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Vegan backpacking food without a stove
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Jesse Corrington
(m00se) - F
Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 05/12/2009 00:44:54 MDT Print View

I eat vegan and a large percentage raw food, so I'm trying to design a simple food system for backpacking without cooking. I am getting increasingly used to eating simple meals in my daily life, so I think such a system may work well for me. The main goals are high calorie and nutrient to weight ratio, simplicity, low cost, and ease of preperation ( I don't want to spend a month making a weeks worth of food ). I haven't put a ton of thought into this, but here are some of my ideas for what to eat.

Nuts and dehydrated fruit.

dehydrated green smoothies. I tried this once hoping to create a fruit and greens fruit leather, but it came out like a bitter cracker. That got me thinking that I could just process that up into a powder and either combine into a homemade bar, or consume the powder on the trail mixed with water. Although, chewy fruit leathers would be nice too. I think I just need to experiment more with the dehydrator.

date or fig nut bars. I make these every once in a while and they are very easy to make, and tasty. I could mix my green smoothie powder into them to make them more nutritious.

dehydrated flax or other crackers. Never actually made these, but they seem like they would add a little variety here.

dehydrated cooked beans and rice, maybe blended. I haven't tried this yet, but it seems like it should work. I know they sell tofu jerky, so I'm going for something like that here.

Oil. Certainly could save some weight by consuming a Tbsp of oil a day.

Powdered soy, hemp, or other milk. I think I have seen this before. Although, it may be expensive.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with a system similar to this? How about the amount of dehydrated food. I'm not exactly sure how much nutrients are lost during the dehydration process, and I thought I read somewhere that it lowers the calories. I wonder if I would be better off purchasing some kind of green powder that was freeze dried, but that may be expensive.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 05/12/2009 08:15:14 MDT Print View

While certain items may be expensive compared to others, you have to ask yourself why not? Food is important to fueling ones self. So don't scrimp on good things.

Yes, soy milk might be expensive (around $10 to 12 a tub) but that tub is huge and it lasts a long time. Same with nuts, they are not cheap but they are good.

When it comes to brands versus cost, buy what you like, not what is cheapest.

Dehydrated cooked beans do taste good - if soaked first. You can get freeze dried edamane that is quite good. Being FD you can munch on them like nuts. Freeze dried allows this, dehydrated no.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 05/12/2009 08:33:08 MDT Print View

I've been off and on the vegan wagon, currently eating vegan (and trying to stay with it) again. My current goal is to go for a year. I've had success with:
-Homemade hummus, fresh or dehydrated, depending on trip length. I've found it'll keep a couple days fresh. I like it with whole wheat pita, which keeps well also.
-I've been carrying a good deal of fresh food lately- tomatoes, salads, sandwiches, wraps, etc. Depending on trip length it's all fine for a couple days. The weight is a non-issue on short trips; my pack is light enough I can easily carry fresh food.
-Bread! Bring a good loaf and a container of seasoned olive oil for dipping.

Please keep sharing on this thread! I'm also interested in fresh/non-cook vegan food for trekking.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Vegan backpacking on 05/12/2009 08:34:41 MDT Print View

Check out

Doug Walsh is a long time raw foods vegan and hiked the CDT on a raw foods diet.

Jesse Corrington
(m00se) - F
good link on 05/12/2009 09:23:09 MDT Print View

Thanks for the link, the raw hike website looks like it has some great info. I'll be experimenting a lot this summer with food, since I'm considering doing the PCT next summer. I'll makes posts to let people know what worked and what didn't.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
what works? on 05/12/2009 10:25:56 MDT Print View

Jesse that would be great. I find the raw hiking diet intriguing.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: good link on 05/12/2009 10:43:08 MDT Print View

Yes, thanks for the link.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 05/12/2009 11:17:32 MDT Print View

Maybe a little off topic, but I'd also look up Scott Jurek, vegan ultra runner extraordinaire.
He's really informed about vegan nutrition and I've read many recipes/tips from him that would translate well to backpacking.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
"Vegan backpacking food without a stove" on 05/12/2009 12:38:25 MDT Print View

I am interested in this as well, but like others, have found that while on the trail certain foods that seem ideally suited end up being less than appetizing in practice. For shorter trips, it is little concern because fresh food is feasible, but we all know that 'bars' can get old fast. That said, there are many more raw food variety of bars on the market now, such as fruit & veggie 'ReBars'.

The difficulty for me is finding food that I want to eat enough of in order to maintain adequate daily caloric intake levels.

Of course it complicates things a bit that my body doesn't handle dairy or gluten very well ;). So my diet is a bit different, being that I typically avoid dairy and gluten(wheat, etc.) as well as meat, but do eat fish & eggs. I also avoid overly-processed foods and synthetic flavor enhancers/preservatives that are found in many vegan foods - no TVP or soy products for the most part.

