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Cooking and Eating in the rain

Old 04-09-19, 05:54 PM
  #1  
blowboat
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Cooking and Eating in the rain

In a couple of weeks I hope to do my first self-supported tour. While this will only be a short overnight trip and will be a fair-weather excursion, it got me thinking about cooking and eating on a trip when it rains.

It seems that most everyone is in agreement that when camping it is best not to take food into your tent. So, if you camp while on a bike tour, and you plan on cooking your meals...what do you do when it is raining? Particularly if there is no pavilion or shelter at your disposal...

Thanks!
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Old 04-09-19, 08:06 PM
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Erick L
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I cook in the tent vestibule, but you shouldn't. Do as I say, not as I do.


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Old 04-10-19, 04:02 AM
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If your tent does not have a vestibule (or you have no tent), you could use your poncho (if you have a poncho) pitched as a lean-to against your bike held upright on its kickstand (if it has a kickstand) and staked at the bottom edge (if you have stakes).
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Old 04-10-19, 04:22 AM
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Of course you cook in the vestibule (with great care) and eat in the tent. Or you use a tarp to make a shelter.
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Old 04-10-19, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo View Post
Or you use a tarp to make a shelter.
^^This^^ Once did it in Glacier N.P.

Or...The last time I had to cook in the rain I did so in the vestibule of a vault toilet. There was just enough dry space and a concrete floor outside the door to get the job done. The campground was virtually empty, so I was not disturbed. There was a note up about recent bear activity so I did not want to cook in the tent.
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Old 04-10-19, 06:39 AM
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It's easy and good to have plenty of food that doesn't have to be cooked. Breads, nut butters, dried fruit are readily accessible everywhere. Instant mashed potatoes and couscous can be rehydrated with cold water. Rolled oats are cooked in processing and can be eaten without additional cooking. Ramen noodles are precooked and can be eaten like a large cracker.

If I need to camp in bear country, I'll pitch my shelter and eat before I reach the place I'm going to sleep. I won't eat where I sleep. I'm most careful of this in grizzly country.
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Old 04-10-19, 06:50 AM
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will you be staying at a campground of any sorts? If so, there is always some kind of overhang or something to get under.
Doing canoeing or whatever where one is really out in the woods, having a tarp to setup as a cooking/sitting out of the rain area is generally what we have always done, but since I started bike touring, and putting an emphasis on not taking stuff that isnt needed, I've never taken a tarp with me.
Part of that is because Ive pretty much always toured in summer months, or as you say, in good weather, so the few times that rain has been an issue, I've been in campgrounds or whatever where some sort of shelter was available, sometimes even where I could set up my tent under shelter (awnings, pavillions, in someones garage with their permission (in France once)

reasonable question, but as the others say, if you are really stuck, the vestibule is always an option, even if it isnt ideal for food smells and tents.

chances are though that you can find alternatives.
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Old 04-10-19, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts/input. As I said, this trip will be a fair-weather trip...if the weather is calling for rain, I'll put it off until another time. I'm planning to do a short overnight on the Natchez Trace near Nashville while visiting my parents. If it rains...I'll just visit more. But, as I plan for my next, and hopefully longer, trip it's a question that was on my mind.

- PJ
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Old 04-10-19, 09:41 AM
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Please do not cook in or near your tent.
You will not starve if you eat granola bars and bananas.

Yes, I camp in bear country regularly.
But raccoons are more of a problem almost everywhere.
If they think there is food in your tent - -
they will shred it to smithereens looking for it.
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Old 04-10-19, 10:56 AM
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A squirrel chewed a hole in the mesh of a nearly new tent to get at a loaf of bread I foolishly left in my tent while off touring the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, NY. Fortunately, it wasn't that expensive a tent and one I was not likely to ever use much, if ever again. I bought it in an emergency riding home after crossing the country after the zipper of my original tent crapped out and I was nearly drained of blood by Maine mosquitoes. As luck would have it, my route had me passing through Freeport the day after the zipper broke.
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Old 04-10-19, 12:08 PM
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Some rainstorms last an hour or two, but some are all day events. If one of those one or two hour ones, wait a bit. Usually the forecast would tell you what kind of rain to expect.

