When I am out and about and people discover that my favourite recreational hobby is to hike the most common question I get asked is "What do you eat?"
So I thought, since it has been a while since my last post, I would compel a light hearted guide on what I eat while camping.
The Classic- Heinz Beans and Sausages.
Everyone who has camped with me knows that Heinz Beans and Sausages are a staple. Nothing beats setting up camp for the night and cracking open them tins, hearing them splash into the mess tins as you crank the heat up and that first divine spoonful after you have waited for them to cool down.
I was first introduced to this treat when my dad took me up the mountains when I was younger than 10. With a famished stomach, I watched them bubble away as I shrunk into my my jacket shying away from the crisp air of the Mournes. My mouth salivating. Is it worth the wait? Always. Rich in taste and carbohydrates. Small and compact to fit in any nook you can find in your rucksack. Why would you not want to carry a few of these tins around?
Pasta, Pasta, Pasta
Unfortunately, one cannot eat beans every night. Variety is the spice of life as they say. So that is why I always endeavour to carry a couple of bags of pasta. Now, I have camped with all sorts. I have witnessed people bring their kitchen with them and cook pasta like five star Michelin chefs and people on the opposite end of the spectrum who eat pot noodles like busy workmen on their lunchbreak.
The answer as to how you should eat pasta on the trail is widely varied and really is down to the person. It can be as complicated as you want it to be. Me? I prefer the just-add-water-pasta. Simply because after hiking anywhere between 15km- 30km a day it's all about making life easy for yourself. My go to has to be Bachelors Pasta 'n' Sauce. The tomato onion and herb one.
If I am venturing anywhere and I know that I will be gone for at least a week. I have to have a few ration packs with me. Not only are they calorie tailored for hikers but they are simple to prepare and serve. A lot of these can be found at your traditional camping stores or can be purchased online. If choosing the latter option be sure to order well in advance of your trip! I recommend the Wayfarer range for reference. Not only do you have a choice of dinners but you can also pick your own disserts. Delicious and British Army approved.
Chocolate 'n' Sweets
Confectionary. What the stoics hate and the hedonists adore. But no matter your stance you cannot deny the short bursts of energy they can give you. Also, it can be rather rewarding to sink your teeth into something sweet at times.
Usually, I would stock up on the multipacks of Snickers and Mars bars that your local supermarket offers along with some hard boiled sweets that you can suck on as you walk. Just be cautious of where you place them in your bag. Chocolate can either melt or freeze. I've had both happen to me several times.
What the Route Provides
No matter how efficient your meal plan it can be difficult to accommodate all this food alongside your other camping necessities in your rucksack, especially on those longer hiking trips when everything is in a bigger demand. Therefore I always ensure to study my Ordnance Survey map carefully when choosing my campsites and I am thinking, "Do I pass somewhere to resupply along the way?" or, "Can I alter my route to ensure that I do?" Also, time providing, I always find it rude not to enter a restaurant or a café when I see one. I'm on holiday after all.
But what foods do you enjoy while camping? I'm interested and want to hear your thoughts.