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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

Winter Camping Skills: Plan Your Menu

Use these tips to plan perfect winter camping meals.

by: David Schmidt


>> Make simple meals
To conserve fuel, make fast-cooking, one-pot foods like angel-hair pasta, powdered soups, rice, freeze-dried dinners, instant potatoes, and one-minute oatmeal. For heartier, zestier chow, add chicken or tuna from foil pouches, summer sausage chunks, peanuts, walnuts, or crumbled crackers. And bring packets of spice mix, such as Italian, pesto, and Indian curry.

>> Brew warm drinks to stay hydrated
Research at the University of New Hampshire has shown that temperatures below 40°F actually alter your thirst sensation, so you don’t feel as thirsty as in warm weather, even when you’re dehydrated. Plus, since sweat quickly evaporates in cold air, you don’t realize how much water you’re losing. But, of course, it’s as important as ever to replace fluids. As a general rule, drink five liters of water per day, or until your pee is nearly clear. Add sports-drink mix, cocoa, or tea to make the beverage more appealing.

>> Refrigerate your food
Dig a small snow cave and cache your fare, water, fuel, and anything else that you don’t want to freeze. After dinner, seal the opening with at least a foot of snow (fridges don’t work if they’re left ajar). Because snow insulates, temps inside the cache won’t drop below 32°F, regardless of outside temps. Mark the fridge’s location with a wand so it’s easy to find in a whiteout.


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