6 Easy Cold Soak Recipes For Your Next Thru-Hike (Basic Ingredients Only)
OK all you ultralight cold-soaking freaks. You can simplify your menu now, or you can ride that wave of denial until it dries up. Because let’s face it, we’ve all been there before: continuously assuring ourselves we’re going to carry a bunch of old Ziplocs full of different spices, or those little bottles of olive oil, ghee, or sriracha (OK actually you’re going to need that last one). Or maybe we promised ourselves we’d add freeze-dried fruits and chia seeds to every breakfast.
But eventually, that enthusiasm is going to run out (or else you’ll be stuck in a small town with no resupply options besides instant ramen, old stale Knorr packages, and instant potatoes). DON’T WORRY though, that pint of Talenti wasn’t eaten in vain. It’s time to get even freakier. You can transform basic gas station resupply ingredients into delicious meals with these six extremely simple cold soak recipes.
6 Easy Cold Soak Recipes You Need for Your Next Thru-Hike
1. The Only Overnight Oats You’ll Ever Need
It’s hideous. It’s disgusting. It’s kind of intriguing. It totally works. All you need is:
- Two packets of Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal (extra brownie points for the generic brands).
- One sachet of instant coffee (Oh look: somebody probably just left 30 Taster’s Choice sachets in the hiker box, and they taste the same as Starbucks Vias or Alpine Starts when they’re mixed with the oats anyway).
That’s literally it, y’all. I probably ate this about 50 times on the PCT this year. And it made those town diner breakfasts that much sweeter. BUT, if you’re not a coffee drinker, and if you are feeling just a little bougie, you can totally kick it up a notch by potentially adding:
- Two heaped spoons of powdered milk OR
- A heaped spoon of powdered peanut butter (or both of them put together, I really don’t care).
- However many chia seeds it takes to forget that time in high school you did that really embarrassing thing.
2. The Easiest and Best Ramen On Planet Earth
This is so simple that everyone should at least try it once. The best part is that you can make it vegetarian too.
- One pack of Soy Instant Ramen
- One pack of Lemon Pepper Tuna
- A squirt of sriracha
Think about it. Are you thinking about it? These four flavors are basically already the marinade you would use for tofu or chicken or whatever at home. It’s brilliant, and it was probably all from the hiker box too. But if you are sticking to your guns and keeping it completely meat-free on the whole trail, a great substitute or addition to the tuna is:
- A bunch of wasabi peas (there’s almost as much protein in these as the tuna anyway).
- Some crushed up nori/seaweed (for that extra sodium boost you didn’t know you needed).
3. An Even More Simplified Version of Skurka Beans and Rice
Because five ingredients was too complicated. Plus it was too hot and you just couldn’t bring yourself to pack out the Kraft Singles. Don’t worry, the Chili Cheese Fritos are so MF’ing flavor-blasted that you don’t need that universal spice kit or anything else. Your taste buds are gonna start asking for the launch codes.
- Dehydrated refried beans (for sale in most Wal-Marts, or, just as frequently found in bulk at health foods stores along the trail)
- Knorr Spanish Rice
- Chili Cheese Fritos
This one tastes so good right out of the jar. But I guess you could also put it on a tortilla with hot sauce. ALSO, if you can’t seem to get the proportions right, try adding some instant mashed potatoes to thicken it up. This goes for literally any cold soak recipe ever.
READ NEXT – Our Favorite 3-Ingredient Backpacking Meals
4. The Other Tried & True Ramen
No frills here. This one is a classic, and it’s a classic for a reason. Y’all know what I’m talking about. It’s not delivery, it’s:
- Lime Chili Ramen (or any other one, really, it doesn’t matter too much)
- An absurdly large spoonful of peanut butter
- A potentially regrettable amount of sriracha
Hiker trash pad thai. I didn’t actually eat this one as much, but it was great once in a while, especially when I felt like I needed to get in even more calories.
5. How About We Do Mediterranean Night, Babe
Take yourself on a cultural and culinary adventure to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean Sea with:
- A bunch of olive oil & garlic flavored couscous
- Idahoan Four Cheese Instant Potatoes
- Probably sriracha
I did this one pretty frequently too. Especially because people are always leaving mystery bags of couscous in hiker boxes. It was probably the most filling of all the dinners, and maybe the most carbs too.
6. OK But What About Dessert?
In case you were wondering if it’s possible to cold soak Little Debbie brownie mix? It is. Kind of.
Or you could always just give in and buy that jar of chocolate frosting. Nobody’s gonna judge you for eating out of it; we’ve all wanted to since we were kids. Go ahead. You earned it.
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