May 20, 2011 at 8:04 pm #1274157
I am interested in ideas for stoveless meals for a few days.
Here is the situation:
–This is not by choice. We are going to Guadalupe Mts. NP in 3 weeks. Currently they have a complete ban on all ignition sources in the park. No stoves of any kind, frontcountry or backcountry. No smoking even. For the curious, here is the memo: http://www.nps.gov/gumo/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=552120
(Tried to do the link thing but it messed up.)
–If they get a good rain the ban might be lifted but I don't want to count on it.
–We are planning two nights at Pine Spring campground (frontcountry) and then two more nights in the backcountry.
–We have to carry *all* our water on the backcountry part, so it doesn't matter much if the water is in a water bottle or in a sausage or cheese. The only concern would be avoiding spoilage.
–This is a Camp Fire youth trip. We have 3 adults and 5 youth ages 12-15.
I am interested in keeping the kids happy or at least accepting of their circumstances. I am thinking of things like wraps, hummus, cheese, sausage, plus the usual snack foods like trail mix, bars, jerky, etc. A plastic tub with a tight lid would allow us to rehydrate things that need to be carried dry to avoid spoilage. But the food mustn't need cooking.
I'd really like to hear from folks who have some experience, and might be able to offer especially good ideas and recipes.
Thanks!May 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm #1739182
One thing to keep in mind – while you need salt for the hot weather don't eat overly salty food in one meal – you will be wanting to guzzle after ;-) And sausage/cheese can be over powering in hot weather (at least for me!).
Having said that there is plenty you can make cold – couscous salads, pasta salads made with ramen, wraps of course and more. What you want to look for is "no cook meals" – many recipes have been posted in the past (I know I have posted a number) :-)May 21, 2011 at 3:31 am #1739241
Yeah, the White Mountains were closed (around Ruidoso, NM) and the Gila may also have the same restrictions as the Guads for Eugene's trip. Since my meals are termed "gruel" by my hiking friends, I may not be much help on no cook meals ; ).
For your car camping portion, consider a 12V water heater that is used inside the vehicle only. If smoking is allowed in a vehicle, so should this be. It may not heat enough water for your needs though.
Cold oatmeal (love Walmart maple and brown sugar)
Chips, peanut butter/jelly sandwiches, nuts, fruit bar
Crackers/pita bread, canned meat packs (tuna/chicken/salmon) or hummus, fruit bar or fresh fruitMay 21, 2011 at 7:39 am #1739279
@vesteroidLocale: Eastern Sierras
You are going to have kids carry enough water for two days?
That's an awful lot of weight when you consider most kids don't have true ul gear to begin withMay 21, 2011 at 7:43 am #1739280
No alternate location available? Does not sound like a fun time.May 21, 2011 at 8:51 am #1739298
The alternative instead of backpacking is basecamping at Pine Springs and doing dayhikes from there and McKittrick Ranger Station.May 21, 2011 at 9:46 am #1739311
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
I found my current favorite stoveless recipe in an issue of Backpacker magazine recently: Chicken Curry Wrap
It's very filling, tasty, and easy to make (although it can be a bit messy). I usually add more cashews and raisins and never bother to measure out the spices.May 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm #1739352
Both Dicentra and I have chicken curry wraps that we posted over the years as well – you might want to look them up on our websites (or here).
Here are some links if anyone is interested:
For kid friendly (and a number are heat free):
Plenty more as well :-)May 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm #1739383
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
I love the fantastic foods refried beans. Even when I bring a stove, I'll usually bring a bean burrito lunch or two that I rehydrate cold. Just add water to the beans in the morning and they will be perfect by lunchtime. Spread on tortillas, top with some packets of taco sauce and you are good to go. I never tire of them. Add other toppings as desired.May 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm #1739875
Wow, thanks y'all! That's a lot to work with. We are having our food meeting next week. I'll try and report back about what the kids pick to do.
In response to folks' concerns about the trip:
Yeah, I've checked around some (will do some more tomorrow) and it looks like the backcountry fire restrictions are similar all across west Texas and southern New Mexico. Some places allow frontcountry propane stoves (Gila NF). I plan to do some more research tomorrow during business hours. But Guadalupe Mts. is a special place, and we will probably go there anyway.
