Let’s admit it! Backpacking excites you, and it is something that you look forward to because it allows you to connect with yourself somewhere far away. But, how is it different when you go camping during the winter season? Aside from looking for clothes that will keep you warm, cooking can also be a challenge. So, let us learn more about what a cold weather backpacking stove is and understand better how it works.
When you go camping on a winter season or cold weather, a hot chocolate, coffee, or soup will definitely give your body a warm, soothing feeling. But, it can actually be a challenge to carry water which is ready to drink because the weather can make the liquid frozen while you are traveling. So, what are you supposed to do and how will you survive backpacking in cold weather?
There are so many things to consider when deciding on the right camping gears to bring just like the location, the distance, the number of days you will go camping, and the number of people you are in a group. You want to make sure you carry essential stuff that will allow you and the group to make it together, especially in a cold season.
Cold Weather Backpacking Stove: How Do We Cope?
It may not seem very obvious, but food preparation in cold weather can be very challenging. It can already be tricky to set a fire on a hot day, depending on your resources, but it is almost impossible to start one on a cold and wet season when you are unprepared.
For instance, the gas will simply flow out of the canister on a hot day, but it may not work at all when the weather is cold which will then make it hard for you to create a flame, leaving cooking almost impossible. If you are not able to cook or boil water, it can cause hypothermia, exhaustion, and even dehydration.
Canister use can be the most reliable when camping in cold weather. However, they can get very cold quickly just by being out of your bag. So the first challenge would be to keep the canister warm so you can start using it. Also, you have to take note you will need to keep the canister warm all throughout your cooking. To do this, you will have to wrap it around a jacket or a sleeping bag.
There are winter-worthy remote canister stoves which come with pre-heat tubes. These stoves use gas canisters which usually come with regulators that provide consistent output regardless of the temperature.
Canister stoves are light, easy to use, and they work fast. They can also include flame adjustment functions and are designed with minimal space between the burner and the base of the pot so it can block the wind. However, fuel for canister stoves are more expensive, and it will be harder to make them work at extreme cold temperature.
There are also liquid fuel stoves which are designed to stand cold temperatures. They normally include heat reflectors and windscreens which wrap around the cookware while you are cooking. They come with fuel bottles which act as the canister and a fuel pump.
Liquid fuel stoves can be bulkier and heavier, and they usually need more maintenance. They work well in freezing temperature, and they have cheaper fuel than canister stoves which make them ideal since you sure will need to melt snow more often, so you have water to drink.
This type of stove is also better for group meals or large pans or pots since they have more stable bases and are fuel-efficient. Fuel bottles are also refillable. However, they are heavier and are more complicated to use because priming is required and it is quite dangerous since fuel can spill.
If you plan to cook while there is snow, you also have to consider the stove base, or you will end up melting the snow below it. You have to create a base which is rigid, large and is not slippery to make sure that the stove is stable and safe.
After a quick discussion about cold weather backpacking stove, we can conclude that there are a lot of factors to consider when you plan to go camping in cold weather. To choose the right stove, you also have to think about a couple of things before you decide.
Your destination and its distance are critical factors. You have to think about where you are going and how far the place is because you have to plan how much load can you carry. Of course, the freezing temperature will also require you to bring thick and heavy clothing which can eat up space and add pressure to your pack.
The duration of your travel is also something to take into consideration so you can adjust your load based on how much stuff and supply of essentials will you need. Depending on the type of stove that you will end up bringing, you also need to carry fuel, and being out for a couple of days will mean a lot of it.
You also have to think about the number of people who will join your camp. You do not want to be using just one stove if you intend to make meals for a large group since the wait can be very uncomfortable and agonizing especially when the temperature is freezing. You have to choose the right size of the stove or the number of stoves you will need to bring depending on your group size.
Overall, we can say that backpacking in cold weather requires more from us than we can imagine. But the key to a successful and hassle-free adventure is preparation. So plan ahead, and make sure to consider all of the factors stated above for you and your group stand the cold weather together.