Saturday, September 6, 2008

Go Light Groceries When Backpacking

Depending on how much backpacking you have done shows up in your grocery list first.
Many novice backpackers find information similar to the following offered by your government. It’s not bad information, and you did pay for it last April, but you will soon fine tune their suggestions:

[The type and amount of food to take on a backpacking trip can prove a difficult decision. What you decide to pack with you may come down to one important factor: weight. Some cold foods might be fine for the first day out, but after that you might have to go with consumable that can last for days, if necessary. Canned goods are safe, but can add weight to a backpack. A variety of relatively lightweight staples that do not require refrigeration or careful packaging, however, could be the best choice. Some of these food items include -Peanut butter in plastic jars -Concentrated juice boxes and powdered milk -Canned tuna, ham, chicken and beef -Dried noodles and soups -Beef jerky and other dried meats -Dehydrated foods -Dried fruits and nuts In addition, powdered mixes for biscuits or pancakes and dried pasta don’t add significantly to a backpackers load, and are easy prepare at an overnight campsite. But when it comes to packing mixes and pasta, use plastic bags to store them, and consider carefully the amount you’ll need for the duration of your backpacking trip.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture.]

Many of these items will keep well but are heavy. If you are going to carry 10 days worth of food you will need to first pump iron for a few months. A better solution is to get into dehydrating your own food, study your grocery shelves for lighter items and use common sense strategies.
Suggestions: If you do not want to "dry your own" stick you staples and quickies. I have several strategies because I get bored with the same old fare. I love breakfast so I do a lot of what I call food bomb meals. Basically pancake and bread mixes which can turn into pancakes or pizza. This isn’t going to be Bob Evans or Pizza Hut but you will be amazed at what concoctions you can come up with if you are a bit creative. I throw in dried bacon, ground jerky, dried veggies and (I hate to even suggest it) real syrup. I love eating syrup, but I hate carrying it. It is like the plague. No matter how careful you are it will leak all over your back and make you an ant magnet. It is so sticky and nasty you will hope a bear eats you just so you are out of your misery.
I use a "bakepacker" for pancakes and breads.

It takes about 18 minutes which is a drawback for me. I usually only take a half-hour for a meal when I’m thru-hiking. Most of my other meals are boil and eat. Many soups available that you can add all kinds of your favorite things to create personal taste stews.
Instead of bread I carry tortilla’s. I buy lots of dehydrated refried beans. They already have the spices added. Just add water, veggies and wrap in a tortilla. They are wonderful. You don’t want to hike behind me, but I guarantee they will quicken you step.
I’m an Irish meat and potato guy so I have tried all kinds of meat substitutes. Chuck up "Slim Jims" dice up jerky nuggets, dried chicken chunks, dried lean ground beef.
The important thing to remember is that the food you carry has no nutritional value if you do not eat it—and you will not eat it if it doesn’t appeal to you. So pack smart.
Another tip: First and last day don’t count. Pig out before you leave on the first day and know you can pig out when you come in on the last day. If your trip last longer than you expected you may get a little hungry but you are not going to starve to death.
Happy Hiking, Keep Smilin’, Dick E. Bird

1 comment:

Jason Martin said...

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