Women: I Know Why Your Backpack is Heavy

So many ladies ask me why they can never get below the 10-15 pound mark on their base weights like their male counterparts. Over my 10 years of thru hiking and working in outdoor retail, I have definitely noticed some generalized differences in what men carry and what women carry. And it isn’t necessarily the amount of money they are spending.

For me, hiking lighter isn’t [just] a geeky fettish, it is imperative. I am a small person with bad knees, and I am no spring chicken. I simply cannot comfortably carry a 35+ pound pack and do the miles. Many ladies I know are small, but somehow waaaay tougher than me, so pack weight isn’t a problem. I am envious. But, for me, when my pack is heavier, I tend to trip more (and harder). I also have less freedom to motor to the next water source if I am running low. Sometimes, I even find myself skimping on resupply food to save weight. Not good.

Over the years, I have dialed in my base weight. It has been as low as 5.5 lbs, and is now pretty consistently below 8 and I am a pretty happy camper. My total pack weight is almost never over 25 lbs. So, if your desire is to go lighter, for whatever reason, I may be able to help you. I think I know why your backpack is heavy!

1. Let’s get the hard one out of the way: Women tend to run colder than men. Therefore, they need warmer clothes and a warmer sleeping bag. This translates to A LOT more weight. Sure, your bag may be shorter, but it has to be rated to 15F instead of 30 or 40F like the guys. (I could go on forever on this subject, so I will try and keep if brief. Message me if you want details.) Here is a quick and dirty list of considerations:

– Think of your sleeping warmth as a whole system. You may be able to save weight over all (and money) by looking into a pad with good insulation (R-value).

– Consider a vapor barrier while you sleep (on cold nights, I use my pack liner inside my sleeping bag around my feet and increase my comfort level by about 10 degrees).

– Consider your campsite choice: drainages and depressions tend to be cold at night. Stay out of the wind. Pitch on some pine needles or duff. Camp lower in elevation if you can.

– Close up your tent. Yes, you will probably get some condensation, but it will be warmer.

– Carry a lightweight hat and gloves and wear them to bed if you need to.

– Change into dry clothes before bed. Get out of that wet bra.

– Keep your sleeping bag clean (=lofty; =warm). Have a set of sleep clothes that you don’t hike in. When you are done with your trip, wash that thing (properly).

– Loft your bag up every night when you set it up. Unpack your bag every night, even when you stay in hotel rooms. Never stuff your bag when you are off trail. These will all keep your sleeping bag lofty. Equals warm.

– If you use a synthetic sleeping bag, replace it every 3 years. They lose about 2-3 degrees per year. Down bags, kept up well, will last 10+ years of heavy use.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to get away with a higher temperature bag and a lighter insulation layer! This translates to ounces if not pounds!

2. Women carry more clothing than men. I know, I just told you that women are colder and that you should have an entire outfit designated for sleeping in only (excepting emergencies). That’s not what I am talking about. Do you really need 3 changes of underwear (or any)? Do you have to have 3 shirts? A wind shirt and a rain jacket and an umbrella? 12 oz. camp shoes? This is actually one area I think women add most of their weight and bulk. There are many ways to do this one and I would be happy to advise you on options (without putting yourself in danger). But beware, I am gonna tell you that your clothes are gonna stink and get salty. And that’s okay. If you can let this go, you just might save 2 lbs in your pack like the dudes. That’s a lot!

3. Women carry more toiletries. This, again, comes down to personal preference and some sacrifice. But, deodorant, soap, nail clippers, and lotion weigh a lot! Sure, some of this is luxury, and we all are allowed some of those. I carry individually-wrapped Wet Ones and clean up at night (they weigh 6 grams each). And, you will find that deodorant doesn’t really do much for what you are doing. Nail clippers can go in a bounce bucket, or buy a cheap file in town. A menstrual cup can save you on tampon bulk.

4. Women often carry more electronics. Actually, I think everyone but me carries more electronics. I don’t listen to music much, and I don’t check apps or social media much on the trail. I basically carry my phone and use it as my camera and occasionally my music. I check my email and messages once or twice a day when I can. So, I just carry my iPhone 5 and my wall charger and charge it in town. No solar panel. No external battery. No camera. On airplane mode, with background refresh off, closing down apps after I use them, and turned off at night, I get AT LEAST 7 days out of my phone. That’s plenty of time on most long trails to get it to the next town and recharge.

