Food, Glorious Food!food
Food may be one of the most important things that you can plan for when going on any excursion. Whether it be snacks for a day hike or a meal plan for a week-long trip, food is what will keep you moving down the trail. As with most things, it is best to start with the basics: the bare necessities of fueling your hunger. For me, this would be snacks, things that will sustain you while moving along, no matter how long your journey will be.
When choosing the snacks you will bring, look for things that are lightweight, high in calories, and that taste good. The worst thing that can happen is having lots of food that you don’t like. Granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit are some of my personal favorites to bring along. Having something sweet like chocolate to occasionally treat yourself to is also a nice addition. Make sure to pace yourself while on the trail however, running out of snacks before you’re finished is never an enjoyable experience.
For a day trip, once you have your snacks prepared you are ready to hit the trail! If you’re planning for an extended expedition the next thing to do is plan your meals. The food you plan for will be different depending on the length of your trip, as well as your carrying capacity. For car camping, you can essentially bring anything you would like as long as you have the stoves and cookware to prepare it. I particularly love anything cooked in a dutch oven. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I believe that something happens to your food when cooked in cast iron that instantly makes it delicious! Some of my personal favorites are peach cobbler and dutch oven lasagna, these are dishes that are hard to beat!
When backpacking you need to be much more conscious about what sort of meals you bring. There are lots of companies that sell prepackaged, dehydrated, backpacking, and emergency meals. These are usually tasty, easy to make, and don’t take up much space. I have also dehydrated my own food before, and while it tasted good, this was a lot of work for a single meal. Another backpacking favorite is pasta. Bringing a pasta meal that just requires adding boiling water is a quick and easy alternative to expensive backpacking food. Throwing in some canned chicken can also help you get some protein into your meal.
Oftentimes for the first day of a backpacking trip, I will bring food that may be a little heavier and bulkier, but that is a little more fulfilling than dehydrated meals. It will add more weight to your pack, but since it will be gone by the end of the day, I think that it is justified. This could be something simple like cheese, crackers, and summer sausage, or something more fancy like a nice pasta dish. Or if not a full meal, maybe some fresh fruit. Whatever you bring, make sure that it is something you enjoy!
As I have gone camping and backpacking I have learned that there is no need to eat disgusting food. It may take time to find out what you like to make and eat, but once you do it will be life-changing! After reading this I hope you’re hungry, so get out and make some food!