Eating Well on the Trail

Andrew and I really like to cook.  We enjoy doing everything from comfort food (wonderful Wisconsin mac & cheese), to difficult culinary adventures (like that time I ordered oysters on the internet and shucked them for a party).  When we’re on the trail, we like to eat well too.  I’m not a canned chicken kind of gal, but pre-packaged meals like Mountain House are very expensive for what you get and extremely salty.  Assuming one meal averages $9, times two people, times 5 nights, that’s easily $90 for dinner alone.  Here’s how we do trail food, including our 5 day menu for our trip to Isle Royale National Park.

Advance Planning

Whenever we start planning a trip, I find that it helps out a lot to determine how many meals we’re going to have.  If you’re going to go beyond pre-packaged food, you’ll need some lead time.  For our trips, I tend to start prepping 3 x the number of days in a trip in advance.  So, for Isle Royale, we had a 5 day trip, so I started food prep about two weeks in advance (5×3 days).  Why so much time?

  1. It takes time to dehydrate food (up to 24 hours a meal) if you’re doing that.
  2. Repackaging things you buy at the store can also take a lot of time.
  3. We never remember everything we need to bring the first time we go to the store, so this leaves us some wiggle room.



Breakfast doesn’t need to be boring if you don’t want it to be!  I’m much happier with an interesting breakfast and a boring lunch.  For our 5 nights, we needed 5 breakfasts.  We brought: 8 packets of oatmeal (variety of flavors), dehydrated hash browns, a bag of granola, 8 tubes of Trader Joe’s instant coffee, and 8 Clif Bars.

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