Hiking Blog: Preparing the perfect trail foods

Ryan breaks down how to prepare and enjoy your trail food, including a step by step trail mix recipe.

I recently hiked Mt. Leconte, which I will write about in an upcoming post. I and several others stayed in a cabin owned by a very generous hiker and member of our group. Lifting the blankets off my face and watching the sun break over the horizon, giving the orange glow to the ice crystals that covered the trees and hills made it easier to wake up with four hours of sleep. The air was cold and the fireplace no longer cracked and flickered. I heard one of the group go to the kitchen, open the fridge, then a cupboard, then the clicking of the stove, the ignition and the sizzling of bacon. The smell came over me, and I shoved the blankets off and headed toward the scent.

Food, good Lord, food.

I don’t know about you, but it’s one of my favorite things and also one of my chief worries when going for a hike. Grabbing a few granola bars and a banana usually won’t do the job. But this all depends on a few factors. What time of day are you going? Are you in shape? How much food are you familiar with eating?

So, what do you eat?  Well for breakfast, cereal isn’t going to cut it. Fill up on fats, sugars and proteins. That means eggs, meats, some toast with peanut butter or preserves and fruit. While the majority of the items will give you stored energy, the preserves and fruit will get you up and ready to go along with that stored energy. If fresh fruit is a challenge, get the frozen stuff, or even dried fruits. No matter how it’s stored, get some. It does wonders.

But even more important is hydration. Never forget the liquids: water, orange juice and most importantly coffee. If you’re not a coffee person, I’m sorry, but lucky for you hiking is still possible without it.

Be sure to load up on water the day before. This should be obvious by now. If you aren’t mad at the amount of times you’ve had to take a piss, you need more water.

But, what about the on trail food, you ask? Well, lets rewind to the previous day or night. Always get your meals prepared in the days leading up to the hike.

Alright, so lets do a few types of meal preps. We’ll go over calories, types of foods and what they do for your body, hydration and making a perfect snack for hiking.

How many calories does a person need when going for a hike? If you’re not sure use a Calorie Counter. (http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc). The average speed per mile is around three miles per hour. Which means, on a hike like Mt. Leconte, it’s going to take around four and a half hours. But, there was ice on our trip making it last around seven hours. So bring more food than you think is necessary.

With the advanced mathematics out of the way, lets finally talk about meals.

On the Leconte hike, I took several types of foods:

4 Slices of bread

2 To-go peanut butter cups

6 Granola Bars

A sandwich bag of homemade trail mix

A 32 oz. Nalgene and two extra bottles of water

One Snickers bar

All of it was gone by the end of the hike.

So let me show you how to make a trail mix that keeps you full, energized and happy!

Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

This is what I started with. Switching and changing amounts and ingredients is perfectly acceptable and expected. Choose only the things you like to eat. Never try something new on a hike unless it is necessary.

Ziplock

 

 

 

 

 

1.) Grab yourself a Ziplock.

DSC_0814

 

 

 

 

 

2.) Cup and a half of granola. I picked KIND, Gluten Free granola but any granola will do.

Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

3.) One cup dried fruit. Any dried fruit is acceptable. I chose raisins and craisins. But, fruit chips and thawed, frozen fruits all work just fine.

DSC_0818

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Nuts! I chose pecans, halved almonds, sunflower seeds and pistachios. A half cup of each.

Finished

 

 

 

 

 

5.) To fill the bag, just double the amounts. But, remember, you have to carry everything, and although a few ounces isn’t a lot in a normal day, it all counts on a hike.

Remember, choose a good amount of food, things you enjoy eating, and hydrate! The next post will be on Abrams Falls, a short, easy hike that is rewarding throughout.

Edited by Maggie Jones