahaha icon_biggrin.gif
    Dreamer in Ontario
    Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:41 am Groupie
    John DOH
    Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:20 pm Groupie
    If you can contact Chef Shadows, he's an expert at DO cooking and is involved in "re-enactment cooking" from the 18th and 19th century.

    I would recommend a couple things...

    A stainless thermos (note, not glass lined) can give you scrambled eggs, or batter, or French Toast or the like very easily.

    Sterno heating may be allowed (but check first, of course)

    If not Primus and others make some pretty good lightweight and tough little naptha or propane "one man stoves". Not hard to improvise from there!

    Cooking ahead, and freezing the meal in its own cooking vessell (bagging it in plastic to avoid leakage issues) works.

    If you are going to haul water around with you, its a thought to freze it first. It melts and heats readily, but you can never tell when some ice would come in handy for First Aid (let alone a cool drink)

    Smoked meats travel well, w/o refridgeration, as does cheese. Teflon/aluminum pans are greatr, but remember that calls for plastic implements, or they're ruined in no time.

    With the dehydrated stuff, the problem you run into is a source of potable water. (And water is heavy to carry around!) Boiling it for 20 minutes takes a lot of time and fuel, but if you do have potable water its possible to just add it to your dehydrated ration and heat it up by body heat...(this does NOT yield "gourmet" reults!)

    If you've got water, potable or not, you could rig up a Yukon heater and use "IMP's" (aka Individual Meal Portions, aka "Individual Magic Pantry's"), or perhaps better known as "boil in a bag" meals.

    Not to be forgotten is the concept of the tinfoil wrapping of food to be cooked in coals, or use of tinfoil as a "reflector oven".

    Powdered eggs/powdered milk/condensed milk should be considered, for ingredients.

    Dried meats, dried fruits or veggies can beconsidered, with the availability of water...

    "Pemmican" can be pre-prepared, as can "Bannock" (which can be cooked on a stick, over the fire, or heat source)

    A lot depends on whether you chose to do it like Lewis and Clark, or the "Modern Style", that is a lot more "gourmet" much can you learn to "live off the land"? If you can find edible nuts, roots and berries, or a fishing line or snares, then its just what knife or knives you're packing to put these to use

    But remember, "If you packed it, you can pack it out with you"...take pictures and/or memories, and leave the smallest trace of your passage"

    Anyways, a few thoughts to ponder!

    Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:53 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Some very good tips there! Thanks!

    I work with Scouts so the Sterno is verboten. Here in SoCA we are not allowed campfires in the forests so any backcountry cooking has to be on backpacker stoves or solar stoves. We are allowed open fires in the desert.

    Water is always an issue to be planned for. I was backpacking just last weekend and the location we camped has lots of water. We just need to filter it or steri-pen it before using. Boiling is an option but it takes a lot of fuel. I've had good luck with the pump...I've worn out two and am on my third!

    In the desert, you have to carry water but it's for mostly for drinking. I've got no problems with simply repackaging canned foods in boilable bags and reheating. It's heavier but that's why we take training hikes. MRE's are also a good option and you can heat them with just a little bit of water.
    John DOH
    Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:17 pm Groupie
    Some good thoughts here! I don't understand the bann on Sterno, but different organizations have different rules, and somewhere, someone is riding his little rocking horse in an ivory tower casting down such "rules" with no understanding of "conditions"; if it was me, I'd do like Nelson and put my telescope to my blind eye when reading that signal, but there you go...

    Desert environment calls to be "hydrated" as best you can. If you don't need to "pee", then you need to be drinking water.

    As much as I have come to hate "salt" or "sodium", this substance does allow you to retain water in your body, and you need to jiggle the menu to reflect that.

    Alcohol and caffeine are "diurectics" (sp?) that cause you to lose water over and above normal bodily function and must be avoided or proscribed.

    If you've got sources of potable water, life gets a bit easier. (Lugging water around gets old in a hurry)

    Pre-cooking and freezing makes a lot of sense. Its cheap, compared with buying pre-processed foods, and "bringing 'cold'" with you is hardly ever dumb.

    If potable water is easily available, then pasta makes a lot of sense. Thin noodles like capellini take only minutes (2-3) to cook up and are light weight to carry around.Tomato paste is concentrated tomato sauce and dried sausage, dried herbs and "cheese" can make this go a long way on healthy dieting...

    Aside from that, you have some local issues on "legal" fuel to heat your water. Maybe ask the State for a recomendation and bounce it off the Boy Scouts?

    Difference between the Boy Scouts and the Army? Only the Boy Scouts have "Adult Leadership"!

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