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Eat to Live
You have probably heard the expression:
“Some people eat to live, other people live to eat.”
Well whichever category you fall into, caring for food in the wilderness requires significant thought and planning. Decisions you make will have an impact on your entire trip. It will impact how much weight you have to carry in food and gear, the bulk of your load, your physical nourishment and spiritual well being.
Planning decisions fall into a variety of general categories, including but not limited to:
- Are we sharing meals or doing our own?
- Are we planning to have three square meals, or all day energy snacking?
- Are we caring for special dietary requirements, such as allergies, kosher, vegetarian, or vegan?
- Are we cooking with stoves, pots, and pans, or going for simple “ready to eat” meals?
- Are we carry all our food, or will we access food drops along the way?
In order to answer the question:
What food should I bring?
You are really faced with the question:
Who am I?
Choices made will be as varied as the people making them. A priority for one is not a priority for another. I was on a hike in the wilderness and came upon a group of co-eds, one carrying a 12-pack of beer. Perhaps that priority resonates with you, perhaps not. I have read experienced backpackers make recommendations like:
I don’t cook food—if I were there for the food I’d stay home or go to a restaurant.
Others have argued;
Food is huge part of the experience. Just because I leave civilization does not mean I have become uncivilized.
The food you carry is a reflection of the choices you make balancing weight and bulk to meet the goals of your trip. Longer trips require tighter controls over weight and bulk than do shorter trips. Aggressive traveling, in terms distance and difficulty of terrain, will increase calorie burn and therefore resupply needs.
It is difficult to make food recommendations, if every statement has to include the words: but it depends on your preferences. Ignoring that challenge and those dodgy words, we plow ahead to tackle meal planning, advanced preparation, cooking, and sanitation requirements of being in the wilderness.
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