Quick Tip: Pre-packaged winter meals

Winter backpacking requires additional skills that build upon three-season basics.

Managing layers, perhaps different modes of travel and everything takes longer, too.

Part of winter backpacking is melting snow for water.

A fuel and time-intensive task that is no fun when you just want to eat dinner after a long day of skiing.

A simple solution? Just take pre-hydrated food from home, throw in a ziplock and heat up the meal in the evening when making camp.

Particularly for an overnighter, this method works well.

Some advantages: 

  • Your whole world is a freezer. The food does not go bad.
  • Fuel is saved: You do not have to reconstitute the meal or melt snow for water.
  • You are eating quickly.

A favorite is chili, rice, cheese and Hatch peppers. Of course.

Pulled pork with pre-boiled potatoes, carrots and peas is another hearty dish that seems to help with the cold winter nights.

Any stew-type dishes you can put in a ziplock bag works well using this method.

Just be careful to keep the heat low, so you do not burn the bottom of the pot.  If you do burn it? Call it a Cajun style dish. 🙂 

And if your pot is big enough and you use a freezer bag, a “boil-in-a-bag” type meal can easily be done and avoid the potential issue above with finicky backpacking stoves.

So next time you are winter backpacking, cheat a little bit.  Make what is essentially an MRE meal and make dinner time a little bit easier.

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7 years ago

Do you take the food frozen or fresh? If you take it fresh, do you try to keep it from freezing? Or do you just heat it for longer so that it melts? It seems like, if it becomes frozen, you won’t save fuel (compared to melting snow and rehydrating).

7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Mags

Good point! I guess if it is just for dinner the first night, it probably won’t freeze unless it gets really, really cold…