That said, I do sometimes carry a GPS on the lesser traveled routes I have been doing lately. I consider it a luxury because I always carry paper maps and a compass (and know how to use them). But, on the PCT, AT, and increasingly the CDT, I don’t think a GPS is necessary at all.

The bottom line is that most people can save weight not by spending more, but by dropping stuff they don’t need. Need and want are personal. It just comes down to how important it is that you shave weight on your pack, as you will have to make compromises.

Shoe Advice for the Newbie

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It comes in many variations, but one of the #1 questions I see on the forums is, “What are the best shoes for thru hiking?”.

Okay, I hate to say this, but sometimes, there ARE stupid questions. To me, asking that question is like asking, “What prescription of eyeglasses should I get?”. What style, which brand, and what size of shoe to get is VERY specific to the individual. How can a stranger on a Facebook forum answer that for you? So, if you are looking to the answer to that question here, I apologize. You won’t find it here (although, read til the end for some suggestions on the most popular shoe styles on the trail).

What you will find here are some lessons I HAVE learned about shoe selection for long distance hiking. It is based on my experience as a multiple-trail long distance hiker, an outdoor retail employee, and a person with foot issues. Here are 6 pieces of wisdom I feel comfortable telling anyone I care about who is getting into long-distance hiking.

1. Seek a professional. Whatever style of footwear you decide on (boots, hiking shoes, trail runners), have someone who is knowledgeable look at your foot. Most reputable hiking or running stores have at least one of these employees on hand. Do you have a narrow or wide forefoot and heel? Do you have a high or low arch? Do you pronate or supinate? What is your pack weight? How strong are your ankles? These are all questions that should come up. Even if you spend full retail on a few pairs of shoes to make sure they are the right shoe, it will be worth it in the long run. It’s your feet. You will be on your feet a lot. Don’t skimp here.

2. Consider orthotics. Shoe companies’ reps are the first people to tell you that the insoles that come with a shoe are the LAST thing the company thinks about. A good pair of orthotics can: make sure you fit in the shoe properly, make sure your arch is supported, make sure your foot does not slide forward or backward in a shoe, prolong the life of the shoe. Again, a professional can help you with this.

3. Don’t buy too many pairs in advance of your first long distance hike. It seems like stocking up is a good idea, especially if you find a deal. The problem is, you will be VERY LUCKY to find the perfect shoe for your hike before you have gotten at least a couple hundred miles into long distance hiking. Even if you have backpacked a lot. Even if you run a lot. Some people wear the same shoe size their whole life and then start the PCT and have to go up 2 sizes. It’s really hard to know. Stock up on Zappos or REI gift cards, but not shoes.

4. Lighter weight is almost always the better bet (to an extent). Some people never embrace the trail runner. But almost every long distance hiker I have seen [in the west] with any mileage under their belt will tell you that lighter is almost always better. You will feel less fatigued, they will dry easier, and you won’t have a break in period.

5. Don’t wait for the soles to wear out. Too many thru hikers fall prey to this. But, by the time the lugs on the soles of your shoes have worn flat, the midsoles of your shoes (the main support for your feet, knees, hips, back, neck) is long GONE. Don’t use the soles to judge whether  you need to replace your shoes. Your WHOLE BODY will thank you if you replace your shoes every 400-700 miles (depending on the shoe, your pack weight, and your body type). Money is tight and shoes are expensive. I know. But, this could end your hike. Or even your hiking career. If you are starting to have foot, knee, or back pain and your shoes are over 400 miles, consider at least sending them home (for later) and trying a new pair. Chances are, you will feel better instantly.

6. Once you are confident that you have found the perfect shoe, buy as many as you can afford. Next year, that shoe company will likely change your shoe. And, it is almost never as good as it was. They will fit different or wear faster. Find them lightly used on EBay. Find them on sale. Get discount codes from brand ambassadors. But stock up!

All that said, here is a little specific shoe advice. These are some of the most popular styles on the trail. Hey, this is my blog.🙂

It took me 10 years of long distance hiking to find my perfect shoe, and here it is. Topo Athletic Runventure:

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This is why: Neutral shoe (doesn’t compensate for runners who tend to roll on their foot to the inside), light weight (low fatigue), durable (I get about 600 miles out of them instead of 300 miles I was getting out of the previous brand), inexpensive (they retail for $20-$60 less than the comparable trail runners), large toe box (super comfy in the toes, especially when wearing toe socks, not “zero drop” (this seems like more of a trend that my feet did not approve of with a pack on–even though I had been wearing zero drop for running for a long time), small heel (I have a wide forefoot, but I don’t want my heel to slide around and blister). Again, this is the shoe that works for ME. I love them so much, I recently became a brand ambassador for them. Use discount code: TOPOSPENCER20 if you order, for 20% off the website.