If you have a smartphone, have coverege and have a data plan, the radar loop will give you an idea of if the rain should move out quickly or not.

If it is a one pot meal and only sprinkling, keep your lighter dry (in your pocket) and go ahead and cook in the rain, you won't melt. But any water drops on the stove burner head can put the flame out so be ready to relight it with your dry lighter quickly.

I also recommend against cooking under vestibule. But have done it but I only do it in a tent where the flame will be at least a foot and a half away from tent fabric, where if I knock the pot off the stove the contents of the pot land on the grass and not in my tent and not on me (avoid burns). And have enough ventilation to make sure no carbon monoxide can build up. Also, I never use a liquid fuel stove under a vestibule as they can spout big flames when not quite hot enough, I only use a butane mix type of stove under vestibule.

In the photo I am cooking in a vestibule, I am sitting inside my tent while doing so. I am more inclined to heat water on my stove in the morning for coffee and hot cereal or some other add hot water to dried food type of meal than I am to actually cook a meal, under the vestibule, so the meal in the photo was quite rare for me. Before you run out and buy one of those bear creek chili envelopes, I only use one third of one for a single meal.


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Old 04-10-19, 02:00 PM
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1. I'll second the advice to never eat, never never cook, never bring food, absolutely never store food in a tent. Forget about Grizzlies - mice, squirrels and other small rodents have a good sense of smell too, and will chew thru your tent in a matter of seconds. Had rabbits ruining mesh in one of our tents (kids have learned their lesson). The "threath level" is higher in parks and campgrounds, where wildlife isn't that wild anymore. We carry food in a bear bag (kevlar, secured to the bike.).

2. We usually, whenever possible, take rain as god's way to tell us that we should support the local hospitality industry. (In our case, a dark cloud is enough

3. Caught in severe downpours a few times. Never bothered to cook a hot meal. Would rather survive on hard boiled eggs + GORP. We typically carry a 2+ days supply of hand-to-mouth food items. + several Clif bars in our handlebar bags.
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Old 04-10-19, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
1. I'll second the advice to never eat, never never cook, never bring food, absolutely never store food in a tent. Forget about Grizzlies - mice, squirrels and other small rodents have a good sense of smell too, and will chew thru your tent in a matter of seconds. Had rabbits ruining mesh in one of our tents (kids have learned their lesson). The "threath level" is higher in parks and campgrounds, where wildlife isn't that wild anymore. We carry food in a bear bag (kevlar, secured to the bike.).

2. We usually, whenever possible, take rain as god's way to tell us that we should support the local hospitality industry. (In our case, a dark cloud is enough

3. Caught in severe downpours a few times. Never bothered to cook a hot meal. Would rather survive on hard boiled eggs + GORP. We typically carry a 2+ days supply of hand-to-mouth food items. + several Clif bars in our handlebar bags.
I like that #2 , I am sure on some trips I have eaten in restaurants or whatever when the weather was iffy, but then I have always liked taking a break from campfood at times anyway.
Its funny, but I dont have many memories of having to cook in the rain, and the few times I do remember, I've always been able to find some shelter in a campground or whatever, so it was never a big deal--but yes, eating in local eateries is always part of the fun of travelling anyway, and in our small part is helping local economies, which I find important also.
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Old 04-11-19, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Its funny, but I dont have many memories of having to cook in the rain,
This thread got me thinking about that myself in the context of my three-month, cross country group tour. The only time where we could not work around rain was when we had to wait for the Lake Itasca hostel to open. There was an extremely limited food supply. We ended up with brats and an industrial size can of baked beans. There was a grill outside so we cooked on that. It was raining. There were trees. We rigged the giant tarp we had over the grill.

