Backpacking Stove Cooking Tips
True, there could be nothing quite like being in the outdoors and enjoying Nature more than you would in your city or town. But heading out there isn’t all that easy—it calls for a lot of preparation. Once you decide on the trail, the duration of stay and the type of gear to take along, the all-important aspect of food needs a bit of your attention.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. The first one for you to take is to choose from the variety of stoves available. So, here goes!
Types of Cookstoves
This is the best type of cook stove for backpackers. However, since the stoves are based on fuel canister, wind resistance is a problem. However, you can work a way around this problem by choosing a good site that offers natural wind protection.
Alternatively, choose a canister design that has wind-proofing integrated into its design. Its main advantages are that its lightweight, interchangeable Lindal valve, and the fact that it is self-pressurized. It works on isobutane and propane fuel.
- Liquid Fuel
Liquid fuel stoves are reusable and manually pressurized. A variety of available fuels can be used on this stove, chiefly white gas. It is usually chosen for it allows for a wide variety of cheap fuel usage, it can be used even in cold weather and can be repaired when you’re out there.
The two problems with this type of stove are that it takes ages to boil water. Second, you need to keep feeding the fire. However, the advantages of a wood stove are that you will find wood wherever you go backpacking, so you needn’t carry your fuel with you.
Though alcohol can be found everywhere, using an alcohol stove isn’t a great idea. And that’s because you may experience spills. It also takes ages to boil water. On the flip side, however, you can easily make your own alcohol stove by using two soda cans.
Choosing the Right Utensils
In your innocence, you might think that any kind of pot would be right for your stove. Think again because your choice of pot could make a huge difference to your cooking time and the pot’s resistance to heat.
Here are a few pots you can choose from:
Aluminum may be lightweight, but it dents easily and scorches easily. However, if you still want to go ahead with this, ensure it’s non-stick.
This strong metal is also surprisingly lightweight. This makes it a good choice except for the fact that it burns easily and is quite expensive.
- Stainless Steel
Not only is it more durable than aluminum, but it is also heavier. But its smooth surface is an advantage when it comes to cleaning.
A blend of aluminum and stainless steel, food does not tend to stick to the bottom due to a lining of stainless steel inside. If it is lightweight and durable, it’s also expensive.
From the above four options, it would be easy to say that the best backpacking stove would be a toss-up between a stainless-steel pot and a composite. Take your pick.
Your choice of pot size depends largely on the size of your group. If yours is mid to a large group, choose a one-liter pot. But if you’re going solo, choose a smaller one. There are people, particularly families, who take a nest of pots which they use according to their needs.
If your pot isn’t non-stick, you should create notches inside for half-cup, one cup, etc. This could help immensely when you cook rice or make soup.
But if you’re going on your own and you find that some of your food boils over, it might be difficult to clean it, causing you not just worry but some food poisoning too. So, choose wisely.
Some hikers like to take just the bare necessities like a pocketknife, a bowl and a spoon. But there are those who like to carry along a fork, spoon and cup. If you want to eat baked food while camping, that’s possible too. There are specialized convection ovens that are lightweight and give you amazing results.
On the Food Front
Now that you’ve got your utensils in place, it’s time to figure out the food you’re going to take with you and the dishes you can easily rustle up while on your hike. One of the most important decisions to make about a backpacking trip is the right choice of backpacking food to take along. You know that backpacking saps a lot of your energy and you will need many calories to see you through each day.
So, it’s a good idea to ensure that the food you take along is calories- and nutrient-dense so that you have enough fuel to see you through. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find a nice place to have a good meal or just cook yourself one!
In the run-up to your day of departure, you’re going to do everything to prepare for your backpacking trip. High up on your to-do list is sure to be the food you’re going to take. There are certain types of food that will be of great help to you, even if you go prepared with a backpacking stove.
Camping Food Checklist
While camping or hiking, you need to take with you easy to cook, easy boil or ready to eat meals. Here are some basic foods you should have with you when you leave. In fact, these can also serve as the best camping snacks for you.
It’s necessary for you to carry water with you so that you stay hydrated. But carrying water can be heavy. A good way of taking enough water with you is to take a hydration bladder with you or water bottles. Moreover, when you run out of the water, refill by treating the water with drops, tablets, or UV pens.
It’s a great idea to take fruits with you as they keep you satiated for long, plus they are high in nutrients. So, apart from bananas, you can also take apples, oranges, pears, etc. Bananas are a good option because they are high in potassium and everyone’s favorite.
Bread remains fresh for long and can be used in many ways: Make toast for breakfast, use it to make makeshift hamburgers or sandwiches.
- Granola Bars and Nut Bars
You’re going to need a lot of energy while on your trail, so it’s good to stock up on energy-giving snacks. Good options are energy bars like nut and granola bars which are also tasty.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
When you’re camping, having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is easy to make and quick to finish. If you can’t eat them together, eat jelly on toast for breakfast and snack on peanut butter sandwiches.
Premade Camping Meals
What can make your time out more enjoyable but premade camping meals? Make these meals a week in advance and spend more time with the family in the outdoors. Some interesting premade meal ideas are Breakfast Burritos, pancakes, blueberry muffins, S’mores hand pies, shrimp and summer veggies foil packs, cinnamon rolls and mac and cheese.
One-Pot Camping Meals
On your camping getaway, do you want to spend more time cooking and cleaning dishes? To make the most of your camping holiday, cook these easy-to-make, one-pot camping meals and take them along with you.
Some good meal ideas include campfire nachos, Sichuan veg stir-fry, skillet corn casserole, Shakshuka, risotto, fajitas, dahl, spaghetti, etc.
Are you vegetarian?
If you are, that’s great because there are many advantages to eating vegetarian food while camping. For instance, it’s certainly less expensive than meat and fish. So, if you’re keen to watch your spending, stay veg.
Vegetables, unlike meat, doesn’t need refrigeration. This reduces your risk of pathogens entering your food.
Then there’s another advantage of staying vegetarian on camp nights—you don’t feel too heavy after a meal which you would if you ate heavy meat-based dishes. So, stay light with veg food. In fact, for a really nutritious vegetarian breakfast, why not try serving up a Halloumi Breakfast Sandwich. Interested? Here’s the recipe. Grill together halloumi cheese, a fried egg, sweet Hawaiian rolls and spicy mayo to make the best camping breakfast ever.
Or, you could make a Banana Coconut French Toast. Vegetarian camping recipes are neither difficult to source nor to make. Moreover, they work really well for the whole family. Besides, they go well if you have them between two non-veg breakfasts.
Camping Food for Kids
Cooking for kids when camping isn’t difficult. You know they love to have oatmeal for breakfast, so why not give it to them with a few berries? Or how about some pancakes drizzled with honey or Brown Bears?
Lunch for the whole family—and them—can be something they love—fruit and nut tortilla roll-ups or ham, egg and cheese bread bowls. Not only will it be filling, but for you, the bonus is no washing up! What a great idea!!
These are just some ideas that could fire your imagination to prepare what the family loves. No matter what kind of holiday you choose to have, food is always an integral part of it. So, give your family what they enjoy and have a great camping holiday.