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Cooking Without a Stove

Old 03-06-20, 08:05 PM
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Lanesplitter
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Cooking Without a Stove

Whether or not to bring a stove is something many, if not most bike tourers grapple with. For me having a stove is worth the weight because of how much money it saves, to say nothing of the improved nutrition and flexibility a stove confers. Just the oatmeal and coffee alone is worth it.

Since most of the stuff I cook requires little more than boiling water, I decided to try cooking with large Hydro Flasks. What I do, is find large convenience store with a newer coffee apparatus and ask if I can have some hot water, which I've never been refused (usually I buy something), and fill my flasks. I always put some hot water in, shake them up, and dump them before I fill them , so the water will be as hot as possible.

Since I prefer steel cut oats, but they take a while to cook, I put them in immediately, shake the bottle, and ride to a nice spot for breakfast. At that point the oats are done, then I make coffee with a camping french press.

Other meals I've done this way is veggie dogs, frozen beans and veggies, and couscous with tofu. Since I still carried my stove, sometimes I'd pre-cook lentils in a flask and finish cooking them at camp. Other times, just having hot water sped things along for when I cooked, and the fuel savings was huge. The flasks also double as extra water capacity, with the added bonus of being able to keep it super cold almost indefinitely.

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Old 03-06-20, 08:24 PM
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Interesting. It would seem you are still tied to buying something at stores to use your system though. And somewhat dependent on having the right store with available water along the route. How big of volume are your flasks?

My base minimal set up depends on boiling water too. It is a cheap burner, butane canister, lighter, spoon, can opener and a SS cup. I prepack my items for week long trips, buying in bulk and splitting into meal portions but could also do dehydrated meals in a pinch. They cost a lot for what you get though. Along the way most grocery stores have some form of quick cooking food like couscous, instant rice, oatmeal etc... A lot of high energy food can also be eaten cold or just warmed up like baked beans, Spagetti O's, chili etc... I've even found hard boiled eggs in the deli section.

The cup and 1.5L bottle go in a cargo cage. The other stuff in my frame bag.

I have recently really gotten into Hardtack, an old form of basic energy food. Usually made of flour, salt, water and baked until dry it has served as a staple for most armies and polar explorers.
Following the recipe I've substituted ground rye flakes instead of wheat flour and made several batches now. You can eaten them as is (pretty crunchy) or dunk in coffee or crumble into soups. That's what the polar explorers did, adding it to pemmican to make a thick stew they called Hoosh. On my future bike trips I plan to take a supply of hardtack instead of relying so much on store bought granola bars.






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Old 03-06-20, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Interesting. It would seem you are still tied to buying something at stores to use your system though. And somewhat dependent on having the right store with available water along the route. How big of volume are your flasks?

My base minimal set up depends on boiling water too. It is a cheap burner, butane canister, lighter, spoon, can opener and a SS cup. I prepack my items for week long trips, buying in bulk and splitting into meal portions but could also do dehydrated meals in a pinch. They cost a lot for what you get though. Along the way most grocery stores have some form of quick cooking food like couscous, instant rice, oatmeal etc... A lot of high energy food can also be eaten cold or just warmed up like baked beans, Spagetti O's, chili etc... I've even found hard boiled eggs in the deli section.

The cup and 1.5L bottle go in a cargo cage. The other stuff in my frame bag.

I have recently really gotten into Hardtack, an old form of basic energy food. Usually made of flour, salt, water and baked until dry it has served as a staple for most armies and polar explorers.
Following the recipe I've substituted ground rye flakes instead of wheat flour and made several batches now. You can eaten them as is (pretty crunchy) or dunk in coffee or crumble into soups. That's what the polar explorers did, adding it to pemmican to make a thick stew they called Hoosh. On my future bike trips I plan to take a supply of hardtack instead of relying so much on store bought granola bars.





That's a cool mount! I have a similar setup, I just keep it in my front panniers. My flasks are a little bigger than the bottle in your photo.

It's true, how you need the right store, but when you do, and you're eating steel cut oats and drinking coffee minutes within arriving somewhere, you really feel like you're winning, because stirring oats is tedious.

Most of the fuel used for cooking goes into getting the water hot. Once you have it already piping hot, you barely use any. After I incorporated the flask system my fuel lasted much longer. And like I said, unless you tour on the light end, you don't really get hurt having flasks, since they can just hold reserve water when not in use.

