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Trail Cooking withOUT open Flame

Use your best judgement then and talk to a park ranger or other park official for help in what is and is not allowed.

You could look into some good recipes for cold soak meals. Lots of long-distance hikers use this method to “cook” their food. They put their meal in water in the morning in a sealed container, walk all day, then, by dinner time, it’s ready to eat.


Depending on where you are… you could do an “Urban” hike at a state/city park. Most of the time, you are able to have an open flame (propane) there. ( plus look at the first 5 words of the #6… While on a Trail hike… is doesn’t define a distance of the hike nor that is has to be back country etc.

There should be a lot of recipes for Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that do not need a flame.

a chicken or tuna salad in a tortilla wrap.
cold pasta salads using dehydrated pasta - rehydrated in water.
humus type dishes.

chicken or tuna in a pouch
dressing in individual pouches (purchase on line, or ask at the deli)
shredded carrots, celery, chopped nuts
Tortilla wrap

The whole issue comes down to the requirement 6D

(d) While on a trail hike or backpacking trip, prepare and serve two meals and a snack from the menu planned for this requirement. At least one of those meals BUbe cooked over a fire, or an approved trail stove (with proper supervision).**

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Winter is coming! I had some scouts fulfill this requirement by cooking on a stove in a snow bank on a snow campout. Camped in Castle Peak valley with 5 adults and 12 scouts. Less fire danger in the winter.

Could do this on an urban hike as well. https://www.gec-bsa.org/resourceshelp/patch-programs/65587

When I did the cooking merit badge I didn’t had to cook on the trail I had to do it back at the campsite.

Forrest, the requirements might have been different when you did the cooking merit badge.

Here are the current requirements:

Cooking merit badge
6. Trail and backpacking meals. Do the following:
d. While on a trail hike or backpacking trip, prepare and serve two meals and a snack from the menu planned for this requirement. At least one of those meals must be cooked over a fire, or an approved trail stove (with proper supervision).**

**Where local regulations do not allow you to build a fire, the counselor may adjust the requirement to meet the law. The meals in requirements 5 and 6 may be prepared for different trips and need not be prepared consecutively. Scouts working on this badge in summer camp should take into consideration foods that can be obtained at the camp commissary.

Hi Jennifer,

Its was same requirements when I took the cooking merit badge

OK, but the requirements say:

There is a separate set of requirements for camp cooking (requirement 5).

Backpacking trips have campsites


We’ve kinda wandered off topic a fair piece, but:

For example, one could be on a backpacking trip, and cook while in a trail camp. Or, one could stop along the trail (either while backpacking or on a hiking day-trip) and cook there, assuming that the local regulations permitted it. As a counselor, I would not, for example, consider cooking done in a fixed drive-up camp out of which one is taking day hikes as satisfying Requirement 6. It could, however, satisfy Requirement 5.

I try to explain the conceptual distinction between Requirement 5 and Requirement 6 to my scouts as largely relating to the portability of your foods and cooking gear, as well as what sort of resources you have for cleanup. Cooking for Requirement 5 could include (in theory) meals that require more water, more in-camp prep work, or longer cooking time to prepare. It also has the advantage of permitting you to use available waste disposal resources (e.g. dumpsters, recycling facilities, toilets/sumps). Cooking for Requirement 6 is more focused on the type of cooking skills you would need to plan, prepare and clean up after a meal when your resources are largely limited to what you can carry on your back. Your water resources are more limited. You have to carry out your solid waste, and be able to dig a cat hole for disposal of wastewater.

In the Requirement 6 case, I’m thinking more of one-pot meals so I have fewer things to clean up. I’m thinking faster-cooking meals (e.g. parboiled or fast-cooking starches) that require less water for cooking and cleanup, and generate less wastewater (e.g. not spaghetti) unless I can put that wastewater to use (e.g. rehydrating sauce for the pasta, rehydrating vegetables, etc). Trail meals may need a higher calorie and/or electrolyte content, since you’ve been backpacking all day. You might consider more “interchangeable” ingredients in the menu so you can rework your meals on the fly (because carrying a container of an ingredient for just one meal gets heavy…).


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