Can you give me an advice how to warm a meal which I carry in a jar or in a can when I go somewhere on camping or on tents in the wild.

I don't want to carry heavy things like gas bottles, a pan or a pot, because sometimes I have to walk a lot and don't like to have a heavy backpack.

  • What type of food is it? Or do you want something to work for many kinds of foods?
    – michaelpri
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:53
  • @michaelpri it will be good if you can find something for all types of food, but mainly interested in food with liquid sauce like soup
    – vladiz
    Mar 5, 2015 at 22:35

4 Answers 4


A great way to do this is actively used by the US military in the MREs (Meal Ready to Eat). There are some available to regular civilian consumers.

Here is one such example: Mountain Oven on Amazon

Basically, they use a bag and water to produce heat via an exothermic reaction. Basically, if you have food, and you have water and you have one of these such products, you can combine them for a surprisingly hot meal the requires no fire, cookware or otherwise.

I'm sure there are many other options, but this is the best that comes to mind. Happy Trails!

  • 1
    Being an air cadet myself, MRE's can be quite disgusting at times...
    – Zizouz212
    Apr 23, 2015 at 15:26
  • Agreed, but you have to admit, those heating packs are pretty awesome. Apr 23, 2015 at 18:21

Trail mix. Full of energy and healthy. If you do have a fire, you can save weight by boiling lake water for soup or tea instead of carrying water in. I recommend a stainless camping pot from REI or Walmart.

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    – L.B.
    Mar 6, 2015 at 2:20
  • 1
    I go winter camping too. Pull your gear in a sled, much easier than carrying it. But be prepared for a cold night. ;)
    – Chris
    Mar 7, 2015 at 4:20

If you don't mind luke-warm soup, a hand-warmer using the oxidation of iron can reach ~50°C. See this PDF of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.

Another heat source is hexamethylenetetramine or "hexamine", sold in tablet form. A light-weight heater can be made from a can; see Solid Fuel Burner. This site also lists some alternative fuels, such as trioxane. Just put a can of soup on top of the can with the burning tablet. If you want to use a glass container, put a wire grid on top of the burner to spread heat a bit.


If you've opened your can and maybe removed a little bit, you can heat it on coals. It takes a long time and you need to stir, but you did say you didn't want to carry extra tools.

Note that you'll need to move it when the coals underneath get cool.

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