cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


587 Trail Sense
An Edible Diet

backcountry camp

When planning food for a trip, it doesn't matter how many calories you bring to fuel your diet, you must also like what you have to eat. The menu must be palatable.

A good story ...

A few years back, two friends of ours were headed to Canada for a big rock climbing trip. One of our friends, 'J', was an ultra long distance racer at the time. He studied nutrition and saw the benefits of eating a special, easily digestible, liquid diet had on his running. He volunteered to buy the food for the trip and decided to try the same diet for their mountain trip.

The benefits of the diet were obvious, the meals were lightweight, easy to pack and prepare, and had all the protein and nutrients needed for their bodies to climb, rebuild, and climb again and again. 'J' had perhaps planned the most perfect menu, ever.

The only problem was that the supplements tasted terrible. No one wanted to eat or drink them, especially his partner, 'M'. Having the body type of a skinny pencil, 'M' has always enjoyed eating food. In fact, he too, was known for his special diet. Striving to be an innovative menu planner, he originated the Little Debbie Diet, a twelve pack of 'OCP's' (Oatmeal Creme Pies). For longer adventures, he just added more of the sugary oatmeal cookie treats.

Our friends had a great trip and climbed a lot; but not without suffering from hunger pangs and cold. Occasionally, we still hear war stories of the failed menu planning. It would have been interesting to have seen how well they would have done, if they had eaten real food!

A few tips on planning menus that are edible ...

Check with everyone in the group as to what foods they like.

Decide on cooking groups. You could always cook as one group, or split into smaller groups, or every person for themselves. The large group is the most fun; but also has the most chances of diet conflicts.

After planning the menu, make sure everyone sees the meal plan.

If you will not eat it at home, you probably will not like it in the woods.

That said, we do have certain foods that we like on backcountry trips that we do not eat around the house. If we ate the food around the house we might not want it while camping.

We always try to eat the planned meal at home before eating it on a camping trip. Was it edible? Was it easy to cook? How long did it take to prepare?

We like easy to prepare meals; but they still need to be tasty.

Freeze dried meals have mixed appeal. They are expensive. Some meals cost close to $10. If you are planning on eating a freeze dried meal, remember that the entree, is just one portion of your meal. You will need to supplement the dinner entree with other foods.

There are a few freeze dried meals that we enjoy. We generally carry the meals to prepare on days that we want something fast and without any hassles.

We eat separate breakfasts, lunches, and snacks; but eat dinner together.

Careful grocery store shopping will find relatively light and less expensive alternatives. Don't forget the spices and condiments to help please the taste buds.

We add dehydrated or freeze dried foods to the off the shelf grocery items. For example, adding a package of freeze dried veggies to potatoes, rice, or pasta to give it a little flavor and increase the nutrition.

Bagels, pita bread, flat bread, or crackers also help curb your appetite.

A dimple dessert is worth the effort.

Take notes and keep track of what you like and what you don't. Learn from your mistakes.

I don't think our friend, 'M' ever let our friend 'J' pack food for him again, unless the menu included the famous Oatmeal Creme Pies. Food has to be nutritional; but it also had to tasty or you just will not eat it.

Happy tasty camping meal trails


Trail Sense Food Links

Importance of Food

An Edible Diet


Kitchen Extras



Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: