Tuesday, March 25, 2014

INFORMATIVE - Survival Cooking

Every outdoor enthusiast has their preferred method of cooking outdoors, however, in some scenarios certain cooking methods are either impractical or downright dangerous (risk of being seen, etc), and so this article is a quick pros and cons of various portable cooking methods that can be used by the modern day prepper.


The campsite staple campfire is the most all-round useful method of cooking. It burns hot, cooks quickly, provides considerable heat to keep you warm and alive, and its flames can be used for many other purposes besides cooking whilst you've got it going. It does, however, alert everyone for miles as to where you are and what you're doing, and is very difficult to disguise once it's done.

  • High temperature
  • Multi-use
  • Provides considerable warmth while cooking
  • Morale
  • Extremely visible
  • Large smoke trail
  • Hard to fully hide once done

Discreet Campfire

It is possible to make your campfire considerably more discreet. Using a Dakota Firepit near the base of a well-branched tree can hide the light and do a good job at dispersing the smoke of your fire, but it takes quite a while to set up, and if built wrong, is a dead giveaway.

  • High temperature
  • Discreet if done correctly
  • Out of reach of the wind
  • Time consuming to set up
  • Takes practice to master the art
  • Hard to fully hide once done

Alcohol Stove

Alcohol stoves are small, lightweight and very easy to take with you. They have an extremely low light output, but not a huge heat output. If time is not a factor, these are great, but if you're in a hurry, you might want to look elsewhere.

  • Lightweight
  • Extremely discreet (almost no light, and zero sound)
  • Easy to fuel and maintain
  • Very, very slow to heat up a mess tin or pot
  • Low heat output for warmth
  • One of the more dangerous cookers to use with risk of lit fuel spills

Hexi Stove

A military staple, hexi stoves are portable, simple to use, require no maintenance and are extremely efficient for their size, and despite their drawbacks, they are probably one of the more reliable cooking methods to carry.

  • Virtually zero maintenance
  • Lightweight
  • Fairly fast and hot
  • Very slick profile for ease of packing
  • Designed to use standard kindling if you run out of hexi tabs
  • Very difficult to put a hexi tablet out if you have to, so not for use on the run
  • Metal frame gets extremely hot, so it can't be packed quickly after use

Gas Stove

Gas stoves are one of the better options for quick-moving stealth missions, but also for convenience. They light easily, extinguish and cool quickly, and cook extremely fast (especially in the case of the JetBoil - the Informed Prepper cooker of choice). They are, however, reliant on a finite resource, which is their Achilles Heel.

  • Cook extremely fast
  • Fast packaway
  • Lightweight
  • Reliant on gas cylinders - a finite resource
  • Not multi-purpose
  • Can take up a lot of pack room


Solar cookers are often thought of as a bit of a joke, and while they are considerably more inconvenient than those methods listed above, they still deserve a place on this list, for what it's worth.

  • Rely purely on the sun to generate heat
  • Give off zero pollutants
  • Requires sun, so no cooking during the night or when overcast
  • Often quite bulky by comparison
  • Often fragile, as they make use of glass lenses

So hopefully this selection gives you an insight into what to bring. What you should use depends heavily on factors such as carry capacity, weather, geographical concerns and also personal preference. The Informed Preppers love our JetBoils and rarely go out on a trek without them, but at the same time we both carry Hexi Stoves in our packs as an alternative method. I personally have one of each of the cookers listed above and have used them all enough to know that each has their place.

Always remember that an informed decision is likely to be a correct one!

Be prepared, not scared.

- CumQuaT

1 comment:

  1. Survival Things Our Great-Grandfathers Built Or Did Around The House

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