Do You Really Need a Stove?

Camping and foodHiking, backpacking, and foodDo you plan to use your stove much on your hike, or do you take it because everyone else does? Will you use your stove three times a day, or just for breakfast and your late meal? Do you like messing around with a stove early in the morning, or have you decided to cook only in the evening? When I got to this last stage, I asked myself why bother with a stove and fuel at all. Especially if I’d planned to resupply in town every four or five days and get cooked meals there.

Okay, I do pack my tiny Esbit Pocket Stove with two fuel tabs. It’s good to have if I must boil water. But on hot summer days, when all I want is to stay cool, I don’t cook meals. This may not work for other hikers, but I don’t miss hot meals on the trail in summer.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with cold water. Sounds bland, until you try it. Oatmeal in the little packets doesn’t taste bad at all when you add cold water and stir. And you can eat right from the packet–no fuss, no muss. I’ve also stirred flavored Gatorade into oatmeal, but it covered up the oatmeal taste. I like flavored oatmeal (apples & cinnamon, raisins & spice, maple & brown sugar) stirred with plain water. Try it; you’ll be surprised.

For other meals, I pack (sealed baggies or aluminum foil) fruits, hard cheeses, pepperoni and jerky, tuna packets, wheat crackers, peanut butter, energy bars, etc., and gorp.

Who’s ready to cast the first stone?

Published by Ray Anderson

Hiker and writer. Have hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, The Long Trail (Vermont), and some of the Continental Divide Trail. My trail name is "HAMLET." Have written three hiking novels (thrillers). The first one, "THE TRAIL," was traditionally published in 2015. My second hiking thriller, "SIERRA," released Oct 2016. Book three in my AWOL hiking-thriller series, "THE DIVIDE" releases from Turner Publishing 8/18/2020.

5 thoughts on “Do You Really Need a Stove?

  1. I occasionally go stoveless and love it. I do miss hot coffee in the morning, but I enjoy the simplicity of the meals and weight benefit.

  2. Thanks to our new alcohol stove that only weighs .6oz and only needs an oz of fuel or less to boil water we usually take our cook kit (a total of 9 oz) for dinners and if all I want is a hot drink I can cut that to 5 or 6 oz. But we haven’t done a trip in the middle of summer yet and honestly I think we will probably go stoveless then, especially here in Ga. Summers are usually too hot for me to want to cook in my house, let alone on my vacation!

    1. That’s a neat stove you have, Lynn. Great for winter, spring, and the fall. I agree–summers are too hot in Georgia for cooking on the trail.

  3. Good thoughts Ray. I definitely think I will try less cooked meals on the trail this summer. Where I am (BC mountains) it goes below freezing even in august nights. The mornings are hard to face w/o a warm drink.

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