• Dinner preparation should be in or near the fire ring.
  • Gather all appropriate dinners for the evening meal.
  • Set out an unused bear bag on the ground as the “kitchen countertop”.
  • Emphasize that crew members should minimize the amount of walking they do near the kitchen area and the cooks should be the only people inside the kitchen area. The purpose of this is to limit the amount of dirt that is kicked into the food. Also, more movement around the kitchen increases the chance of the pot getting knocked over.
  • The cooks should be wearing closed toed shoes in case the pot with boiling water spills over.
  • The cooks should start boiling about four quarts of water depending on the meal.
  • The cooks should open all the dinner meal bags and organize the individual food packets on their kitchen countertop.
  • Bowls, spoons, and all utensils that will be used for the meal should be placed on the kitchen countertop.
  • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, all dishes must be sanitized for at least 30 seconds in order to prevent illness on the trail. (By sterilizing immediately before a meal rather than the night before, you are able to save on fuel and water by having two uses: sterilization and rehydrating.)
  • Pour the dehydrated meal into the empty eight quart pot.
  • Turn the stove off and carefully pour the hot water into the eight quart pot with the food. Use your best judgment on how much water to add. You can always add more water later but once it is added, it cannot be removed.
  • Stir the food thoroughly with a large spoon to ensure all the food is getting rehydrated.
  • Place the lid on the pot and let sit for 10-12 minutes or follow the directions on the food bag.
  • Stir the food one last time and serve.

Eat dinner

  • Make sure to be careful while eating: any clothing that has food spilled on it needs to be hung in the bear bags at night.
  • Encourage your crew to eat all of the food as this will make the cleanup process much easier.
  • Compact the trash into one empty meal bag and collect the other empty meal bags, cans, and paperboard for recycling.


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.