What to eat on a trek
In the previous article, I described the gear I take to the trek. Now, I would like to focus on something almost as important - my trekking diet. It's the system I polished over several years and works pretty well for me so hopefully, it will be useful also to you.
For a hiking breakfast, I usually have muesli with milk. With one difference - I prepare my own muesli mix. It consists of cereal oats, sunflower/pumpkin seeds and various dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, coconut, banana, pineapple, some nuts). I just mix everything together and put it into the sealable bag (or several small sacks, each containing one daily portion, between 100 and 120 grams).
Then, in the morning I pour the content of the sack into the mug, add milk powder and add hot water. Filling and tasty.
During the day, there is usually no time to cook so I am used to dried lunches. I usually carry a small loaf of bread, a lump of bacon, several onions and a clove of garlic. So I cut off a loaf of bread, then cut… sorry, but this is ridiculous :) I feel silly explaining how to eat bread with bacon and onion, I am sure you know what to do.
Just one thing - bread should be stored in a bread bag or tied in cloth so it lasts longer and doesn´t get moldy. Also, bacon should be of high quality, well-smoked and ideally homemade - those “best buys” sold at the hypermarkets are often spiked with water and start stinking after a few days.
This combination usually carries me through the first week of trekking. Later, I eat whatever I can buy from locals.
Originally, I used to boil some cheap, instant food (pasta with sauce), ridiculously called “Good Cooking”. Then I had a short run of actual cooking and nowadays, I carry dehydrated dinners made by Travellunch. I really like that simplicity - just open the sack, add hot water, stir and close it again. And, after 10 minutes, the dinner is ready - priceless! OK, actually, there is a price - a sack with one dinner costs about 6-7 EUR. Which is not cheap - therefore, we always buy larger packs which have much better price for a portion and then share them.
The portion is a bit smaller than I would like it to be. When I finish, I never feel really full. Still, it contains as many nutrients as a regular dinner, or at least that's what they write on the package.
Also, one thing should be noted. I always buy this dehydrated food well in advance - after landing in Georgia, I want to travel to mouintains ASAP and not run around Tbilisi and try to find some camping food. Of course, this works only for a first long trek, afterwards, I eat whatever is available.
Of course, if you plan several longer treks, you can't buy everything in advance and have to find something local. In past years, situation with camping food in Georgia has greatly improved. The best places to find them are outdoor shops - they tend to have foreign brands as well as camping food made by local producers such as Lazy Snark
Not something I would enjoy daily, but sometimes it´s great to have something sweet after the dinner. For these occasions, I have the instant pudding (add some dried milk into the mix for the better taste).
I usually save it for the days when we find a lots of berries - pick some in the bottle and utilize them in the evening.
Snack is anything you eat between the real meals. It can be anything - pack of nuts, protein bar, Snickers, chocolate and so on. My snacks usually weight between 50 and 100 grams and I pack 2 pieces per day.
On the trek, you will drink pure water 90% of a time - so you will be happy for the moments when you can drink something different. I always take teabags and several packs of instant warm chocolate (since I am picky, I add also a teaspoon of powdered milk).
Another excellent and space-efficient way is to take vitamin tablets. I always take vitamin C tablets, Magnesium and last year I had also some isotonic drink. There are many flavors, so pick what suits you the most. Just remember to put them into mug - in your camelbak, you should have only clean water.
Last item in the drinking category - spirits. We usually don't take too much as they are heavy to carry, but always have at least one hipflask of our local 'slivovitsa' or something similar for morning disinfection or socialization purposes.
Camping recipesWhen I run out of Travellunches, I resort to some basic cooking. Here are some sample recipes I use - ingredient can be usually obtained at grocery stores or from locals.
Pasta with tuna and cheeseCook the pasta, then mix it with canned tuna and grated cheese (more cheese you have, the better). If you have a canned corn, add it into the mix, too.
Potato puree with roasted bacon, onion, and garlicCut the onion into small pieces and fry it with some fatter pieces of bacon (as you probably won´t have cooking oil). After a while, add the rest of bacon (also small pieces) and when it´s almost done, add cut garlic.
Boil the water and while stirring it, slowly add instant potato puree. Add the powder until the puree has the right consistency. Then mix it with fried bacon, onion, and garlic.
And what about you? What is your favorite camping recipe?