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No cook Backpacking


Jaeagle

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Heading out on some of the desert portion of the PCT come mid February. With all the wild fires I feel like my usual canister stove even if used correctly may not be the best idea. So I am asking you all if you have any great no cook recipes. I have the summer sausage and energy bars stuff but I would like some easy tasty options for dinners. Looking into cold soaking with a ice cream jar but Raman just seems blah. Thanks in advance. Also looking for partners if interested. 

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I’m one to always plan for a hot meal at the end of the day when I can, so I haven’t dedicated much time to figuring out what works best in this regard; a cold dinner is usually an unplanned event in my case. :)

I have skipped a hot meal from just being exhausted and ready for the sleeping bag on a few occasions however, and have just gone with things I usually eat for lunch - tortillas, bagels, peanut butter, jerky, etc. which has worked fine for me on an infrequent basis. Also, If you can get mac and cheese to work and since you mentioned it, as of late I’ve been adding summer sausage to that (although hot) which is a great combo. 

However, here is a bonified no cook recipe thanks to @PaulMags from Issue 27 that might just be what you’re looking for!

https://www.trailgroove.com/issue27.html?autoflip=151

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You might want to look into some MREs.  They have a water activated heater pack and are generally pretty good.  They are a good alternative to a fire, especially in a dry area.

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A stove should be fine in Feb. 

I have done some trips in the low desert in winter and the only time the stove comes out is to make coffee and heat some hot water for oatmeal.  In a place like Death Valley it can be warm in the afternoon.  We have usually been out hiking.  What feels good is to sit in the shade of the truck in a lawn chair and have a couple of beers.  Then for dinner it is all no cook food.  In the heat it is a welcome system and saves a lot of work.  I usually sleep on a cot in the open top get above the rocks.  Then it is possible to watch the Milky Way and listen to the coyotes and wild donkeys. 

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Thank you all for your great suggestions. I am looking into MRE and also some half no cook meals. I have been tryingmcold soaking at home to see if it’s so able but the flavor is just kinda blah! 

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People sometimes forget that there is no point in hauling dehyrated food if you have to haul all the water to prepare it.  Hydrated food is the answer in the desert.  I fondly remember backpacking in Big Bend around New Year's.  I went on a trip with three geologists.  We used 7 1/2' quads to navigate the desert from spring to spring.   I brought a salad, lettuce, avacado, carrots.  It was a welcome luxury especially in dry country.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
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If you're willing to soak look into growing trail sprouts. They are a highly nutritious and tasty, a welcoming addition to no cook food sandwich type offerings. Outdoor Herbivore has a seed sprouting kit with seeds and a small hemp fabric bag you grow the sprouts.  

FWIW, that word desert throws many people off. In Feb the Mojave Desert PCT morns, evenings and night temps will be cold very very possibly below freezing. It surely is experienced by NOBOers to some extent even in April.  Depending on what PCT segment you opt for you will have snow and possibly some run off. This could factor into your cook no cook food decisions.   I'm with Aaron that a warm offering for at least dinner is a welcome one as the desert temps drop precipitously. And, as Mag's says on his site a good psychological boost.   

Expanding on Aaron's suggestions don't stop at PB consider other nut butters and seed butters such as almond, cashew, and tahini. They not only are good for lunch and dinner sandwiches but can be a great dip for those sometimes bland energy/nutrition bars.

Consider tuna in packets(yellowtail in EVOO) offering  added taste and  a higher cal/oz ratio than anything in water, sardines, likewise in EVOO, and various cheeses. Good with sprouts.   

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Yes cold Ramen is uhh meh. Consider a better brand than the cheapest ones like Maurchuan and Nissen. Lotus brand is available in Costco, Target, and the occasional WallyWorld. Don't forget SOBA gluten free buckwheat noodles work well as a soak  and used too. Again, the nut or seed butter(tahini and PB work well) can be added with a packet of soy sauce, chives, sprouts, dash of red pepper flakes, and maybe some sesame seed/sesame seed oil. This is  similar to the cold sesame noodles  found on Chinese Menus. If desired throw in some chicken chunks bought in foil bags. Sandwiches DO NOT have to always contain something from the deli(sliced ham, cheese, turkey, salami, etc). Sesame seed can be found at any bakery but you have to ask for a small amount.

Have you considered drinking your food or at least some of it  with a whole food powdered mix?

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Thank you for the suggestions! I am truly excited to try all this new stuff out especially the trail sprouts. I am not a big cooked fish fan but might need to teach myself to learn to. I have been wanting to try cold soaking and will take your advice about it. 

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Also look into powdered hummus mix from Fantastic Foods, Bobs Red Mill, etc. Reconstitute with H2O, EVOO, or coconut oil. This is another much less perishable good sandwich making ingredient rather than sliced deli meats. The oils are multi use also.

No cook oatmeal soaked in H2O is so much better with added ingredients like  coconut milk powder, cinnamon, crystalized ginger, nuts, dried fruits etc.  

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