If you have a narrower foot and you want more cushion, check out Brooks Cascadia. If you are an ultralight backpacker with strong feet and a wide forefoot, check out Altra Lone Peak 2.5. If you have a wide foot and you would like a bit more stability, check out the Merrill Moab Ventilator, which also comes in a mid-height shoe.

 

 

 

Gourmet Trail Recipes: Cheesy Burritos

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The word “gourmet” is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!

Burritos

This has been my go-to recipe for my last 3 thru hikes. This doesn’t have to be gourmet. Dehydrated beans, some Knorr side, and a bunch of fresh cheese in a burrito works very good! But, if you have a little time, trail burritos can be out of this world.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. Instant refried beans or black beans (I like Santa Fe Bean Company)
  • 1/4 c. Dried or freeze-dried shredded cheese (I like Packit Gourmet) or 2-3 oz. fresh cheese
  • 1/4 c. Spanish, Mexican, or Taco-seasoned rice (I like Knorr Sides)
  • 1 T. Dried, sliced black olives
  • 1/2-1 T. Dried cilantro
  • 1/2-1 t. Dried, sliced or chopped jalapeños (optional)
  • 2 8-10″ Tortillas
  • Hot sauce packet, if desired (I like Cholula)

 

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. Dried cooked and crumpled ground meat, freeze dried meat, or TVP (I like turkey. You could taco-season it while cooking for added flavor)
  • 1 T. Dried, chopped green chiles
  • 1 T. Freeze-dried corn
  • Fresh avocado

 

At-Home Preparation

Place beans, cheese, and cilantro into a snack-sized Ziplock (these ingredients rehydrate instantly). In a pint or quart Freezer Ziplock, place rice, olives, jalapeños, snack bag with bean/cheese mixture, (meat, chiles, corn), and hot sauce packet.

Note: if you plan to make this several months in advance, whether using fresh or freeze-dried cheese, I would recommend freezing it. The cheese will not get rancid this way.

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On-Trail Preparation

This is a bit tricky to get just the right amount of water. Err on the side of less water, as you can add more if needed later. Pour rice mixture into your cook pot and barely cover contents with water. Then, add about 1/4 c. more water. Bring to a boil and cook until rice is done. Remove from heat and throw in bean/cheese mixture. Make sure it is submerged in the water. If not, enough until it is barely submerged. Stir. Let sit about 5 min. Scoop onto tortillas (add avocado and hot sauce, if desired)

 

Serves 1. Calories: ~710 without tortillas (~950 with 2 10″ flour tortillas). If you are a big eater, do 50% more of each ingredient.

 

If you liked this idea, check out my other “Gourmet Trail Recipes”.

No way you would put this much work into trail food? Check out my articles entitled “Favorite Easy Trail Recipes”. New recipes coming soon!

 

 

Gourmet Trail Recipes: ¡Tamales!

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The word “gourmet” is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!

Tamales

I absolutely love tamales. I am sure I am not the first person to try this, but I am pretty proud of how well these worked out. Not only is the flavor amazing (identical to the original), but it rehydrated instantly in a freezer bag. It’s quick, uses very little fuel, is delicious, and the clean up is nothing. What else could you want in a backpacking dinner?

 

Ingredients

2-3 Tamales of your choice (I used the Trader Joe’s Handmade Pork and Red Sauce Tamales)
2 3/4 oz. Tilla-Moos (or similar) snack cheese (these keep up to 3 days in the pack)

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At-Home Preparation

 

Crumble the tamale into marble-sized pieces on the mesh tray in your food dehydrator. Dry at 120F for about 8-10 hours. Place dried crumbles in a pint (or quart) freezer Ziplock bag. Easy!

Serves 1. Calories: ~720

 

On-Trail Preparation

Pour very hot water over mixture very slowly trying not to drown the pieces. They will soak up the water quickly. Add just enough to moisten it all. Roll around in your hands to make sure all parts get hydrated. Crumble in cheese and allow to sit a couple of minutes to get melty. Eat out of the bag. YUUUUUUUM!

