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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Trail Chef: No-Cook Oatmeal

Everyone's favorite breakfast staple doesn't necessarily require a stove.

by: Kristin Bjornsen

Maybe you're doing an alpine start—crawling out of your tent in the cold, pre-dawn dark to climb a siren peak before afternoon thunderstorms hit—and you don't want to waste time boiling water. Or perhaps you forgot your stove, fuel, or matches (or all three!). Or it simply could be that you're camping in the dead of summer, it's already 90 degrees at 8 in the morning, and the thought of a hot breakfast turns your stomach. In any case, you can still have fast, beloved oatmeal to fuel your day—without lighting a single burner—with one of these tasty methods.

Infant oatmeal
The instant oatmeal, barley, or rice made for infants and toddlers is formulated to be prepared with cold water. Pack some in a zip-top bag, pour it into a bowl in the morning, stir in cold water and any toppings you want (walnuts, brown sugar, raisins, honey, cinnamon, chocolate chips), and dig in.

Apple juice oatmeal
In a bowl, add 1 cup water to a packet of powdered apple juice or cider, and stir. Then mix in 1/2 cup of a quick-cooking grain, such as rolled oats, barley, or rye. Let it sit for 20 minutes. By the time you've gotten dressed and readied your pack, it will be ready to enjoy.

Oatmeal soup
The night before, soak 1/3 cup rolled or steel-cut oats in 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup skim milk (you can also use powdered milk; just add more water).  Let soak overnight. In the morning, add a handful of raisins and whatever else you like (one idea: shredded carrot). Depending on preference, you might also want to add a bit more milk.

If all of that still sounds like too much work, just do like Scottish soldiers on the march once did: Place 1/2 cup oats in a bag and add enough water to make a paste. Not very gourmet, but it does the trick.

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Jun 12, 2011

It's funny how we think we're making a smart move by eating things like oatmeal and soy, but really - we're just killing ourselves faster.

I highly recommend you guys take a look at the Primal Blueprint diet and read up on some peer-reviewed research involving nutrition and cancer.

Just some things you might find worth looking up..

- high carb diet unhealthy
- high red meat causes cancer
- grain causes cancer
- soy causes cancer
- soy gmo cancer
- high dairy causes cancer

Bill Giles
Apr 15, 2011

Thanks for the suggestions on buying apple juice powder. I found some on Amazon. I'll keep an eye out.

Apr 03, 2011

I eat raw oats at home soaked in soy milk with apples and nuts on top. We call it a missionary breakfast. Pretty delicious and apparently great preparation for backpacking.

Apr 02, 2011

I get it at my local super market. It's usually located in the aisle where you'll find coffee, tea and cocoa mix.

Apr 01, 2011

On one trip, I needed to conserve fuel, so I just added cold water to instant oatmeal and it was fine. The texture is a lot like regular cold cereal, which I always eat at home anyway. And it doesn't get like sticky cement either! It's easy and quick and saves fuel weight. So it's been my main backpacking breakfast for the last 5 years. I always mix one or two packs of regular unflavored with one of maple/brown sugar. Any other flavor works too.

Apr 01, 2011

Powdered apple juice is available a few packets toa box sometimes in regular grocery stores in December, often around Christmas. Apple cider - not really because there is a slight alcohol content. Often advertised in winter as a hot apple cider mix - add hot water and cinnamon and a shot of your favorite liquor. Most of these packets are apple flavor and lots of sugar.

Terry Rich
Apr 01, 2011

Actually it can get even more simple. We premix old fashion oat meal w/ powdered milk, nuts, dried fruit and just add H2O in the morning(actually this slows down the glycemic effect a bit). Let it soak while enjoying your java or just go for it. For extra protein you can add whey protein. Otter

Bill Giles
Apr 01, 2011

Where do we get powdered apple juice or cider?


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