Going cold (and cold soaking)

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Vegan.Hiker

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I thought about resurrecting Nick’s old thread from 2012 on this topic... old thread

But I was hoping to find a convo on cold soaking in particular not just going stoveless in general. It’s the off-season here in the northeast and I have a sprained ankle so i’m tinkering with my setup and have considered going cold for a while.

I recently ordered a bunch of Outdoor Herbivore cold meals and a bunch of other stuff on Amazon that i’ve read worked out for thru-hikers who cold soak (some different ramen noodles, dehydrated refried beans, etc.) so i’ll be doing a lot of testing and sampling. I can post up my findings here if anyone is interested in the topic.

I know this isn’t for everyone, especially coffee drinkers, but I really don’t think i’d miss the hot food much. As far as actual weight savings, my jetboil Ti Sol and a 100g fuel canister weigh in at about 12.5oz whereas an empty peanut butter jar for soaking weighs in at a little over an oz. It’s not just the weight savings though i’m interested In. I really like the no fuss simplicity.

If anyone else has tried this i’d be interested in hearing what worked and didn’t work for you.
 

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Miya

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I was just watching a bunch of videos on YouTube about cold soaking. Not my thing, but most people talk about their favorite cold soaks. One of the guys loved to cold soak refried beans and ramen and put them together...:whistle: to each his own lol

So far, all I have done is oatmeal and it was definitely edible! :twothumbs:
 

Wanderlust073

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I actually drink my coffee cold over ice, two times a day. But I have never understood the attraction to cold soaked beans or noodles or really anything. Bars, nuts, granola, fruit, jerky, tortillas, pb&j, sausages - all sorts of much tastier options when the mood to skip cooking strikes. What's the upside to cold soak?
 

Vegan.Hiker

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I actually drink my coffee cold over ice, two times a day. But I have never understood the attraction to cold soaked beans or noodles or really anything. Bars, nuts, granola, fruit, jerky, tortillas, pb&j, sausages - all sorts of much tastier options when the mood to skip cooking strikes. What's the upside to cold soak?
Yup, definitely not for everyone. For me, eating on the trail is not something I look forward to anyways even with a stove, it’s purely a functional replacement of calories for me. Some Backpacker’s Pantry Chili or those same ramen noodles warmed up are equally unappetizing to me, but with the added fuss of having to cook, clean, and carry more stuff. I eat a lot of cold food at home already (sesame noodles, peanut butter noodles, quinoa salad, pasta salad, etc.) so it doesn’t feel like a big deal to me to ditch the stove. I still plan on bringing most of the other cold stuff you mentioned like bars, dried fruit, etc.

As an example, this is one of the cold soaked meals I ordered from Outdoor Herbivore...

Pacific Crest Vinagrette
4DE274A7-249A-4416-BEA3-CCFAF7E9B1B5.jpeg

Description from website: This is the answer to a fresh salad on the trail. Just add water and allow to hydrate 5 minutes. Made with CA grown freeze-dried broccoli, slivered almonds, plump sweet cranberries and raisins marinated in a zesty vinaigrette. Vegan. Gluten Free.

The 2 serving pouch I ordered weighs 6 oz and is 758 calories. Probably a better weight/calorie ratio than most bars and dried fruit and granola. I haven’t tested it to see how it tastes yet but if it’s no worse than a Good2Go or Backpacker’s Pantry meal, than that’s a win to me since I can then leave my 13 oz (Jet boil and fuel) at home and enjoy more time enjoying my surroundings instead of cooking, cleaning, and packing up extra equipment.

This is all academic for me right now as i’ve always brought my Primus stove and pot, and then switched to a JetBoil a few years ago. If the stuff I ordered doesn’t taste like ass though i’m probably going to try making the switch.
 
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Wanderlust073

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Well that looks pretty gourmet. I'd be all over that.
 

LarryBoy

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Stoveless since 2014ish, including on my long hikes, at least so far.

