I’m from the backpacking school that a warm meal after a long day is the quickest way to build energy for the next day. Many hikers choose to go stoveless and I can see the advantage to that. The stove, pot, and spork all weigh less than half a pound combined, but the fuel canister weighs 13.4 ounces! Still, a warm meal is worth some weight.
So, I won’t go stoveless, but I might go without cooking on occasion. The reason is simple — to save water. Water is heavy and cooking requires some surplus that I will not consume. There is a 43 mile stretch with no reliable water sources in SoCal. By not cooking, I free up a liter of water to either consume or (more importantly) not carry.
My kitchen is very light weight. For a stove, I have a Kovea Titanium Stove I purchased from Massdrop. It weighs a little more than the one ounce ultra-lightweight stoves, but at 3.2 ounces, it has its own ignition system. I’ll keep a lighter as a backup fire source, but in most cases I will not need it. To cook on it, I have a 750ml Toaks Titanium Pot (3.2 oz) and a Toaks Titanium Long Spork (0.4 ounces). I may choose to bring an aluminum wind shield.
Something to keep in mind. I originally bought a standard sized handle spork, but on a wet and muddy six-day hike, sticking your hands anywhere near your food was gross. It didn’t matter that I had washed my hands. Just getting in my tent made them dirty. Take something with a long handle.
All my food will be stored in a zPacks Bear Bag Kit. In most cases, the food will be in the tent with me. I package my food in gallon ZipLock bags which provide more than enough scent protection to keep critters away.
While I’m not a master of cooking processed food bought from a 7/11, I am learning before I go. I also expect to take some food and drink just to make me happy. Just because I’m in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean I cannot be civilized.