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Dessert Time: Use Nature's Fridge

Use streams, snow, rivers, and ponds as chilling grounds for enticing backcountry desserts.

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The trail meal needn’t be a ho-hum experience. In fact, I’ve started taking along my favorite desserts, like gelatin, pudding, and even flan. Backpackers normally overlook such goodies because refrigeration is a must. Fact is, most backcountry areas offer natural refrigeration in abundance.

  • At high altitudes: snow or ice
  • At low altitudes: mountain streams
  • In the warm flatlands: a river or pond

Prepare your preferred dessert and place it in one zipper-lock bag inside another. Toss the bag into shallow, cold water or snow. If there’s a risk your treat might float away or slide down an icy mountain, fill another bag with cold water or snow, then place your dessert bag inside that “mini-fridge.” Pudding sets up in about 10 minutes, and it can take as long as 4 hours for gelatin to get wiggly.