Podcast Episode June 30, 2020

Podcast 028 | Making Your Own Backpacking Meals


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Summary

In this episode of the Backpacking Light podcast, Andrew and Ryan discuss the gear, skills, and hacks you need to create your own backpacking meals. This giant two-hour episode is chock full of actionable tips, with input from Backpacking Light’s resident dehydration expert, Dave Swink, and Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD from the Backcountry Foodie.

Just a few of the things covered:

  • All the gear you’ll need to get started with at-home dehydration
  • How to make good backpacking meals using only ingredients from dollar stores
  • The best tricks to decrease food prep time and increase the taste and texture of your dehydration efforts
  • Which foods to dehydrate and which foods to stay away from
  • …and more!

Also in this episode:

  • Van life
  • A new Dyneema shelter from Tarptent
  • Luxury couples backpacking gear
  • What’s new at BPL

Outline

  • Introduction
  • Catching up
    • Ryan has been focusing on the live online Trek Planning Course.
    • Andrew is in the middle of a huge round-up of cottage industry pre-packaged backpacking meals.
  • Interview #1 – Dave Swink
    • How Dave got into dehydrating
    • Dave’s current setup
      • Nesco
      • Excaliber
      • Various tray types
      • Mandolin slicer + protective glove
      • Egg slicer
    • Prep time is the biggest barrier to entry
    • Some of the skills Dave has learned to lessen prep time
    • The problem of blueberries
    • Foods that are good (and bad) for dehydration
      • Fruits are great for snacks
      • Bananas are great for flavoring
      • Watermelon is surprisingly dehydratable
    • Meal bases and rice types
    • Keeping meals simple
    • The importance of food safety
    • Dave’s favorite successes
    • The importance of variety and texture
    • Food saver bags vs. ziplock style baggies
    • Dave’s favorite resources
    • Dave’s desert island food picks
  • Dehydrating Skills
    • The advantage of preparing separate ingredients
    • Fats, oils, and meats
    • Cold soaking
      • Techniques, pros, and cons
    • Ryan’s hacks for food-prep efficiency
      • Large blocks of food prep time
      • Testing in the field vs. testing at home
    • Spoiled meals
    • Freeze-dried meats vs. dehydrated meats
  • Dehydrating Gear
  • What’s New at BPL?
  • New Favorite Thing
  • Interview #2 – Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD
    • Prepping food for the PCT
    • How Aaron went from a thru-hiker to owning her own business
    • Backcountry Foodie’s early days as a 1-on-1 consulting business
    • Aaron’s cookbook
    • Backcountry Foodie’s current online/membership-driven model
      • Recipes
      • Meal planning
      • A curated list of resources
    • Food misinformation on the internet
    • Some common mistakes people make when making backpacking meals
      • Fuel yourself on the trail like you fuel yourself at home (hopefully in a healthy fashion!)
      • Avoid flavor fatigue with variety and enough spices and flavors!
    • Aaron’s guiding principles for meal planning (it’s more than about calories/ oz)
      • Eating as you eat at home
      • Water needed for each recipe
      • Pliability and space
      • Macros
    • Maximizing food
    • Aaron’s tips for making logistics easier
      • How to re-supply from non-premium grocery store chains
      • Knowledge + creativity + being open to new things
    • How to get 700 calories into a powdered drink
      • Using bags instead of bottles for meal replacement shakes
    • Reading food labels
    • Van life
      • Having a dog
      • Showers and such
    • How Aaron measures success for her business and life
    • Plans for the future
      • On trail food trucks?
      • Making and packaging Backcountry Foodie meals
    • Advice for making a career out of a love of the outdoors
      • Take the leap!
      • Research, study, and learning
      • Adjusting your expectations
      • Make use of webinars
      • Get a business coach
      • Figure out how to weed out good advice from bad advice
      • Tap into people that have skills that you don’t
    • Aaron’s favorite backcountry meal
    • How Aaron comes up with her ideas
    • Creating recipes while in the van
  • Aaron is a utilitarian coffee drinker

Resources

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Credits

  • Backpacking Light - Executive Producer
  • Ryan Jordan - Director and Co-Host
  • Andrew Marshall - Producer and Co-Host
  • Look for Me in the Mountains - Music

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