Beginning Backpacking Part 2
Backpacking gets way more complected than it needs to be, and that turns a lot of people away. Face it, if you’re going backpacking for the first time things like dealing with stoves and cooking can be a pain in the ass. So here’s what I recommend on your first (or next) backpacking trip…
Ditch the stove!
That’s right…you loose hot meals, hot coffee, but let’s take a look at what you gain:
- More time (due to less time spent cooking, filling pots with water, packing and unpacking cooking gear).
- Less weight (though this can be offset by heavier food depending on what you bring).
- Simplicity…you stroll into camp and while other folks are busting out stoves and cooking and doing dishes you wolf down a sandwich and go to sleep.
Now, to be clear, I really love stoves…I love cooking and anything involving flames. If you’ve done a lot of backpacking and have the stove thing down way to go! I still remember my first backing trip though…I had no idea how to use my stove, I regularly set the ground on fire, burned food, and spent a lot of time being frustrated. Some stoves are really simple these days…but any stove is more complex then no stove.
Point is, stoves are a choice. For most trips you probably don’t need one. And going with out a stove can help you relax, slow down, and connect with the nature around you. Chances are that’s why you went backpacking in the first place.
If you need some inspiration on stove-free food here is a list of foods I’ve eaten backpacking that don’t require a stove…peanut butter and jelly on tortillas, cheese and hot sauce on tortillas, bagels and cream cheese, instant powdered hummus on pitas, granola, rolled oats in cold water with brown sugar, burrito made prior to the trip, left over pizza, any kind of sandwich you can imagine (get creative!), so much salted peanuts and chocolate chips, dried fruit (mango!!!), spoonfuls of peanut butter, and that’s not even touching on candy and the wide variety of energy bars, blocks, and gooey things. Drink mix is another good option, so is a loaf of bread and some really yummy cheese.
There are a lot of things you “must have” to go backpacking…and you really don’t need most of them. The gear stores and gear companies obviously disagree but they are also obviously biased. So don’t let the gear get in your way, you could close your computer right now and go make a big stack of PB&J, then just throw on some shoes and walk off in to the sunset, or sun rise, or whatever you got going on right now.
As Confucius once said…“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”