This week’s #trailtime chat with Sierra Trading Post is all about food in the backcountry! Check out the linkup here where you can check out tips, tricks and recipes from a whole slew of awesome bloggers and join the weekly chat on Twitter at 4 p.m. MDT on Thursday, July 17 here!
I am a particular eater. Not picky, per se, but I know what I like. And what I do not like is much of the ‘standard’ trail fare. Trail mix and [insert any kind of bar here] are not my jam. Instead, I prefer to think outside the box and find creative ways to bring/make food I enjoy. Proper nutrition and fuel are a huge factor in mountaineering success so finding items that fill you up but also appeal to your palette are key.
So if you’re a little bit particular about your foods or just looking for alternative meal options to spice up your trail adventures, read on!
On the whole, I don’t like bars. There are some I tolerate as a last resort – and only one I truly enjoy – but, unfortunately, bars are usually the quickest, easiest breakfasts for early morning starts. However, an equally easy and far more tasty option is milk + granola.
To make: add a serving of granola to a ziplock baggie and just add milk in the morning! For short trips, I bring in Silk Almond Milk single serve containers – they’re a bit heavier but taste better; for longer trips or for less weight, combining evaporated milk powder and water works just as well.
Many people reach for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or something similar on mountain summits for their lunch but not me. For day trips – like a single-day 14er hike, I might pack in a Subway sandwich that I’d bought the night before. Or, most likely, I’ll whip out a package of cured meat (usually salami) and cheese (usually Babybel) and sometimes a tortilla and snack on my ‘antipasto’ lunch. Protein, fat and salt with no fuss? Not much more this gal wants.
Dehydrated meals are a go to for evening meals in the backcountry. They’re light and pretty tasty when cooked right. And while I do love dehydrated meals, I also love the luxury of ‘real food’, too. In winter, I have been known to carry in a Chipotle burrito on camping trips; this past weekend, Alex and I made our own chicken + rice concoction that blew our taste buds away.
To make: we packed in 1 package of pre-cooked Kroger brand chicken each and 1 package of microwave-ready (ie – fully cooked, just needed to be reheated) flavored rice. On our stove, we brought a bowl of water to a boil and submerged the rice, warming it up. After a few minutes in the water, we poured the rice into our chicken packets and mixed. The rice warmed the chicken and we had a delicious and nutritious hot meal in minutes.
Snacks are really up to the individual as everyone has their own preferred tastes. For me, I enjoy bringing dried fruit, lgsmash trail mix (cashews + peanut butter M&Ms – none of those silly raisins), Cheez-Its, Bobo’s Oat Bars (the one bar I do like), Mountain Chow dehydrated hummus and whatever else strikes my fancy in the grocery store.
I’m a firm believer in experimenting until you find what works for you – but don’t rely on experimental foods without packing fail-proof backups, too. The last thing you want is to be hungry and bonking on a trail because you don’t like your food or it didn’t sustain you as well as you thought!
These foods are geared primarily toward backpackers/hikers, people who have limited space and limited means to carry gear. But if you’re heading out on an adventure that allows for kitchen utensils and if weight isn’t an issue, your backcountry culinary options are endless! Hands down, the best meals I’ve eaten on the trail happened in the Boundary Waters on a 6-day canoe trip where we stuffed a heavy, wooden box full of delicious food and cooking supplies to float with us in our canoe. Pancakes, pizza and stirfry? The stuff adventurers dreams are made of!