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Food Glorious Food

“A crude meal, no doubt, but the best of all sauces is hunger.” – Edward Abbey

From one day to several days, there is one question on everyone’s mind…FOOD!! How much do I take? What do I take? How much will it weigh? Well the answer to this really quite simple, how long is a piece of string? Yes, that’s right, there is no one size fits all.

A little effort in the planning stages at home before your tramp will go a long way in the hills. For the weight conscious, creativity is the key, after all your whole kitchen is on your back.

Food is so important on any tramp, it is also one of the hardest factors. There are so many things to consider, such as:

Do I annoy other hut users by bringing in a big steak and a cheesecake

  • Do I go over the top and take as much as I can and just wing it on the day
  • Do I go for ready-made dehydrated meals like Back Country Cuisine, Radix Nutrition, The Outdoor Gourmet Company, Eva’s Wellbeing Supplements and the list goes on
  • Do I go for other cheap ready to eat like Continental Pasta packets, potato flakes, 2-Minute Noodles and the likes
  • Do I make my own with a home dehydrator or fan oven
  • Do I ditch the cooker and go for non-cooked food, missing out on that warm cosy feeling at the end of the day

Basically, everyone has their own ideas on food, important considerations are calorific value, how much fuel the meals need and what type of cooker you need to carry. Food needs to be light and compact, it can’t go off during the tramp as there are no fridges and needs little prep time.

Pre-packaged food specific for outdoors

Back Country Cuisine, Radix Nutrition, The Outdoor Gourmet Company, Eva’s Wellbeing Supplements.

The beauty about these meals and supplements is that they are specifically designed for the outdoor person, they have all the nutrients and calories your body needs after a hard day in the hills.

They also take little preparation time, and little equipment. Simply add boiling water and leave them to soak, most say about 10 minutes.

A good tip here, the longer you soak the meal the better and more rehydrated it will be. My tramping companions often add the hot water, reseal the bag and wrap it up in my sleeping bag and leave it for about 30 to 40 minutes.

DIY dehydrator

Not much required here, just a fan forced oven and a couple of oven trays.

Cook a normal meal, ensure that meat and vegetables are cut into small pieces so that the whole meal dries out evenly, also avoid too much liquid like oil, sauce and also avoid any meat that is too fatty.

Spread the cooked meal out on to oven trays, about 1cm thick, set the oven to fan bake at 50 degrees Celsius. It will take around 6 to 8 hours to completely dry out.

Once dry, take it out of the oven and let it cool down. Divide it up into individual portions into reusable bags and store in the freezer until ready to use. They will last up to about 3 months.

In the field, simply add water to the mixture and boil until re-hydrated. Alternatively you add already boiled hot water, wrap it up in your sleeping bag and leave it to soak for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Bottom line

The first day of any tramp should be reserved for the best food, and start off in the best possible state. Go on, bring in that steak and have a good old fry up in the hut. Or buy that pie, wrap it in tin foil and warm it on the log burner. Just make sure that on day one, you don’t go without.

By the last day, be that day four or ten you will be dreaming about your very first post tramp meal. Make sure to savor every bite, it will be the best food you have had in days.