Last edited by Lanesplitter; 03-06-20 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 03-07-20, 11:47 AM
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I think the number of bike tourists that go stoveless is a very small minority. I know there are some, but only rarely have I seen a comment here on that.

Regarding the steel cut oats you like, these instant ones are not bad and are a lot faster. The original version here lacks the flavors and sugars of other versions.
https://www.betteroats.com/products/steel-cut-original/

I have done some tours where stores that you can get hot water are occasionally available, but many if not most of my tours have me in locations where there are no stores for days at a time.

Every once in a while I get hungry for some ham and eggs for breakfast, I admit that a small fry pan makes it a more time consuming process when you can't make it all at once, but I think it is worth it. This small pan is one I only take on solo trips because the small size is too small for more than one person.







But most of the time I have the hot water breakfast of a couple cups of coffee and something mixed up in a small mug or pot. Mountain House makes a freeze dried breakfast called Breakfast Skillet. You can buy that in 10 serving cans. At this time when people are raiding stores to prepare for Covid-19, those cans are selling for absurd amounts of money, but under normal circumstances they are close to $30 a can on Amazon. The can cautions you that they do not store well once opened, I pack up 10 zip lock baggies from one can while packing for my trip while at home, as most of my trips are a couple weeks or longer so packing up ten breakfasts makes sense. It is pretty light being freeze dried. I like to have one serving of that mixed with one envelope of the instant steel cut that I cited above, that mix takes 10 oz of boiling water, re-hydrates in about 5 to 8 min, and tastes pretty good, photo below.




I find that some of the dehydrated soups make up a good meal too. Bear Creek envelopes are supposed to be eight servings, but I usually split one envelope into thirds and have a third at a time. In the photo below I diced up a packet of Spam for some more protein. I mix them up using about 75 percent as much water as they call for.



And they also make a good chili but that needs some additional tomato paste or sauce.



But if you want to go stove-less, go ahead. But I just can't imagine what that kind of deprivation would be like for a month or more. In my opinion, life is too short to eat bad.
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Old 03-07-20, 10:07 PM
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I might be in that small minority but I'm guessing half the time on my regular 7-10 day tours that I travel without a stove. It's so easy in this day and age in many areas, and if it's important to you, yes, you can maintain a healthy diet via grocery and convenient stores, though it's rarely cheap.
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Old 03-08-20, 03:59 AM
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Gossamer Gear Crotch Pot
https://www.gossamergear.com/collect...the-crotch-pot
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Old 03-08-20, 06:27 AM
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personally, I really like a hot drink in the morning, so even on trips where it was pretty much guarenteed to find small eateries for lunch or supper, I have my small Trangia kit to boil water for morning coffee.
So while the times that I use the trangia to actually heat up a supper is very small, its still worth carrying it and the fuel for the morning coffee and the odd times to heat up canned bought stuff or whatever I have in the pannier as a backup meal even in countries with abundant stores.

I do have a friend who does very long hiking trips and he doesnt carry a stove, so it certainly is doable, comes down to priorities.
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Old 03-08-20, 06:11 PM
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Iím in the hot morning drink camp. Donít want to have to depend on a store, especially if the coffee sucks. I also cook a lot at home and like the challenge of making nice meals on the road.
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Old 03-08-20, 06:35 PM
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I thought this thread would be about campfires
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Genesis 49:16-17
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Old 03-08-20, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I thought this thread would be about campfires
Maybe this?
Gasification woodgas cook stove
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Old 03-08-20, 08:35 PM
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Set my grocery store can goods in the touring sunlight dug in with my can opener & spork with a loaf of bread for days at a time. Preferred baked beans & stew then placed empty cans in trash receptacles in towns I passed thru while stocking up for the trip.
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Old 03-08-20, 08:49 PM
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I carry a stove because many places don't allow open fires. Or, I might want a hot drink before bedding down or after getting up. Another plus is that I can cook/heat something up if I need to or want to. And further more, I'm not tied to routes where there are or may be stores.

I remember one really long ride a few years ago and I stopped in a small town to visit the variety store there. Only the store had closed and had been converted to a private dwelling.

Cheers
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Old 03-08-20, 11:41 PM
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Well I've heard of rehydrating dried food with hot water before, and do that fairly regularly myself (if you count cream of wheat and oats, as opposed to mountain house meals - which I've had some, but few, of those). However, I have never heard of doing it without a heat source in camp. That is a new one for me.

