I often say I have a high tolerance for pain and suffering and a low tolerance for hunger. Nothing can ruin a day in the backcountry like an energy crash and few squabbles among friends are as nasty as those fueled by hunger.
Luckily there are companies out there making good food for backpacking, hiking, skiing, biking and all other types of outdoor play. Our suggestions below not only give you the nutrition you need, but also taste great. And (hint, hint) make great stocking stuffers for your adventure partner. After all, an energized partner in the mountains is its own kind of gift.
When you are hungry, time is of the essence. Hungry Hikers provides a hot meal in only a few minutes. The freeze-dried, “one pot wonder,” offers savory meals prepackaged and needing only one pot, some water and a stove. In a couple of minutes you’ll be able to dine on beef stroganoff, chicken pot pie or the three sisters scramble, a delicious combination of eggs, sausage, potatoes, cheese and veggies.
Created by Stacie Murray, a world traveling adventure chef with more than 15 years of culinary experience, the meals are crafted with freeze-dried ingredients giving the prepared dishes the consistency and taste of meals made with fresh ingredients. Each meal provides two serious portions that actually do feed two hungry people.
For more on the difference between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods check out this blog post written by Hungry Hikers (yes, it has some bias toward freeze-dried, but an informative article nonetheless).
Kate's Real Food
It’s easy to eat organic foods and whole grains when at home. It’s even easier to throw those conscientious choices out the window when trying to fuel yourself for one more lap on the mountain. But with Kate’s Real Food, you don’t have to compromise.
Founder and owner Kate Schade worked at Cosmic Apple Farms, a CSA Farm in Teton Valley, Idaho, and knows the value of quality ingredients. She designed her energy bars to meet her own personal standards.
A complex blend of carbs and protein packed into a portable bar gives you the energy to keep playing. The ingredients, like organic cherries from Utah and organic oats from Washington, will nourish your body, and conscience, long after you’ve returned home. Not to mention, delight your taste buds. This is another backcountry treat that has found its way into everyday life for the Garage Grown Gear team.
Click here to read our full story about Kate and her energy bars.
Hüma Chia Energy Gels
Who hasn’t complained about the taste of an energy gel at one point? But while most of us complain, Ian McCollum and Kevin Sherbourn decided to do something about it.
They launched Hüma in 2012, but the idea goes back to the summer of 2009, when Ian served in the Army in Iraq. Reading a book about the Tarahumara, a tribe of Mexican Indians who compete in epic 100-plus mile races, he learned about a special chia seed blend they use to fuel their bodies. Ian applied the idea in Iraq and found it kept him going.
The seeds, along with sports nutrition research and healthy ingredients like real fruit, instead of artificial flavors and preservatives, came together to make the energy gels. It keeps the portability and digestive ease of a gel, with a taste you don’t have to gag down.
Voke energy tabs
There’s nothing like that jolt a cup of coffee gives you. Actually, now there is. Kalen Caughey, creator of Voke Tab, designed the bite-size energy tabs as a spill-proof alternative to the coffee the competitive skier loved.
Working with his dad, a biochemist, they researched the ideal combination of natural ingredients that would provide a boost without sugar, artificial sweeteners or excessive vitamins. They combed scientific literature looking for ingredients to improve memory, focus, metabolism and physical stamina.
Voke Tabs are a combination of acerola cherry, guarana berry seed and green tea leaf caffeine. It’s an energy boost that fits in your pocket and won’t compromise your health.
What other recommendations do you have? We're always on the hunt for good food for backpacking, hiking and other outdoor play.