Regarding the water, it's a lot to start with, but the amount begins shrinking right away. The kids on this particular trip have all been on several backpacking trips with our program. Their gear isn't high-end UL but we have learned to compensate somewhat by trimming down everyone's kit to a minimum of what's needed. At least kids (this group is ages 13-15) don't think they need changes of clothes, etc. We have done this trip with youth twice before (different kids) and yes it is a big job on the first day to carry the water up. We only go about 5 miles the first day, with lots of time for breaks. We only go up for 2 nights. The rest of the week is, as suggested, base camp at Pine Spring or elsewhere. We'll day-hike Guadalupe Peak, and also go up to Carlsbad NP, camp on open BLM land, watch the bats fly at Carlsbad NP, tour the main cave, and go on the ranger-led wild cave tour of Lower Cave. And stop at Monahans Sandhills State Park in west Texas on the way home, for some midnight dune sledding and sleeping under the stars on the sand.May 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm #1740575
The above link is to an article I wrote for Seattle Backpackers Magazine. We tend to go stove-less for lunches but the method can be applied to any meal really.
Also…. here are some other recipes that work well with the stove-less way of doing things…
Hope this helps.May 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm #1740585
Laurie, it helps a lot!
Now, on to experimenting with the recipes!May 25, 2011 at 5:09 am #1740822
Have fun… that's my favorite part… experimenting. Then again that could be an occupational hazard.May 31, 2011 at 9:02 am #1743104
Night before last we had a pre-trip meeting, and I had samples of a number of ideas prepared for folks to try. The concept of no-cook meals for 4 days (2 at Pine Spring and 2 on the trail) went over better than I expected. The kids approved of not having to carry stoves and fuel along with all that water, and also approved of subtracting the water in fresh food from the plain water carried. Overall, a success.
They especially liked a hamburger salad wrap (from something my mom used to put in our school lunches back in the 1960's), Cheesy Bacon Mashers made with fresh cheese and a cold water soak, some of the hummus recipes from AFITT (especially Greek Red Pepper Dip), and Roasted Red Pepper and Chipotle Chicken Wrap (go figure–I made that one mostly for adult palates since it is pretty spicy, but the kids ate it up!). We also tried Greens and Noodles; it took a while for the noodles to rehydrate, and the kids said they liked it, but they didn't eat a lot of it. Apple slaw also received positive reviews but didn't disappear as fast. I will probably have that anyway just so people pining for vegetables can have some.
Each of the 5 youth will be fully in charge of one day, including shopping (with parent assistance, as none of them is old enough to drive yet), advance preparation, and setup/cleanup in camp. We have some of those big Glad-type tubs so we can rehydrate easily on the trail.
Thanks so much for everyone's help!May 31, 2011 at 11:28 am #1743178
Packets or tubs of shelf stable ranch dressing will improve cold noodle salads ;-)May 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm #1743206
I am thinking about that. I also want to use the Pecan Cranberry Ranch Chicken Salad (in wraps) for one of the Pine Spring dinners, but I didn't have the Ranch packets to make it with for our testing session on Sunday. Will need to seek them out pretty quick.
Thanks!May 31, 2011 at 1:50 pm #1743249
You can find shelf stable 1-ounce pouches in some grocery store deli's or look in the salad dressing aisle – you can get multi packs of 1 ounce tubs now by Hidden Valley!Jun 1, 2011 at 5:20 am #1743511
Glad you liked the Greek Red Pepper Dip. It was originally a recipe used to illustrate rehydration and no-cook meals on the trail when I was first teaching a workshop for The Friends of Algonquin Park. It went over really well… so much so that I thought it book worthy. We tested it the week after the workshop at a wilderness lake. We actually portaged more than we paddled to get there but were in solitude (didn't see another person for 4 days). I have fond memories of that one.Jun 18, 2011 at 11:29 am #1750741
@heyyouLocale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
Try all of these recipes on the whole group before the trip for no surprises when you are a day away from the vehicle.
Trail Pizza: Pita or small Boboli topped or filled with a little pizza sauce from a jar or a can of spiced tomato sauce, light dusting of onion powder, very thin sliced cheese, and a small amount of pepperoni, canned olives, canned mushrooms. The sauce is only safe for the one meal when you open it.