As to keeping things hot - I use Stanley thermoses mostly for "storage" of hot stuff (mostly coffee, sometimes hot chocolate) then an Under Armor flip lid vacuum thermos bottle to drink out of. Even the mid-size Stanley thermos I use doesn't last me. In the video I posted on the 52 mile day trip in Ohio (link here) I had to heat the coffee 2 times on the trip.

I suppose if you are "cooking" very shortly after getting hot water, as in within minutes, then it might be possible to do this. However, I would not want to make that a habit.

If you are concerned with weight and size - perhaps you can try an alcohol stove. They are great for heating up water. There are few designs that are able to be throttled, however, so the design of the stove will directly affect how much heat you are able to get out of it. Also worth noting - they are not very good to use in windy conditions and alcohol does not get nearly as hot as other types of fuel (butane, white gas, etc). However, for water heating and what you can do with hot water (brew coffee, rehydrate foods, etc) it might be worth looking in to.

Here is a good site for alcohol stoves.
https://www.minibulldesign.com/productcart/pc/home.asp

I have a few stoves I made that are similar to their Traditional series. If I were to get one from them it would be a Remote Turbo Gnome with the simmer ring. Note that these stoves are all just "burners". They don't hold pots. You will need a "stand" as well. There are 2 styles they have - the 2 arm tripod and a round wire basket. Height of the stand matters - you need to match the height to the stove so you get the right flame height against your pot.
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Old 03-09-20, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Hoaglund View Post
Set my grocery store can goods in the touring sunlight dug in with my can opener & spork with a loaf of bread for days at a time. Preferred baked beans & stew then placed empty cans in trash receptacles in towns I passed thru while stocking up for the trip.
Come again?
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Old 03-09-20, 12:28 PM
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A solar thermos might be a posibility. A thermos with two solar (reflective) panels that heat directly using sunlight.
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Old 03-09-20, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Come again?
I am starting to wonder if I hear an accordion playing somewhere off in the distance.
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Old 03-09-20, 02:20 PM
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Cooking with Sterno is not possible. Great for warming up precooked dishes and getting water hot, but that’s about it. This was my primary “cooking” method on my last trip. Forgot to bring fuel canisters, and they don’t sell them in the Florida Keys.


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Old 03-09-20, 02:28 PM
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Come on, nobody's commented on the Crotch Pot ? Or is that too easy pickins for some of the more comedic in this forum?
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Old 03-09-20, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Come on, nobody's commented on the Crotch Pot ? Or is that too easy pickins for some of the more comedic in this forum?
I looked at it and now every google ad on other websites has CROTCH POT pictoral advertisements. For that, I laughed.
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Old 03-09-20, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Come on, nobody's commented on the Crotch Pot ? Or is that too easy pickins for some of the more comedic in this forum?
Snails Bells! It's on my buy list... no foolin'.
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Old 03-09-20, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Come on, nobody's commented on the Crotch Pot ? Or is that too easy pickins for some of the more comedic in this forum?
gosamer ads come up on my feeds now... thank you!
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Old 03-10-20, 05:05 AM
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In the hiking world, there's a whole category of Freezer Bag Cooking (FBC) recipes, with at least one cookbook written about it. Many carry an insulated cozy for the purpose, light and easily packed.

Off topic: On my long distance hikes (AT, PCT, CDT among others), I developed my own style of stoveless travel, that works well for me on the bike. Hot meals in my camp are usually just a pot of warm, salty glop, difficult to clean, a waste of time, using too much water in dry camps. Hot coffee in the morning makes me nervous and jittery, and that's easy to forgo on bike tours. Town stops are more fun without having to look for fuel resupply. My kitchen used to take up an entire front pannier, and leaving it behind was a major step in lightening the touring load.
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Old 03-10-20, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I looked at it and now every google ad on other websites has CROTCH POT pictoral advertisements. For that, I laughed.
Same here.

I would not call body temperature cooking temperature, but it might be a good petri dish temperature.

A gal I used to work with would put a ramen noodle pack and cold water into a jar in the morning, then hours later would eat if for lunch without any heat. That was one of her go-to meals for lunch when camping or backpacking.
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Old 03-10-20, 07:26 AM
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Maybe I will leave the stove behind and make ceviche instead.
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Old 03-10-20, 12:01 PM
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Repeat by mistake

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