- 4tsp Yellow curry powder
- 2tsp Granulated onion
- 6tbs Butter
- 2 handful Raisins
- 4 handful Cashews
- 1cup Dried peas
- 6tbs Coconut cream powder
- 2 Sugar packet
- 10oz Boil-in-bag basmati
Backpacking is great way to recharge; move your body and lighten your soul. Finding the balance between pack weight and delicious food is a common challenge. One needs to ensure they have enough to eat and drink without packing so much that your back gives out.
Read on for backcountry tried and tested meal-planning advice and delicious camp recipes.
Eat Gourmet Day One
If you're going into the backcountry for several days, eat heavier, more perishable items for the first day or two. Go gourmet the first night with fresh veggies, bread, and even meat. Freeze the meat ahead of time, it will defrost in your pack during the day. Five days in, your left shoe tastes good; enjoy the fresh stuff while you can!
Dehydrated food is a valuable weight and FUEL saver for backpackers; when it's time to eat, just boil water and stir. Precooked, dehydrated foods are not only lightweight, but also simple to prep. The decreased cooking time conserves fuel, requiring you to carry LESS. Stores such as Mountain Equipment Co-op, or your local outdoor store, sell great packaged meals. I recommend, for adventurers who love food, consider investing in a dehydrator. The options are endless. You can take any recipe you love at home and adapt it for the trail. In preparation for the Appalachian Trail I made 6 months of dehydrated food, making 14 different recipes for supper. Precooked and dehydrated vegetables, fruits, ground meats such as beef or chicken, sauces, and noodles were the main ingredients. To make it easier to determine portions you can place entire meals in the dehydrator. Once dehydrated, use the nutritional information to break the recipe into individual serving sizes.
Substitute And Purge Excess
When you're going backcountry, you have to carry OUT everything you carry in, so weight and garbage are big challenges. When planning a backpacking menu, start off with meals that you like to make at home. Add and substitute ingredients that will be quick cooking, lighter, or more compact. For example, Mr Noodles instead of spaghetti; foil packets instead of cans of tuna; couscous and angel-hair pasta are also great options. Spend the time to nix excess packaging. Never carry tin cans, combine ingredients for one meal into a single ziplock, or remove excess cardboard and plastic. It is amazing how much extra packaging is out there. Purging it at home will save valuable ounces on the trail.
Spice It Up
Pack a few light ingredients (such as garlic and jalapeños) for freshening up meals. Garlic weighs nothing and adds so much flavour. Dried herbs and spices are ideal for camping. Cut down on packaging and add them directly to other ingredients for that meal. Raid your local fast food restaurant; a great source for packets of olive oil, ketchup, mustard, soy or hot sauce, salad dressing, and even peanut butter. These are great ways to add kick to a meal!
Understand Your Camp Stove
The two most common types of camp stove are liquid fuel and canister. The basic concept is the same but each one is operated and lit a bit differently, so be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Spend some time practicing outside with your stove before hitting the trail. Raw noodles never taste good!
Leave No Leftovers
The backcountry code is "leave no trace," meaning you should haul OUT anything you bring in. This INCLUDES all food and any packaging. Leaving behind food is a big faux-pas! It attracts animals and makes beautiful campsites dirty and grungy. It should be avoided at all costs. This means planning and not packing more grub than you need. Portion control is a bit of an art. Try keeping notes on trips and modify as needed from trip to trip.
It may not be the lightest thing, but cheese is delicious in the backcountry. Hard cheeses do not have to be refrigerated and will liven up lunches and dinners. Most cheeses can keep for a few days, and the stinky ones get better!
Armed with these new tips and tricks, try a recipe on your next adventure!
More to be added
Have a recipe you love? Send it in and I'll post it on my site!
This fall I had the opportunity to hike the Escalante Route in the Grand Canyon. It was a wonderful five day trip that I completed with my friend ET who I met while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Check out my trip report to hear about our adventure and see some of the amazing photos.
Get Outside and see what there is to be seen!
It's hard to believe it's almost been two years already. In 2013 I left snowflakes, solid ice, and freezing temperatures in anticipation of warm weather and green grass. Instead, I was greeted by unusually cold temperatures; the snow had followed me east.
At first light, I was dropped off in the backwoods of Georgia; all that I could hear was my own nervous laughter; all that I could feel was my body trembling with anticipation; all that I could see was 3500km of trail before me.
After months of preparation...I had finally arrived at the at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Backpack on and trail runners tied tight, with my first step I committed myself to 5 months of dehydrated food, sleeping in a tent, and the adventure of a lifetime. I knew I was going to learn a lot while on the trail. What I didn't expect to learn was gratitude, patience, and trust.
I had purposefully chosen this trail because only 20% of the people who start it, finish it. The thought of pushing myself to complete something that very few people have appealed to my personality. From a very young age I learned to push my body and stopped listening when it said, enough is enough. The first four months of the trail was the most physically rested I had felt in a very long time. I even managed to gain 10lbs while hiking 27km days carrying a 30lbs pack. Eventually however, my body started to break down.