My favorite trail food is the 'Tasty Bites' indian food dishes that are heat-in-the-bag type (see member reviews), but they are impractical for longer trips since they contain their water still. The upside is that their substance is restaurant quality and I can mix it with instant brown rice or rice noodles easily for a very satisfying meal.

I would really like to learn to responsibly forage more. I have munched on various leaves, such as Wintergreen, Fir, Sasafrass, etc. but never enough to really make a meal out of. Has anyone successfully incorporated foraging into their trips or what are your thoughts on this as far as going vegan, lightweight, & palatable go?

Edited by biointegra on 05/12/2009 12:39:21 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: "Vegan backpacking food without a stove" on 05/12/2009 14:02:52 MDT Print View

I'm fortunate that I have no issues with eating bars for long periods of time when doing big hikes. When I did the JMT I was eating about 8 bars a day in addition to lots of GORP/nuts. I only ate one "real" (albeit simple) meal for dinner and felt fine with it. I think it simplifies the process...I can see exactly how many calories I'm getting and can easily ration the bars out. This has become my go-to 5+ day system.
But again, for anything under that I'm really interested in fresh/non-cook vegan food.

Jesse Corrington
(m00se) - F
Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 05/12/2009 14:23:20 MDT Print View

Yeah, I think I will definitely be going heavy on bars. I also love the simplicity. Date or fig based bars with other dried fruit, veggies, and nuts mixed in are really easy to make. For those who make bars at home, what kind do you make? I'm also curious about what type of fresh food people are bringing on short trips.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 05/12/2009 16:11:26 MDT Print View

I have found extra virgin raw coconut oil to be a great substrate for bars. My favorite ones have puffed brown rice, agave nectar and/or maple syrup, almond butter, raisins, chocolate chips, whole almonds and/or any other dried fruit / nut combo. We just mix it up in a bowl, make balls and let them air dry so it is still in raw form.

An ultra runner/trainer I know swears by raisins.

I have done a few weekend trips w/o a stove, but I usually still take one for at least tea and melting snow (where applicable).

katie devenish
(squidgy) - F
raw hiking on 07/18/2009 01:37:30 MDT Print View

Hi all,
I'm vegan, mostly raw..Hiked the PCT 2006 (before raw) the at was when I decided to change...
Am cycle touring now and raw is no problem. It's a little different with ability to carry more weight and more frequent town stops, but I believe it is doable for hiking if you are organised and prepared to put the prep in, it is also handy to have friends and family ready and willing to send out food parcels to your stops.
check out
They have an amazing recipe section
I'm planning on putting together a pdf of trail food options in the coming months, so if you are interested to try out some of my ideas or have any excellent recipes you use, get in touch!!
Best of luck for all future hikes..

Ryan Krause

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 07/27/2009 11:58:11 MDT Print View

Check out Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer - they have these green hemp protein bars. I think these may be close to what you are trying to experiment in creating your own bars.

Trade Joes now carries Hemp Protein.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Vegan food without a stove on 07/27/2009 12:21:16 MDT Print View

Something that I have used with great success is Bob's Red Mill Muesli. I premeasure and pack single servings in ziplock bags. On the trail I add water and soak overnight (in same ziplock)and eat muesli raw the next morning.

Use at home to dial in the serving quanity and amount of water needed to suite your taste.

This is light, packs and keeps well, provides a lot of calories and nutrition and is easy to prepare with no cooking.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Vegan backpacking food without a stove on 07/27/2009 13:32:50 MDT Print View

... read this and this ...

From the DECISION article:

Eating Well without the Stove
We went without a stove for our trip. Neither of us had ever done a multi-day trip without a way to (intentionally) make hot food. It seemed a great time to experiment. We did take a small titanium mug in case we needed to build a fire to help manage an injury or accident. This mug was also our shared cereal bowl. We used the cold oatmeal mix from the Groovy-Biotic Recipe. Without any cook pots and with only three and a half days of food, we could easily hoist the load into a tree without damaging any branches with our itty-bitty Kevlar cord.

I made a drink with two Javette packets and some powdered milk mixed with icy spring water and, good grief, it was a beautiful thing. We also made a foamy mix of powdered milk and Emergen-C. Put this in a small 500ml juice bottle, shake, and enjoy.

The centerpiece of our diet was a big bag of homemade GORP. We also took dried mango, groovy-biotic cereal mix, cheese, a variety nuts, plenty of chocolate bars, Emergen-C, Javette packs, powdered milk, a small loaf of dense pumpernickel bread, salty crackers, and more chocolate.

(yes, some dairy is included in my notes)