Do you have hiking or camping on your agenda? Mapping out your wilderness nutrition needs is important: There’s plenty to consider besides simply grabbing an energy bar or a bottle of water. Follow these tips to ensure you have a nourishing and safe food experience on your next outdoor adventure.
Have a Plan
Your food and water needs are generally higher than usual on activity-based excursions. Pay extra special attention to packing plenty of fluids for hot weather adventures. Some other key considerations before your hiking or camping trip include:
• Length of the trip
• What foods and beverages you’ll carry
• How you’ll eat and drink
• If bringing a cooler is an option
• What food-related tools you’ll need
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It’s Essential to Stay Hydrated
Pre-hydrate by drinking at least 4 cups of water before a hike so you have less to carry. Then, a good rule of thumb is to plan for about 2 cups of fluid for every hour of hiking. Make sure you can bring or access clean drinking water during your hike.
For a Hike or Day Trip…
You can pack perishable foods, such as sandwiches, just be sure you have a cold source (such as an ice pack) to keep foods properly chilled to below 40°F. The more you stash in a backpack, the harder it is to hike, so opt mainly for non-perishable foods that are relatively lightweight and nutrient dense, such as:
• Trail mix
• Nuts, seeds, nut-based bars or nut butter packs
• Fresh, whole fruit that doesn’t require refrigeration such as apples, bananas and oranges
• Dried or freeze-dried fruits and veggies
• Energy bars, chews or gels
• Granola or granola bars
• Ready-made tuna salad pouches
• Whole-grain tortillas
• Shelf-stable, dried jerky, such as poultry, salmon or meat jerky
For Camping or Multi-Day Trips…
It’s a little more challenging to pack food for days at a time. The first day you’ll be able to eat perishable foods if you have a cooler; but after that, map out your meals so you’ll have what you enjoy and need. Otherwise, include any of these shelf-stable, easily-packed basics to sustain you:
• Easy-to-carry foods mentioned above
• Ready-to-eat cereal
• Fruit or vegetable puree in squeezable pouches (such as applesauce)
• Poultry or fish pouches, or canned fish, poultry or meat in individual or regular servings
• Individual packets of mayo, mustard, taco sauce and/or soy sauce
• Whole-grain pasta, couscous, rice mix, pancake mix, hot cereal, dried soups and dehydrated foods (if you have the ability to boil drinkable water)
• Marshmallows — for a campfire dessert, of course
• Bottled water, and possibly powdered beverage mixes
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Don’t Forget Proper Food Safety Practices
Always follow good food safety practices — from packing to plating. Remember that perishable food cannot be kept out in hot weather (90°F or higher) for more than one hour; in mild weather for more than two hours. Otherwise, these foods become unsafe to eat and should be thrown out. Bring these food safety essentials:
• Disposable wipes, hand sanitizer or biodegradable soap
• Bowls and plates
• Kettle or cooking pot
• Eating and cooking utensils
• Can opener
• Ice packs, if applicable
• Trash bags
• Portable water filters or water purification tablets
• Thermometers for cooler and cooked meat, if applicable
And follow these food safety rules:
• Wash hands often. This includes before and after eating. If you’re unable to wash your hands, a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol may help reduce bacteria and germs.
• Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate. Use extra plates that you’ve packed — one for raw and one for prepared foods.
• Cook to proper temperatures. Use a food thermometer to be sure cooked food has reached a safe internal temperature.
• When possible, refrigerate promptly below 40°F. Of course, if you don’t have a fridge, pack perishable food, including meat or poultry, with plenty of ice or ice packs in a well-insulated cooler to keep the temperature below 40°F. Store leftovers in small, clean covered containers in the cooler only if it still has ice. And keep the cooler in as cool a place as possible.
If nature excites you, there’s plenty here to be excited about. Cool forest, trickling creeks in deep ravines, and a beautiful new trail built by WTA volunteers await you here.
Margaret’s Way is a trail built on King County lands on the west side of Squak Mountain, connecting to the Squak Mountain trail system, and culminating at Five Corners, where hikers can link to the Chybinski trail, as well as the Perimeter Loop near Debbie’s View.
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In 2014, King County made a land purchase on the west side of Squak Mountain, with the intention of creating a forest preserve.
Named in honor of Margaret MacLeod, a park planner for numerous local, state and federal agencies, whose long career resulted in the preservation of hundreds of acres of land along Issaquah Creek and Squak and Tiger Mountains, Margaret’s Way is a delightful 3 mile forest ramble along wooded hillsides and near rushing creeks.
Beginning from the Squak Mountain Lodge, the trail heads through the parking and camping area using old access and logging roads before becoming true trail. Roads once laced the upper reaches of the mountain, but these are now mostly overgrown with moss-laden bigleaf maple, cedar, western hemlock, and a few Douglas-fir, thanks in part to MacLeod’s work to preserve this area.
Once you step onto the trail itself, you’ll wend your way along a hillside, continuing on a moderate grade through green underbrush and silent sentinel trees.
Debbie’s View, a delightful lookout point with views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding foothills makes for a great rest/turn-around spot. Where Margaret’s Way ends, turn right on Chybinski, then another immediate right on Perimeter Loop, and watch for a sign to Debbie’s View. The side trip to Debbies’ View adds 0.7 miles.