I always stress about food when planning a hiking trip with the kids. I love to eat and evidently so do they! This means that we can pack a lot of weight. And since I carry it all, there’s motivation to pack light.
With every trip I try to refine our food plan so that we carry just the right amount of food that we are full.
This time we tried a few different things. I bought powdered milk, powdered eggs, powdered cheese and powdered butter. I found the eggs, cheese and butter on Amazon.
For breakfasts we ate oatmeal, powered eggs/mashed potatoes, cereal/powdered milk/butter and granola. I make the oatmeal ahead of time by mixing quick oats, raisins, sugar and cinnamon in measured amounts and stored it in a zip lock bag. For the granola cereal I figured out how much milk we would need for each serving of cereal and mixed the powdered milk and powdered butter to create a rich milk. It tasted like the bottom of any good cereal bowl ;).
For the mashed potatoes I added powdered milk & butter and Parmesan cheese for added flavour.
All the breakfast ideas worked out well, although eating any one thing multiple times does become tiring. I may never eat powdered eggs and mashed potatoes again! 😉
For snacks this time we went with a trail mix I made myself and dumped into a zip lock bag (raisins, semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanuts, cranberries, banana chips).
We also bought some Temptation Mix which is basically the same thing and next time I’d just buy a few added ingredients and make it myself. It is fantastic!
Mr. Noodles makes a good snack/lunch as well. Once the water boils it only takes 3 minutes to soak in the hot water. I made a variation and added dehydrated chicken and dehydrated vegetables. The dehydrated chicken was easy to make (slow cook chicken, tear apart, add salt, pepper and lemon and dehydrate in oven at 180 F for 6 hours). This was a great light snack.
Last but certainly not least we carried Peanut M&M’s which were not only a trail snack but were used for card game prizes.
For dinners I mostly bought stuff that’s already dehydrated. We ate several Sidekick meals where I added additional ingredients for flavour (Butter, Milk, Parmesan Cheese).
I find these dinners are great because they don’t take too long to cook (conserve fuel) and they fill us up. Keep in mind for 1 meal we each ate 1 full pack….yes, we were very hungry!
We also ate pasta a few times. For three of us we eat 454 g of pasta. I use spaghettini which cooks faster than spaghetti and buy the prepackaged creamy sauces and add powdered milk/butter and sun dried tomatoes. This dinner is a big hit with everyone, although it is a bit heavy to carry. That being said, when you exercise a lot, you need to eat a lot. I haven’t figured out how to pack much lighter than dehydrated.
I stressed about this part of our trip planning. I did a lot of research and learned that the Shinglemill Pub & Bistro (@km 50) would hold boxes for hikers coming through. That made our first drop an easy one. On our way through we just stopped for dinner at the pub and picked up our box (no fee). I love this pub!
For the second drop I was looking around the Dixon Road area (@km 134.7 where the trail meets Dixon Road). I contacted one business who had no interest in holding our box. Fortunately, I found another business that held it for a small fee. This meant we hiked out to highway 101 from Dixon Road to retrieve our second food drop (6.8 km return). It was a detour but while we were there we ate calzones and ice cream. It was a worthwhile detour.
It is possible to have your food dropped at almost any point on the trail where there is logging road access for a fee. There are two great businesses that service the trail that I know about. We used Christie at Mitchell’s Canoe & Kayak Rental last summer for our canoe trip of the Powell River Canoe Circuit and she’s fantastic! The other one is Sunshine Coast Shuttle.
Food drops are a great idea, particularly when you are traveling with a group and you can split the costs. I know many people just carry everything and that’s also possible particularly if you do the trip in fewer days.