No Flame, No Problem? A Review of the Barocook Flameless Cooking System

The small packet reacted ferociously within seconds of adding water, an entertaining display of chemistry that soon began pumping out enough heat to cook a simple meal.

As my test of the Barocook flameless cooking system revealed, this novel addition to the pantheon of backcountry cooking options does work, but at a cost of both money and weight. Overall, it’s more of a novelty than a go-to cook system, though it does have potential value for inside-the-tent use during severe weather, especially in winter conditions.

Here’s how it works. The cook system consists of four components: an outer plastic container, an inner stainless steel pot that nests closely inside, a plastic lid that clamps down over the top, and a chemical packet.

To operate the system, you remove the chemical packet from its wrapper and place it flat in the bottom of the outer container. You then pour a small amount of water over the packet (the empty wrapper serves as a measuring device for how much to add, including a fill line). Now quickly place the cook pot inside the container, seal the lid, and sit back and watch chemistry in action.

The packet quickly heats the water in the outer container to boiling, which creates steam that soon begins shooting out from under the edges of the lid. This sufficiently heats the overlying pot and its contents to near-boiling temperatures. The reaction lasts for roughly 10 minutes, by which point nearly all of the water in outer container has boiled away. Residual heat in the now swollen packet continues to produce warmth for several minutes longer.

Hot water is useful in and of itself for reconstituting dehydrated meals or making hot drinks, but I also tested the system’s cooking ability with some quick-cooking macaroni pasta. You want to avoid removing the lid while heating is underway to trap maximal warmth, so I added the pasta to the cold water beforehand. Sure enough, the Barocook was able to adequately heat the water for long enough to cook the pasta.

Barocook systems comes in a range of different sizes and shapes (most are rectangular rather than round). I tested the BC-010 model; its 1-liter cookpot is one of their larger offerings. Source