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Chocolate and backpacking?
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David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 14:26:56 MDT Print View

I recently noticed that there are a few people out there who are including chocolate in their long distance hiking menu - most notably, Hershey's chocolate bars on Ryan Jordan's Arctic1000 food list and M&M's on Ryan Faulkner's trip in the Sierra's this August. I would like to start incorporating choclate into my trail diet as a way to increase my cal/oz ratio, but theres just one thing that I dont understand: How do you stop chocolate thats stored away in your pack from melting? I went to the store today to try out a couple of organic dark chocolate's, and by the time I got home, they had already started turning to mush. Maybe theres something I'm missing?

As a side note, would anyone mind commenting on their favorite high calorie trail foods? I'm trying to put together a menu for a trip on the Wonderland trail next month. Because I'm 5'11'' but only 145 pounds, I really dont have any stored fat reserves and can't afford to lose weight from not consuming enough calories! Thanks everyone,


Edited by davidp80 on 06/16/2006 14:31:47 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 14:41:56 MDT Print View

For the chocolate fix there is Nutella in a Coghlan's squeeze tube. Instant chocolate pudding is also great. Mrs. May's or MarebluNaturals Cashew Crunch are both really good.

Scott Ashdown
(waterloggedwellies) - F

Locale: United Kingdom
Non Melting Chocolate? on 06/16/2006 14:50:15 MDT Print View

Here in the UK, some school pupils won an award for inventing non melting chocolate after they heard that British Troops in Iraq were really missing chocolate. I've included the link below for the news article on the BBC website.

It seems that they achieved it by adding glycerine. Apparently numerous taste tests were conducted at the school etc and they came up with something that the rest of the pupils liked.

I reckon if the pupils liked it, it must taste okay. It looks like they are hoping to manufacture it in some way and apparently the British Ministry of Defence were interested in the idea.

Anyway, this might be the answer to your problem!!!!

Edited by waterloggedwellies on 06/19/2006 14:19:17 MDT.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 14:51:41 MDT Print View

Here's another thing you can do with nutella:

Take a small peanut butter jar (the plastic ones are good and are very light), and scoop out the middle portion. Then take some nutella and heat it in the microwave till it's soft enough to pour. Pour nutella into the central cavity in the peanut butter and let cool. Now you have peanut butter on the outside and nutella on the inside. It's really tasty. Kind of like a reeses peanut butter cup.

Edited by DanG on 06/16/2006 14:52:22 MDT.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 16:27:45 MDT Print View

Thanks for the suggestions guys,

Unfortunately, I'll have to stay away from the glycerin, as its most often animal derived, and as a vegan....well...That is an interesting idea though, especially coming from some youngsters!

The nutella sounds interesting too, but I found the nutritional information...and erggh....whey and skim milk, both 'non-vegan.' This definitely could be more difficult for me. Does anyone know if powdered milk is one of the ingredients in instant chocolate pudding? (I'll probably just make a trip to the store later tonight)

How do you imagine Ryan Jordan is doing it on his current trek. Perhaps its obvious - its just still too cold.

In line with what Daniel suggested, I could always just mix in some melted chocolate with a bit of almond butter, and take that with me on the trail.

I appreciate the help.


Edited by davidp80 on 06/16/2006 16:48:40 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 17:12:45 MDT Print View

Sorry David, I forgot that you are vegan. I could be wrong but, I don't think that instant chocolate pudding has milk in it. It is largely starch as I recall. However, the directions do say to add it to 2 cups of milk. I do not know if soy or rice milk is an acceptable alternative.

Another option is to encase the chocolate in something, such as wax. I haven't tried this but it should work. I vaguely recall a discussion in these forums about this. Someone mentioned that the wax could have a dual use as a candle. Maybe cheese was the topic, I can't recall.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 17:31:45 MDT Print View

Hi David,
You might consider Scharffenberger "Unsweetened 99%Cacao Pure Dark Chocolate". It has 250 cal/40gram serving which works out to ~178 cal/oz. It contains only cocoa beans and vanilla beans(a trace for flavoring), but warns that traces of lecithin and sugar may be present. Also, it is hard to beat walnuts and macadamia nuts for caloric density-both weigh in at around 200 cal/oz, or pecans at 190 cal/oz. Also, a small nalgene bottle of olive oil(~240 cal/oz) to add to your evening soup/grain might make sense or, like Ryan on his Arctic jaunt, clarified butter(Indians call it ghee-very tasty stuff which keeps at room temp very well). Good luck!

