- Dec 1, 2017 at 12:47 am #3504911
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
I’ve found a number of threads here as well as a variety of info across the web about backpacking as a vegan / vegetarian, but not a lot of info about anyone who is trying to do a strict plant-based diet using only whole food ingredients, i.e., no added sugars, salts, oils, and other refined ingredients.
I’m sure it would be heavier than a typical backpacking diet, but I’m wondering if anyone has tried it and what their experiences might have been?Dec 1, 2017 at 1:12 am #3504916
W I S N E R !BPL Member
Off the top of my head, Ray Jardine discusses whole food options in Beyond Backpacking. It’s not extensive, but he’s likely the first to get me thinking in this direction. I have a good deal of experience with whole/fresh food on the trail, but nothing on trips lasting much more than 5 days.
I think it really does come down to weight/bulk. I was on a 5 night in the Sierra and I know my friends were a bit surprised to see items like leeks, Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, sprouted grain bread, etc. coming out of my pack on day 3. Add dehydrated hummus, beans, and dates and I could go for a while. But it should be no surprise my pack likely outweighed theirs to the tune of 10-12 pounds on the same trip.
Beyond personal diet/health choices, I think the best thing about fresh foods on the trail is escaping the mentality that you need special food to backpack. The idea that you need to go buy a Mountain House to do an overnight is something I find really perpetuated among beginners and REI salespeople. If you’re willing to pack a little weight, the makings for a 3-4 day trip should already be in your refrigerator or pantry. Sometimes the simplicity of carrying whole food surpasses the weight savings of the typically highly refined backpacker junk diet.
I guess it also comes down to how spartan you want to be. I once hiked for a few days with a woman walking the PCT on a raw, vegan diet. Needless to say, she was essentially living on nuts, seeds, dried fruits/veggies, and soaked grains. It didn’t look all that fun, but she was one month in and doing fine.
This was thru-hiking the JMT many years ago. Sprouted bread, avocado, tomato sandwiches…A favorite lunch.
Refried beans, avocado, and some sort of bread. A favorite breakfast.
Rice noodle, veggie broth, green onion, and backyard chicken eggs…
Udon, veggie broth, green onion, mushroom…
All of these meals are typically the result of simply raiding the fridge before trips. Super simple stuff but it looks purty and tastes good.Dec 1, 2017 at 4:56 am #3504970
Those look like delicious meals.Dec 1, 2017 at 5:25 am #3504971
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Dehydrated beans, onions, peppers, carrots, coconut milk, and curry paste. Add cashews, almonds or sunflower seeds to get to fats up and the weight/day down.
Also, spring black bear – they eat nothing but grass. And you don’t have to them in (only out).Dec 1, 2017 at 5:44 am #3504976
Ito JakuchuBPL Member
Beyond personal diet/health choices, I think the best thing about fresh foods on the trail is escaping the mentality that you need special food to backpack. The idea that you need to go buy a Mountain House to do an overnight is something I find really perpetuated among beginners and REI salespeople
Yeah exactly my thoughts.
I find the same thing with trail running but the way. As if you can’t fuel yourself without $1~2 gels every 30 minutes. I love to just take raisins (apart from the energy quite high in potassium for example) or other dried fruits. Nuts for protein on the go and/or post-movement.
I’m vegetarian but like to eat vegan mostly. I don’t care much about the general added salts, but I think in backpacking meals it is excessive and just doesn’t taste well at all. I also really love to make oatmeal – it’s a great energy booster that really keeps me full.
Here in Japan we do a lot with onigiri (rice balls) with pickled items. Pickled plum or miso onigiri I really like after eating a lot of the sweet dried fruits.
In general, dried/dehydrated pickled home cooking or ingredients are the best.Dec 1, 2017 at 7:58 am #3504982
First whole foods can include dehydrated vegetables and (cooked) beans which are easily available from outfits such as Harmony House (or others). Dehydrated foods are amazingly lightweight!
It’s not at all hard to make up meals consisting entirely of repackaged vegetable/bean combinations with added salt, spices etc. For example, Black bean chili with spinach for dinner. Also include peanut or almond butters, honey, some nuts, quinoa, rice or pasta, tortillas, crackers, hard cheeses etc
We ate this way on a 9 day backpacking trip with a scout troop; some of the boys were vegetarian and we didn’t want to have separate meals for them. We ate very well on that trip and no one went hungry or felt undernourished.
On the above outing we had three very young scouts (under 90 lbs each); they were each limited in how much weight they could carry (total pack weight around 20 lbs including food and water). So we were quite aware of the need to minimize pack weight for all as the rest of the group especially the adults had to carry most of the food and fuel. Since the group wanted to eat cooked meals for both breakfast and dinner, we packed a significant amount of white gas.
I have since eaten that way on all my backpacking trips. I buy the ingredients (dehydrated veggies and beans) from Harmony House and create my own meal packets (vacuum sealed for each dinner).
I’m not vegetarian I’ll also carry some jerky or meat bars or salami to supplement my lunches.
Breakfast is mostly some combination of nuts, seeds (hemp, flax etc), whey protein powder on some days and coffee/tea. Lunch is mostly nut butter, honey, tortilla wraps jerky or cheese and crackers. Rarely I’ll carry a Probar or a gel if I need some extra calories.
Dinner is a cooked meal – rehydrated veggie/bean mix with olive oil or ghee (clarified butter) for fat and quinoa or pasta. Sometimes some cheese. You could also add soy “chicken” and other faux meats – I don’t personally like it much.
On the same boy scout outing, I think for 10 people over 9 days eating this way our total food expense (not including fuel) was less than $300 – just over a $1 a meal per person (10 people x 9 days x 3 meals per day = 270 meals). We weren’t even focused on the food expense; we were all quite surprised how little we had spent on food after the fact.
We did get a 15% price break from Harmony House.
Before the trip a couple of the adults on the trip were concerned about not being adequately nourished and packed extra food for themselves (jerky, bars etc). They brought all the extra food back. This was a pretty strenuous trip through the rugged Yosemite back country around the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, Ten Lakes etc
Dec 1, 2017 at 4:51 pm #3505012
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Pedestrian.
MJ HBPL Member
…a strict plant-based diet using only whole food ingredients, i.e., no added sugars, salts, oils, and other refined ingredients.
How strict are the rules about additives? I don’t think I could eat whole grains or beans or avocado without at least a little bit of salt. At least I don’t think I could do it without being too hungry to enjoy a trip. Also, judging from the white crust of my shirt and hat, I seem to lose a lot of salt even when it isn’t horribly hot.
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