A long winter day in the mountains should end with a rich and above all warm meal. However, cooking outside in winter has a number of pitfalls that you can get a good grip on with the five tips presented here.
The right fuel
Here it depends on the expected temperatures. Gas mixtures of propane and butane are simple, fast, efficient and clean to handle. However, the gas does not leak out of the cartridge as gas at too low temperatures. There are special gas mixtures with a higher proportion of propane, which evaporates better at lower temperatures (eg from Primus*) I often read that you should then turn the cartridge upside down. That's what I warn against: that's how liquid gas can escape and produce a jet of flame! It is better to heat the gas cartridge under the jacket or in the sleeping bag some time before use. If it is too cold, only one helps Gasoline stove!
Provide wind protection
Especially important in winter: ensure sufficient wind protection! So look for slipstreams of rocks or trees and open your bivouac there. Since in winter, for example, to snowmelt, anyway more fuel needs to count, good wind protection is important. One option is to use the cooker slightly recessed in a small snow pit or use avalanche shovels for extra protection.
Cooking in a tent is risky: the tent catches fire extremely quickly. In addition, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is very high. So only if necessary in the tent cook, and then only with gas and well ventilated. Warning of increased carbon monoxide concentration is a flickering, pulsating flame.
Especially at low temperatures, it is important to drink a lot. Breathing in the cold deprives the body more fluid and you dehydrated much faster. In addition, the sensation of thirst reduces in the cold, so the danger of dehydration increases even further, and thus the risk of hypothermia or even frostbite. High-altitude climbers know this and plan a lot of time for the ascent for snowmelt and rehydration.
Snowmelting is a lengthy process that requires a lot of fuel. Here, especially with very hard snow or ice: the larger the surface, the faster the melting process. So you crush the ice as much as possible.
Any opportunity to save energy and thus fuel should be used. A pot lid should be used anyway, there are specially insulated pots that shorten the cooking time again. Also the use of a Pot with slats, which act as a heat exchanger, saves fuel.
Once heated and not needed, stored in an insulated jug, one is a good "starter" for the next snowmelt action. Hot water, bottled and stored in the footwell of the sleeping bag, makes for a great hot water bottle for the night and relieves, again as a "starter", the snowmelt in the morning.
This article is part 3 of the series Outdoor winter:
- Part 1: Dangers in winter and effects on tour planning
- Part 2: The right clothes for the winter adventure
- Part 3: 5 tips for cooking in winter
- Part 4: Seven tips to stay warm in winter