Fatpacking Menu Plan

Page Last Updated: 7/10/2008

Fatpacking Menus

I have never met a backpacker for whom food wasn't a primary concern. When you're out backpacking all day, your body burns large amounts of calories to sustain its energy level. Therefore food becomes somewhat of an obsession. It's difficult to describe just how satisfying a hot meal can be after a long day of hiking. In fact, you may remember certain trail meals more fondly than dinners you've eaten at a fancy restaurant after a sedentary day at the office.

If you look to the right, there are 3 columns for examples of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Our trip will consist of 6 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners, and a spare meal, mostly chosen from those at the right.

Our meals are subject to 4 constraints: Tasty, Lightweight, Healthy, and non-perishable. Stir-fry is tasty and healthy, but it's heavy to carry and can spoil quickly. Mac-n-cheese is tasty, lightweight, and non-perishable, but most people wouldn't consider it the healthiest meal ever. Grits are lightweight, healthy, and non-perishable, but not everyone thinks they taste great. So each meal is an amalgamation of compromises between these contraints.

The food is primarily vegetarian, but not necessarily vegan. Not only does vegetarian food serve the dietary needs of the most people, meat spoils quickly. Should you feel you can not possibly live without meat for a week, you are welcome to bring and carry your own supply. Backpackers generally prefer light, non-spoiling varieties of meat such as jerky, pepperoni, or salami.

This is YOUR trip. If you have strong opinions about the menus to the right -- if there are items you just have to have -- or something you absolutely cannot stomach -- please let us know.

Breakfast

There are both hot and cold breakfasts. We will ususally have cooked, hot breakfasts. Cold breakfasts are generally just cereal and will not require much in the way of preparation or clean-up, however we will boil tea/coffee/cocoa water with every breakfast. Expect cold breakfasts on days when we must break camp early to get long mileage in.

  • Hash Browns and vegetarian sausage
  • Grape Nuts w/ milk powder, sugar, raisins
  • Oatmeal w/cranberries, powdered milk, sugar, cinnamon, salt
  • Trailside Breakfast Rice (Rice, Berries, Pudding)
  • Cold Cereal (generally granola) w/milk powder
  • Taco flavored egg and cheese burritos
  • Pancakes with blueberries or trail mix ingredients
  • Grits w/milk powder, salt, craisins and/or fruit
  • Plain Grits, grits with margarine, or Japanese Grits

Trail Mix

The entire trip's menu will be augmented by Trail Mix. Trail mix is a mixture of proteins, starches, carbs, sugars, and salt and can be used any time of the day to supplement your diet or as an alternative to meals that don't appeal to your palate. The day before setting out, we will make our own trail mixes consisting of your own personal mixture of the following. Ingredients will be subject to availability in the locale of the trip, thus some of these ingredients may not be present while others that are not listed will be.

  • Granola
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Dried Peaches
  • M & Ms
  • Dried Ginger
  • Wasabi Peas
  • Dried Cherries
  • Craisins
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Dried Apple Rings
  • Soy Nuts
  • Dried Pineapple chunks
  • Dried Papaya
  • Apricots
  • Rice Crackers
  • Cornnuts
  • Dates
  • Pears
  • Pretzels
  • Other items found at the local store

Lunch

Lunches consist of traditional lunch foods as well as snacks. Anticipate the following:

  • Tabbouleh
  • Tofurky & Mustard Wraps
  • Baba Ghaoush
  • Swiss / Gouda / Cheddar Cheese and WASA Crackers
  • Grape Leaves on Pita
  • Hummus and Sprouts
  • Bean and cheese burritos
  • Peanut Butter

These will be supplemented with the following items:

  • Mountain Bread / Wraps / Pita
  • Wasa Crispbread (cracker-like)
  • Soy or Tofu Jerky
  • Mango Slices
  • Sprouts / Cucumbers / Carrots
  • Clif/Luna Bars (1 per day per person)

Drinks

Many people drink only water when backpacking. It's a good way to break your caffeine addiction and it just feels "clean" somehow. However, it's unrealistic to expect everyone to give up caffeine, especially because of the good short-term feelings it can provide. If no caffeine is packed, all participants will be forced to break the addiction, perhaps irritably.

Also, some of the water encountered on the trail will not be the quality and clarity of say, bottled water, even after it's treated. There may be some taste to it. In order to overcome this, there are powdered drink mixes that we can bring along. If there is strong sentiment for drinks here are some possiblities:

  • Instant Coffee
  • Tea Bags
  • Powdered soft drinks (Gatorade, Kool-Aid, Emergen-C)
  • Hot Cocoa

Dinner

A lot of these will probably not turn out exactly the way they would in a fancy restaurant. We're typically bound by what won't spoil, what doesn't weigh too much, and what can be cooked in 1 or 2 pots.

Typically we start with a starch (Brown Rice, Pasta, Cous Cous, Stuffing, Potatoes, Ramen, Lentils) and mix in sauces (Chili, Pesto, Red Sauce, Cheese etc), spices, and mix-ins (Carrots, Onions, Mushrooms, Pine Nuts, Almonds, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Corn, Peppers, Garlic etc.)

  • Vegetarian Sushi (Avocado, Daikon, Carrots, Cucumber, Ginger, Sesame Seeds, Wasabi)
  • Stir Fry Vegetables (Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Pea Pods, Tofu) over Stuffing or Rice
  • Paad Thai, Garlic, Scallions, Pea Pods, Sprouts. Tofu, Peanuts
  • Bangain Bharta or Dhaipur Vegetables over cous-cous
  • Penne with Marinara, Pine Nuts, Mushrooms, Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Mushrooms, Carrots, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Almonds
  • Mac & Cheese w/sun dried tomatoes, parsley, carrots, and peas.
  • Vegetarian Chili and rice
  • Pasta with pesto, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic
  • Broccoli Cheese Soup with European Vegetable Blend
  • Red Beans and Rice with onions and celery
  • Pea Soup (Soy Ham, Pea Soup, soy Ham, Egg powder, Quinoa, Rice Flour)
  • Ramen, TVP (textured vegetable protein), parmesan cheese, garlic

Desserts

Dessert is served sporadically, maybe once or twice a trip and sometimes not at all. Examples include:

  • Brownies
  • Smores
  • Popcorn

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