What’s a cold soak, you ask?
It’s a cool and tasty respite from the late summer heat, sweat, and dirt.
It’s transforming a cold mountain stream into a camp kitchen, and an empty stomach into a happy camper!
It’s staying cool, y’all!
…okay, maybe it’s a bit more than that, but aren’t you feeling hungry now?
In short, cold soak meals are somewhat self explanatory; being, a meal that you use cold water to rehydrate. For many backpackers or wilderness travelers, cold soak meals might be a new idea, but the method of rehydration is just the same! Add water, wait, and enjoy.
To help you understand the what, how, and when, here are a few key variables to consider when deciding to put together a cold soak menu:
Our top ways to enjoy a cold soak meal:
Long day hikes can often mean a meal bag full of dense energy bars, but it certainly doesn’t have to! Cold soaking a protein dense Chicken Salad during a lunch break or water filtering party can make the hike back down to the cars as satisfying as the summit! Also for meals that require more time to rehydrate, you can add water mid-morning, and soak as you go.
Stove-less Summer Backpacking
The emerging trend within Ultralight Backpacking is to throw caution to the wind, and go “stove-less”. This means drastically cutting down on your base weight by leaving your stove and fuel at home. Cool water prep meals are a fantastic way to keep moral high and fuel your body with real, whole ingredients during your weeks (or sometimes months) on trail! Depending on your route, you might not feel the need for a hot dinner, and a cool Southwest Corn & Black Bean Salad could be the best dinner option!
Fast Packing / Trail Running
Cold soak meals can strike the perfect combination of lightweight, calorie dense and packable for fast and light full-day trail runs or multi-day fast-packing trips. Slim fit packaging fits perfectly in the back of a running vest and many meals take just 10-15 minutes to fully rehydrate! I personally love to bring along the Curry Mango Chicken Salad for full day runs.
Traveling / Road Tripping / Picnicking
Not every pursuit in the outdoors needs to take you to the mental and physical limits! Good food is the great equalizer in outdoor experience and cold prep meals are a great road trip or van life companion when lookin to eat well while roaming about! The Many Beans Salad, can take up to an hr to rehydrate with cool water, but honestly, are you in a rush on that drive from Denver to Seattle?
In general, cold soak meals make the most sense when you’re hungry for real food / whole ingredients but time, weight, and convenience are also key elements of your wilderness travel or summer road trip! (one can only handle so many gas station burritos…)
Guest Blog by : Travis Perkins
Travis is a photographer, yogi, climber, and hungry traveler. Follow his adventures at @travperk_photo