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The importance of hot meals when camping

I pondered the importance of eating a proper hot meal this weekend. Dartmoor clearly wasn’t playing ball with the weather so I was just glad to have come prepared, as I always do.

With family commitments during the weekend, I headed out for a wild camp in the White Barrow/Avon Dam region due to its ‘fairly’ easy access. I parked at Shipley Bridge and headed up the track, deciding to take the long way round because I didn’t want to push through any ferns nearer the dam. I took the old disused tramway that runs alongside the treatment works and eventually bears round to north and heads up to Eastern White Barrow.

Bad weather over the Eastern White Barrow on Dartmoor

Originally the going was easy but when I peeled off the track to the cairn, the tussock grass made life very difficult. The south facing slope had been getting a lot of good growing weather and at points the grass was waist deep. After the short but uncomfortable battle I made it to the top where I struggled to find a decent pitch. At this point the weather had decidedly turned for the worse with rain soaking me.

Cooking pasta on a Jetboil Minimo with its simmer feature

After much searching, zig-zagging back and forth looking for a bit of flat-ish ground I finally found a pitch back down off the top heading towards the track again. By this point the visibility was low and I was getting more and more grumpy but knew that I should stick it out with the prospect of a decent sunrise photo (that wasn’t to be thanks to more bad weather)

I got the Jetboil out and started cooking my pasta. With some hot tuna, lime, salt and pepper added, everything started to feel good again. I felt warm. My tummy was full. I was starting to feel happier to be out in the wild.

Why eating hot food is so important when camping

This weekend reminded me of a walk that I did in the Peak District years ago. That trip was met with appalling weather but when I finally got in the tent with some hot food I felt euphoric by comparison to an hour earlier.

I cannot emphasize how important a hot meal is when out camping, especially wild camping where one often feels alone. It really does do AMAZING things for moral. It’s as simple as that really because one can moderate body temperature fairly easily with a hot drink but a hot meal is the real lifesaver in terms of attitude. Attitude is what gets you out of trouble, it is what makes you think clearly.

A hot meal ensures that you wake up in the morning with a fresh head. I always feel stronger in the morning after a decent hot meal.

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