One common theme from culture to culture is that food is central when bringing people together regardless of the occasion. It cheers us up, we gather, converse, celebrate, and grieve around it. On top of this, we physically cannot survive without it! I mean, can you imagine celebrating any occasion with your friends and family without any food to share?! That is complete and utter nonsense!
However, as we explore the backcountry, we rely on only the food and gear in which we can carry in our backpacks. Suddenly, it seems food and meals have a simpler meaning. Nutrients, nourishment, and weight/space truly become key to meal planning and making sure that you get enough calories, nutrients and enjoyment from your meals as possible. In order to help you enjoy your food, I have listed what I often eat for an average day of backpacking. This day's worth of food is efficient, cost effective, and helps me feel full and satisfied. It tastes pretty damn good after a long day of backpacking and guiding as well. Each meal has little waste and packs small to help my pack stay light and efficiently packed.
To clarify, there are way more fancy and at home meals that can be prepared, this is a basic guide to help you get started on your way to not being hangry or breaking the bank on dehydrated-sodium filled meals every day!
I always do my best to keep breakfast simple so dishes are at a minimum and stove fuel use is low to preserve fuel. Some people will say cold breakfasts are better, but I disagree! Waking up with a warm meal is very nice and motivating.
What breakfast looks like:
- 2 packs of pre-packaged oatmeal with following added;
One heaping teaspoon of peanut butter powder and flax to add more protein
- One teaspoon of combined crushed pecans,walnuts, and almonds
- One Small handful of dehydrated banana chips
- 4 dried Apricots
- 2 teas each morning for an added kick:)
In the outdoors we have a saying. Lunch time is from the moment breakfast is over until dinner prep begins. What that means is lunch is mostly made up of smaller snacks throughout the late morning and afternoon. While we are guiding our clients, we also do not allow stoves to be used at lunch due to the time and effort it takes to do so. Keeping it simple and filling are what I find Key! You will see a very large and calculated amount of snacks in this section and I cannot stress enough the importance of good snacks!
What Lunch looks like:
- Bagel with nutella like spread (decent amount of spread)
- 1 small serving of beef jerky (usually about 10 small bite-sized pieces)
- 2 Mandarin oranges
- 1 protein bar (10gs of protein minimum)
- 2 Lara bars
Now, I know that there are tons of ways to get fancy with special stoves and pots and heat settings and this and that, but to be honest, I am simple when it comes to cooking in the backcountry. I use a simple pocket rocket stove and bring one pot. Literally. I want as little dishes, prep time, and clean up time as possible. So here is my inexpensive and efficient solution to expensive, sodium filled, massive and fart inducing packaged dehydrated meals such as backpacker meals and what have you.
What Dinner looks like:
- One large raw carrot
- Bowl of instant soup mix (vegetable is my favourite or Miso!)
- Lipton Sidekick - the ones that only need water and not milk! Lactose = :(
- Add 1 can of meat of choice or cured sausage - tuna, chicken, salmon, ham, spam, italian sausage
- Salt + pepper to taste
- Chocolate bar of choice or gummy candies
- Un-caffeinated Tea or Coffee
As mentioned, this is in no means a perfect diet or the best meals to have in the backcountry. They are nutritious, efficient, cost effective and work for me. I hope others will find my personal and very basic guide to backpacking meals helpful and informative!
And don't forget to get outside today, have fun and be safe.