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DSCN0236.jpg (35207 bytes)
Winter Kitchen: 
Note the two baking ovens, center.  

DSCN0237.jpg (28862 bytes)
Upside down hand-made equipment sleds 
used as cooking surfaces.

Winter Nutrition Hints:


bulletThe food you eat is fuel for the body, it is used to generate body heat.  It also provides energy to the muscles needed to walk, run, climb, etc.  Food is required for muscular activity.  Muscular activity in turn produces heat.


bulletKeep your water bottle on your person so it doesn't freeze.  Keep the top of the bottle down so if ice forms at the bottom it doesn't block the opening.


bulletUse stainless steel containers for cooking whenever possible.  They are both a pleasure to cook with and easily cleaned.


bulletUse plastic cup, bowl, and spoon, an insulated variety, if possible.  You'll also find wooden cups and spoons to be good in winter camping as there is much less heat loss than with metal.


bulletThe use of a small stove in winter cooking is usually a great help. 


bulletIf you have to prime a bulky stove, let cool first. The lingering vaporized gas is highly volatile.  Fire-starting paste makes the job easier and may be worth caring in cold conditions.


bulletCarry extra fuel if you plan to heat up extremely cold water.


bulletBuild fires on a base platform of logs to prevent the snow from melting into It and putting it out.  On very windy days, dig out a hole in the snow and build the fire down in it for protection.  


bulletA stove exposed to wind takes twice as long to cook.  Create a windbreak with water bottles, food sacks, or rocks.


bulletAlways use lids when cooking. If you have stackable pots and are preparing a sauce after you've cooked your main dish, put that pot on top so the bottom's rising heat keeps it warm until mealtime.


bulletAfter every meal, fill your stove with fuel so you won't run out halfway through the next one.


bulletFill half-empty water bottles with snow.  The jostling movement while hiking will turn the snow to water.


bulletIf you must eat snow (never ice) melt and warm it in your mouth before swallowing.  This keeps your mouth moist and prevents your stomach from chilling.


bulletDehydration seriously impairs the body's ability to produce heat.  Drink fluids as often as possible during the day, and keep a full water bottle by your side at night.


bulletRice is one of the best items in your "cupboard" for winter or, for that matter, any camping.  It can be used in many different ways from main dishes to breakfast to desserts, takes but a small amount of space and is easily prepared.


bulletFats are important in the winter to release heat and energy slowly.  A good source of vegetable fat is corn oil margarine and can be used in almost anything.  Fats give energy of 9.3 calories/gm compared to carbohydrate and protein of 4.1/gm in final metabolism.


bulletIn provisioning for winter camping, use the following as a guide:


  Winter Summer
Carbohydrates (Starches: potatoes, pasta, oatmeal; Sugar: candy bar, fruit) 40% 53%
Fats  (pepperoni) 40% 35%
Proteins  (meats, peanuts) 20% 12%


bulletThis is not a hard and fast rule but a guide in choosing your foods.  Fifty percent of the protein should be in first-class proteins: milk, meats and eggs.


bulletCaffeine-free coffee is indicated for persons in winter camping to combat dehydration and diminish mental tension (headaches).


bulletWhen making trail biscuits, it is interesting to note that whole-wheat flour has 25% more biological value and twice the protein value of white flour.


bulletPeanut butter and honey make a very good trail spread.  Mix at home and package in individual servings. 


bulletThe dangers of eating snow or ice deserves special attention.  The amount of heat required to convert one ounce of snow or ice at 32 degrees F into one ounce of water at 32 degrees F is the same amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one ounce of water from room temperature to boiling.  That is, heat is required just to convert Ice or snow to water without raising its temperature.  If you eat ice or snow, the heat required to do this melting comes from your body.


bulletAdd fats to your meals.  Fat provides the most calories for the least weight carried.  Margarine is the handiest source - it can be added to breakfast cereals, crackers, sandwiches, pasta, rice and potatoes.


bulletBefore your trip, remove all food from cardboard packaging and put it in plastic bags.  


bulletIn deep snow build a snow kitchen instead of cooking inside of your tent.  Near the tent dig a trench with stairs leading into it.  Three feet deep by four fed wide by seven feet long suffices for two people.  On one long side make a bench on which you can unroll a foam-sleeping pad.  On the other make a table.  Let the snow kitchen set up for a least a half-hour before using it.  This is preferable to cooking in your tent even if the air temperature is below zero, because steam makes clothing and sleeping bags soggy.


bulletWhen melting snow, always start with a little starter water.  If snow is put into a hot pan it will scorch, giving the water and meal a bad taste.  Always leave a little water to start the next batch to melt. 


bulletInstead of melting snow, save time and fuel by locating running water.  Look along streams for open spots or dig in a low spot of the snow filled streambed.  Often, snow banks are high above the surface of the water and there is no convenient way down.  Carry a collapsible vinyl bucket and tie 30 feet of alpine cord to the handle.  Drop the bucket into the stream and haul up the water.


bulletWhile traveling over a deep snowpack, or on a route far from water sources, it becomes necessary to melt snow.  Take the wettest snow available and pack it into a pot.  Keep the stove flame low until you've melted a half-inch of water.  Only then turn up the flame.  If you start melting with high heat you'll actually impart a burned taste to the water.  Ideally, save a bit of water in your water bottle at the end of the day so you can start melting with liquid.


bulletThe days are short in the winter.  Time spent cooking is time spent standing around getting cool.  This means food that cooks fast is important.  Often snow has to be melted for water, adding to the cooking time.


bulletDinner should be your highest calorie meal of the day.


bullet Remember, you have to drink lots of fluids in the winter; a gallon a day. Soup and hot drinks should be emphasized. 


bulletAvoid coffee, it is a strong diuretic.  In other words, it makes you pee, robbing your body of vital fluids.  Drink hot Tang or lemonade, bullion, or cocoa.


bulletAlcohol opens your surface blood vessels giving at first a feeling of warmth, then once your valuable heat Is gone, chilling you to the bone. Also it clouds your thought processes in an environment that demands more respect than that.


bulletAlways keep a water bottle with you under your clothes or in your sleeping bag at night.  This way, it won't freeze.  During the day, keep it upside down so ice will form at the bottom rather than over the opening.


bulletBring  a tarp to lay under your kitchen gear and food as you work.  Small items dropped into the snow are lost forever to the Thief of the North.

Winter Camping






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.