Instant mashed potatoes. Just as good cold as hot.

I'm allergic to beans so never tried that. Cold ramen is ok but frankly, its not worth the effort to me. If I want a prepared dinner I'll bring a stove.

One thing with cold ramen: make sure you mix the seasonijng in thoroughly. Otherwise you get some unflavored noodles and some turbocharged overseasoned ones. Much more of a consideration than with hot ramen.
 

LarryBoy

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I'm mostly with Wanderlust though. One of the big advantages of no stove is you can eat whatever yuou want, whenever you want. No fuss, no prep, no thinking ahead. Just open your food bag and dive in headfirst. And trail mix beats cold ramen any day.

I know it's not directly applicable to you, VH, but for others: precooked bacon is amazing, caloric, amazing, and amazing. It's pricey but can sometimes be found at bargain prices in bulk food retailers and sketchy food warehouse places (like NPS over on Redwood Rd for those in Salt Lake)
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Well that looks pretty gourmet. I'd be all over that.
Well that’s the picture from their website so I’m not sure it’ll be as appetizing in reality. I’ll make that one tomorrow and post up a real picture and a one or two sentence review. Doesn’t seem like there’s much interest in this topic but i’ll post my results anyway. Then if it ever becomes of interest to anyone down the road, there’ll be some kind of resource they can search for.

I love my food hot.
I’m pretty sure Ben only carries a stove so nobody realizes that he only eats candy on the trail. I honest don’t remember seeing you ever eat anything else lol.

One thing with cold ramen: make sure you mix the seasonijng in thoroughly. Otherwise you get some unflavored noodles and some turbocharged overseasoned ones. Much more of a consideration than with hot ramen.
Thanks for the tip Larry. Most of the seasoning packets aren’t vegan though so I chuck those and i’m experimenting with veg bouillon cubes, powdered peanut butter and single serve sriracha packets.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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One of the guys loved to cold soak refried beans and ramen and put them together...:whistle: to each his own lol
I’m definitely going to try that. Sounds like a cold version of the what they call a Ramen Bomb in AT culture, or is that Ramen and Mashed Potatoes? Not sure but I bet @LarryBoy would know.
 

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Nick

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That meal looks pretty good, but cold and soaked still sound kinda awful. This coming from a guy who's taken up cold showering every day for the last few months! Anyway, I'm heading out on my first big backpacking trip in a while next week and I'll be happily stove free, but minus the cold soaking. Although I might hit someone up for some hot water for tea.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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That meal looks pretty good, but cold and soaked still sound kinda awful.
Yeah the phrase “cold soaked” evokes imagery of something soggy and nasty . I guess reconstituted or rehydrated would be a more appropriate term. I’ve only messed with the ramen so far. I put just enough water in to barely cover them and by the time I ate them all the water was gone, so they didn’t really taste “soaked”. They were much better than I thought they’d be.

And what’s up with the cold showers?
 

LarryBoy

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I’m definitely going to try that. Sounds like a cold version of the what they call a Ramen Bomb in AT culture, or is that Ramen and Mashed Potatoes? Not sure but I bet @LarryBoy would know.
I'm ashamed to admit I've never heard of a Ramen Bomb before. :(
 
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LarryBoy

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Surprising. If you google RAMEN BOMB all you’ll get is endless videos and articles by AT people about it.
Haha I also was ahead of most of the 'crowd' on the AT (I started super early) so I'm probably not as up on AT culture as I otherwise would be
 
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wsp_scott

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I've considered going stove-less, but I like my coffee hot, still considering the idea.

Definitely report back on the salad, that looks great
 

Wanderlust073

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Well that’s the picture from their website so I’m not sure it’ll be as appetizing in reality.
Wonder how much easier the clean-up is as well. Seems like they'd have to add oils/sauces for both calories and flavor, and that's the stuff that always seems to leave the mess behind in any dish.
 

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