One of the most pressing questions, before we started Hiking, was what to eat. It was as if Hiking was all about eating. Well, okay, to be honest, I like to go further afield to have a good meal while contemplating a beautiful sunset, for example. Sometimes you have to carry that weight with an overloaded backpack. You will learn more about About Food For Hiking in the LCN Outdoors article.
Conversely, some travelers adhere to asceticism along the way and have managed to navigate these routes without starving to death on a seemingly unrealistic spread in terms of food.
Here, for example, is an experienced Hiker who hiked the alpine plains with a daily food ration of 1 lb (450 grams). Of course, hiking with this much food can only be practiced as a travel experience, confidence and friendship with oneself increase.
Food consumption in modern society has become a cult. Think about how much you order at a cafe or restaurant without finishing it, how much food people put on a small plate at a buffet, how many likes under a picture of a cake.
On long hikes, you can notice changes in your body: the first few days you get cranky and lose your appetite because of the increased workload, then suddenly you don’t have enough food and are hungry all the time. Then you notice that even small portions of food are enough, you feel good, and everything you eat is digested surprisingly well.
In this article, I will not talk about recipes, but only about general principles of nutrition.
Hiking food must meet several parameters, the main ones being.
- calorie content.
- quick preparation.
- lightweight ingredients.
- safety of the product during the activity.
Calorie Food For Travel
In principle, the first point only comes into play during difficult or long walks. As you know, food is nothing more than a source of energy for your body. The more strenuous the activity, the more fuel you need to recover and keep going, which is why it is so important to supplement your energy expenditure with a proper diet balanced in terms of protein, fat, carbohydrate content, and calorie intake.
If the hike isn’t complicated and is short enough that you simply don’t have time to deplete your body’s reserves, you’re unlikely to notice an energy deficit even if your nutrition is “poor”.
For serious routes, experienced travelers choose their food more carefully so that the calories consumed during the day match the energy expenditure as closely as possible, starting to reach some unrealistic numbers on the hike. Otherwise, one day, the group will be left sleeping in their sleeping bags.
To be honest, I don’t use calorie counts as a guide in my diet because I don’t have any exercise goals when I’m Hiking. Obviously, the diet was poor, but not so poor that I starved me.
Prepare Fast Food Anytime, Anywhere
Quick cooking should not be about the time it takes to make a meal, but about the amount of gas, it takes to make a meal. Gas is heavy and the less you carry the better, but you can’t afford to waste it.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the cooking time of certain grains, soups, or semifreddos when choosing foods in the store. Some porridges just need to be poured over boiling water and left to stand, others need to be cooked for 25 minutes.
Of course, it’s more enjoyable to prepare a quick meal and then set out on the trail, but if you’re cooking over a campfire, time is of the essence.
Weight Of Food For Travel
The weight of the food you have to lug around also contributes to the scarcity of food on a Hiking trip. A can of meat weighs almost 1 lb (0.45 kg), barely enough for two people; the contents of the can are also questionable. For some reason, the idea that tourists eat only canned meat remains popular. Of course, if you paddle or travel by car, you can even bring some lemonade in glass bottles.
I almost chuckle at the memory of rafting down the Val Thorens River when we couldn’t refuse the hospitality of the Val Thorens villagers by loading a glass jar of currant jam, a jar of caviar, and a piece of elk meat into our kayak otherwise, such delicacies are certainly best left at home rather than hauled around. The only thing I couldn’t pass up was condensed milk, which I bought in soft packs or tubes for convenience.
If you’re rafting or traveling in a forested area, there’s usually no shortage of food; all you have to do is bring a fishing pole. Of course, fishing is a skill and you shouldn’t expect to get a good bite the first time you go out.
Food Preservation During The Trip
Food preservation during Hiking is also important, as the quality of the food you eat directly affects your health. This is easier in the winter when Hiking, but you can also avoid food spoilage problems in the summer. Perishable food should be eaten during the first few days of the trip, and dry concentrates should be sealed up for future use to prevent moisture and mold from getting into them.
What Else Is On The Trip? – About Food For Hiking
With all of the above in mind, let’s try to decide what a camping trip is after all.
