After a long day of work or school, one thing you always look forward to is that amazing smell of home-cooked food waiting for you on the stove. Whether it’s your mom’s lasagna, or grandma’s chili, it will always get you excited. However, after a long day of backpacking, you mostly likely will not be sharing in this experience that night. Here are some helpful food tips to get you through your trip.
Calories are your Friend
In our current world, society tells us to eat an average of 2000 calories per day, or even follow a caloric deficit diet. But, there is no way this will be sustaining you as you will be trekking miles on end during your trip. Calories are essential when backpacking, because they help provide you with the stamina and energy to continue your trip. Keep in mind, you won’t be packing tupperware-stored foods. So, you will need to be packing foods that conserve weight, but also are rich with calories. One thing to remember is that you cannot under-prioritize food because you are concerned about the weight of your pack. Each day, your pack will get more light as you eat, so don’t be afraid to pack up. Some good foods include:
- Protein Bars
- Hard, dried cheese
- Meat sticks or jerky
Dehydrate your Foods
As mentioned, you won’t have foods stored in tupperware. Instead, one of the best tricks to limit space in your pack is dehydrating your food. All that is needed is to add water to your food and you have a meal. Not to mention, you save money and know exactly what is in your food when you dehydrate it yourself instead of buying pre-packed options. This even gives you more options to what you can bring. You can dehydrate pastas, vegetables, meat, soup, and so much more. Of course, it won’t taste nor be close to how fresh lasagna will taste out of the dish, but it can definitely be more enjoyable than just eating protein bars and nuts during a multiple day trip. Here are some things to keep in mind when packing your food:
- Pack food that you know you will enjoy
- The last thing you want to do is try new foods that people suggest or stuff you have never tried before. You should not risk not liking your food and end up not eating your meal.
- Have some variety in your food options
- Unless you are a picky eater, don’t be afraid to have a variety of foods with you. It makes your trip much more enjoyable when you will be experiencing different tastes and textures per meal, rather than just having the same thing over and over again each day of your trip.
An Apple A Day Keeps the Hunger Away
Don’t be afraid to bring some fresh food. Fruits and vegetables are not a bad idea to bring along with you during your trip. However, they are perishable and can go bad if not eaten in a timely manner. So, eat these during the first day of your trip, or bring extras if it is a shorter trip. Apples, oranges, greens, or even carrots are some good options to bring along with you on your trip.
Cooking Outdoors Made Easy
You probably won’t have a full kitchen knife set, all your pots and pans, or cooking utensils when you go out on your trip. However, don’t let that steer you away from making food!
- If you want to keep your pack as light as possible, you probably left your pot and mobile stove at home. Cold-soaking is a great way to both conserve weight, but also enjoy your dried foods. Of course, you will be eating your food cold, so be sure you know how it will taste. Try doing this at home before you do this out on the trail.
- All-in-one Pot
- One way to conserve fuel is to use one pot for dehydrating/defrosting foods and cooking your food. It also removes the need to bring multiple pots, thus conserving weight and space.
- Using a Plastic Bag
- If you don’t want to eat your food cold, you can add boiled water into a sturdy plastic bag with your food. Making sure to massage the food for a couple minutes as it soaks up the water allows the heat to move evenly throughout the bag. It’s also great because you reduce the amount of clean up you will need to do.
Just remember that you need to eat while you are out on the trail. Whether it’s snacking as you hike, or the need to take a quick stop to prepare a meal. Take the time to fuel your body so you can tackle every step with energy.
As always, enjoy your trip, eat well, and stay safe!