Hot Drinks

Hot Chocolate & Oatmeal

Hot drinks are such a great thing to have on backpacking trips, especially in the colder months. Nothing like kicking back and enjoying a nice warm drink on a cool night after a long day of hiking, or better yet, crawling out of the warm sleeping bag in the morning for a nice warm drink to help get you motivated for that long day of hiking!Either way you look at it, it’s just good!

There are 3 different types of warm drinks that I will carry. First off I always carry coffee for the mornings. I am not a big coffee drinker, even at home, but it is nice to have that get-up-and-go in the mornings, and besides that when you are in the woods for a few days, anything that is not bland is great! What I usually drink at home at nights before bed is a cup of hot tea. It seems to sooth out the day, and just helps me to relax. And then there is the good ole’ hot chocolate. This hot drink simply cannot be beat during a cold hike with the kids.

Like I said, coffee is great for the mornings. There is no way that I can drink it at night or it will have me up all night long! There are quite a few different ways to make coffee on the trail. A really convenient method is the individually packed instant types of coffee. Two that I use are the Nescafe’ and the Starbucks Via. These are good coffees, but the down side is that you have to carry the little packages that they come packaged in. Not much, but every little bit adds up. An even simpler way is to just buy some instant coffee, and put the amount needed in a Ziploc bag, then head out. If you like this kind of coffee, this is one of the best ways because of its simplicity, and its lack of trash that you get to carry around. Of course there are the coffee presses and other methods of making coffee on the trail, but I have not used any of these. One other method that I have recently tried while at home is just simply using regular ground coffee. Pour some in the cook pot, add water, and boil for a few minutes. Supposedly the coffee grounds will sink to the bottom when it is ready, this way when you pour off the top, you will not have any coffee grounds in your cup of coffee. (But let’s face it, does it really matter if you drink a few coffee grounds?) I have heard that people will just simply rub the coffee grounds into the ground when done and rinse the pot with a little water. This to me may be a little against the “Leave No Trace” policy, but I guess it can be debated. So, I will leave that up to you.

Hot tea is great before bed time. There are many different teas that you can choose from, which is nice. I like the Green Chai and the Earl Grey teas. I just carry a single tea bag along, boil some water, pour it over the tea bag and let it sit for a little while. (I don’t like boiling anything in my cook pot except for water so cleanup is kept to a minimum.) The problem with tea bags is that you get to carry them back out with you. Now, again, I have heard of some busting the bag open and dispersing amongst the ground, so again, this is a personal choice. (I will say this, a tiny amount would probably be ok with me, but I would hate to come up on a spot with big loads of coffee grounds sitting everywhere.)

Last, but definitely not least, we have hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is the best. I love to have hot chocolate with the little marshmallows, both at home and on the trail. The problem with it on the trail, is the clean-up. Hot chocolate can leave some messy mugs behind, especially if you drink it slow and the chocolate is allowed to settle at the bottom. However, if you have a nice little sink to wash out the cups that would be fine and dandy, but it involves extra work. If my son is with me, I will make the efforts, but if I go by myself, there is a good chance the hot chocolate would stay at home.

So, what kind of hot drink do you carry with you? (Chose all that apply.)


10 Responses to Hot Drinks

  1. HANK LENGFELLNER says:

    Have you ever tried sumac berry tea. Right there along the trail to collect and simmer. Tastes like lemonade.

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  2. Jacob C. says:

    On my last trip I decided something warm to drink at night might be a good thing.
    I had a small tin of ground Sencha green tea in the cupboard I thought might work. It is a powdered green tea that is consumed and no bag to get in the way. Serving is 1/4tsp. I just put some in a small resealable (pill) bag and did a knife tip or two in my cup of boiling water at night. It was very subtle and pleasant.
    It is a green tea so may have a little caffeine, but it certainly never bothered me. Also, I guess Sencha is not typically ground whereas Matcha green tea is, so not sure what you may find in your neck of the woods.

