Food For The Trail By
Joan Westlake - from Sweat Magazine
You've been hiking, mountain biking or paddling
for miles and miles. Finally it is time to answer the question that has been
burning in the back of your mind all day - What's for dinner? A meal cooked
under the stars is always a treat. Here are tips from experts to make that fare
as tasty and convenient as possible.
Freeze-dried meals have come a long way. Peter
Rocco of REI, said one of the
new brands on the market is an organic line,
Mary Jane's. Offerings include vegan and vegetarian items
such as Ginger Sesame Pasta, Organic Mac and Cheese, and Organic Santa Fe
Pasta. The earth friendly concept is carried through in their packaging.
Entrees are in paper bags, which are biodegradable and can be burned in the
fire or recycled at home.
Carl Anderson, 43, Fountain Hills, is an avid
hiker and touring kayaker. Journeys to Lake Powell, the San Juan Islands and a
few trips to central Baja qualify him as a pro in dining in the wilds. Over
time, he said he has moved from freeze-dried packaged meals to creating his own
using a food dehydrator and vacuum sealing system. Anderson said that doing it
yourself allows more variety to meals and, after the initial investment, it is
less expensive than store-bought meals. Food dehydrators run around $50 while
vacuum sealing systems cost approximately $125 plus the cost of bags. Cheaper
and reusable, if you clean them thoroughly, are heavy-duty, zipper freezer
For information about outdoor cooking Anderson
Kayak Cookery - Handbook of Provisions and Recipes
by Linda Daniel and Trail Food by Alan S. Kesselheim.
Another avid paddler and hiker, Don Bender, 66,
Phoenix, also makes his own meals for the trail. He said he originally
purchased a food dehydrator for jerky but progressed on to complete dinners.
Since then, he too has progressed to more satisfying, and complete meals on
excursions. Anderson and Bender both endorsed camp pizza. Top a Boboli shells
with sauce youve secured in a zip bag, some dried sausage or pepperoni
that does not require refrigeration, cheese, (cut into a small piece, wrapped
in cheese cloth, then dipped in paraffin to seal), a bit of onion, maybe some
mushroom, and a touch of oil. Wrap in foil or place on a pan and heat over a
grill. Add some fruit to packaged oatmeal and you have a hearty breakfast.
Peanut butter and tortillas make a great, midday energy booster. Tuna packaged
in pouches works for sandwiches. Avoid stinking cans you would have to pack
out. Classic camp fare are the military-style MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat).
Packaged in heavy-duty foil bags, you cook them in a pot of boiling water. Both
campers said that they brought these only for emergencies because they have
high sodium contents. Remember, the delicious food you are enjoying is also
appealing to critters. Clean up after meals and stash food away from where you
are sleeping [up in trees is a good spot]. Bears are an obvious threat but
raccoons, mice and coyotes also enjoy a midnight snack. On a paddling trip in
Baja, Anderson and Bender said they enjoyed a pizza dinners and then stashed
their new T-Fal cooking kit under a cockpit cover in one of the kayaks. The
next morning, they went to cook breakfast and found the kit gone. Footprints
told the tale -- somewhere around Playa San Rafael, Mexico, a proud pack of
coyotes has some trendy cookware.