additional tips how to save backpack weight
Added way to save weight with your backpacking food is to bring only meals which don’t have to be cooked. This will be a problem for those that can’t get comfortable without a hot dinner, but some of us enjoy the break from cooking and washing pots. There is no reason you can’t have a healthy diet without cooking, and most backpacking is done in the warmer months, so why not try a no-cooking trip?
You will save the weight of the stove, as well as the fuel. There is a compromise that gets you one hot meal, without carrying the equipment. Just put a few frozen hotdogs in a sealed plastic bag and wrap them in the clothing in your pack to insulate them. In this way it should take them a full day to thaw out, so on day two you can cook them over a fire.
If you really want to go light on your backpacking food, there are two other tricks to use. The first is called carbo-loading. You essentially avoid carbohydrates for a week or so, and then eat a lot of them in the two days prior to your trip, causing your body to store them. With this routine, your body can store up to 1,800 calories of carbs in your blood, liver and muscles, in the form of glycogen. That means you can pack less food (okay, it only gets you half-days’ worth).
The other less extreme and perhaps more enjoyable technique is to learn enough about wild edible plants to supplement your diet. I have eaten hundreds of calories of wild raspberries in a twenty-minute break while hiking mountains. If you know the seasons of the various plant foods where you’ll be going, you can essentially replace some pack weight with your knowledge. Even if you don’t want to plan on eating wild edibles, knowing them well means you can more safely carry the minimum amount of backpacking food you think you’ll need.
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