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    • Stick says:

      Jacob,

      Thanks for the info. I have not used any tea powder and have just used the tea bags. I have been fine with doing this though. I know that some will go as far as ripping open the tea bags and dispensing the contents within and then just carrying the actual bag out. I haven’t done this and am fine carrying it all back out, however, I don’t think I would have an issue with doing it either… Although, I wouldn’t dump it next to my tent for the night! 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  3. John D says:

    I like coffee and Via dissolves nicely. At the end of the hiking day I add bourbon and drink it with dinner. I use my ti 500 to boil water for freezer cooking and then boil water for coffee and drink out of the Ti 500 when hiking alone. When hiking with a friend. I take my Titan kettle and a 12 oz aluminum cup which weighs 1.7 oz. I got the cup for less tha $3 at Sportsmanship Wearhouse. My buddy Mark brings tea. He has a little cloth bag with a string on it. He puts a little tea in it each day and packs it out. I would have no problem. With dispersing it if done properly and well away from established camping spots. Mark likes his bourbon neat. All of my friends bring coffee or tea. Tea is becoming more popular. I like chai at home with honey and milk.

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    • Stick says:

      John,

      I tried the Via’s, but it is a bit too stout for me. I have been a fan of the Nescafe instant coffee. For a while I bought the packs, but then decided to buy the jar, I drink it at home too…

      Anyway, it sounds like you have 2 solid set-ups going for you, that is great. I tried to have 2 different set-ups… but now I have like 10… and more coming… But hey, it is nice to have options! 🙂

      I have come to drinking tea on the trail lately rather than hot cocoa, simply because it is less messy. However, like you, I enjoy a good cup of Chamomile with some sugar or honey and milk. But, for the hikes, I have been leaving out the milk/creamer and just using sugar, however, I think that I am going to pick up some packs of honey to use instead next time. I also like a splash of Crown in mine too…

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate the feedback!

      ~Stick~

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  4. Teri H says:

    Hot apple Cider (dry mix pkts)
    Chai tea (dry mix pkts)
    Homemade Instant Hot Chocolate Mix
    Russian Tea (homemade dry mix)
    Vanilla Milk (dry milk, water, vanilla) Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

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  5. James says:

    in the summer I take hot choc and coffee. My coffee method uses one of those tea things, a little wire mesh ball that I can put a teaspoon of folgers in then boil it for a minute, keeps the gounds separate and is easy to dump/clean. Coffee grounds are organic and provide food for organisms and build soil. In the winter I like hot apple cider,

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  6. Jason says:

    I like the Folgers coffee bags (like tea bags). I have tried the instant stuff, not bad. I recently tried the VIA, but that is pricey. Looks like I am settling on Nescafe Original and 100% Columbian.

    As far as tea goes, Grey Earl tea and Green tea is good to go with me.

    I recently started trying out a new camp mug, which is a Mainstays (Wal-Mart Brand) shaker cup. It costs like $2 and holds 16oz. It has a screw on lid with a small flip top “sippy” thingy. It can be used for mixing powder drinks as well such as the Green tea packets. This mug doesnt have the “cool” factor that my Snow Peak 600 has. What type mug do you use for beverages?

    Jason

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    • Stick says:

      Jason,

      Thanks for checking out my site and leaving a comment. I have come to enjoy the single serving Nescafe instant coffees. As for tea, I like most but enjoy a Chamomile tea with some sugar and cream before bed. Love it. Only problem with this is that I hate carrying around the used up tea bags. I have heard that some will actually bust the bag after they are done and scatter the tea grounds. Guess that wouldn’t hurt.

      As for cup. I recently bought 2 of the REI Campware Polypropylene Cups. (I need to write them up here on my site…) Anyway, they were only $2 and will hold 12 oz. They have graduated markings inside the cup that are good for measuring since I like to FBC. And they only weigh like 2 oz. I am happy enough with it at this point to probably hang on to it for a while. Going Ti wouldn’t knock off that much weight, but it sure would add on some extra $$$! I have recently grown interested in the Kuksa cups and will look into dropping some good $$$ for one of them eventually though.

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