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 18:31:23 MDT Print View

Eric - No worries, I dont expect people to remember small, unimportant details like that. You are right though, the vegan pudding mix I found at the local grocery store does not contain milk, but requires adding firm tofu to the mix. Because tofu is much too heavy (and dehydrated tofu is hard to come by), this just doesnt seem like a reasonable option.

Tom - Those are good suggestions. I'd really like to find that chocolate pudding mix you're referring to, especially if it only requires adding water or soymilk. I have a ton of soymilk powder lying around the apartment, and believe it or not, it comes it at nearly 200 cal/oz unmixed. I think what I'll do, granting I can't find the particular brand you're describing, is just mix some melted, pure dark chocolate in with a bit of almond or cashew butter. Carrying along some olive oil is another good suggestion, and one that I intend on following. Although it isnt the most appetizing way to go about it, I typically just take one or two small shots per day of oils high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Safflower oil will give you nearly 260 cal/oz, and tastes a bit more neutral than olive oil.

I also look forward to adding some potato and corn chips in to my long distance trail diet - something that I usually don't do on shorter trips and try not to give in to at home. 150-160 cal/oz and very tasty....:)

Thanks again everyone,


Edited by davidp80 on 06/16/2006 18:39:39 MDT.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 19:12:01 MDT Print View

Fav. High calorie trail foods.

King sized Snickers-510
King sized Hersheys-480
1/2cup almonds-340
Bear valley pemmican bar-440
Pro bar-380
CLiff bar-240
power bars-240
6 oreos-420
1/2cup raisins-260
Odwalla Bar-260
1 liter gatorade-200
GU sports gel-100
Kellogs fruity snacks-220

this is just a few good things, there are alot of things I cant remember the calories.


I think the most of my trip in the sierras will be below 85-90 degrees, and in my pack the chocolate probably wont melt, and when I pull out the M&Ms they will be gone fast, trust me.

Dont forget, Andrew skurka is hauling alot of chocolate on the PCT right now, check out his food list, snickers, butterfinger, and hersheys, reeses. the works :-)

Edited by ryanf on 06/16/2006 19:13:14 MDT.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Re: Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 20:30:58 MDT Print View

You might be surprised at how well chocolate holds up. I've not had too much trouble, even in 80-90s southern AT heat. I imagine avoiding extended direct sunlight helps. Favorites for me would include PayDay, Sunbelt granola bars, Snickers, M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, Balance Bars, Mrs. Field's Cookies [esp. double chocolate varieties], really salty/spicy peanuts, and your basic cheese-on-cheese crackers.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/16/2006 21:01:02 MDT Print View

Ryan and Mark - thanks for your input. Raisons are a worthwhile consideration, since many of us are lacking in the fruit/vegetable category while on the trail. Nuts, no matter what kind, do 'get real old real fast', as Ryan Jordan pointed out on his arctic1000 website, so especially salty and/or spicy varieties would work well to keep things fresh.

Some of my favorites, for others who might be reading this post in interest, especially if you're trying to maintain a somewhat healthy diet on the trail are:

Whole golden flaxseeds - can be added to just about everything, from oatmeal and dried potato flakes to rice, pudding, and peanut butter. High in Omega 3 fatty acids. 160 cal/oz.

Sunflower seeds - a great source 'good fat' and carbohydrates. Good for munching on out of your pocket while walking, especially if you like to keep your mind occupied. 180 cal/oz.

Granola - comes in a ton of different varieties. High in carbs, fiber (especially useful for those who choose not to carry toilet paper into the backcountry), and fat. 145 cal/oz.

Soymilk powder - a variety of uses, and unless my calculations are incorrect....200 cal/oz.

