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Travel Light-Eat Heavy
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Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Travel Light-Eat Heavy on 01/12/2006 08:20:55 MST Print View

I asked the moderator a couple of times in the Admin section if it was OK to tell you about my new trail food book. Since I have not gotten an answer, I'm assuming it's OK, so here goes.
A few months ago I finally compeleted Travel Light-Eat Heavy. I wrote it because there wasn’t a trail food book that connected the calories, weights, and other information for everything eaten during a day. Instead, they looked at each meal as if it was eaten in a vacuum and had no connection to the other meals or trail snacks eaten during a day. That approach never made sense to me.

So, about four years ago I started researching, experimenting, and picking the brain of every backpacker I ran into to develop a comprehensive approach to trail food. What I found was that fewer total calories are needed than most people think - if you eat an effecient mix of the different types of calories during the day. With the right mix your energy level is also more consistent (no boinking in the afternoon), and you can carry less food weight.

Travel Light-Eat Heavy is the result, and it provides integrated daily menus, delicious recipes, and ingredient charts (portions, weights, calories) for tweaking recipes. It also includes weights, nutritional and caloric information, and ratios of carbs, fats, and proteins for each day’s total menu and individual recipes.

Every meal is packed at home in a plastic zip bag, that also serves as the cook pot for hot meals (just add boiling water) and bowl, which many of you are probably already familiar with. It also contains lots of information about equipment options, anecdotes, and fun things to do on the trail to help develop all of your senses to better connect with Nature. To read excerpts or find out more go to

Any comments, pro or con, on the book or web site will be appreciated.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Top of my 'list' to buy on 01/12/2006 13:15:49 MST Print View

Your book and Sarbar's books are on my 'top of the list' for this spring. I'm looking forward to getting them.

Mark W Heninger
(heninger) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Travel Light-Eat Heavy on 01/12/2006 15:38:35 MST Print View

Just bought one.

I'll be interested to have a read as I've been dissapointed with most backpacking cook books.

Note that they are giving 2 for 1 - which made my purchase even more useful as I can gift the second one to my scout troop.

Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Thanks Guys! on 01/12/2006 16:16:46 MST Print View

Joshua - I look forward to shipping you one when you get ready for it. If the feedback I am getting is any indication, you're going to enjoy it!

Wade - I just got back from shipping today's orders and yours was in the stack. You should have it in two or three days. I am particularly interested in hearing your reaction to it since you have been disappointed with other trail food books you've read. After you read it, how about e-mailing me your critique. My e-mail address is in the book.

Also, as an Eagle Scout, exScoutmaster, and District volunteer, I would like to hear how well it fits your Scouts' needs. I had them in mind when I wrote it as some of the folks it might really benefit. It makes cooking for a patrol, or even a troop, something even a Tenderfoot can do!

PS - I went to your web site ( your photos are spectacular!

Edited by Travellight on 01/12/2006 16:18:00 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Great book! on 01/12/2006 17:31:13 MST Print View

Purchased a copy some months ago when it first became available. Love this book. One of the best purchases I've made. Pg. 74. Chicken, Nuts, and Rice. Excellent. So versatile. First, try the recipe just the way it's written. Then experiment. Cashews or substitute peanuts with some Thai seasoning. Sometimes, a Mex (chili powder and cumin - my favorite) or Tex-Mex spice mix. try it with Chinese Five Spice, or other Chinese seasoning to create a small variation of the classic "take-out" chicken with cashew nuts. Personal taste ranges a little further east than China, then try Teriyaki Chicken. i'm thinking of trying Jamaican rice for a Carribean flair (with coconut milk - but this would be a first day on the trail lunch/dinner - being kept as cold as possible in a cozy until prep. time - only because, i'm not sure how long coconut milk keeps ). have even tried oregano and italian spice mix, or basil with pine nuts (yeah...i know...italian rice, not pasta? yes. it's called rizotto. anyways, what can i say, i'm NOT the chef the author of the book is). i'm just trying to point out how great this book is. if you want variety, can't eat a particular food, or just want to experiment, this book lends itself to adaptation. that's not to say that, as written, the recipes need work. THEY DON'T. THEY'RE GREAT JUST THE WAY THE AUTHOR WROTE THEM. also, it sure has enough recipes that no experimentation is really necessary. i don't think anyone will get bored with all of the variety of recipes contained therein.

