Thursday, June 6, 2013

Planning Paleo Meals for the Trail

I know I haven't spent much time here writing out things as much as I thought I would.  So, I will try to stay the course but I have so many projects bouncing around in my head it sometimes becomes difficult to focus on one task for very long.

Regardless, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to plan out my meals on the trail.  I have experimented with a lot of different things with what I had available at the time.  Some of those items worked and others not so much.  One thing I did learn was that although jerky is good, you can't rely on it for an entire weekend on the trail.  One's jaw tends to get tired of chewing and it doesn't make for a quick lunch meal when you're trying to cram in 15 or more miles in a day.

As a Boy Scout when I was younger (and eventually an Eagle Scout) we were always forced to plan our meals for our camping trips.  This is something that always stuck with me so I always have to have a solid plan and then I will toss in a little extra just in case there is an emergency or something falls through.

Fail Safe foods

I always want to keep foods with me that are not going to spoil on me.  So the standard fare for the pack are trial mixes (which I often mix myself since not all nuts agree with me).  I used to keep huge batches with me and then realized I always went home with a ton after the trip.  So I'll keep it to a minimum (about a cup total) to reduce costs in weight added.  I will go for something like cashew, coconut flakes, and some sort of dried fruit (but go easy on the dried fruit).


Fats are one of my stumbling points to date on getting them packed for the trail.  I do keep coconut manna (butter) with me in some form or another and it really is a booster for satiating me and keeping me fueled on my trip.  I am still trying to bring more fats with me that will not go rancid.  During cooler months I will bring precooked bacon often mixed with a pickled eggs for breakfast.  I seal these in individual vacuum seal backs so it sort of ends up wrapped together.  I didn't think I could go for a vinegar based meal first thing in the morning but it was actually refreshing and got the body moving.

Since Tallow is often utilized for Pemmican (which I have yet to find a recipe that doesn't make me gag) I may consider just bring a small container of tallow on the next trip to see if it can hang in for a couple days before bombing out.


Carbs are something that I have underutilized on my trips in the past but I am not reconsidering the usage of more to recover at the end of the day and refill my glycogen stores.  I think this is a vital key that I have been missing regarding recovery.  I eat extremely low carb on a daily basis (very close to a steady Ketogenic state) so I thought I would continue that on the trail when I think int fact I need a boost.  So my next venture will include a heavier dose probably in the form of dehydrated sweet potatoes and or a few more dried veggies.

Pulling it Together

My typical weekend trip is usually a Friday evening night hike with a full Saturday and usually out by around lunch time on Sunday.

Friday Night:
A small snack (trial mix and maybe some jerky) once getting settled in for the night (Steve's Paleo Kits are perfect for this)
Sat Breakfast:
Pickled eggs, bacon, Coconut butter treat
Summer sausage (or one that can handle room temperature), Dried Fruit, Nuts, and maybe some hard cheese (if you go for a more Primal diet)
Sat Dinner: 
You'll want something hearty and warm after a long day.  I am working on some recipes myself but I would go for a dehydrated meat (chicken or beef).  Both of which can be done in your home with paying a boat load for the pre-packaged meals.  Add in some dried veggies and carbs of your choice.  Note that the flavors will be diminished so keeping a spice combo available in your kit is a good idea.  A favorite for me is to go with a beef, sweet potato mix with mexican/cuban spice.  I've heard Avocado CAN be dehydrated as a guacamole but I have yet to try it.
Sun Breakfast:  Same as Sat (because I am super inventive)

As I said before I will always pack a couple extra things, be it extra jerky or something snacky just in case I end up on the trail longer than expected or I want something for my ride home.

I'll report back once I start working on some recipes again.  I'd love to hear other suggestions.  My goal is high fat, moderate protein, and a decent boost of carbs as needed.  I'll keep the natural sugars to a minimum.  They're good for an uphill boost but that's about it until I crash and need the sustaining power of fats.