Lightweight and Ultralightweight Backpacking

The View from Here

Panoramic view from a mountain top in Glacier National Park, Montana

The 10 Essentials

10 Essentials: Food

If you are having more than a briefest lunch stop, or picnic, more specialized planning is called for.

This is because you will have to carry all your food. Foraging for food, in the modern woods or mountains, is supplemental food at best because the natural environment is, for foraging for food, destroyed. For this reason alone, a considerable backpacking industry has arisen.

Backpackers most often will make their primary meal at mid-day or, making camp earlier, at the end of the day doing all food preparation well away from the tent site. The fire is set, hot water is ready, and the cook starts off with a mug up of a favorite hot drink.

I think anyone and everyone likes having a camp cook around. The camp kitchen is the center of the campout. Even if the other campers have brought their own food, the hot drink is a welcome first food in camp. Then, sometimes people will look over their food, share some things, and make a communal meal.

If you would like to be the camp cook, I recommend The Well-Fed Backpacker, by June Fleming. Dorcas S. Miller has More Backcountry Cooking: Moveable Feasts from the Experts, that uses so much of the information I have promoted I have to recommend it.

Individual diets or special diets are possible for backpacking. I have resources for specialty food for backpacking in Products food section of this website.

I recommend Sarah Kirkconnell's Freezer Bag Cooking: Trail Food Made Simple. This system works well for more than one. I recommend her website, her book and her methods, especially so, for solo backpacking because her methods work so well for cooking for one.

Note: Bring only what you can carry, unless you are car camping.

Nevertheless, people do manage to bring cookware suitable for backpacking, the lid serves as a frying pan and the entire outfit can be made to serve for baking, or if small fires are allowed, do both simply with the Banks FryBake. I have carried the Backpacker's Pantry Ultralight Outback Oven. I made focaccia bread. If I have only one pot, it is ultralightweight and if that pot has a tight-fitting lid, I make dumplings. I have also made light and fluffy biscuits in a pan and even biscuits on a stick.

It should not be surprising we crave bread products.

The complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, trail bars, pasta or noodles or ramen, packaged add-hot-water stuffing mix, muffin mix, pancakes, crackers or any of the grain products I list elsewhere convenient for backpacking are important for glycogen stores in all of our muscles, big and small: a veteran bicycle racer told me that. It is something we take for granted, and shouldn't.

Make more strongly flavored breads, however. More herbs, add cheese. My bannock is italian herb cheese biscuits or golden raisen and mace biscuits.

Emergency Food

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