More on bad breakfasts and other backcountry meal tips

Okay, so in our last installment I mentioned some seriously mangled pancakes and the complications of cooking with cheap liquor.

(Mangled pancakes sounds like the name of a bad rock group’s album.)

Nevertheless, I’m full of some great meal tips for your next foray into the forest.

First, back to the hotcakes. Instant batter is a great thing, whether Bisquick or a basic Wal Mart brand, it’s light, easy to pack and makes a solid breakfast. (Under normal circumstances, of course.) It always important to load on the extra calories when out for a number of days so when it comes to breakfast, you should eat all you can.

I like to add fruit or nuts of some kind to just about everything. A great method for packing and making blueberry pancakes (or apricot or banana) is to buy the dried fruit in a resealable bag. At home, open it up and simply pour in the batter mix and whatever else, say some crushed walnuts or brown sugar. Re-seal it and pack. Now you have all your breakfast ingredients in one package. Come camp, just add water.

I do the same with oatmeal. Add your brown sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit at home in individual Zip-lock bags (depending on how large a crowd you’re feeding) and stuff them in.

Remember that foodstuffs can generally go on their own in your pack. Liquids and so forth should be bagged, however. The last thing you need is a faulty maple syrup container spreading a sweet slick of bear attractant all over the contents of your pack. Come bedtime, you’d smell like a giant crepe to a nearby bruin. Spill your Tabasco, and it’s Mexican night at the bear den.

IMPORTANT: When packing your food outside of a central container, remember to always pack your stove fuel BELOW your food and meal ingredients.

When it comes to coffee, the strategies and techniques are many. For years I went the french press route, using a version that Jetboil made and then later a smaller system that came with an REI mug. Most recently, I cut out all the extras and started enjoying bare bones cowboy coffee. Boil water in a pot, add grounds and splash of cold water and let sit. After a few minutes, knock the sides of the pot to settle the grounds and you’re all set.

Now, and as much as it pains me to say it, Starbucks has solved the backcountry coffee problem. Game. Set. Match. Now, I’m no huge fan of their coffee, or the majority of their patrons for that matter. But dammit, the VIA instant (they brand it as “micro-ground) is a slam dunk. I can fit six of the packet contents in the small storage cup at the bottom of my REI mug to keep all my coffee supplies in one place. Super-light, easy access and as simple as heat and stir. Plus, I can add powdered creamer right in with the grounds.

As most backpackers will attest, coffee or tea is a necessity. Summer or winter, there are few problems hot caffeine can’t solve. Except for that whole bear in camp thing.





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