Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Food For Backpacking, Camping, and Bushcraft

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about food, so I decided to share with you what I do for my food when heading out into the woods. In part I want to mention some of the foods that I like to carry, but mostly I want to show you my set up, which allows me to quickly get my food ready for a trip.

What I do is that I keep what I call a “food box” in my gear room. In this box I have prepared and measured out portions of food that I can use for my trips. When I am packing for a trip, it makes it easy to mix and match different pieces to create the meals.


The black stuff sack you see is the bag in which I hold the food when out in the woods. I keep the bag inside the box.

The food items are all ones that can last for an extended period of time without any refrigeration. Having a food box like this also allows me to keep track of which foods last and for how long. I don’t bother with foods that require any special care. As a result, this also serves as a decent emergency food supply.

The items themselves vary depending on what I have stocked or found at the supermarket. It is not important to me what the food actually is, it just has to be calorie rich and light weight. I aim for about 100 cal/oz. I think that is a good number for the base food. People who spend extensive time in the woods usually aim for about 110 cal/oz or better but that is usually achieved by adding oils to the food, which I can do as well if needed.

Here is an example of what I currently have in my food box. Again, the items change based on what I buy at any given time.


What makes the food storage system efficient is that I take the time to portion out and pre-package each food item. That way when i am ready to start packing, I can just pick out items and toss them in my food bag without having to do any additional work. I try to divide items into serving sizes, unless they already come that way. On each item I pre-package, I write the caloric value as well as any cooking directions it might have.


In the above picture you see a bag of instant mashed potatoes. I have premixed it with some powdered gravy. It is a single serving size. It contains 240 calories and requires one and a half cups of water to cook. What I did was I bought a large box of mashed potatoes, several packets of powdered gravy, and I sat down one day, divided up the container, measured out the calories, and packaged everything in Ziploc bags ready for use.

Here are some of the other items I have in the food box:

Item Calories Weight Calories/Weight
Mashed Potatoes 240 cal 2.8 oz 86 cal/oz
Ramen Noodles (1) 380 cal 3.2 oz 119 cal/oz
Power Bar 240 cal 2.3 oz 104 cal/oz
Lance Crackers (1 pack/6 crackers) 200 cal 1.4 oz 143 cal/oz
Nabisco Peanut Butter Cookies (4) 280 cal 2.2 oz 127 cal/oz
Hard Salami 260 cal 2.1 oz 124 cal/oz
Corn Tortillas (2) 110 cal 1.7 oz 65 cal/oz
GU 100 cal 1.1 oz 91 cal/oz
Justin’s Maple Almond Butter 190 cal 1.1 oz 173 cal/oz

And that’s about it. It’s pretty simple. A bit of preparation ahead of time makes it easy to pack the food you need in a very short amount of time. Knowing how many calories each food item contains allows me to quickly add up to 2000 or 3000 calories depending on my needs for a particular trip.

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