Nothing increases the appetite more than a day-long outdoor adventure. And there is nothing better than having a meal out in nature. Swedish brand Primus is globally known for their portable outdoor stoves. here we want to gice you some tips and tricks on how to enjoy an outdoor meal during the winter.
Lighting a stove during wintertime can be a bit tricky. But difficulties are just things to overcome, but you’ll need to be a little extra prepared.
Strong winds can make cooking difficult. You might have to look for shelter by using rocks or big trees. Another way to protect your stove from wind is by building a barrier made of snow – a snow bivouac. Use a shovel, if the snow allows for it.
You may concern using your tent as a kitchen, but most manufacturers of tents and stoves will dissuade this little trick – it can actually be really dangerous. There can be situations where you don't have any other option than cooking in the tent. However, cooking inside must always be the very last option and it's important to know what you are doing. Using your tent for shelter requires experience and safety precautions:
Poor ventilation of a tent rapidly increases the danger of carbon monoxide intoxication – drowsiness is a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning. Look after each other carefully. If you are doing a solo adventure, strictly avoid using the stove inside the tent. The first sign of high carbon monoxide levels is usually that the flame will start to pulse and “puff”. Placing the stove in a pit will make this effect appear even earlier due to lack of oxygen. And if it does, turn off your burner immediately and open your tent – it’s all about ventilation.
Lightweight tents are almost always made of synthetic fabrics and many of them are very flammable. You have to make sure that the stove stands sturdy, preferably on a piece of wood, and that nothing flammable, for example your down jacket, sleeping bag, etc. is close by.
Finally, it`s really important to get to know your stove before using it, which means that you have a serious plan for maintenance and do a lot of practice back home before heading out in rough conditions.
Primus Power gas, the red cannister, is easy to use and has the highest energy content and emits a small amount of exhaust emissions. This gas mixture is suitable for most situations and is usually easy to obtain.
However, Power Gas has one disadvantage, it might be too cold to use it. The liquid, pressurized gas doesn’t evaporate in really low temperatures. Turning the cartridge upside down is not an option on most stoves due to risk of huge flames that can cause serious injuries or set your tent on fire. It helps to keep the cartridge warm (inside your jacket or in the sleeping bag) but only to a certain point. In very cold conditions or at high altitudes, use Primus Winter Gas equipped with a Vapour Mesh™ that increases the surface on which the liquid fuel can evaporate into gas.
Another great alternative when cooking in cold conditions is Primus liquid fuel stoves. These stoves can be used with virtually any kind of fuel, including gas, gasoline/petrol, diesel, kerosene/paraffin – even aviation fuel.
It is obvious that you cannot bring all the water you need during a long winter trip. You will have to melt snow or ice. To melt snow you’ll need a stove, a big pot and patience. The drier the snow, the longer it takes. If you want to melt ice, try to crush it before putting it in the pot to melt it faster. The larger surface of many small pieces will make them melt faster than one big block of solid ice.
Once you have boiled water, do not throw away the leftovers. Pour them into your vacuum bottle or lunch jug in order to use this water when preparing next meal or hot drink. You can also use the vacuum bottle inside your sleeping bag. Put the bottle at the bottom of your sleeping bag and you will have warm feet for the next couple of hours.
Drinking a lot is essential in low temperatures. It’s not only about drinking hot to keep warm at before sleep, but also about keeping hydrated. Breathing in cold air requires more energy and water. Additionally, you have a significantly reduced thirst in cold temperatures. Your body needs to be protected from dehydration as this process implies the danger of both frostbite and hypothermia.
In spite of all these risks and things to consider, winter adventures are extremely rewarding. Nature is more intense and less crowded during these months which puts me in a state of mindfulness. You should give it try!