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Filed under: Food Week 2010, Kid-Friendly Trips, Menu Planning & Cooking, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Preparation & Readiness

Food for the Trail

December 8, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

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If you’ve been reading the Woodall’s blog for any length of time, you’ve no doubt read my reports of some of our hiking adventures. We are avid hikers and try to plan several to occur on each of our RV trips. For this post, I want to focus on a slightly different aspect of hiking: hiking food.

An important aspect of planning each journey is careful preparation of the food that will accompany us up whatever peak we have chosen to climb. Even if you are the type of hiker that prefers a trail over a reasonably level surface, you will want to give some thought to the nourishment that will accompany you.  Our habit is to prepare a batch of trail mix for each event and sometimes, for each hiker, if tastes vary.

Peanuts and WalnutsWhile you can certainly purchase pre-made batches of trail mix, both commercially prepared and in the natural foods section of most grocery stores, we prefer to mix our own so we can tailor it specifically to our tastes. There are typically some common ingredients in our snacks, such as peanuts (we are especially fond of the dry-roasted variety), M and M’s and some type of dried fruit, generally in equal parts. But while Terry and I prefer dried cherries and cranberries, Ryan likes to be creative and add a variety of unusual fruit. This summer, he added dried apples, bananas and pineapples to his variation of our trail mix.

The custom begins before we even leave home with a trip to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients to see what we have a taste for and what might be in stock in the natural foods section. While we usually buy at least one bag of Ocean Spray flavored dried cranberries, we are also partial to the dried fruits sold in bulk at the grocery store. This year it was the California sour cherries that caught our eye.

Dried sour cherries and pomegranite flavored Craisins

Dried sour cherries and pomegranite flavored Craisins

Peanuts are a staple, as are M and M’s for a little extra sweetness (and energy on a long hike, truth be told). We also often add other types of nuts for a little additional protein. Some of our favorites include cashews, walnuts and almonds. You can substitute chocolate chips for the M and M’s, but if you are hiking in warm weather you are likely to end up with a handful of melted chocolate so we usually choose to stick with the candy.

Your trail mix can be as unique as each member of your family. Four hikers traveling together may share one batch of trail mix or may each have their own mixed preference. Kids tend to love to create their own unique version of trail food and are typically eagerly involved in the process.Experiment and have fun with this. It’s one of the most fun and tasty parts of the preparation process. And be sure to pack plenty of water for each hiker!

I would love to hear from anyone about other unique and tasty ingredients you have added to trail mix as well. We are always looking for new ideas. Happy Trails!

For more information on family camping, including activities and foods to serve, check out family camping information and campgrounds.

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