Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Learn the Art of Winter Cooking

Backpacker Magazine recently came out with a collection of articles to help backpackers “learn the art of winter cooking.” Although the articles were short, they had some great information that may just save your butt while winter camping.

Illustration by Supercorn

The first article, “Bring the Right Cooking Gear,” gives a few valuable tips about which type of stove to bring, how much fuel you might need, and the nutritional requirements for your body in the cold. Article two gives instructions on building a camp kitchen and even provides steps to dig out your own underground kitchen in the snow! Backpacker goes on to provide two quick passages about using your camp kitchen and different ways of melting snow which are good reads. In addition to a beneficial write-up of instructions to plan a healthy winter meal, they provide readers with two delectable recipes for “Pumpkin Spice Toddy and Wintermint” as well as the interestingly named “Molly’s Kickin’ Mac and Cheese.” These recipes and articles will make any backpacker a gourmet winter cook and truly teaches you the art of winter cooking.


LEARN THE ART OF WINTER COOKING by David Schmidt – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

For more information, check out Winter & Cold Weather Backpacking at Wild Backpacker.



Wilderness Dining

It’s hard to find places to buy quality backpacking items and low prices, and if you do, if seems like it never carries the one item you want. However, when it comes to outdoor cooking, Wilderness Dining is one of the best places to buy supplies.
Wilderness Dining
Wilderness Dining carries a huge selection of backpacking and camping foods including cookware, filters, cookbooks, bear canisters, stoves, dehydrated and freeze-dried food items, and any meal or ingredient that you could want while in the outdoors (even seafood!). After exploring their online store, you can agree with what their home page testifies: “Great selection, great prices, great service!” It’s a fantastic backpacking store with easy payment options and easy searching, not to mention the cheap, flat-rate shipping! Wilderness Dining has been around for more than 8 years and is still running strong. It is a great resource for all your outdoor cooking needs, but find out for yourself. Check them out.

Group Cooking

Drew chef duty for a dozen hungry hikers? Planning meals for a group isn’t quite as simple as tripling the ramen supply. Ellie Mulder, kitchen manager at Yamnuska Guide Service in Canmore, British Columbia, has prepared trail meals for hundreds of hikers and mountaineers with the help of a restaurant computer program and a decade’s worth of notes from fellow chefs. Here’s how she does it–plus one of her favorite crowd-pleasing recipes.

Estimating quantities

Use these guidelines to determine how much food and fuel you’ll need (on a day of moderate-intensity backpacking, most people burn 2,500 to 4,000 calories). Mulder recommends upping the serving size by one third to one half for big eaters, on strenuous trips, and in cold weather. You’ll also need more fuel in the winter to prepare extra food, make warm drinks, and melt snow for water.

Planning & Packing

  • Choose quick-cooking, one-pot meals. Avoid anything that’s greasy, complicated, or requires frying; such foods make clean-up harder and can attract animals.
  • Buy in bulk whenever possible. If your grocery store doesn’t have a bulk section, check a natural foods store or buy online (try
  • Prep food at home to speed cooking time. For example, chop the first night’s dinner veggies before you leave and pack them in a zip-top bag.
  • Save pack space and minimize the trash you’ll have to pack out by unwrapping store-bought sauces and mixes and consolidating them in one bag.
  • Stay organized (and cook faster) by pre-measuring and pre-mixing ingredients. Pack each meal’s ingredients together in one zip-top bag.


  • Plan on one stove and two cook pots (one for boiling water) for every four people. Using one pot for eight or more people means cooking will take longer–or worse, meals will cook unevenly or burn.
  • Add a special touch. Lightweight extras like dried cilantro or crushed peanut garnishes go a long way toward upping your chef cred.

From Backpacker Magazine

Ten Winter Cooking Tips

You can enjoy the outdoors as much as you can in the winter as you can in the summer, as long as you are prepared for the winter weather. As well as having a good time, it is very important to stay warm and safe in the cold weather as well. Hydration and nutrition are even more important to keep your body healthy and energized in the cold. Here are 10 quick and easy tips to help:

1. Don’t let your water freeze. This can be done by keeping a bottle of water on your body or in your tent.

2. Don’t burn your snow. If you must melt snow for water, pour in some liquid water before trying to melt snow. This will help prevent the burning of the snow. Burnt snow water tastes nasty.

3. Bring insulated utensils, cups, and plates. Wooden spoons, plates and cups are great for winter cooking and eating. Most of the food you cook will feel extremely warm to your hands while winter camping so it is a good idea to insulate before grabbing.

4. Plan meals that are high in protein. Milk, Eggs, Steak and other meats are great fuel and taste great for winter camping dinner meals. Lunches may consist of nuts, trail mixes, and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

5. Use lots of margarine for cooking. Vegetable oil fat in the body causes the body to release heat and energy more slowly.

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Cooking Measurements

Looking through the recipes on this blog and others, you may have come across measurements and not understood them. Here is a list for you of cooking measurement abbreviations and equivalents to help you understand! Enjoy!


Cooking Measurement Abbreviations

Abbreviation Measurement
tsp teaspoon
Tbsp tablespoon
fl fluid
oz ounce
pkg package
c cup
pt pint
qt quart
gal gallon
lb pound
sm small
lg large

Cooking Measurement Equivalents

Measurement Equivalents
tsp Tbsp fl oz cup pint quart gallon
tsp 1 1/3 1/6 1/48
Tbsp 3 1 1/2 1/16 1/32
oz 6 2 1 1/8 1/16
cup 48 16 8 1 1/2 1/4 1/16
pint 96 32 16 2 1 1/2 1/8
quart 192 64 32 4 2 1 1/4
gallon 768 256 128 16 8 4 1

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Cooking at Altitude

Altitude/Boiling PointAt higher altitues, the air pressure is lower, allowing water to boil at lower temperatures. Depending on the elevation you will be backpacking at, you should consider cooking time to plan how much fuel you should take along with you.

Beginning 2,500 to 3,000 feet above sea level, altitude starts to affect all cooking in three ways:

1. The higher the elevation, the lower the boiling point of water (see table and illustration). When water boils at lower temperatures, it takes longer for foods to cook in or over water.

2. The higher the elevation, the faster moisture evaporates.

3. The higher the elevation, the faster leavening gases (air, carbon dioxide, and water vapor) expand.

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