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Thru-Hiking 101: Measuring Cup Hacks

Cooking a meal on the trail can be more difficult than cooking meals at home. Here are some tips and hacks to convert your cooking pot into a measuring cup.

Paul Bodnar     Educational       7/29/2020

Convert your Cooking Pot into an Ultralight Measuring Cup

When cooking, it is important to know how much water you need for a specific recipe.  But you don’t need to carry a measuring cup on the trail if you have a cooking pot. I like to mark the outside of my backpacking pot in 1 cup increments with a permanent Sharpie™ marker. This makes it easy to get about the right amount of water into the pot for cooking.

Step 1:

Use an actual measuring cup to measure 1 cup of water and pour it into your cooking pot.

Step 2:

See where 1 cup of water measures in your cooking pot and mark a line on the outside of your pot with a Sharpie marker. 

Hack: Mark the Handle of Your Spoon

For more precise measurements you can mark the handle of your spoon with a Sharpie™ marker. So instead of approximating your measurement you will get an exact reading.

Mark your spoon at 1/2 cup and 1 cup

Mark your spoon at 2 cups, 3 cups, etc.


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Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association
A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Authors
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.