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Okay, it doesn’t look pretty. But it worked out amazing.

If you liked this idea, check out my other “Gourmet Trail Recipes”.

No way you would put this much work into trail food? Check out my articles entitled “Favorite Easy Trail Recipes”. New recipes coming soon!

Gourmet Trail Recipes: Green Breakfast Burritos

The word “gourmet” is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!

 

Green Breakfast Burritos

This is a variation of my (delicious) regular breakfast burritos. These have a nice, fresh, mild green chile flavor.

 

Ingredients (per serving)

 

Optional Ingredients

1 oz. dried or freeze dried breakfast sausage, dried/crumbled veggie sausage, or bacon bits (add about 100-210 calories)

 

At-Home Preparation

This one takes a bit, but it is worth it!

Crack eggs into a tall, cylindrical microwave safe container that holds about 16-20 oz. Add enchilada sauce and beat eggs. Microwave them with a loose cover for about 90 seconds, or until you notice there is no more runniness. Quickly cut the eggs into chunks using a knife (if you wait until they cool down, they turn kinda gray for some reason). Spread out on a dehydrator and dry at about 110F for 6-8 hours or until dried though.

 

Spread the chiles, jalapeños, chopped green onion(s), and cilantro on different trays on your dehydrator and dry above the eggs.

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Combine all dried ingredients except the cheese into a pint or quart ziplock bag. Place cheese in its own snack bag.

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On-Trail Preparation

Pour dried contents (except cheese) into cook pot and add water until just covered. Bring to a boil and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Pour in cheese and stir. Cover and let sit about 5 minutes to allow cheese to hydrate. Scoop into tortillas and enjoy!

Serves 1. Calories: 740-930 (with tortillas)

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If you liked this idea, check out my other “Gourmet Trail Recipes”.

No way you would put this much work into trail food? Check out my articles entitled “Favorite Easy Trail Recipes”. New recipes coming soon!

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Thru Hiker in Your Life

What in the world can you buy a thru hiker? They probably have all the gear they need, and even if they don’t, they are likely pretty particular about what they want. What else can you give someone who is about ready to take off for the summer? Well, here are some ideas.

1. Socks. At $10-20/pair, and the rate that we go through them, socks are my single most appreciated gift item. Darn Tough and Smart Wool are the favorites on the trail, and you pretty much cannot go wrong with either.

Darn Tough

2. Books. They probably already have their guidebooks and they aren’t likely to carry a book while hiking. But, you can keep them entertained throughout the long winter months with some books written about long trails. Some of my favorites are Justin “Trauma” Lichter’s book Short Stories From Long Trails, Erin “Hummingbird” Miller’s Hikertrash: Life on the PCT, and Jennifer “Odyssa” Pharr Davis’ Becoming Odyssa. I have also heard great things about Married to the Trail, and Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart, and there are many others!

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3. Zappos e-Gift Card. The other thing your hiker will need a lot of are shoes. And, their feet may change over the course of their thru hike, so they may not even know what brand/size they need until they are out there. Because of cost, almost all thru hikers push the limits of their shoes well beyond what they should and many suffer stress fractures and plantar fasciitis as a result of it. You just may save their hike!

Some online retailers are really great about sending shoes to obscure addresses in the middle of nowhere. Zappos is one of them.

4. Hotels.com eGift Card. Nothing feels better on a thru hike than being able to afford to stay at a hotel: bathe,  do laundry, sleep in a bed, and veg in front of the TV (while eating mass amounts of pizza). Due to cost, many hikers forgo that luxury more often than they would like to.

5. Pack Liners. Most thru hikers use lightweight pack liners instead of the heavy (and inefficient) pack covers that traditional backpackers use. Because they are lightweight, they don’t last forever. I like the Gossamer Gear Liner Bags.

6. Hikertrash Swag. While we aren’t hiking, we like representing with cotton shirts, trucker hats, coozies, temporary tats, and stickers. My two favorite brands are: We Are Hikertrash and Backcountry Ninjas.

Trucker Cap

7. Gourmet Backpacking Meals. Food on the trail gets pretty boring, yet, we remain pretty lazy (and poor). Every once in a while, someone makes something gourmet and everyone around them is jealous! You could make them a few customized meals from my blog (https://thehikingtreeblog.wordpress.com/category/food/), or you could order something yummy from Packit Gourmet, such as the All-American Burger! Mmmmmmm.

