Your No-cook & Cold-soak Primer For Next Hiking Season (Response to Subscriber Re: Cold Soaking / No Cook)


Have you wanted to make eating while camping or hiking easier?
Yeah, cleaning out your pot after cooking a meal is pretty annoying. So is having to resupply fuel canisters, waiting for water to boil, and trying to simmer an ultralight stove that just won't... ah forget it I'll just eat burned food off the bottom of my titanium pot again.

I find that no-cook and cold-soak food strategies are much more convenient for a variety of reasons

But basically I'm lazy, no cook and/or cold soaking isn't terrible, and it's worth giving it a shot.


So I got a comment from a friend on this video, and I ended up writing a long response on this stuff. I'm copying it here in case someone else can get something out of it at some point:

Too Many AT HikerHighlighted commentToo Many AT Hiker2 days agoSongbird, please share some recipes for cold soaking. I am planning on cold soaking some this summer in the Smokies. Hope you are doing well.REPLY
Hide replySongBird UltralightSongBird Ultralight
44 seconds ago
What! I wrote a reply to you and it vanished :(
I am doing alright thanks. Fortunate to be able to work from home these days. I hope that you are also doing well. For me cold soaking comes down to: 1. Overnight oats (minute oats) with, *POWDERED MILK, and a handful of whatever trailmix I have with me that resupply.
Gah dang it's good breakfast. But most of all, it appeals to my lazy side because I just throw stuff in a jar, shake it, and go to bed.
If you can find jam packets, brown sugar packets, etc in town you're golden.
Be gentle with adding peanut butter to your overnight oats. I find it can make it a harder to eat breakfast.
Also, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips melt into the oats if they soak long enough. 2. Ramen. But after a while you can't just do ramen. Even if you're cooking your ramen and eating it hot you can't just do straight ramen. It gets so so boring so quickly, so add things like:
chunks of cheese, pepperonis, beef jerky, crunchy peanut butter (no smooth - I don't make the rules sorry just how it is), sun dried tomatoes, a little powdered milk maybe depending on the base, or maybe some olive oil to bring up the calories. 3. The couscous thing. You gotta mix it up. Or I do anyway, I get bored quickly. I missed out on Couscous for far too long. Couscous is very tasty and comes in a significant variety of flavors. It re-hydrates fairly quickly, like ramen. I'd say look for a "quick" version, like the overnight oats/ramen noodles so that it's easy and quick to prepare. There's all kinds of other recommendations you'll see online like powdered hummus and other very fancy and tasty-sounding things. I never found powdered hummus/ dehydrated veggies resupplying at the likes of DG though. If I found some somewhere I'd have totally gotten it.
Point is, if you're going to do maildrops you'll have loads of options. Trail-side resupply, maybe not so much. Don't get married to cold-soaking though. You don't want every single dinner and/or every breakfast to be like this. Oftentimes I find I just want to eat lunch-style food (tortillas+?) and be done with it. I typically get a jar of peanut butter, eat it down to almost gone, start resupplying cold-soak appropriate foodstuffs, and then cold-soak for a week or two until I'm bored of it or I'm having trouble keeping the jar clean. At some point I may grab another jar of peanut butter (or similarly decent container like nutella) and start over. Ah and don't forget to fill your jar 1/4 full of water, shake it, and drink it down to do the dishes. Soaking jars get weird pretty quick if you don't shake em out every time. In fact, maybe just leave the lid off every once in a while to let it dry out eh? *Secret weapons to keep things interesting on a no-cook/cold-cook diet: Ready Meals if I want "real" wet/cooked food (even if it's cold) that's not ... ramen... after a while and has no prep time. It's heavy but having 1-2 of them on a long resupply 7+ days is nice and I typically eat them the first two nights. There's a TON of stuff you'd think you'd have to microwave / heat up for it to be safe to eat, but NO! Kind of like canned food you can just open ready-meal type stuff and chow down. Mmm. Whole fruits and Veggies/ in syrup dried & chocolate covered
Whole things that are actually juicy and fresh are great to have on trail, but they can take up a lot of space in a pack/food bag. Some fresh stuff does better than others. just pack an orange or a yellow one out and put it in/on everything. (Check out that vitamin C by the way in the nutrition table on the right side!) Sometimes I cut up a couple peppers into strips and throw them in a baggie to eat days 1-2.
Fruits like oranges do really well riding in a pack for a while.
Bananas get bruised up and gross after day 2 but are great for breakfast morning 2 in some overnight oats.
Apples are tasty, but never really fill me up and I feel like they take up a lot of space (pancake is going to slap me) for what you get. They hold up super well in a pack though, and there's extra points for added peanut butter every other bite. Extra points I guess for fruits&veggies that are easy to eat entirely/almost entirely: apples, kiwi, zuchini, yellow squash, ???. Diced peaches in lunchbox-style snack-packs are also heavy but damn are they delicious. I have to hold myself to 1 per day or I'll be out day 2. Also see pears in syrup. The little orange sections in a pack of syrup make no sense to me though. Dried fruit like banana chips, mango, rasins, (all of them) are really nice to mix in with your trailmix and add a little something something to your oatmeal in the morning as well.
There's basically no reason to make trailmix/gorp that doesn't have some fruit in it. It gives you pops of flavor that can't be beat. Extra points for chocolate covered somethings, but then you have to have a second, plain fruit option in your trailmix to be able to pick out and eat (again, I don't make the rules it's just how it is). Trailmix is a whole other thing. All my "wet" fruit and vegetables I pack out are usually gone day 3, not because they'll go bad but because its something I really end up missing on trail.
(end of comment reply)  Thanks for checking out the little no-cook/cold-soak primer I wrote for 'TooMany'. I hope it gave you something that you can add to your next trip.

I hope you have a really good day.