Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hiking Food

Well, I haven't set foot on the PCT, so I can't really tell you what I will eat over there, and what "Works for me" or not, but I thought I'd share my plans, based on the experience I do have from the AT, and some other self-supported hikes I've had. In total, I guess my food choices were pretty boring on the AT. I didn't mind eating the same kinds of stuff day after day, and I just stuck to whatever kept me full at night.

For breakfast I usually had two packets of Quaker Oatmeal. The kind with powdered milk or the apple-cinnamon flavor. Being the lazy git that I am, I would never bother with boiling water for breakfast, and just pour a bit straight of cold water into the paper packet, mix it with my spork, and eat it out. You gotta be careful to get all the powder from the bottom corners, otherwise it'll stick in there until the end, and you will be left with a salty spoon of powder to finish it off. On some town stops I bought Pop Tarts instead, the frosted kinds preferably, which I had for breakfast. They don't keep to well on the trail, but I didn't mind eating the crumbles. It tastes the same.

For lunch I usually had a tortilla with chunks of cheese and pepperoni. Being a vegetarian now I will have to skip the latter. I guess I will try getting some more trail mix and nuts for some proteins. The good thing about tortillas is that they work the same when they are dried up and a bit old - just a wrap. I guess they do break more, but it is better than having a completely stiff bun or pita.

At evenings I used to cook some kind of Lipton meal (Pasta or rice, usually). Over here they have the Knorr brand name on them, and I think in the US they changed as well, but it all works. I used to just pour the packet inside my pot, add water, and cook until the fire went out (I used a simple alcohol stove, so I just had to put about the same amount of alcohol every time, and wait it out). I also added powdered mashed potatoes and tuna chunks (I used to go crazy for the aluminum wrap packages from Starkist) - like the pepperoni, no more tuna for me. Put the whole messy concoction in another tortilla, and it's quite filling.

This time I think I'll do the dinners a bit different. I'm using a Caldera Cone F-Keg system, built around a big 24.5oz Fosters can, which is a bit narrow and tall. I tried cooking in it several times, and I keep getting some burnt leftovers at the bottom. It's also not comfortable eating straight from the pot, due to it's height. So lately I've been trying to just boil water in the can (Last attempt took just under 7 minutes for 25ml of alcohol. and it burnt for 5 more), and then pour the hot water into the Knorr packet, close it carefully, and let it sit for 10 minutes. I failed miserably once, but last two attempts had a rather edible rice dinner at the end. Again, I had way too much water left inside to make it passable for a real serving of rice, but I added the powdered potato mash and ate it like a champ. It worked like a wonder in my recent desert hike. I think it'll work just fine on the trail.

During the day I usually snack on Snickers and M&Ms, even though I remember I had some Clif Bars, and sometimes Chewy bars as well. I used to have a snack every 1-2 hours, for a total of about 3-4 a day. Not good for the teeth, but it kept me going. I'll see how it works out this time. I will try carrying GORP and nuts to replace some of those candies. I will also put more effort into having fruits and vegetables while in towns, instead of just stuffing those burgers, and maybe even carry some for the first day out of town, occasionally. I'll see how that works.