Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between? | High Sierra Topix  

Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

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Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby maverick » Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:48 am

I have to confess as a chef for the last 31 yrs with a european culinary background
who likes cooking most any type of food I really do not care much about cooking
in the back country, I mainly eat for sustenance.
Since going semi-ultra light I have tried to carry as light as possible even when
coming to food which is not easy.
I do not weigh much but burn calories like crazy even when at home and even more
so in the back country.
I usually eat an instant oatmeal, butter buds, freeze-dried strawberry or other fruit, roasted
walnuts, whey protein mixture that I add boiling water too, or if I want to move I just add
cold water.
Some times I just have a Pemmican Bar for breakfast though extremely dense it has a lot
of calories.
I used to carry the bars, trail mix, refried beans with tortilla ect.., but now I just drink
Cytomax (carb drink) which has worked fine for the last several years.
I still eat 3-4 bars a day to get some thing solid into my stomach during the day.
I try to take lunch breaks but it does not all ways happen since I do not like stopping
for too long.
Tortilla with almond butter and honey mix, jerky, maybe a trail mix, pkg salmon
or chicken, or cheese will be a part of my lunch.
Dinner is a freeze dried meal which I am not proud of but it is fastest, but not all ways
the best tasting, nothing some hot sauce can not fix.
I usually carry evo to boost the taste and calories of my lunches and dinners.
My vice is chocolate and I all ways have a some nice dark chocolate on my trips
and I do share.
I usually have tortillas with dinner since they have a thin profile and last longer
than the other bread products.

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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby rlown » Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:58 am

well. depending on where we go, i've been known to carry a cantaloupe, or a small watermellon. Did carry a bottle of good champagne once for my birthday, and yes the bottle was packed out.

We have taken onions, lemons, peppers and other fresh veggies because it does break of the monotony of freeze-dried food. And you add those to your trout dinner deep in the backcountry, it's an amazing uplift of the spirit.

I always carry at least two lemons, and 2 oranges, because i like them. Might have to try your trout ceviche, Mav, if you post a recipe and can effectively get the bones out of the trout. I feel some limes will now have to be packed in.

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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby hikerduane » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:20 pm

I try to make my destination for the day before lunch, don't stop much either.

Last year on my summer trip, I joined a bunch of climbers on Bishop Pass, being led by a seasoned climber out of Bishop. When we made Thunderbolt Pass, we stopped for lunch, then split in a couple three directions. One of the climbers had all kinds of fresh fruit and veggies, I was really amazed, it seemed like it was a large part of his pack or at least the weight.

I brought a couple small bottles of wine when I did Whitney on my 50th, Portal to Portal. So, so.
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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby paul » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:37 pm

I'm defintely a sustenance eater in the backcountry. I want it simple to prepare, no cleanup. For trips of one or two nights I like to go no-cook. Just pull out the food bag and start eating! But for more than a couple days, the added weight of that kind of food starts to outweigh the savings in having no stove or pot. I do like some treats, though - mostly chocolate.
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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby e_l_green » Wed May 13, 2009 11:48 pm

Definitely sustenance. Couscous, bean flakes, instant rice, protein bars, hot cocoa and instant coffee, gatorade powder, other assorted dry stuff from the local grocery store. Only "luxuries" are a little olive oil for making the couscous taste right and Tapatio hot sauce for flavoring the beans and rice. For overnighters I'll do ramen noodles and pouch tuna rather than anything "gourmet". Vitamins -- those come in a pill, don't they? :p I don't worry too much about calories as long as I'm getting enough protein because I'm carrying sufficient calories around my middle to keep me going for much longer than the short trips my job allows me :crybaby: .

Most of this is dictated by the fact that I have a small ultralight pack, use a small personal-sized bear canister to save weight and volume thus don't have much room for food, and otherwise prefer the luxury of not having to haul 50 pounds of stuff around to the luxury of having a gourmet meal on the trail. It's not as if I can cook gourmet meals with two nested titanium cups and a titanium spoon anyhow (the totality of my cookware -- one cup to cook in, one cup for beverages).
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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby dave54 » Sat May 16, 2009 4:39 pm

It depends whether I am solo or with someone.

In a group, part of the meal is the socialization and fellowship. Good food and good company enhance each other, so gourmet fare is desirable.

Solo, there is no one to share the meal, so I am just refueling. Fast and easy basic nutrition.
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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby Skibum » Sun May 17, 2009 1:42 pm

If your lucky, you'll go on a trip with Moosetracks and she'll whip up an incredible Tri-Tip feast. :nod:

I used to go all out, but now days weight is a huge factor. So, I guess I'm in the "eat for sustenance" catagory.

Maverick, you gave me some great ideas, thanks. :thumbsup:
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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby copeg » Mon May 18, 2009 4:34 pm

I probably find myself more often than not on the side of sustenance. Solame, cheese, peanut butter, bread/tortillas, fritos, granola, etc...Usually one pot meals, often homemade but sometimes store bought freeze-dried. If I'm with people I think a bit more thought and planning goes into food, but more often than not I bring only an alcohol stove and that can sometimes limit the possibilities for cooked meals (although I've had some great pan fried trout with a rice medley and some great pancakes that surprised even me that were made on an alcohol stove - it just takes some planning and energy that sometimes I don't wish to invest).
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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby JWreno » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:09 pm

Sustenance for hard core hiking, gourmet for lower milage group hikes.

I did 19 days no-stove no-cook on the JMT in 2008 and the Tahoe Rim Trail for 10 days
in 2009. My wife and I like the simplicity of less stuff and no cleanup. I took my brother
and nephew on a 5 day trip in 2009 from Horseshoe to Onion Valley and they wanted hot
food so we obliged. We carried 1.25 pounds of no-cook food per day each

If you want to make a lot of miles in the day then no-cook is great You only
need to resupply on drinking water before picking a campsite. It is easier to
camp high and bug free away from water sources.

It's important to have stuff you really like when you are going to be munching
on it for weeks at a time.
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Re: Sustenance, Gourmet, or In Between?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:18 am

I'd say I probably verge more toward the sustenance side, with emphasis on maximizing calories and the like, but I do like to enjoy what I eat. Grilled orange meated trout (in campfire legal areas) would be very much esteemed at home too, whereas other foods (the backup pasta dishes etc.) may not be. I certainly like having chocolate and goodies along on the trip too (cookies, etc) in addition to standards such as cheeses, nuts, trail bars, morning flavored oatmeal packets and hot chocolate (the latter having been a backpacking standard for me for upwards of 35 years). Weight is not to be a consideration (in general I don't care about weight too much as you can surmise by my posts) as much as cooking time and convenience. I don't tend to want to spend too much time cooking. I'd rather be relaxing or fishing when I'm at camp. In the days before kids, Judy and I would tend to add a stovetop espresso maker and a bottle of wine to our easy to moderate trips, but we'd skip those for the longer ones (perhaps our only concession to weight).

At home I devote a fair amount of time to planning and cooking because I enjoy doing it, but the mountains are another matter. This also reminds me of what I do geologic car camping--convenience and lower prep time over outright gourmet (although fresh meat options all become fair game: tri tip, chicken, pork, sausages, etc.). For geologic car camping less cooking time means more drinking time (not to mention getting to eat more quickly when one is really famished after a tough day of field work).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: ... ayshi.html
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