The easiest thing, of course, is breakfast. Traditionally, it consists of porridge. To make the porridge taste better and to add protein to the working muscles, it is best to prepare it with powdered milk. To increase the calorie content, you can add a spoonful of vegetable oil to the porridge and, in general, to all products. I sometimes take disposable packages of divided butter with me. Berries picked around the tent will make breakfast more delicious and bring you closer to nature.
Tip: In nature, in an unfamiliar environment, there are no labels, no brands, no small print labels to read what plant is in front of us, whether it is poisonous, or whether we can immediately pick a bouquet or enjoy its beautiful berries. Most plants are still safe for humans, but there are a few that you should know before Hiking so you can have an enjoyable outdoor experience. Read more about poisonous berries…
The same porridge day after day can get tiresome, so it’s best to pick a different kind at the store. It is best to choose porridge that is cooked for 1 to 3 minutes. There is no need to boil them, just pour boiling water over them and wait for a while.
Eating in the morning should provide you with energy for most of the day, or at least help you last until lunch. Therefore, you should add something substantial to your morning meal: a piece of lard, sausage, pate, tea cookies, nuts, and dried fruit.
Dinner is also more or less straightforward. You have enough time in the evening to prepare a proper meal, which should be hearty and filling after another feat.
Don’t just focus on rice, buckwheat, and pasta. There are plenty of grains from around the world: couscous, chickpeas, and lentils. Stalls are filled with exotic, semi-cooked soups, and I don’t mean ready-to-eat concentrates.
If your pack isn’t too heavy for soup (yes, yes, sometimes gumbo is eaten for dinner on camping trips), you can even bring a few potatoes, carrots, and onions. You don’t have to experiment every day, but once every three days, you can treat yourself to a delicious treat. The timing of such dinners can coincide with, for example, going to some landmark points along the way.
Traditionally, cured sausage is used as a meat additive: it lasts longer and has less water in it. In general, there are a wide variety of meat sausages to choose from. You can add pastirma or basturma to your diet – it is almost pure meat. Of course, you can’t hike without lard – it’s a great product to add essential calories to your diet. On camping trips, anything you can eat that you wouldn’t eat in normal life, you will gladly eat.
Many times, I marinate and dry my own meats. First, you know exactly what you’re eating, and second, it weighs much less. There are many ways to prepare dehydrated foods online, so if you go hiking a lot, it makes sense to get a special dehydrator.
Of course, the hardest part is lunch, because there is simply no time to eat it. Some groups prefer not to make lunch at all, but to make it with snacks: breadcrumbs, sausage, cheese, sweet tea. I personally eat lunch almost all the time, and beech buns are all we have!”. I save it for lunch, not dinner because it doesn’t do much, it’s mostly filling, so it doesn’t distract from the exercise. Lately, I’ve been buying regular fast-food Japanese noodles instead of the “seafood meal”: rice noodles, for example, or egg noodles. It tastes better and doesn’t have the “chemical” taste of beech buns.
Snacks are important when Hiking, so you should always have candy, nuts, and dried fruit in your pocket. They really help to keep your body functioning properly and can also boost your mood. And of course, it’s important to have something to go with your tea.
We agreed in advance of our trip to take 1-2 “goodies” per person on the hike, and these were given on a given night. Sometimes people are really surprised. One of my comrades once pulled out a 0.4 gals (1.5 liters) bottle of strawberry jam three days before the end of a four-week ski trip in Val Thorens! Can you imagine, he lugged that weight around in his luggage for three weeks! Thanks to this rule, you not only get to eat something delicious but also have some flings.
In Europe, an industry essential for all outdoorsmen, such as freeze-dried food, has not yet gained any momentum. Company rations for convenient fast food on the market are very meager and the menu is not very tasty. Those who have tasted the food at the undisputed leader’s lodge will understand me. The food is served directly in the bag with boiling water, the quality is comparable to restaurant food (well, at least in the name of the dish), and unfortunately, the price is now the same as a restaurant lunch. The cheap Trek-N-Eat or Vise Food analogs are far less tasty, even though they cost almost twice as much. We used to use such ready-made meals and save them for delicious dinners.