Packing for multi-day hikes is a continuous trade-off. Weight versus convenience. Time versus convenience. Time versus weight. During my latest Jordan Trail hike, I decided to take a thermos bottle to save time, water and gas. 

The thermos bottle routine

I have a rather specific set of routines for my mornings, evenings and preparing my food, but decided to change it for the Jordan Trail. What did I change? Every time I would boil water, I boiled 750ml of water, used what I needed to prepare my food and pour the rest of the water in the thermos bottle. The thermos bottle would keep the warm hot for about 24 hours, which was perfect.

I used a Thermos Thermax – 750 Ml.

A thermos bottle to save time, water and gas.

Time. As I wrote in another post: I hate breaks during my hikes. It is really hard to make up 10 minutes in time during a hike. By boiling water for two or three meals at the time, I could use the hot water from my thermos bottle my next meal and shave off 10 minutes of my break.

Water. As water is the scarcest resource on the Jordan Trail (so much I had to make a special water planning), it makes you very conscious of how you use every drop. Just throwing away the leftover boiled water does not make any sense – that’s many drops wasted. Same goes for using it to clean your fork, spoon or knife – many drops wasted. So to have every single drop of boiled water be used to eat warm meals was a huge win.

Gas. As I only had to boil gas once a day, I saved quite some gas compared to a 2-3 heated meals per day routine. Not the biggest win, but it would allow me to stay on the trail longer without having to replace my gas canister.

Pros and cons.

Con: A thermos bottle is not the lightest item in your pack. Also, if you’re really into a boiling hot meal, you’ll probably be a bit disappointed the second time you use the water from your thermos bottle.

Pro: Using the thermos bottle, saved me a lot of time … and water. I was also super happy with the sort of instant gratification. Rather than having to unpack my canister, my MSR pocket rocket, and cooking pot, I could instantly pour the hot water over my meals and have food in 8 minutes. That was a real morale booster.

What are your thoughts?

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