What food I took for the Tongariro Northern Circuit

Recently I (Nick, the owner of Venture Outdoors NZ) went to complete the Tongariro Northern Circuit over a weekend. Here is a quick run down on the food I took, what I thought of it during the trip, and why I decided to take certain foods with me. Overall, my total food weight was approximately 1kg including the GSI Boulder 6 Flask that I took with me to have a wee whisky after dinner. There were areas I could have cut the weight back if I wanted but I felt very satisfied with the food choices I made for the trip.

It doesn’t look like much, but this was more than enough for Nick’s trip around the Tongariro Northern Circuit

When planning this menu I planned to only take food to last me for the trip with a little bit extra that I could have made to last if I needed to as emergency food. I also tend not to stop for a ‘lunch’ break as I prefer to have multiple breaks and eat small amounts often. I find that this is a nicer way for me as I am not getting the ‘post-lunch lull’ as my body is digesting a full meal.

Here is a breakdown of the food I had over the weekend;

  • Saturday Day Food – Clif Bar Peanut Butter Banana Bar, Roam Energy Coconut Nut Butter, Clif Bloks Mountain Berry Energy Chews, Pure Sports Nutrition Lemon & Lime Fluid Energy Gel, Health Attack Pure Mango, BiteMeat Teriyaki Biltong, Canterbury Biltong Chilli Bierstick

  • Saturday Dinner – Real Meals Mexi Nachos, Pure Sports Nutrition Pineapple Electrolyte Hydration, The Glenlivet 12-year-old scotch whisky

  • Sunday Breakfast – Local Dehy Big Breakfast

  • Sunday Day Food – Clif Bar Chocolate Brownie Bar, Roam Energy Chocolate Nut Butter, Clif Bloks Black Cherry Energy Chews, Pure Mango Fluid Energy Gel, Health Attack Pure Pineapple, BiteMeat Tangy Pepper Biltong, Canterbury Biltong Chilli Biersticks

Now to get to the bit you’re here for, what I thought of the food I chose, Overall I was very happy with the food choices, but there were some things I was not as much a fan of. Let’s start with Saturday;

  • Clif Bar Peanut Butter Banana Bar – This was good, as you’d expect Clif Bars to be. A little dry, but I suspect that I probably needed to have had more water before eating this. I would certainly take this bar again.
  • Roam Energy Coconut Nut Butter – Much like the Clif Bar, this was good. you can certainly taste the coconut in there, it does stick to the roof of your mouth, much like peanut butter does.
  • Clif Bloks Mountain Berry Energy Chews – These were great! I enjoyed these and they made for a great little boost to get up the Devil’s Staircase. Such an easy little hit of energy.
  • Pure Sports Nutrition Lemon & Lime Fluid Energy Gel – The biggest thing I noticed about this was the texture, it wasn’t just a gloopy mess! This was easy to eat, didn’t upset my stomach and best of all, didn’t need a litre of water to wash it down.
  • Health Attack Pure Mango – Quite simply, how could this be anything but delicious, it’s mango… Nice and crunchy, nice and tasty and nice and light.
  • BiteMeat Teriyaki Biltong – This was ok, but not what I was hoping for. I didn’t eat as much as I thought I would, perhaps I was just not that hungry, but this was not my favourite flavour of biltong.
  • Canterbury Biltong Chilli Biersticks These were just perfect. The chilli was not overpowering, the texture wasn’t too dry or too moist, super tasty, I can’t wait to have these again on more trips.
  • Real Meals Mexi Nachos – These have taken 1st equal with my favourite freeze-dried meal. The Mexi Nachos were superb, they had all the flavours you needed in nachos. One small gripe is the corn chips are mixed in so you can’t get that crunch of them, maybe just take a small pack with you to solve that.
  • Pure Sports Nutrition Pineapple Electrolyte Hydration – I am notorious for not drinking enough during the day (despite taking two of the Nalgene 1L water bottles) so I thought that for this trip I would see how taking some electrolytes with me would go. It was nice to have something that was not water to drink at the campsite and to help replace some of the electrolytes I had sweated out and burned up during the day.
  • The Glenlivet 12-year-old scotch whisky – I don’t think I need to say that this was good after 22km of walking, do I?

The big stand out for Saturday was the Real Meals Mexi Nachos and the Clif Bloks Mountain Berry Energy Chews, both will be coming on future trips!

Now, onto Sundays food choices;

  • Local Dehy Big Breakfast – It smelt great, it wasn’t much to look at but it did taste good. There were a couple of small drawbacks for me to this. The first is simply for me a convenience thing, you need to get your pot dirty for it. Because it comes in a home-compostable bag you cannot just put the hot water in the bag and rehydrate in the bag. Also, it took longer to rehydrate as it is a dried meal and not a freeze-dried meal, but they are very minor. The biggest concern for me was that it felt heavy in my belly for a long time after eating it, simply, I ate too much of it, but, this would make a great breakfast option to share with another person.
  • Clif Bar Chocolate Brownie Bar – I didn’t end up eating this, The benefit to the Local Dehy Big Breakfast sitting in my stomach is I was not hungry and didn’t feel the need to eat this, unfortunate because I was looking forward to this one.
  • Roam Energy Chocolate Nut Butter Like the Clif Bar Chocolate Brownie, I didn’t eat this after all.
  • Clif Bloks Black Cherry Energy Chews Very much like the Clif Bloks from Saturday these were amazing! Delicious flavour and just hit the spot, a lightweight kick of energy for when you’re getting a bit worn down.
  • Pure Sports Nutrition Mango Fluid Energy Gel – Another great addition to my meals, like the Fluid Energy Gel from Saturday, was easy to eat and didn’t upset my stomach. Certainly worth the little extra weight that these have by having a little more liquid to them.
  • Health Attack Pure Pineapple – Perfect, nothing more to say, it was just great!
  • BiteMeat Tangy Pepper Biltong – Another of the foods that I carried and did not eat, however in the past I have found this to be a nice option for biltong. Not too peppery, but also not bland at all.

What were the overall winners? What foods did I rate and can’t wait to take out again? There were some strong contenders but if I had to choose I would say that Real Meals Mexi Nachos was the winner. For second place the Clif Bloks Dark Cherry Energy Bloks easily slid into that spot.

Was this a perfect menu? No certainly not, you could argue that I didn’t have enough of a buffer for an emergency. But I look at the amount of food I brought home and think that I had enough to get me an extra day if I needed to quite easily. Of course, if you are a traditional lunch eater then this menu may not work for you, but otherwise, feel free to use this and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Let us know if you agree or not with my thoughts on these foods.

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