i cook up a bunch and keep it in its O.P. trail bags in the freezer. some i have at home when i'm in a rush - much better than store-bought frozen food!!! (for rapid home consumption, i just put these in standard freezer bags - no need for O.P. ; trail use, then O.P. saks for sale on the BPL website store - great bags).

Great job Bill. you've done uncreative, poor trail-chefs, like myself, a great service. it's easy to see how much effort you've put into this book. like i said, i probably got a first run off the press - good job on the printing and binding.

Bottom line:
book exceeds expectations and no complaints/regrets. money very well spent.

Edited by pj on 01/12/2006 18:09:35 MST.

Mark W Heninger
(heninger) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Thanks Guys! on 01/12/2006 17:47:47 MST Print View

Great. Look forward to it.

And thanks for the comment on the photos (although it is not .com).

PJ on 01/12/2006 18:30:38 MST Print View

Coconut milk powder:

Doesn't it just amaze you what's dehydrated these days?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: PJ on 01/12/2006 18:42:10 MST Print View


many thanks,

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Rice on 01/13/2006 03:23:57 MST Print View

just in case anyone is not aware. all rice is not created equal.

generally speaking, as a rule of thumb, shorter grain rice is, generally, higher in carbs and lower in protein. however, longer grain wild rice (ya gotta' love that hearty flavor and firmer consistency after it's cooked - which often takes a bit longer) is higher in protein and lower in carbs. of course, the delicate texture of shorter grain white rice is generally preferred for some (most?) dishes.

a combo of short & long grain rice makes for a very nice rice dish (or soup for that matter) too.

i've read (maybe it's more regional however) that "winter" rice which is grown in less wet and cooler climates is typically longer grain rice which is higer in protein. i believe some NA Native Americans grew such rice - even in Canada (read that some years ago on a box of excellent long grain wild rice). so maybe, look for "winter" rice if you're interested in a change from the ubiquitous short-grain white rice.

i'm no dietician or expert on rice, so if anyone has more info on rice, feel free to "post" back & educate me. i'd appreciate it.

Edited by pj on 01/13/2006 03:27:24 MST.

Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Rice Information on 01/13/2006 07:19:50 MST Print View

I'm glad you are enjoying Travel Light-Eat Heavy Paul! I need all the help I can get to get the word out about it, Thanks!

There is a good comparison of nutrition for the three main types of rice at: The site also contains links to more information about rice than anyone needs to know!

Edited by Travellight on 01/13/2006 07:20:28 MST.

shannon stoney
winter wheat on 01/13/2006 07:23:19 MST Print View

There are differences in wheat, too, depending on when it's grown. Winter wheat, though, is a "soft" wheat with less gluten. We in the South grow it and make biscuits out of it. Hard spring wheat is sown in spring and has more gluten, that is, protein. Thus it is better for making yeast-raised breads that depend on gluten to rise.

I don't know about rice, though.

Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Re: Re: Thanks Guys! on 01/13/2006 07:26:51 MST Print View

Wade - Sorry about the typo on the com/org. If anyone hasn't gone to your site yet, they are in for a treat!

Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Re: winter wheat on 01/13/2006 07:39:23 MST Print View

You're right about the flour. I was making baguettes last week end to go with a new gumbo recipe - YUM! I was out of bread flour and used "regular" flour instead. The baguettes turned out OK, but just didn't have that some texture and taste that you get with high gluten flour. It's the little things that makes your tongue happy!

