Camping Practices

Yak stew simmering on portable stove

Cooking

Cooking

On day hikes and overnight trips, guides often cook over a wood fire, sometimes inside a shepherd hut. A large kettle supplies an unending supply of boiled water. If not hung over the fire, the kettle is placed directly on the coals. Potatoes can be baked directly on the coals, too. Scrape off the black crust or peel away the skin and enjoy.


Portable backpacking stoves are also in use, of the canister or liquid fuel variety. These are the preferred alternative to wood fires, especially during the dry season with increased fire danger. Finding fuel canisters may be difficult, and they typically cannot be shipped to individuals. Below are a few suggestions for selected cities.


Sources of Fuel Canisters

Sources of Fuel Canisters

Lijiang

International Youth Hostel Lijiang (丽江国际青年旅舍)
885 Minzhu Road (民主路885号)
Phone 180-8808-5240

Tutu Outdoors (图途户外)
Professional Outdoor Sporting Goods (专业户外运动用品)
Seven Stars Street West Gate (七星街西门)
Phone 5109888
(Store entrance on Xianggeli Avenue, 香格里大道)

Shangri-La

Kailas
Dawa Road (达娃路)
Phone 135-7847-4603 (owner Li Xiao Qin, 李小琴)
(Dawa Road runs along the north edge of Old Town, the store is at the far eastern end)

Chuanyue Outdoor Gear Store (穿越户外用品店)
Dawa Road (达娃路)
Phone 188-0693-0937
(west portion of Dawa Road, diagonally opposite gas station)


Hydration

Hydration

Guides drink hot water, tea, butter tea, or directly from streams as needed. Considering that livestock (yaks, goats, cattle) range pretty much everywhere in the backcountry, it is recommended that you treat all unboiled water.


The preparation of butter tea (酥油茶) provides a fascinating tale. Place cow butter (牛奶黄油) in boiled water. Add a paste called damazi (大麻籽), which comes from non-potent parts of the marijuana plant. Add a pinch of salt. Then, using a bamboo shoot with a bush-like end, mix well by twirling the branch between the hands. Serviceable bamboo shoots may lie hidden within shepherd huts, tucked away in a niche.

Chinese folks may choose to drink only warm or hot water, due to cultural and medical concerns. Others much prefer cold and find hot water disagreeable. For the latter, quick access to cold, drinkable water can be a problem. That’s where a thermos bottle comes in handy. Store boiled water in the thermos and mix it with cold in another container. That way one has treated (boiled) water at all times while avoiding the destruction of collapsible containers from scalding H2O.


Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace

The ethic of leave no trace remains largely unknown in China. Local inhabitants and guides adhere to a different tradition. Change, when it will happen, will start slowly and from within their own community. Trekkers should exercise standard LNT practices. This includes packing out all refuse with you, burying human waste and disguising the hole, using existing fire rings, and camping away from lakes and sensitive meadows. Responsible Chinese and foreign trekkers can contribute to positive change by setting an example.