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.)