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: winter wheat on 01/13/2006 10:43:16 MST Print View

if anyone feels their bread flour might be low on gluten, simply buy a small box of "gluten flour" (it's "pure" gluten and available wherever fine bread flours are sold!) and add a tablespoon or so (depending upon your recipe and flour's possible gluten deficiency) to your bread flour.

generally, however, IME, a good quality bread flour (even a larger brand name - labeled as "bread" flour or "best for bread") does not require the addition of gluten flour. i use a New England brand (not sure how available it is outside of New England) called King Arthur's Flour. It is high in gluten and makes great bread. It's pretty much all i use, especially when i bake Challah bread, or pretty much any other bread (it makes a great Italian Bread).

Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Re: Re: Re: winter wheat on 01/13/2006 19:16:45 MST Print View

I am not familiar with "gluten flour" but will look for some. While King Arthur flour sits next to the Pillsbury Bread Flour I buy I have never been tempted to try it, until now. I will try it next time.

I had to look up Challah bread, something else I had not heard of. It sounds like it would be good. I give bread, with cheese, wine, deli meats, etc at Christmas. I will make a note to bake Challah next year and will add a note about the Challah (piece charred and discarded representing the destruction of Jerusalem) and the other symbolic elements it can encompass. Thanks for mentioning it. So much to learn, so little time.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Re: Travel Light-Eat Heavy on 01/23/2006 23:18:06 MST Print View

Outstanding book… Well done. I love how each day of the 14-day menu is broken down with caloric intake and the page each meal is on. A great opportunity to mix and match to your taste. I have tried a number of the meals at home with my son and they are quite tasty. I use a Gravity Gear cozy instead of a hat, but I still have an issue with getting food out of the bottom of the bag without getting some on my hands from the sides. Maybe I need a longer spoon.

Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Re: Re: Travel Light-Eat Heavy on 01/24/2006 07:46:03 MST Print View

Mike, thank you for your kind words about Travel Light-Eat Heavy! I'm glad the format and information works so well for you and your son.

On dredging the food up from the bottom, a longer handle is one solution. "Iced tea" spoons come with many ice cream store's floats, sundaes and the like. I also have some plastic bar spoons I picked up in a grocery store that work even better because the spoon part is tilted sligtly toward an "L" shape. None of them are all that sturdy though.

However, another reason I use a cozie hat is so I can still use my indestructable lexan spoon with part of the handle cut off. With your bag in a cozie hat, you just squeeze the bottom and the food rises to meet your spoon (kind of like toothpaste). Try one at home and see how you like it, even if it's knit instead of fleece. They work exceptionally well and I have not yet heard a credible down side to usinig them.

Edited by Travellight on 01/24/2006 07:48:07 MST.

Greg Vaillancourt
(GSV45) - F

Locale: Utah
Travel Light-Eat Heavy on 04/14/2006 20:23:06 MDT Print View


I bought your book on Amazon. I did not know you were posting here.

I'll be trying out some of your recipes next weekend. So far I like the book.

I still have not cooked anything in a freezer bag. Has anybody had one of these fail?

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Travel Light-Eat Heavy on 04/15/2006 07:35:03 MDT Print View

Greg, as Bill makes the point in the book, you don't have to use the heavier weight freezer bags. I have used the recommended storage weight bags. They work fine with the boil and soak method. Storage bags are a little thinner so they are negligbly lighter. But they are also less expensive at my grocery store.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Travel Light-Eat Heavy on 04/16/2006 23:04:22 MDT Print View

I have used many, many freezer bags - and have not had one fail-but I am careful also. Simple things to rember...nothing but spoons. Don't touch your bag with a hot pot of water, don't pour the water while holding the bag freestyle-rest the bag on something-having your bag in a cozy is a good idea.
If you want more ideas see my site on technique:
(I have been running my site for about 1 1/2 years now :-)
There are options one can use if they are unsure of using bags-such as insulated mugs, Gladware, etc.