Clearly hiking is highly paleo, so what foods do people find are best for taking on hikes? I'm particularly keen to hear about long-lasting paleo foods, since I regularly go on very long (10 day+) hikes, carrying all my own food, so weight and nutrients are of central concern!
I've never tried it myself, but I believe that pemmican would be a good candidate.
Here in Iceland a traditional way to preserve food is by storing it in lactic acid. Most of the cuts thus stored are really fatty: rolled lamb belly, blood sausage, etc. This would make it ideal hiking food. Not salty - which has it's own problems - and very nutrient and calorie dense. If you are lacto-paleo, you can do this yourself. Just get some acid whey or make some, but your boiled fatty meat in a bucket with the whey, store for 10 days and then it's sour enough to take on your hike without spoiling. The whey needs to be more sour than pH 3.5. The taste is acquired...
You can also pickle veggies, if you you must have veggies, though they are calorie poor. Tubers are calorie rich, and last for a while, you might look into that. Also dried fruit in moderation.
I heard an amazing mountaineering/hiking food in the first Robb Wolf Podcast I ever listened to...Melt a jar or most of a jar of coconut oil, and once it's liquified mix in nuts and dried fruits and let it solidify, and dig into with a spoon when you're out there for a super calorically dense, quality snack.
I've been hiking the PCT for the last eight years and I'm half way to Canada. My diet on and off the trail has been morphing to Paleo. I've always relied on jerky and tuna in foil packs. I've added macadamia nuts on the last two sections. Wonderful energy and I've found a source with no salt or oils. (Macadamia Nuts from Russell Family Farms email@example.com 760-760-8081) I get dried fruit without sugar at Trader Joe's. Lara Bars are true Paleo food. Pure fruit and nuts. I'm going to be taking Pemmican on the next two week trip but I've been told by U.S. Wellness that it is only good for about 10 days out of the freezer. Dinner is hard. I've been eating tortellini all these years with loads of dried veggies. It's really hard to figure out a Paleo substitute for the evening meal. Probably going to be eating dried eggs for breakfast but some testing is ahead for proper preparation. Check out my blog at pctdanalaw.blogspot.com Dana Law San Diego, Ca
I make my own 'granola' style bars by mixing almond butter with crushed pecans, unsweetened coconut shreds, and an egg. You can add a bit of dark chocolate chips for a bit of sweet calories. Sometimes I also add some minced up banana. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and slap spoonfuls onto a greased (I used coconut oil) cookie sheet and cook em at about 350 degrees for a short while in the oven until they look done. I make up a whole ton of these at once and then freeze em in the freezer until I need them. The end result is a calorie dense cross between a cookie and a granola bar. Even my nonpaleo friends have tried these and say they taste good. When I hike or camp, I like to have things that taste good. Otherwise, I'll be tempted not to eat because I feel so tired.
Other things I like are summer sausage because they have a lot of fat in them. If it's not hot out, then I like to bring hard cheese to go with the sausage, but if it's hot, the cheese melts and is gross. I always bring butter, which does not need refrigeration over the short haul. Even if it melts, it's still good, but carry it in a sealed container just in case it does. I like to bring potatoes. They don't need the fridge either and can be cooked in the fire pit covered in foil at night. Then add butter and some prepackaged bacon bits. YUM! Or you can bring canned potatoes and just add them to canned meat.
Dried fruit is another staple. All that exercise makes for a diff metabolism. I don't eat dried fruit at home but I will for hiking. While I like beef jerky at home, when hiking I find there is too much protein and dryness and not enough carbs and fat, so I only bring a little of that when hiking and camping. I always bring a variety of canned meats and some mayo packets. Mayo is not paleo, but sometimes I just need the fat. Now with the foil packages available of most meats, that will help the hikers that must pack everything to keep the weight down.
I also bring UHT milk which does not need refrigeration but helps with making sauces. My dream is to find UHT cream but so far, I can't even find a place to order it on the internet. On many of my trips, we do potluck dinners so I need to be able to make something edible that others will eat. I always bring eggs kept in a plastic egg holding container to prevent breakage.
All of the things I bring do not require refrigeration.
I think Beef jerky is your number 1 on this one. Its small for packing and light to carry as well. Other stuff you can dry are fruits, which is pretty great hiking food as well.
Moreover i always take some Uncured (thanks for the comment) bacon with me on a hike, goes great with just about anything you can cook and its also tasty if youre not frying it.
U can always go for veggies for the start of your trip. Though they wont make it the whole 10 days (most wont at least) you'll prolly keep them eatable for about the first 3 days. Think of tomatoes/paprikas for easy packing/hand snacks.
Last but not least, I love canned tuna on a hike. zip in 6 of these and you will have a buckload of proteins and fat along the way.
Like this question and im curious which answers it will produce (Serious Backpacker myself :) )
In addition to the jerky and pemmican suggestions (which sound like your best options), how about nuts? If they're reasonably fresh to start with then they should last 10 days without going rancid, I think. They're a concentrated source of fat and calories, some protein, some carbs and they're easy to nibble on (and tasty for most people). A downside, though, is that they're pretty high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly omega-6, so they're probably best use as a "supplement" for your hikes rather than the main food source.
Also, how about dried fish? I think it's usually heavily salted, though. But it should keep and it's fairly easy to find in ethnic food shops or perhaps make yourself.
Jerky, nuts, foil packets of salmon and tuna, dried fruit, traditional dried sausage are all high on my list of backpacking foods.
I don't make trail mix, because I find that I only want some particular thing in it, so I just bring all the bits separately.
I usually bring about 8oz. of coconut oil. I can (and do!) eat it out of the jar. It can also help with hot spots/pre-blisters on the feet. I think I'll bring concentrated coconut cream on my next trip. That stuff is amazing!
I also bring sharp cheddar cheese maybe that's not on the list of things you eat.
For backpacking: pemmican, beef jerky, bacon, mixed nuts. Tuna or salmon are also great especially if you get the ones that come in foil pouches instead of cans.
For short trips where weight is not a concern, you can add hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruits.
I, too am a PCT section hiker, with about 1000 trail miles completed. Since becoming more of a Paleo adherent, I have been pondering about what types of food to take on next summer's hike. In addition to Lara Bars, dried fruit and nuts, MSG free jerky, and foil packed fish, I will take some sprouted grain cereal (Ezekiel 4:9 brand), some Annies Mac & Cheese, and dried whole milk (Nido brand). And I'm not going to freak out about it. While I don't tolerate cereal grains very well at home, life on the trail is very different. You are hiking 8-12 hours per day. And in my case, my metabolism goes though a change where I can start the day with a big bowl of oatmeal and feel fine. If I start the day with a big bowl of oatmeal at home, I want to crawl into bed at 9AM. Just my 2 cents.
i did a few hikes this summer, a few weeks in the Canadian Rockies
i ate: pemmican hard cheese summer sausage nuts dried vegetables lots of seasonings for the pemmican eggs and butter for the first few days (pain in the ass to have to be delicate with your pack though)
it was okay until the very end...now pemmican makes me feel like gagging
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