Dry goods and other musings

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Greg
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Dry goods and other musings

Post by Greg »

I was posting in response to a somewhat related question on Facebook, and it turned into a fairly neat and concise account of how I approach carrying foodstuffs. Thought I'd prefer a discussion here with you fine folks to flesh it out a bit.

There's lots of talk in here about making a solitary traveler feasible without a pack pony/boat for carrying large amounts of food necessary to be out and about for long periods.

To do this, consider a short period of time to be out, and try to aim for preparing to carry enough for that time. Get that weekend figured out, then try to grow to longer treks. Get used to the idea of rationing your food, and understand that you will not be eating the same food at the beginning as you will at the end. You'll leave with bread, but you'll run out in a few days and resort to cram or dumplings from raw flour. Your cheese will dry and harden, so you won't want to save it for later days on the trail. You'll leave with some cold meats but within a day or two be solely on dried meats and smoked sausages. You'll leave with a few Apples for Walking(TM), but you'll run out shortly and be eating dried fruit slices or fruit leathers, as you don't want to carry lots of apples anyway (they're heavy and take up space). If you plan well, your oats (hot cereal is right good ballast for an empty morning belly) are a staple, and the anchor for a dry goods, lightweight diet. Flour should be carried in fairly large quantities. As long as you can stew something to make broth, you can make dumplings which are an awesome, easy, and delicious calorie dump in the evenings.

I measure out my dry goods with the same cup I ration them, and carry at least two days' more of each item than I plan to be out. Once you're on the trail, you have to stick to your rations, no matter how you feel, or you'll be running out. If you said "One apple a day" at your start, then you don't eat more than one a day. If you're hungry after dinner, drink more water. Comfort at home and comfort on the trail are VERY different things.

The ultimate goal for our hobby, I think, is a fortnight...and a LOT can happen in 14 days. We spend so much time focusing on so many neat little tools and kit items, but when you're ready to pick up and put dozens of miles behind you, how much of it are you really willing to carry?


Does anyone have any lighter-weight dry goods they're fond of that help bolster their trail rations? Other approaches they take for carrying food for multiple days? Bear in mind, I'm talking about multiple days putting miles underfoot, not multiple days staying at one site and exploring around. I feel like we've discussed this to death here, but every time it comes back up, we all learn something new, so it can't hurt to go at it again!
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MiketheBlacksmith
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Re: Dry goods and other musings

Post by MiketheBlacksmith »

An interesting topic.I have only really thought about trail food from a 18 century American longhunter perspective. Many of those food items are not present in a earlier Northern European setting,so I start over. In my contacts with SCA events trekking food was never explored.

While thinking about this subject tonight I came across this youtube on a channel I subscribe to, Hands on History. They are Viking reenactors.

It is called Viking Food for Travel 4:27 long and well done.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Doy4knWLCIA
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Eofor
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Re: Dry goods and other musings

Post by Eofor »

14 days is.... a lot.

For my part I haven't done anything near those numbers, I tend to try towards air cured sausages as the fat content is much higher than in other forms of dried meat and while I haven't pushed them to 14 days I suspect that they would fare well enough in the right climate.
That's another factor to consider both in terms of food spoilage and calorie consumption - the temperature and humidity that you will be working in.

I wonder if you have the time to do a small experiment for me Greg as I know you have the portions dialed in for your current trips. Can you tell me what you most common staple is on the trail and how much of it you allocate for the day? I want to multiply it by 16 and do some weight and volume comparisons, something like rice, barley or flour that you use every day?
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Greg
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Re: Dry goods and other musings

Post by Greg »

Eofor wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:32 am 14 days is.... a lot.

For my part I haven't done anything near those numbers, I tend to try towards air cured sausages as the fat content is much higher than in other forms of dried meat and while I haven't pushed them to 14 days I suspect that they would fare well enough in the right climate.
That's another factor to consider both in terms of food spoilage and calorie consumption - the temperature and humidity that you will be working in.

I wonder if you have the time to do a small experiment for me Greg as I know you have the portions dialed in for your current trips. Can you tell me what you most common staple is on the trail and how much of it you allocate for the day? I want to multiply it by 16 and do some weight and volume comparisons, something like rice, barley or flour that you use every day?
Lemme do some maths and get back to you on that one! I like where this is going. Years ago we did an experiment around this...might need to dig that concept back up with the better rations we have now.
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Re: Dry goods and other musings

Post by redhandfilms »

Lentils. Lentils make a great dry staple. Perfect for making stews. They're a great source of protein and fiber. The biggest downside and why they're not used a lot in backpacking food is cooking times. You need to boil and simmer for 30 minutes or longer. For modern backpackers that means lots of fuel, but I'm assuming most people here are cooking over a fire which you'll have burning longer than just 3 minutes to jet boil water. You can help alleviate some of that cook time by soaking them before cooking. First thing you do when you get to camp, just throw the lentils into your cook pot with water. Let them sit while you set up your camp and get your fire going.
Image
Here's an excellent soup I made with Lentils, dried mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions, beef jerky, dandelion greens, and spices. Sure, it seems like a lot, but just lentils and broth from a bouillon cube (with foraged dandelion greens and mushrooms if you're lucky) still makes for a good meal. You can even throw in crumbled hardtack for dumplings.
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Cimrandir
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Re: Dry goods and other musings

Post by Cimrandir »

Greg wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 1:29 pm
Eofor wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:32 am 14 days is.... a lot.

For my part I haven't done anything near those numbers, I tend to try towards air cured sausages as the fat content is much higher than in other forms of dried meat and while I haven't pushed them to 14 days I suspect that they would fare well enough in the right climate.
That's another factor to consider both in terms of food spoilage and calorie consumption - the temperature and humidity that you will be working in.

I wonder if you have the time to do a small experiment for me Greg as I know you have the portions dialed in for your current trips. Can you tell me what you most common staple is on the trail and how much of it you allocate for the day? I want to multiply it by 16 and do some weight and volume comparisons, something like rice, barley or flour that you use every day?
Lemme do some maths and get back to you on that one! I like where this is going. Years ago we did an experiment around this...might need to dig that concept back up with the better rations we have now.
I'd love to join the next Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge if you ever do it again...

redhandfilms wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 7:39 pm Image
Here's an excellent soup I made with Lentils, dried mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions, beef jerky, dandelion greens, and spices. Sure, it seems like a lot, but just lentils and broth from a bouillon cube (with foraged dandelion greens and mushrooms if you're lucky) still makes for a good meal. You can even throw in crumbled hardtack for dumplings.
Ooh, that looks delicious!
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Turgolanas
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Re: Dry goods and other musings

Post by Turgolanas »

Speaking of the five day challenge, I'm working on putting together a 7 day meal plan. I need to do some cooking and make sure it all fits in my gear, but I'm planning on living on it in a week or two. I expect that I will be thoroughly sick of the meals a few days in lol.
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