Feeding yourself on an adventure - Part 1

This article is written by Stu. Stu is a fit beast; he trains hard (lots of cycling and ultra-marathon running - and has been known to run several 100miles+ plus races over hilly off-road terrain). Stu's has an appetite to match his training; here are his tips on how to feed yourself on an adventure.

For me food is a big consideration! I enjoy eating and want to ensure that whilst out on the trail that I can get not only enough food to maintain energy levels but also to keep my spirits up along the way. In considering what you should eat, the number one piece of advice is to make sure it is food you like and include as much variety as you can.


Here in Part 1, I will give you some top tips for fuelling your next adventure. You can also check out Part 2 covers more detail and includes some food ideas for you to try.


Single serve sachets are great for trips!


Overnight stays in hotels or trips to fast food restaurants are great for picking up single serve sachets. Tea and coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, jam, ketchup etc. These are also available in some supermarkets or online and are well worth seeking out for trips. They minimise space and weight and mean that you don’t carry more than you need.


Fresh is best

If you're in an area that’s not too remote then re-stocking at shops along the way is definitely the best option. Fresh food is preferable to anything dried or dehydrated and it means that you only need to carry some staples the whole way. Meals in a pub or café are a nice luxury and will also stretch the food you have brought out further.


To cook or not to cook


Although you may be a keen chef back in your warm kitchen, cooking out in the wilderness – possibly by headtorch, after a long day hiking or biking may be a big ask. Add to that the need to wash pots and scrape off burnt bits sometimes makes the process less appealing. The priority for me after a long day is food – and quick! Most small camping stoves are not suited to simmering – they tend to burn incinerate food on the bottom of the pan. I remember a memorable camp in the welsh mountains where the tea boiled up after dinner tasted distinctly of tuna. I can still taste that cup of tea 5 years on!


Beware of red tape

If you're heading abroad for your trip – be careful with import regulations for the country you are visiting. Bringing fresh food is generally prohibited but other less obvious foods like dried meat may also be disallowed. Purchasing locally can be a good option although depending on where you are the language barrier and local tastes may create problems. If you are trying to find specific foods, an online order to your initial accommodation might be a good option to get a food delivery. Carrying that milk powder through security may not be the best idea.


Biodegradable ziplock-style bags can be your friend

Organising and dividing food into individual portions in small food bags before you set off is a good idea. Clearly labelled with a black marker, it simplifies meal prep and cuts the weight of heavy packaging. It also ensures you take just as much as you need for the trip and don’t risk spilling your precious oatmeal when dishing it out of a large bag in a gale. There are now various biodegradable bags options, but if you're using plastic bags please reuse them.


How much to take?

A common question and one that is quite a personal one! On a remote trip food weight will be a big proportion of your total weight. You may be burning upwards of 3,000-4,000 Calories on a self-powered adventure, however it can be difficult to carry and eat this much, which could be 0.75-1kg in food per day. Stopping to prepare food and eat may not be ideal either if you are trying to make progress. I recommend a good breakfast and dinner and plenty of snacks to graze on throughout the day to keep energy levels up. Try to eat something regularly to avoid running out of energy!


Part 2 of this article covers meal planning and food ideas for longer trips; click here to find out more!


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