At home we hardly ever eat processed food, so planning for backpacking cuisine proved to be quite the research and trial-and-error project. Our bodies are used to clean food that we cook at home and are able to refrigerate, so we did not want to feel sick the entire time from shocking our system with a ton of preservatives. The list below contains a nice balance of what I believe to be lightweight backcountry crub with sufficient calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates for hiking endurance with a few treats thrown in for enjoyment as we are definitely foodie freaks! There are way more preservatives and sugar in this food list than what we are used to, but we tried to make healthy choices given backcountry limitations, and we are slowly integrating more carb-rich foods into our diet as we prepare to depart.
It is possible to eat a diet in the backcountry that provides you with all of the nutrients and energy your body craves.
Here is the food we are packing for 2 people, 5 days, and 4 nights out:
– Instant Oatmeal
– 1 Mountain House Eggs & Bacon freeze-dried meal for a lazy morning and a special treat as we hardly every enjoy bacon!
– Nature Valley granola bars and dried fruit for a quick morning
– Assorted dried cereal and granola
We don’t like to stop and cook for lunch, so we are eating mostly wraps and have 1 freeze-dried meal if we are beat one day and want to rest a while during lunch.
– Peanut butter and banana chips on whole wheat tortillas
– Hard salami and cheeses on whole wheat tortillas (gruyere does not need to be refrigerated)
– Oil-packed, pouch tuna and mayo on whole wheat tortillas (we need to pick up a few more packs before we leave)
Yep, we were lazy and went Backpacker’s Pantry freeze-dried meals the whole way. In the evenings we like something hot full of flavor, and $8-10 for 2 people plus the convenience really isn’t that bad. Their ratios of protein-carbs-fat were actually perfect for hiking, and though I hate the fact there are so many preservatives, we figured we would go this route for our first big trip out and then invest in a dehydrator in the future so we can make our own clean variations. I threw in some freeze-dried green beans because they were only a couple of bucks and ounces, and I figure after several days of no vegetables I will be craving them pretty bad.
This is just an assortment of snacks we like to eat on a normal basis. We factored in 1-2 snacks per person per day.
– Granola bars (You can make your own clean granola bars that are pretty cheap and easy, but I quite frankly just did not have the time this weekend, so Nature Valley and Cliff it is!)
– Chocolate for the evenings while winding down and enjoying the scenery
– Nuts for protein and dense calories
– Honey stingers for energy (out of all of the energy gels, chews, and the sort, these are the ‘cleanest’ you can get, plus the taste amazing)
– An assortment of leftover snacks from home
– A light-weight long spoon for our freeze-dried meals and oatmeal
– Electrolytes for the high-altitude, hydration, and flavoring the iodine water
– 50′ of rope for hanging the bear bag
– Assorted drink mixtures: Starbucks Via, hot chocolate, instant apple-cider, green tea, chamomille tea (I get stomach aches when I eat too much processed food, and chamomille tea really helps calm it down), honey, sugar (raw sugar and Stevia)
There you have it! I hope this helps you with your planning, and feel free to leave any suggestions for future trips.