Burger Wrap

8. Backpacking Light Subscription. If they haven’t already bought all of their gear, this is a great place for your hiker to find used items for much cheaper than retail. You need to be a member to get on the Gear Swap forum.

9. Satellite Messenger. I apologize in advance to the hikers; this is actually a gift for yourself. A satellite messenger, such as SPOT, will allow your hiker to essentially be able to call 9-1-1, even when cellphone reception is lacking. Also, they can send and “I’m okay” message as frequently as they like. All they have to do it carry the device and hit a button every so often. You can even track their progress on an interactive online map. Don’t forget to pay for the annual subscription to ensure they get all of the features that you want them to have to be able to communicate with you.

SPOT

10. Single-Serving Condiment Packets. You can start stashing these away for your hiker. Sometimes they help improve our disgusting on-trail fare. I particularly like: mayo, ranch, hot sauce, parmesan, black pepper, cream cheese, and butter packets. But, you can find anything you want at Minimus.biz.

Cholula

Post Hike Depression

PCT Terminus

If you just completed your first through hike, the feelings that you are going through right now are very intense and difficult to articulate. To this day, 9 years after my first thru hike, I still can’t fully wrap my mind around it all–the origin or the solution. The good news is, I have (mostly) recovered, and on each successful hike, I have learned to deal with it much better. So will you!

When I got to the end of the PCT, I was very ready to be done. I had had an amazing adventure, met some of the best people on the planet, and became the person I always wanted to be. I had the confidence to do anything, walk up to any person, try any new thing without fear of failure. I was strong as steel. I could hike 3 miles an hour straight up a mountain non-stop and carry on a conversation. I was was forever changed–a new person who would never settle for mediocrity, yet life would forever be more simple.

But, I was also very unhappy.

I couldn’t shake the gray cloud. There were many times in the first few months that I would just start crying for no specific reason. I would look up at the mountains with a longing more than just a desire to be in the trees. I missed my trail family, and they are the only ones who understood what I was going through. Things around me–sinks, toilets, cars, lights, television, beds–felt so foreign. They were nice, but I felt like a small child learning how to use them again. I couldn’t talk to people. I spoke a new language. I barely recognized the people I loved and I didn’t know what to talk about with them. How long had I been gone for (it seemed like years)? Now, I had to go back to work, find a home, and start a routine that seemed completely pointless.

Since then, I have talked to others and discovered that this is a natural and normal feeling to have. Some hikers call this feeling “post-hike depression”. And, we sometimes refer to this period after hiking as “re-entry”, as if you were a released prisoner readjusting to society.

Still having a hard time reconciling my feelings, I reached out to some other thru hikers on the matter. Mandy “Purple Rain” Bland, creator of Purple Rain Adventure Skirts (http://www.purplerainskirts.com/) what her experience was and how she dealt with it.

“I was pretty eager to be finished with my thru-hike but quickly experienced a disconnect with friends/family. People were gushing over what I had just accomplished while I remained humbled by my experience not wanting to wooo everyone with stories of trail. I longed for greater depth and meaning in my relationships. The real world seemed so superficial.

When I finished the AT, I had no idea a hiking community existed. Meeting folks from ALDHA West and being welcomed into the hiking community has been so great for me both personally and professionally. Starting PR Skirts has allowed me to stay connected to trail and I have never felt so fulfilled by my work.
Planning the next thru-hike always helps with the blues too;)”

In an interview on the podcast, Trailside Radio, Heather “Anish” Anderson, PCT and AT unsupported speed records holder, (https://www.facebook.com/AnishHikes) talked about post hike depression:

“What I’ve learned is just to let it happen…accepting it’s part of this journey…I always have a next goal, whatever that may be. Not to distract me, but to help me channel the depression…into something positive. Allow yourself to grieve, but have your next focus.”

I asked Sage Clegg, women’s record holder of the Triple Crown (http://sageclegg.com/), and the first person to complete the Oregon Desert Trail, about her PHD experiences:

“After every hike I have a transition period between trail life and front country life that is always a bit awkward…I finish trails full of hope, with a list of good deeds and “to do’s” that is miles long. Then I collapse on the nearest couch and sleep. When I wake & take a shower I look in the mirror and see normalcy looking back…I struggle with where to put myself, what to fill my days with, how to get everything, or at least something on my to do list done. I feel horrible for not accomplishing any of my goals… And it just cycles around like that until I find some type of off season structure or head off to work.

