When I started winter backpacking, I assumed the simple act of melting snow to make water would be straight forward: Shovel snow into pot. Melt snow. Have water. Make dinner and hot drinks.
As I found out, there is one added step I forgot: Pour a little water first to get it started!
Why? Otherwise the snow will become scorched. Seriously. I’ve done it. 🙂
The water ends up having a smokey smell and flavor. Your food has that old-school BBQ taste whether desired or not.
Even worse? Since snow is an insulator, the heat can be built up enough where the pot becomes scorched itself or, being typically thin metal, perhaps even get a hole in it.
The trick is to heat up a little water until it becomes hot and then add some snow.
You will have the water needed for winter backpacking, you will not have a burnt water taste and your cook pot will be intact.
So melt some snow…but try to avoid the smokey flavor!