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Top 5 Ways to Cook with a Backcountry Shovel

Top 5 Ways to Cook with a Backcountry Shovel

Many alpine adventurers carry an avalanche shovel in their pack, but few realize that shovels are very handy cooking tools.  There’s no need to carry extra tools for cooking on a backcountry fire, your shovel does it all.  These are the top 5 reasons why you should get cooking with your snow shovel.

#1: Use an avalanche shovel as a fire starter

Use your shovel to build a fire when the ground is wet or covered with snow.  First line thin, dry pieces of timber along the base of your shovel and spread a Vaseline soaked cotton ball over the timber.  Next make a pyramid of timber around the base.  Light the cotton ball and let the flame build.  When the flame is steady and you’re ready, slowly pull the shovel from the fire and try not to disturb the structure (think of a magician pulling a table cloth from a set table).  When the shovel is free and clear, add additional timber and larger dry wood pieces to build your fire.

#2: Use an avalanche shovel as a grilling tool

Speaking of fires and shovels, your backcountry shovel makes a great tool for flipping and grabbing food from your fire pit.  The best place to buy a good shovel is your local ski shop or  You can also use the shovel to fan the fire to build the flames.

#3: Use an avalanche shovel in place of a cooking pot lid

Who needs a lid when you have a shovel to throw over your pot! The light “u” shape molds perfectly to any size pot. The shovel lid will speed up cooking time, which will save fuel.

#4: Use an avalanche shovel as a non-stick cooling tray

Use your shovel as a cooling tray to make backcountry treats, like these “Bear Scat Cookies”. You can heat and bind your ingredients with a backcountry stove and then cool your goop directly on your shovel’s non-stick surface to make delicious cookies without an oven.

#5: Use an avalanche shovel as a temperature conducting freezer tray

Cool leftovers and make dessert with a shovel and snow.  Dig a shallow hole in the snow.  Lay shovel with leftovers on shovel surface in the snow, and cover with aluminum foil.  Cover the shovel with a light layer of snow, and remove when food reaches your desired temperature.  This is especially great for making desserts when you’re staying in a warm hut.  Try ice cream, pumpkin peanut butter bars, or frozen fruit treats!

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