But for longer, overnight trips, I carry a backpacking stove. That's right! Those cute little backpacking stoves aren't just for the back woods. I carry mine just about everywhere. Instead of stopping at a convenience store for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, we stop at rest areas and I fire up the stove. Likewise, I prepare pre-portioned dinners from dehydrated foods at home in ziploc freezer bags and simply add hot water to rehydrate in the bag. This method, called "Freezer Bag Cooking," or FBC, has been used by backpackers for years to savor homemade goodness when on the go.
Sarah Kirkconnell has one of the best sites for FBC how-to and recipes here. I have her book, and while a lot of the recipes use pasta, instant potatoes, and rice, which I don't eat, my kids really like many of the meals. For healthier dinners, replace pasta with dried julienned zucchini noodles ("zoodles"), dried riced cauliflower for the rice, and dried mashed cauliflower for potatoes.
|Roadside Stop to Heat Water for Tea and a Snack with an Alcohol Stove|
The upside to eating in the room after a day of activity like skiing or hiking, is that we can shower and eat at our leisure. We are usually dirty and exhausted, ready to clean up and lounge around the room instead of waiting for food service and paying ridiculous resort prices for dinner. A word of caution here: I feel much safer heating water on my Jetboil, since the likelihood of a fuel spill and subsequent fire is unlikely. I also cook outside on the balcony or on the front stoop. Depending on the stove, in 2 to 6 minutes I have 16 ounces of boiling water, which is enough to rehydrate one dinner and one hot beverage.
A couple years ago we travelled to Yellowstone National Park, planning to spend 9 days driving around the park, staying in park operated hotels. My husband thought I was nuts to pack a good portion of our checked suitcase with dehydrated meals prepared at home, along with my trusty Jetboil. "Why can't we just eat in restaurants like normal people?" he inquired.
|Rich Fly Fishing while I make dinner nearby|
I was happy to have some food in my tummy when we had to drive around to the nearest outfitter to find some pliers to get the fishing hook out of Rich's arm after he accidentally caught himself instead of a fish! We would have been very late to dinner, indeed :)
|The Biggest Catch of the Day!|
Keep in mind that when air traveling, your backpacking stove is allowed in checked baggage, but fuel is prohibited. Research ahead of time to find a place to purchase your fuel of choice once you reach your destination. Canisters for stoves like the Jetboil can be purchased at any outdoor retailer, while alcohol stoves have a little more flexibility; methylated spirits can be purchased at hardware stores or WalMart in the paint aisle, and Heet brand fuel additive in the yellow bottles can be found in auto parts aisle.