I also remember a short snow shower in Republic, WA during breakfast and a post-shopping/pre-cooking thunder storm in New Town, ND.
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Old 04-11-19, 08:41 AM
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#drama I never cook in the rain #dramaoff
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Old 04-11-19, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by

[img
https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikeforums.net-vbulletin/922x691/20imgp2670_fa6522d97c69889d2f2a75d8fb27e8762556b223.jpg[/img]
looks like junk food.
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Old 04-11-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by str View Post
looks like junk food.
What's 'junk' about beans?
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Old 04-11-19, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
What's 'junk' about beans?
we do real beans, not some bag or can beans. easy
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Old 04-11-19, 02:31 PM
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soak dried ones all day as you ride?
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Old 04-12-19, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by str View Post
we do real beans, not some bag or can beans. easy
Haven't done that yet on bike trips, but I've done it regularly when canoeing. And not only with beans, but with meals I've dehydrated. Works great to put it in a fair share mug with water, let it hydrate all day, and at the end of the day all you have to do is heat it up.
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Old 04-12-19, 03:45 PM
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revcp, you know my comments to your canoe trip story and the two kids in the water? I realized soon after that last year I had heard a radio piece on CBC radio where two adults spoke of how they were still affected by a school trip at least 20 years ago, where some schoolmates were drowned. I forget the actual details of what happened, but this must have been in the back of my mind when I read your account, as these adults were relaying how much of an impact it had on their lives (specifically guilt), and that was what I remembered clearly from the piece and why your account was rather chilling.

anyway, thought I'd mention it before I forgot.
cheers
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Old 04-12-19, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
revcp, you know my comments to your canoe trip story and the two kids in the water? I realized soon after that last year I had heard a radio piece on CBC radio where two adults spoke of how they were still affected by a school trip at least 20 years ago, where some schoolmates were drowned. I forget the actual details of what happened, but this must have been in the back of my mind when I read your account, as these adults were relaying how much of an impact it had on their lives (specifically guilt), and that was what I remembered clearly from the piece and why your account was rather chilling.

anyway, thought I'd mention it before I forgot.
cheers
Stories like that haunt me. I've seen so many groups that frightened me because they didn't know what they were doing. Things can go wrong so quickly. The group in my story simply had no business being on the water when it was so windy. They were so inexperienced that they didn't know what they couldn't do. That sounds odd, but in my.mind that's even more important than knowing what you can do. I was so shocked when the adult leaders just didn't realize that they almost lost one of their kids. I'm thankful we were there.
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Old 04-12-19, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
Stories like that haunt me. I've seen so many groups that frightened me because they didn't know what they were doing. Things can go wrong so quickly. The group in my story simply had no business being on the water when it was so windy. They were so inexperienced that they didn't know what they couldn't do. That sounds odd, but in my.mind that's even more important than knowing what you can do. I was so shocked when the adult leaders just didn't realize that they almost lost one of their kids. I'm thankful we were there.
absolutely on all accounts. I was lucky in that I had the training from and the example from my dad and the canoe club of being both aware, prepared and responsible. My dad has stories like yours of folks out there so unaware of what they were getting themselves into.

again, to reiterate what I said before, just think of the terrible ripples of sadness that you stopped that day, for the parents of that kid, the adults in charge, and the other kids.
cheers

ps, I just remembered the details of that radio documentary, it was a group of students where a flash flood came down a river basin and swept a number away, and the adults recounting their guilt of the dumb luck that they didnt die, but others did.
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Old 04-12-19, 08:04 PM
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I've always had a separate tarp or a mylar space space blanket as an extra backup. If its lightly raining, I just nut up and make the best of it. If its a downpour, I set up the extra little tarp to cover the stove while I'm cooking. Its usually a night of eating supper in the rain, though. I've had to do it many times as a GI, so its just a matter of mindset. Usually, I boil water for tea and eat whatever solid bar-type food I have or whatever nuts and jerky I have and call it good. I actually like the rain. I'll hang my poncho and clothes in it to get washed and release the stank. All good.
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Old 04-13-19, 08:16 AM
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Having some dense, no-cook provisions for tour contingencies is never a bad idea. Approved (by this forum) emergency rations include nuts, dried fruit, bananas, lembas and hard-boiled eggs. Unacceptable (to this forum) foods include Soylent and Green Belly bars.

Originally Posted by str View Post
looks like junk food.
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