In the front country I don’t feel very special, unique, or free. On the trail I don’t think about my image or identity very much, I just am. The clear cut goals of the trail and the adventure along the way distract me from myself, but in the front country it’s much harder to simply be, and it always catches me off guard upon re-entry.”

It seems that whatever the cause, that the depression does subside and that most hikers find some strength in setting their mind on their next goal in life. Also, if you don’t already have a Hikertrash meetup group in your town, put one together. Misery loves company.

What happens if the trail changes you so much that your goals are now in question? My friend, welcome to the group of thru hikers who become repeat offenders. See you on a trail.

Gourmet Trail Recipes: Reuben Sandwich Wraps

Reuben wrap

The word “gourmet” is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. sliced corned beef
  • 3/4 c. saurkraut
  • 3-4 Mini Babybel Swiss cheeses
  • 1.5 oz. packet Thousand Island dressing
  • 2- 8″ flour tortillas or 2 rye bagels or 2 large slices of rye bread

Corned BeefThousand Island Dressing

At Home Preparation

At home, slice the corned beef into small squares and place on a mesh tray in the food dehydrator. On the liquid tray in the dehydrator, spread your saurkraut. Dry both until no moisture remains. Place both items into a pint or quart ziplock.

Drying Corned BeefimageReuben Packaged

On-Trail Preparation

Place beef/kraut in cook pot and cover with water until it is mostly covered, but the top layer is exposed. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat (covered). Allow to soak about 10 minutes, stirring at least once, until beef is tender. Slice Babybel swiss into quarters or smaller and stir into mixture. Allow to melt. Scoop mixture onto a tortilla, rye bagel, or rye bread. Top with dressing. Enjoy!

Rueben in pot

Variations

Shelf stable bacon would be an unnecessary, but lovely addition.

1040 calories.

If you liked this idea, watch for other “Gourmet Trail Recipes” coming soon. No way you would put this much work into trail food? Watch for upcoming articles entitled “Favorite Easy Trail Recipes”.

Gourmet Trail Recipes: Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burrito

The word “gourmet” is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs or 6 T. powdered eggs or 2 oz. liquid eggs, scrambled and cooked with little or no oil (microwave works well)
  • 1.5 oz. freeze dried diced potatoes (they rehydrate better than dried potatoes)
  • 1/4 c. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese or pepper jack (or 1-1.5 oz. freeze dried shredded cheddar)
  • 1-2 T. sliced jalapeños (fresh if you like them hot, jarred if not so much)
  • 2 T. green onions, sliced
  • 1/3 c. veggie or turkey sausage crumbles cooked (I like Lightlife Gimme Lean veggie sausage), blot off any excess oil with a cotton cloth (or 1-2 oz. freeze dried sausage crumbles)
  • 2-3 8″ flour tortillas

Gimme Lean

At Home Preparation

Chop up the scrambled eggs into pea-sized chunks. Dry eggs, jalapeños, onions, cheese, and sausage in food dehydrator on lowest heat (90-100 degrees). Blot the cheese with a towel to remove excess oil. Combine these dried ingredients with the potatoes in a ziplock bag. (Due to the amount of fat in the cheese, store this in the freezer until you want to use it. It has a several week shelf life, but the fat can become rancid if left too long)

On-Trail Preparation

Put contents of ziplock into your cook pot and cover about 95% with water. Bring the water to a boil, then remove pot from heat and cover. If you need to, add a tiny bit more water, just try not to add too much! Let sit, stirring once, for 10-15 minutes, or until sausage is soft. Scoop into a tortilla and enjoy!

Serves 1. Calories 895-985 (with tortillas)

Variations

1/4 c. bacon, bacon bits, or bacon substitute could be used instead of sausage.

If you like the taste of hot sauce better than jalapeños, apply as much hot sauce (or chile verde sauce) as you might like to the cooked eggs before you dry them.

Dried, canned green chiles would be amazing, or see my “Green Breakfast Burritos” article!

If you liked this idea, check out my other “Gourmet Trail Recipes”.

No way you would put this much work into trail food? Check out my articles entitled “Favorite Easy Trail Recipes”. New recipes coming soon!

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