Hiking Meal Tips
Preparation is key. The most common mistake hiker’s make is bringing too much food for short trips and too little food for long trips.
Writing up a meal plan is the best way to make sure you won’t forget anything crucial as well as making the actual meal preparation simpler. Write out what you want to have each day and bring it with you. A little forethought goes a long way and is never a waste of time.
Simple overnight trips leave your menu fairly wide open. Fresh foods aren’t a problem so you can have quite the feast if you don’t mind carrying it. For trips of 3 to 4 days, you’ll need to be a bit more careful and diligent about what you pack.
A good rule is to pack what you’ll eat and eat what you pack. It’s probably not the best time to experiment with new foods. Stick to what you like and know you’ll eat. An upset stomach or lower intestine is not fun on the trail.
Dehydrated foods can save a lot of weight but aren’t always the tastiest. Having at least one “backup” meal wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Cooking at altitude can be tricky and you wouldn’t want to ruin the only meal you had for the night!
Make sure that you pack out all your trash. A good way to reduce the amount of waste is to repackage foods that you buy, as they tend to come with a lot of extra packaging from the store.
purifying WATER on the Trail
There are essentially three different ways in which to purify your water while on the trail. These being, boiling, chemical disinfectants and water filters.
- Probably the most effective way to purify your water is by boiling. The rule used to be that you should boil the water 3-5 minutes, now we know that merely bringing it to a boil is enough to kill whatever cooties might inhabit it. This can be a lengthy process, however.
- Another, more simple option is the use of chemical tablets such as iodine and chlorine. While quick and easy, these can leave your water tasting less than pleasant. Adding a powdered drink mix can help, but even then it’s often a nose-pinching process to get it down. (Perhaps this is just a particularly scarring childhood memory for me.)
- Water filters seem to be the most popular method as the flavor is maintained and some say actually improved by the use of a filter. (How do you improve on fresh from the earth?) There are many different brands and types of these so further research are necessary in order to choose the type most effective for your personal use.
Take it from this one-time victim of giardia, whatever method you use is well worth the effort!