There’s plenty to consider besides simply grabbing a banana or a bottle of water for a wilderness trip. One’s food and water needs are generally higher than usual on activity-based excursions. Planning ahead can ensure a nourishing and safe food experience.
Some key considerations before the trip:
- Length of the trip
- What foods and beverages you’ll have to carry
- If bringing a cooler box is an option
- What food-related tools you’ll need
Pay special attention to packing plenty of fluids. Pre-hydrate by drinking at least 4 cups of water over a time period of 1-2 hours before a hike, so you have less to carry. Then, a good rule of thumb is to plan for about 2 cups of fluid for every hour of hiking.
Food to pack for a Hike or Day Trip:
Pack perishable foods, such as sandwiches, with an ice pack to keep it chilled. The lighter the backpack, the easier the hike, so opt mainly for non-perishable foods that are lightweight, easy-to-carry and nutrient dense, such as:
- Trail mix (see recipe)
- Nuts, seeds, nut-based bars or nut butter packs
- Dried or freeze-dried fruits and veggies
- Granola or granola bars
- Ready-made tuna salad pouches
- Whole-grain tortillas
- Biltong or droewors
Food for Camping or Multi-Day Trips:
It’s a little more challenging to pack food for longer than a day hike. Include shelf-stable, lightweight, nutrient-dense, easily-packed and quick-to-cook basics:
- Ready-to-eat cereal with powdered milk (just add water)
- Fruit or vegetable puree in squeezable pouches (yes, like baby food)
- Poultry or fish pouches or canned fish
- Whole-grain pasta, couscous, rice mix, pancake mix, hot cereal, dried soups and dehydrated foods (if you have the ability to boil water)
- Individual packets of mayo, mustard, soy or other sauce
- Marshmallows — for a campfire dessert, of course
- Bottled water and powdered beverage mixes
Remember Food Safety Practices
Always follow good food safety practices — from packing to plating. Remember that perishable food cannot be kept out in hot weather (32°C or higher) for more than one hour; in mild weather for more than two hours.
Pack these food safety essentials:
- Biodegradable soap and disposable wipes
- Bowls, plates and mugs
- Eating and cooking utensils
- Kettle or cooking pot and matches
- Tin opener
- Well-insulated cooler with ice packs
- Rubbish bags
- Portable water filters or water purification tablets
Food safety Tips
- Wash hands often – before and after eating.
- Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate. Use extra plates that you’ve packed — one for raw and one for prepared foods.
- Cook food to proper temperatures to prevent food poisoning.
- Store leftovers in the cooler only if it still has ice. Keep the cooler in as cool a place as possible. Enjoy the outdoor adventure! www.martiehofmeyr.com