Saturday, December 23, 2017
Bug Out Bag Food
I was doing some research, looking into emergency travel foods that don't require cooking. It would make sense to have something like that in a bug out bag. There's a subset of long distance backpackers who go stoveless. They save weight and time by not cooking any of their foods. They seemed like a good resource.
At first I was a bit horrified to see what those hikers lived on. A good portion of their food was what we would call junk food. They carry things like pop tarts, beef jerky, snickers bars, those packets of crackers with orange cheese stuff in the middle. They also eat a lot of dehydrated foods by adding cold water to them and letting them soak until they are less crunchy. That includes things like dehydrated soups and mashed potatoes.
Some ideas weren't so bad, like peanut butter in tortilla wraps, gorp, power bars or hard boiled eggs. Those foods seemed to be too much bother for a lot of stoveless hikers. They were more likely to eat Nutella right out out of the jar with a spoon.
I was wondering why hikers, who you'd tend to think are health conscious types, would eat so much junk food. Then it occurred to me; they are all about the calories. Long days on the trail burn a lot of energy. After a few weeks many experience what they call “hiker hunger,” and they really feel the need to pack in the food.
Another consideration is the restricted resupply options along the trail. Often they are limited to the food section of gas stations. Next time you are in a gas station, see how well you do picking out trail foods. No doubt you'll end up with snickers bars and mystery cheese cracker packs too.
Hikers go many hundreds of miles on pretty crappy diets. When they do come into a town, most look to gorge themselves on burgers and pizza. For me, the take away lesson here is that calories and ease of preparation are paramount. You don't have to spend a lot of money on special foods. Get something calorie dense, long lasting, and cheap. Just make sure you have a enough of it to get you through days of high level activity. Worry about vitamins and a balanced diet once you get to your bug out location.