Healthy Living

Food for Hikes & Camping trips

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

Stay Hydrated

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
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