Ankles were rolled and tears were shed while collapsed in the middle of the trail. A lesson was learned; I had to ask for help. Shin splints crippled me. Daily mileage dropped from 48km to 16km; wincing with every step. Two amazing individuals drove out of their way to pick me up and let me stay at their house. They fed me. They did my laundry. They gave me a bed to sleep in. My mind was blown.
A week prior I had never met these individuals, but yet they welcomed me into their home. Living in the woods I hadn't showered in two weeks or done laundry in four. Now, I found myself being able to flick a switch and there would be light. I could lift a leaver and COLD water would come gushing out. I could open a magical door and find fresh food. I wasn't hallucinating, it was all real. These people had opened their hearts and welcomed me. It was one of the many selfless acts I would experience along this trail.
People didn't care what your socioeconomic status was, what clothes you wore, or the fact that you had been wearing those same clothes everyday for the past month. They simply wanted you to succeed. Everyone lived in the elements together and faced the same soul crushing trail. If you were hungry and someone had extra food, they gave it to you. If you needed a place to sleep, people made room for you. It was the most supportive environment I had ever been apart of. It was a family.
Travelling by foot, time slowed, and watches were tucked away. Excitement was expressed when only and hour of hiking was left in a day. Sunset and sunrises were the new entertainment and aggressive hawks were the annoying neighbours. New appreciation was held for the small things in life, realizing I need quite little to live. Eye contact was the new norm and it was considered rude not to stop and chat to new faces met along the way. A connection was felt with beautiful mother nature. My nervous systems calmed and gratefulness emanated from within me. It was the most content I have ever felt.
Spending 5 months living in a tent was the greatest thing I could have ever have done. I don't regret a single day or a single dollar I missed earning from taking 7 months off work. Was I reminded of my core values? 100%. Would I do it again? YOU BET!
My advice to you? Get outside and see what there is to been seen. It might just surprise you.
I just returned from an amazing week guiding a group along the West Coast Trail with my fellow guide JF. The easiest way to describe the trip was 1 in a million. Prior to leaving numerous people told me horror stories about this infamous trail. Mud, slime, and rain where always the main themes. We however, enjoyed whales, sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles, and brilliant sunshine. Very few people can say that they completed the West Coast Trail without a lick of rain. I feel very fortunate to have shared this experience with the group.
Even though we had nothing but sun, the trail kept it's muddy reputation. Normally, I don't hike with gators; however, with this trail it was a must. I am scared to picture what it would have been like had it been raining.
Opportunities to clean our boots presented themselves daily as the tides were in our favour. We hiked along the beach whenever access allowed. The hard packed sand proved more efficient than the rooted inland option. Wet seaweed spiced things up and many hikers were caught as we tried to make our way around Owen's Point.
Hungry stomachs were not a concern on this trip. We ate like kings! Delicious meals were prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our scrumptious culinary skills were no match to Chez Monique's bacon laden burger and the fresh fish at NitNat Narrows. Waist belts were loosened and we were rolled into the boat that took us across the narrows. Our bodies struggled to provide blood flow to both our full tummies and our screaming thighs, but we managed to continued along the trail.
Along with the abundance of wildlife we were also witness to history. Scattered along the shoreline remnants of the past could be seen. Old boilers, rusted bolts and giant anchors proved to be a strong reminder of the original use of the trail, connecting shipwrecked survivors back to civilization.
Seven days and 75km later we, ourselves, arrived back in civilization...some with more energy than others :)
Thanks David, JF, Orlene, Olu, Cathy, Helen, Matt, Gerald, and Tara for such a great trip!
Environment Canada was against us for the August long weekend. Looking at the weather forecast we did not hold high hopes. Heads held toward the sky we set out on Geraldine Lakes
Trail in Jasper National Park towards our destination, Mount Fryatt. Mother nature took pity on us for the day and delivered beautiful sunshine allowing us to easily navigate the lichen covered boulders.
Arriving earlier than expected to the base of the west ridge of Mount Fryatt we lazed around soaking up the sun and imagining shapes in the fluffy clouds that were forming. Rainbows formed around the sun foreshadowing the changes to come.
That night the rain started. Waking at 3:30am the rock remained wet and we decided to sleep another hour to give the mountain a chance to dry off. 5am we set out and started up the west ridge. Our fitness made easy work of the scrambling. 2hrs into the "day" we climbed ~600m of the ~1000m needed to reach our goal only to be reminded of our mortal existence and chased off the mountain by bad weather. Retreating in the rain we returned to our camp, dismantled it and headed for the car. If we weren't wet before, we were certainly soaked now. Bushwhacking through willows left our rain gear looking like invisible objects, proving fruitless against the rain drops. Once back to the car we headed to the overflow campground (yes, we are cheap) to dry everything out. Our gear scattered everywhere we became a source of entertainment for the other campers.
I guess I will have to wait until next year