The Littlbug Blog
The longest month of the year, January, has come to a close and February is in full swing! The sun stays out a bit longer and the first day of spring is about a month and a half away. You may even be counting down the days to summer. But you don’t have to wait until summer to bust out some of your favorite camping gear, and enjoy it while snow still covers the ground.
At Littlbug, we like to take advantage of the outdoors as much as we can. Even if it’s a short hike after work to fire up our wood burning backpacking stove to enjoy a hot drink and watch the sunset, we’re taking advantage of the daylight hours as much as possible.
How’d We Do It
After work, we quickly packed up a small daypack with the essentials:
✓ Small backpacking pot with a lid
✓ Hot chocolate mix (or other favorite hot drink mix or tea)
✓ Thermos or insulated mug
✓ Warm layers
✓ Kindling from home (old newspaper or cotton balls - soak them in vaseline for an extra kickstarter - works great)
✓ Alcohol burner (optional)
✓ 1 spoon or stir stick (optional - or just use a stick from the woods)
✓ Marshmallows (optional)
We then ventured out on a trail close to town so we didn’t have to travel too far. Chasing the daylight, we hiked fast to find a quiet spot, with a beautiful view to fire up our ultralight stove. Using our day pack, we compressed the snow to create a sturdy surface for our stove to sit on. Another alternative could have been to make use of the Junior Fire Bowl and suspend from a nearby tree. We then collected dried twigs and sticks to build the fire. If you’re in an area that lacks natural resources, feel free to bring an alcohol burner to substitute.
Once the fire was burning hot, we were ready to start boiling water for hot chocolate. Surrounded by snow, the pot worked perfectly to scoop full of snow to start melting over the fire. We added roughly half a cup of water to prevent snow from burning on the bottom of the pot before melting.
Littlbug Tip #1: The snow to water ratio is about 10:1. For every 10” of snow, you gain 1” of water. This means when you fill your pot with snow, your snow won’t melt into a full pot of water. Resist the urge to pack snow into the pot. Instead, use the pot’s lid or a thermos or mug to slowly scoop more snow in increments as it melts.
Littlbug Tip #2: Keep the lid on the pot as much as you can (If you’re using the lid to scoop more snow, you have to take it off for a few moments, but that’s OK). This helps the water to boil faster, and also keeps the moisture inside the pot. When you’re already looking at a 10:1 ratio from snow to water, you want to keep as much of the moisture inside the pot as you can.
As we waited for the water to boil, we continued to feed the fire with kindling, enjoyed the views, and prepped our insulated mugs with hot cocoa mix. Thankfully, the cone shaped design of the Firebowl kept the snow from melting too unevenly under the stove, keeping a fairly flat and even surface. Once the water began to boil, we carefully removed the pot from the fire, filled our mugs, and enjoyed the beautiful views and the last bit of the sunset.
How We Made It Delicious:
Enjoy some hot chocolate on your next winter adventure with a Littlbug stove and our perfect homemade hot chocolate mix of a 1:1 ratio of unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar:
- We used unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- Add more sugar (1:2 cocoa powder to sugar ratio) for a sweeter beverage
- We used a tablespoon scoop to measure out our mix, but for larger batches, feel free to use larger measure options like a ½ cup or 1 cup measuring cups.
- Add your favorite powdered milk to add a creamier texture
- This lightweight concoction works perfectly for a lightweight backcountry hot drink. Mix it with your coffee in the morning or have it as an after dinner dessert.