Eat Well While Enjoying the Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors is a stunning place to hike, explore, and commune with nature. It is also a haven where you can stop, take a breath, and inhale everything Mother Nature has to offer. However, the one thing many do not understand is that they can also ‘inhale’ come extremely good food, if only they had the right information and tips when it came to planning and preparing food for their backpacking trip. Even the backpacking fan knows that, other than water and some extremely comfortable shoes, food is something you have to have. It is a piece of the outdoor “gear” that must be taken into consideration before venturing outside, because your body needs that fuel to keep going in order to enjoy each and every step of your journey.
It is a fact that you can eat far more than oatmeal and granola bars out there. When it comes to nourishment, pack those food items that weigh the least but deliver the most calories. The market for these particular foods is growing each and every day, by the way. From pre-prepared soups (which are great for their water content) to freeze-dried and powdered foods that actually taste good and add minimal weight to your pack, stores like Whole Foods and others provide choices you never even imagined.
As you think about your outdoor menu, think about dumping the original container and cutting meals down into serving-size amounts that you can carry in sealable bags. Less bulk and less trash will be had.
If you take those fresh fruit and veggies along, make sure to eat those first to get rid of the weight as soon as possible.
Not to mention, always remember to pack just enough food to get you through your planned trip, plus an extra cold meal or two in case you run out of fuel. Packing too much can hurt the body.
Then comes the backpacking stove. “Stove” is a difficult word to deal with when thinking about what you need to carry. But a backpacking stove is perfect for those who want to enjoy a little flavor with their scenery.
The best method to use when cooking dried foods with your backpacking stove, is called boil-soak cooking. Not only is it extremely efficient for the backpacker, but it also allows you to conserve both fuel and water.
When using the boil-soak method, set up your backpacking stove on level ground in a location that’s insulated from the wind. Add the required amount of water to your cooking pot and light your stove. After putting the lid on the pot, bring the water to a rolling boil, then turn off the stove and insulate (a fleece jacket or pot cozy can be used) around the cooking pot to retain as much heat as possible. Leave it alone to rest at least 10 minutes (or as instructed on the meal pack). After that, simply lift the lid, stir in those beloved herbs and spices to make it taste absolutely delicious, and enjoy!
This method always prepares food the same way: with the lid on tight, the steam is absorbed into the food to help it cook, rather than dissipate away into the atmosphere. From soups to stews to pasta, you can practice before heading out on the trail and end up becoming a super backpacking chef.
There is also, of course, no-cooking backpacking for those who do not wish to carry the stove, or for those who have run out of fuel and the crackers and granola bars are long gone. Again, with the outdoor industry growing, there are more than a few dry foods on the market that supply a hearty meal for the backpacker. All you have to do is soak the food in cold water and enjoy. From rolled oats to couscous, there are definitely choices.
As far as snack foods are concerned, everything from pretzels to some hard sausages and cheeses will keep for several days on that exciting hike. In addition, peanut butter is a great backpacking supply. Just take it out of the jar, put it in a baggie, cut one corner off so you can squeeze the peanut butter on your bread, and then re-store in another baggie. And never forget breakfast, while on your hike. If you need extra warmth, make sure to take along a few flow-through coffee and tea bags, instant coffee packets or hot chocolate to really enjoy that sunrise.
Just make sure that your stomach never has to pay for your great day. When heading out on that trail, be safe, have fun, and learn that you can definitely have great meals while also having a great time.
Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle