Right now, cooking (which is a part of crafting) is considered to be “Moderate Exercise”. This means the player is spending as many calories boiling water as he does cutting down trees. In my opinion, it should be “No Exercise” or at most “Light Exercise”. (This is a one-line change in json).
I ran into this while trying to figure out why my character was losing weight. It turns out the cause of the weight loss was cooking pemmican.
It looked like a good idea since I had a lot of lard laying around, and pemmican was a way of making use of the calories in the lard. I will spare you the calculations, but with the current mechanics, I was close to burning more calories cooking the pemmican than I was gaining from incorporating the lard.
I needed to open the debug menu to figure it out. This must be very confusing for new players; it certainly was for me.
Disassembled it doesn’t take up a ton of space, or you could cut down enough sticks for it every time you stop, but I just load the materials into a spot in my car I can access from outside and then I just build it up real quick, shove it full of whatever I need smoked, and let it do it’s thing overnight while I sleep.
I don’t really play nomad much anymore, and if I do I tend to not go for the death mobile. I prefer making a sort of ATV with a storage and crafting trailer type setup where I keep my tent and bedroll.
So I’ll often stop for multiple days while I use various methods of renewables to charge its batteries. During which I’ll fish, hunt, and forage to stock up the “larder,” maybe do some crafting or repairs, and then pack it all up and go on my way. It’s more engaging to me than playing it like a loot and shoot and rolling through huge cities and piling more shit I’ll never use into the back of an RV made of tanks and mobile howitzers.
I use mobile bases too, but I usually set up a temporary ‘camp’ at the edge of a town in a garage or other secluded area where I can place things like a smoking rack or brazier for a few days and then tear them down when I want to move on.
Nevertheless, most cooking should be reduced to ‘light activity’ in terms of caloric burn and exhaustion.