What types of food you can take on a trip depends on a number of factors.
Duration: On short trips, fresh foods can be taken, but for longer trips, dehydrated foods are needed to minimise weight. Similarly, for short trips you can eat whatever you can carry and like, however, for longer trips, more thought needs to be given about the nutritional balance of the food you take, keeping the overall weight low.
Weather: In hot weather, certain foods don’t keep as well as they would in cold weather. Hot weather also brings with it the threat of bushfires — total fire ban days can occur during the summer months so you should take foods which don’t require cooking. The extra exercise you get while bushwalking means you require more energy than usual. The cold weather experienced while ski touring means your body requires more food to provide the energy to keep you warm. A good, well balanced meal eaten before going to bed will help to keep you warmer throughout the night. Beginner walkers are likely to require slightly more energy than experienced walkers as their strides are not as efficient.
With a bit of forethought and preparation, meals eaten while bushwalking or ski-touring can be every bit as delicious and interesting as those you eat at home. It is wise to take an extra day’s food in case of emergencies or delays.
Drinking water requirements can vary from 2 up to 10 litres per day depending on temperature and difficulty of the walk/activity. Additional water will also be required for cooking, especially if using dried foods. You will need to take into consideration whether the water you are carrying, needs purification, depending upon its source. Rain and stream water would usually need some sort of filtration or treatment, such as chlorine-based tablets, boiling, UV-treatment, micro-filtration or a mix of these, depending upon how clean it ‘looks’.
More often than not, you can find most foods pre-packaged from supermarkets. However, often it is advisable that you pack things in reusable zip-lock bags using foods that you might already have at home. Using zip-lock bags for foods can mean you can carry your rubbish back in them.
I usually measure all my foods out into daily portions at home and place the portions into ziplock bags. To simplify cooking while I’m away, I usually
prepare all the ingredients I require for each dinner in advance and store each in a separate bag. You can also use freezer bags, in which case tie them shut or seal with rubber bands rather than bread ties which can puncture the bags. For powders and other potentially messy things, I’ll use two bags one inside the other to prevent spilling. Bacon, salami and other meats are best kept wrapped in paper as they will sweat in plastic. Remove all unnecessary packaging from pre-packaged foods to reduce their weight.
Pastes such as margarine, jam and honey etc. can be stored in reusable plastic squeeze tubes available from camping stores. When taking fresh or pre-cooked meals, on an overnight walk for example, screw-top plastic containers can be used.
The club has Furno stoves which are simple and safe to use. Isobutane and Propane mix fuel canisters can be used for Furno. These can be purchased from various outdoor stores. Check our sponsors page for a list of some stores. Planning meals that can be cooked in one pot will simplify cooking and reduce cleaning. Another popular cooking set is a Trangia. To reduce blackening of the bottom of your pots add a teaspoon of water to the Trangia burner when you fill it with methanol.
Detergents should not be used for cleaning, unless you buy bio-degradable concentrates such as SeaToSummit Wilderness Wash. Pots can usually be cleaned by boiling some water in them after use and then wiping clean. Burnt on stains can be removed by scrubbing with sand, twigs or leaves. Wash your pots well away from any lakes or streams to avoid food scraps polluting the water.