- I prefer simple and don’t mind repetitive.
- Food is fuel; fuel is power.
- Try before you carry.
- Quantity, quality and quickness matter.
- Homemade is best.
- It’s an evolving process.
- Repackage for weight savings and portion control.
What I take depends a bit on whether I’m prepping from home or on the road, whether I’ll be out for a few days or multiple weeks, and whether I’ll be mailing food in a resupply box. Basically I’m lazy but I prefer homemade meals and I’m budget conscious. I don’t cook, instead I use boiling water to rehydrate. Figuring out how much food and drink is part science part art. It’s a formula each person needs to figure out for themselves. The biggest challenge is adjusting your personal formula for conditions and situations such as:
- Day 1 vs 5 vs 21 (hiker hunger kicks in around week 3)
- Base elevation
- Calories burned
A few times a year, I’ll make huge batches of muesli. I’ve started using Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli as the base, then add flax, chia, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nuts, etc. I fill snack size ziplocks using a wide mouth funnel. In camp I pour into a 16-oz Ziploc Twist N Loc Container, add hot coffee and let it sit 5-10 minutes. Yes, I said coffee. I use the Starbucks VIA packets and add one to full pot of water boiled in my Jetboil. It’s my two-in-one prep. I can drink hot coffee while waiting for my cereal to hydrate.
I tend to favor wraps. Most often I’ll bring hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks or extra sharp cheddar and tortillas. I usually throw in a bag of spinach or slaw and maybe an avocado or hummus/avocado spread. It’s convenient that these come in single serve containers now. They say refrigerate but I’ve traveled with them in my pack for several days without issue (except in extreme heat).
Keeping it simple I have a few items I rotate between with all repackaged in snack size ziplock bags. The requirement is calorie dense, tasty and suitable for quick rehydration with boiling water.
- Mixed grains, beans and greens – I usually make and dehydrate a huge batch with rotating spices.
- Idahoan potatoes – I prefer the 4 cheese variety and usually buy the family size.
- Rice noodles with pasta sauce – This is my favorite meal. I make my own sauce and bring a cube of Lotus rice ramen which I crunch up and add to the dry sauce and then rehydrate together.
- Other meals – I like to dehydrate what I normally eat at home. This might includes some of the following:
- Turkey, barley, vegetable soup
- Beef stew with potatoes and carrots
- Teriyaki turkey, rice and veges
- Knorrs rice sides are a reliable option. If I don’t have time to prepare meals in advance this is a regular in my rotation.
I’ve had terrible luck rehydrating pasta so as much as I like macaroni and cheese or other noodle-based dishes, they stay home. There are plenty of other options such as rice, quinoa, barley, couscous, and ramen.
Hard boiled eggs are my favorite. You can now buy them in 2 packs at most grocery and convenience stores.
For other protein options I usually brings nuts and might bring jerky or peanut butter. I prefer salty to sweet snacks.
I’ve tried lots of bars and have found I don’t like protein bars. I try to buy my favorites by the box when they are on sale so I always have them conveniently available. My current favorites are:
- Nature Valley Almond Butter Biscuits
- Nature Valley Crunch Oats n Dark Chocolate
- Nature Bakery Fig Bar
- Luna Bars (Lemon, Blueberry and Peppermint)
I don’t like sweetener in my water and will only go that route for really bad tasting water. I tried several options while on the Arizona Trail and found I preferred cold vanilla coffee, grape or orange flavoring, and recently discovered Cusa powdered teas. I suffer in the heat and have found Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals preferable to electrolyte tablets or drink additives.
How much water? That’s a challenging question and one I discuss further in my post “water, water, water.”
- Food Jabber – Budget, Time, and Health Friendly Meal Prep
- Food Jabber – Greens To Go
- Food Jabber – How to Dehydrate Olives
- Arizona Trail – Post Trip Report – Food, it’s a Balancing Act
- Food (What and How Much)
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