Instant mashed potatoes rehydrate fine without heat but are high salt content. Before the trip, I add dried milk for creaminess, onion powder, garlic powder, and low salt chicken broth to boost the flavor. Sarah and Laurie probably have extensive potato recipes, and I second Dicentra's taco tater recipe using dehydrated beans to flavor potatoes. At home, powder the bean flakes in a ziplock using a rolling pin because the powder will rehydrate in unheated water more easily than the flakes.
Quick oats soak in unheated water, then add powdered milk and raisins, with pudding mix to thicken it. Add cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to the dry oats at home. Add nuts and banana chips to make it chewier. Time the required soaking at home before the trip. I add instant hot chocolate mix to flavor mine.
Bring Koolaid for those who are avid pop drinkers.
Instead of a large quantity of one trail mix, bring many different mixes. Kids may like to personalize one mix by adding their favorite ingredients.
Desserts in the Desert: Tropical trail mix is mostly dried fruit. Some will like the sweetness. Banana pudding mix made with dry milk with added nuts, banana chips, and coconut flakes make it chewy so it lasts longer when eating it. Bring chocolate pudding mix for those suffering from chocolate withdrawal.Jul 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm #1758192
@lindahlbLocale: Colorado Rockies
I just did my first stoveless trip last weekend and it was so nice not to have to mess with a stove. I had powdered milk with granola and dried cranberries for breakfast (FBC), and had a pita packed with cheddar cheese and pepperoni for dinner and dark chocolate for desert. Loved it, and can't wait for my next trip. However, I'd like to find a lighter-weight dinner.Jul 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm #1758281
dark chocolate is always one of my favorite desserts. Lindt has a new one in North America…. with Black Currant. Amazing!Sep 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm #1779199
After your very helpful assistance with no-cook ideas, we picked out some things we liked in testing, made our shopping list, and turned it over to a couple of the kids for shopping. They took 3 times as long as planned in the store, but did a good job with it. There was then some advance preparation, but not as much dehydrating as for some trips; since we were carrying all our water anyway, there wasn't as much need to remove it from the food for weight savings.
To recap, we took a small group of Camp Fire kids backpacking at Guadalupe Mts. NP The no-ignition-sources ban was quite strict throughout the area, both frontcountry and backcountry, and with reason. While we were hiking GMNP, Carlsbad Caverns NP just to the north went up in flames, which scorched 30,000 acres of the desert hills surrounding the visitor center/cave entrance, which had to be evacuated, and re-opened just the evening before our itinerary took us there, so we saw the freshly burnt country. Sobering. A couple of weeks after our visit, GMNP closed the backcountry to overnight trips completely. There is no real ability to supervise people's behavior up there, and besides, if a fire broke out, it would be an expensive challenge to locate people and get them out of the way.
For lunches and suppers we had a lot of wraps (hamburger salad, Pecan Cranberry Ranch Chicken, Roasted Red Pepper and Chipotle Chicken), lots of pita and hummus (Greek Red Pepper Dip), Cheesy Bacon Mashers, fruit soup, refried beans and chips, salsa, summer sausage, peanut butter, jam, cheese, crackers, even some fresh apples and oranges. We brought a couple of the resealable food tubs (Glad or Ziploc, I forget) and put things on to soak earlier in the day, so the lunch or supper would be ready on time. Given enough time, soaking worked as well as boiling water would have. For the wraps we had El Lago probiotic multigrain tortillas, which kept very well and which the kids actually liked. No-cook breakfasts were granola with powdered milk, granola bars, whatever snacks people had. Coffee? If you put fresh coffee grounds and water in a covered tub the night before, and strain it in the morning, it comes out really good. Nido tastes better than creamer in it.
Actually, far from being an extra challenge keeping the kids happy with no-cook meals, they liked it better. Less to carry, less work. Since we had to carry all our water for the 2 1/2 day backpack portion, not carrying stove and fuel was a big plus in their opinion. Of course, it was June in Texas and even in the high country the weather was pretty warm this year. Folks might have been less pleased with the situation if the weather had been cold.
But I am happy to report that, like many percieved obstacles to enjoying the backcountry, this one too fell by the wayside more easily than we expected. Seems like a lot of the things I worry about in advance, in backpacking, turn out to be easier than I expected.Sep 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm #1779300
Glad you had a great trip!
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