One of the FAQ’s that I’m often asked is what I eat when I back country camp. Well, a lot of the food I eat depends on three things: Will it fuel me? Can I cook it out of 1 pot? and is it light? Most people think it’s hard enough to cook a meal with three pots. Well, you’d be surprised just how simple it is to keep up the good eats when you’re deep in the woods.
1. Greens Powder
My only advice to you is to just get it down first thing when you wake up. Often these powders taste quite gnarly and awful – something you definitely don’t feel like consuming in the morning. I assure you it will be one of the best decisions you make that day. Not only will it provide you with veggies that you couldn’t carry in your pack, but it’s full of good vitamins and will naturally energize you. This is the brand I like to take with me. I transfer however much I think I’ll need into a Ziploc bag. I then put this baggy into another…just in case there is a mini explosion in the first bag. You can get away with not refrigerating this stuff too.
2. Baby Food Packets
I first found out about this glorious god sent before my Trek to Assiniboine in July 2016. THESE were the BEST thing. Not only do they taste amazing, but the garbage in the end turns flat and light! Don’t get me started on the delicious flavours you can buy. You think you’re eating a yummy pureed fruit blend when actually half of the ingredients are vegetables! Mind blown. Also, they were only a buck each!
3. Nuts & Seeds!
A bit on the heavy side, but loaded with protein and energy your body will need 30 minutes into hiking. My favorite hiking nut is the macadamia nut. They have a high caloric count providing you with 241 Calories in only a 1/4 cup! Wowza. Seriously though, they’ve got me through some of the most challenging ascents. I remember living off these during day 2 of our Berg Lake trek.
Seeds are also the bomb-diggity. I love to pack pumpkin and sunflower seeds (already shelled of course). Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc. I took the photo below when I was in Yosemite!
If you’re also a fan of nuts and chocolate, you can easily buy a pre-made trail mix at a local super market. Making your own is also fun! Below is the recipe to my favourite homemade mix I like to make:
Roasted Pecans | 1/2 Cup
Roasted Almonds | 1 Cup
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds | 1/2 Cup
Dried Cranberries | 1 Cup
Dark chocolate | 1/2 Cup chopped/chips
4. Dehydrated Vegetables
So two Christmases ago, I received the greatest gift from my parents – a food dehydrator. Since then, one of my favourite past times is to chop up shit and dry it. It came in handy when I headed over to the Rockies this past July. I bought 37 pounds of vegetables before we left, and we ended up only having to carry (what felt like) 2 pounds once dried. I used the veg in every dinner. You can easily throw them in rice, pasta, or sauces. They re-hydrate the quickest in boiling water. One of my favourite snacks I enjoy are dried apple rings and mangoes. The neat thing about drying food is that you don’t even need a dehydrator to do it. A lot of blogs I’ve come across in the past talk about drying food in their ovens. Some of the vegetables and foods I like to dehydrate are: Zucchini, Corn, Peas, Black Beans, Celery, Green Onion, Bell Peppers, Apples, mangoes, mushrooms and carrots.
5. Fruit Bars
They taste great, contain fibre and quench you’re fruit craving. Hiking in the Rockies, my breakfasts would usually consist of instant oats, a baby food pouch and one fruit bar with some instant coffee.
6. Dried Chickpeas
I’ve had people tell me they taste better than Corn Nuts. I love these things as a snack. I usually buy mine at a store, but there are many recipes online that provide great instruction. I’ve made some myself a few times. Chickpeas are packed with protein, and are coated with some salt when roasted! Trust me, you will get to day 4 of your hike and pray you’ll never taste another nut in your life. These make for a great substitute.
7. Tuna & Salmon
This can be a luxury – only if you’re willing to carry the cans yourself (or split it up with your fellow hikers). I usually buy these on my canoe trips. There is so much protein in 1 can of tuna. Same goes for Salmon – plus omegas! Just be sure to pack out all your cans and be careful where the lingering juice ends up. You don’t want to have a bear friend come knocking on your tent in the middle of the night. I tend to buy no-drain Tuna/Salmon for this very reason.
Quinoa is great – it’s a complete protein. Though, if not seasoned properly/enough it can be one of the most boring foods. A lot of outdoor stores sell mini spice racks, but If you have loads of spices at home, try and create your own shakers! Some items you can use include an empty Tic Tac dispenser, make-up sample containers or old film canisters.
Once you season your quinoa, it can actually be quite enjoyable. Throw in some dried veg and/or dried meat (for a treat) and you’re set! Another hack I recently discovered is to add beef/chicken/veg bouillon packets into the quinoa once it’s cooked. Oh my god, it tastes so good.
I personally like to buy a quinoa mix, where it’s already incorporated with brown rice. I find the rice give me the extra carbohydrates I need and keeps me full.
Totally optional, but I like to bring some nonetheless. Do I take them everyday when I’m on the trail? No, not all the time. But when I do, I take the following: Vitamin C, B12, Multi, & Zinc.
I must admit, for the longest time I was the worst water drinker on the trail. My body would go into desert mode. Now, I carry at least 2 litres in my hydration bladder. I make it a goal to finish it at the end of the day. I myself have been victim to the occasional dull, never-ending headache and increased soreness in the mornings. I can tell you, any problematic symptoms I’ve experience during a trip have been caused by dehydration and were easily be cured by chugging a whack of water. I’m 99.9% sure about this.
There you go! My 10 top to eat right in the backcountry. These ten ways keep you feeling great, fuelled and energized – even if it’s day 7. Don’t get me wrong though, I do enjoy my jerky, s’mores and candies on the trail too…with some whiskey on the side.
Stay adventurous and keep exploring,
What are way you contribute to a healthy eating pattern in the backcountry? I’m curious! Let me know it the comments below!
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