Backpacking Paleo/Primal

If you’re a backpacker you know that the traditional trail food is a heck of a lot of grains.  I recently went backpacking again for the first time since becoming a paleo/primal eater, and much to my delight…it’s do-able, delicious and lightweight. I’ll share a few of my learning points.  To begin with you need to have a general grasp of backcountry meal planning, which I’m not going to go over here, but if you have more questions for me, I’m glad to brainstorm with you.

  • One word: DEHYDRATOR. Electric, solar, whatever…gotta have it. I’ll bet someone you know has one you could borrow  for all the pre-trip preparation.
  • Carbs: I dehydrated a ton of veggies. Zucchini, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms….all dried raw.
  • The two veggies I cooked before dehydrating were yams and spaghetti squash.
  • Protein: cook it before dehydrating  it (except for jerky). We did chicken, scrambled eggs, and smoked salmon. I suppose you could buy pouches of salmon/tuna/chicken…but I wanted to try doing it all homemade.
  • I dehydrated scrambled eggs, but would like to try powdered eggs. Just didn’t get it in time.
  • Lunch/snacks: Homemade beef jerky (recipes can be found online), and trail mix (dried fruit and nuts, and lots of coconut flakes). Salami, dark chocolate, spoonfulls of coconut butter 😉
  • My personal highlight: instant yams for breakfast. At home, cook the yams, mash with salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread on waxed paper in your dehydrator. Take the dried yam chips and powder it in your blender. On trail: rehydrate in your bowl with plenty of water, this is one you don’t have to wait more than 2-4 minutes for. Sprinkle pecans and a pat of butter on top…Oh sweet mother of god!!
  • A note on rehydrating: don’t try to rehydrate it right at the time you want to cook it. You need to let it soak ahead of time.
  • All the dinner ingredients got thrown into my 1.5L nalgene midafternoon, covered with cold water, stuck in my backpack, and were re-hydrated by dinner time.
  • Veggies rehydrated beautifully in cold water. I think the trick to rehydrating  protein is that it needs to have boiling or hot water to soak in for several hours. For us, the protein stuff was a little chewy because I didn’t figure that out in time.
  • Bring a good spice kit!
  • Breakfasts: 1. Yam mush with nuts and coconut butter; 2. Julienned zucchini hashbrowns and (precooked) bacon.
  • Dinners: 1. Pesto chicken on spaghetti squash/mushrooms/onions; 2. Veggie slurry with eggs (all the veggies, scrambled eggs, spices cooked together); 3. Salmon chowder (smoked salmon, dried dill, some coconut flour, broccoli, onion, yams).

I was surprised at the lack of good online info on this subject. With some creativity though, it was easy to do great meal planning. I’d say the biggest thing to remember is that you can substitute lots of dehydrated veggie carbs for all the grain carbs you’d usually eat.