When you are planning a multiple – days long hike excursion, choosing the right food to bring on a hike can help you feel great about tackling any trail. Food must be the fuel that helps you start, keep you going, and help you recover at the end of each day of your hike. When planning food for long hikes look for lightweight, filling, and nutritious snacks and meals to power you through even the most challenging hikes.
There are four aspects of food that you need to care about:
1. Practicality – food must be your support, not your weight, especially not mental weight; because when you are done with long–day hiking, you do not want to think about how to make a meal or follow 100 steps for preparation – you just want to eat and enjoy
2. Lightweight – food is part of your gear, so if you are thinking about each gram of your equipment, think in that way about food; look for food that is packed with calories and nutrients in small packages, look for dehydrated food, look for food that is easy to carry
3. Nutritious – on multiple–day hiking, the body needs everything – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water; and in that case, you want to be nice to your body, and listen to it, so you do not want to give it food that is not rich in nutrients because it will give you hard time right back and stop you in your desire to move and enjoy the whole hike
4. Taste – if your food at home is not bland, do not eat bland food in the mountains; tasteless food is not something that you will cheer about and cannot wait to eat; think in advance about your favorite tastes and turn your meal in mountains as you are eating at home, because that what mountain is – home
Planning your food today will bring you joy in the mountains. Planning includes a projection of how many meals would you need per day, a projection of how many calories do you need each day, thinking about those sweet snacks that will give you inner energy and happiness, and of course, food preparation. Food preparation does not have to be complicated it can be something that you can cook in a few minutes and something that is not perishable.
What are the main considerations for planning food for your hike?
- focus on lasting energy – instead of food that is filled with sugar that will boost you up for only several minutes, choose food that is nutrient-dense and provide lasting energy. This type of food will digest slowly and release a steady supply of energy;
- enjoy something fresh – when you are on a trail, you do not have to eat only non - perishable food because your digestion will not be happy with it; instead of that, be sure to pack fresh vegetables or fruits, and you can enjoy a fast snack, especially on a first day;
- bring easy – to – prepared meals – when you are on a hike, each item counts, so you want to scale down your cooking items and bring food with you that can be made in one pot or does not require any cooking; also, this type of meal will require minimal clean – up but will warm you up at the end of long – day hiking;
- do not forget about taste – your food doesn't need to be bland or tasteless because you want to cheer up when it is time for your meal; a small number of your favorite spices and a drizzle of oil will be your biggest fortune when you are in the mountains;
- think about yourself – when it comes to picking what food you want to bring with you, bring only the food that you like, that food that suits only you – you do not have to bring food that you 'should' bring or some food that 'they say you need', and you are not the biggest fan of that type of food.
In the end, think about food as your support – physically and mentally. In physical terms, it is something that fuels you up with energy, it is something that drives your body to complete your hiking adventure. But sometimes, food is also something that boosts your inner energy. It is something that will cheer you up at the end of the day, it is something that you will be happy about in the morning.
Do not underestimate the power of food because it changes your whole feeling about your experience in the mountains. Food may be essential as fuel for the body, but good food is fuel for the soul. And when you are aware of that, there is only one way to treat your food – as your equal partner on your path to your goal – to become HIGHLANDER.
Author: Matei Negovetić
Matei Negovetić is a HIGHLANDER ambassador, a fan of cooking, preparing food, playing with spices, and creating new dishes. He showed his love for cooking on the Croatian Masterchef, and alongside food, his other passion is trail running.