Nutrition on the trail top five things.
Eating right is important when you are camping and hiking. We at outdoorplaces.com know this all too well. Personally I have found myself in the great outdoors with little more then a tic-tac. Not meaning to get lost, I did, and soon realized the importance of bringing some snacks, even if you don't plan to stay out long, because you never know!
I wouldn't suggest tic-tacs as a means of survival, so on with the top ten foods!
Number Five - beef jerky. When we talk about beef jerky we don't mean going to the local convenience store and getting a SlimJim. Not that we have anything against GoodMark Foods, but you haven't had beef jerky until you have had REAL beef jerky. Our editor in South Dakota got us hooked jerky from My Favorite Jerky LLC, out of Red Oak, Iowa. It has an intense beef flavor, is very tender and was voted the best tasting jerky in 1999 and we have to agree. Beef jerky is almost bullet proof, extremely lightweight, and offers a very good balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. If you have the time and a food dehydrator, consider making it yourself.
Number Four - dried fruit. Dried fruits scored higher than fresh fruit because they are more durable, there is a lot less trash to pack out, and they pack more caloric bang per ounce. Raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and dried apples were favorites. Some editors favored prunes, while others took points off for what they can do to your system. One editor pointed out that some of the dried fruit bite products in the supermarket are extremely tasty, taking an assortment of dried fruits and cutting them finely. Dried fruits are packed with carbohydrates and offer a quick energy fix. They are also flexible enough to be used with peanut butter or cheese.
Number Three - granola. Granola has gone full circle when it comes to popularity. Once a fringe food associated with the hippy movement, granola was viewed as an elixir of long life during the seventies and early eighties until the dirty secret that granola is packed with fat came out. With the low fat movement of the late eighties and early nineties, granola once again took a back seat and disappeared from store shelves. Almost bullet proof, granola has grown up and comes in a variety of flavors ranging from honey, and nut to more exotic combinations like blueberry or cherry. Loaded with fat and carbohydrates, granola is an excellent food source out on the trail.
Number Two - energy bars. Whether your favorites are Power Bars, Clif Bars, Luna, 30-30-40, Myoplex or others, sports nutrition energy bars are an excellent food source out on the trail. Having the shelf life of plutonium, balanced nutrition, lightweight, almost no trash, and tasting great (well, when you find a brand you like) they are almost the perfect food. The only thing that kept energy bars from moving to the number one spot was price, with the average bar costing close to $1.25 to a $2.50. If you hike a lot we recommend buying them in bulk from a warehouse store like Sams, BJ's, or Costco. If you are lucky enough to live on the west coast, Trader Joes has great prices on a wide variety of bars.
Number One - gorp. All of our editors agreed that gorp was the best food on the trail. Also known as trail mix, the entire staff also agreed that the best way to get gorp was make it yourself with your favorite foods. A combination of any of your favorites including M&M's, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, Cheerios, Chex cereal, raisins, peanuts, cashews, and dried coconut were among the suggestions we received. Low cost considering you probably have most of the ingredients sitting on the shelf at home, no trash to speak of, tasty if you make it from your favorites, and bullet proof, gorp is the perfect food when you're out on the trail.