Do You Really Need a Stove?

Camping and foodHiking, backpacking, and food

Oatmeal (here: oat,water,salt). Danish: havregrød

Oatmeal (here: oat,water,salt). Danish: havregrød (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do 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?

6 thoughts on “Do You Really Need a Stove?

  1. Great points! I’ve come to the same conclusion for summer hiking in SC when the overnight temps rarely dip below 70s. For coffee, the flavor single packs work great cold. Can’t remember the brand I used, but the hazelnut flavor is my favorite.


  2. I hate cooking breakfast because it makes me feel sluggish and it’s just not a great way for me to start a hike. The same thing goes for lunch so I’m only cooking dinner and it’s maybe a cup for my food and a cup for my tea/hot chocolate. Unfortunately I can’t make do without a hot dinner and drink so I can’t go truly stove-less, but only cooking one meal is a great way to minimize your stove down to the bare minimum.


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