Thanks guys,


Edited by davidp80 on 06/16/2006 21:03:47 MDT.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
alternative uses for sleeping bag on 06/17/2006 06:17:15 MDT Print View

I once carried snickers bars in the center of a rolled up US Amy poncho liner for a day in Panama while reconing an end of course lane for the Jungle warfare school...100 degrees, repelled over a water fall, swam the shagrass (sp) river...that nights Biv found the bars just like when they left the store...A good alternative use for your sleep system while in your pack....Btw this also works as a good place for a nalgene full of hot coffe for lunch on a winter hike...just make sure the lid is tight.


Joshua Burt

Locale: The Smokies
If you can't beat em' on 06/17/2006 16:45:00 MDT Print View

This isn't a solution, but something that makes melting chocolate tolerable for me. I throw dark chocolate chips into a bag of my nut-based gorp. The chips will melt during the day, but when they cool off I have big ol' chocolatey chunks of gorp to gnaw on. They taste great and help me monitor my gorp consumption, 1 chunk a day.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/18/2006 16:36:25 MDT Print View

If I'm hiking someplace with cool nights I can keep chocolate from melting by burying it with most of the rest of my food deep in my pack. Usually my pack has the tarp/bivy/bug shelter at the very bottom, topped off with the stake bag and bear cord. On top of that goes the food bag, and the sleeping bag and more or less clean and dry clothes go on top of that.

If chocolate is on the menu for that day, wrap the ziploc bag containing the chocolate with your insulated jacket (or just put it in a pocket).

I've been able to carry chocolate, without resorting to exotic brands, for up to two weeks even in hot weather by resorting to such simple tricks. And only suffering from meltdown a few times.

On nuts getting old fast. Maybe it is just me, but nuts and dried fruit with a reasonable variety go over very well. Strangely enough, I have more trouble eating trail mix on the first day of the trip, but after that I get real enthusiastic about it. I think variety is the key, but stick pretty closely to a 50/50 split between dried fruit and nuts. I also consider Peanut M&Ms to be, just barely, "nuts". It seems to work out best with about 25 percent peanuts and 15 percent cashews and 10 percent "other nuts" (like peanut M&Ms). Apple Jacks or Cheerios japanese rice crackers, or wasabi peas (I guess those would qualify as dried fruit) in tiny quantities also help out trail mix.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/18/2006 18:29:47 MDT Print View regards to wrapping chocolate in my insulation layer, I think I'd be much too worried about potential leakge if melting were to occur. I don't doubt that you're able to pull it off successfully, but I don't exactly have the best track record with spillable consumbales. The last thing I'd like to find when emptying my pack for the evening is a chocolate flavored micropuff pullover! On the other hand, your idea could be translated into something a bit more accident proof, such as wrapping the chocolate in a bit of aluminum foil to keep it insulated. I think it might just work. Thanks a lot,


David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/19/2006 12:25:45 MDT Print View

Actually, I always have something potentially messy like that in pretty redundant containers. Aluminum foil plus a ziplock is pretty good. Doubled ziplock sandwich bags in also good. Cellophane plus a ziplock sandwich back is good too (and what I use for carrots and other fresh vegetables).

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/19/2006 16:34:53 MDT Print View

In the morning I place the food that I will eat during the day in a mylar potato chip bag and store it in a mesh pocket on the outside of my pack. The mylar (it may not be mylar but rather a foil/plastic) blocks 100% of the UV light and keeps my chocolate from melting except under the most extreme conditions. The number of items that I buy at the supermarket for their packaging rather than the contents continues to grow, much to my wife's dismay!

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/19/2006 17:05:57 MDT Print View

That's a good idea, Casey. I've never washed a chip bag before--do they clean up well? :) I imagine those metallic-ish popcorn bags could have the same effect, but maybe with less filmy grease to start.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/19/2006 17:46:47 MDT Print View

Casey - I never would have thought of a chipbag in that way either. I'm going to do a few tests, and see how this works. Combined with a bit of foil wrapping, this may be the ideal way to carry chocolate over long distances. Thanks again,


And for anyone who is interested or has been following this post, my calculations on the cal/oz value of the powdered soymilk was incorrect. It is 122 cal/oz, rather than 200 cal/oz......

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Chocolate and backpacking? on 06/20/2006 13:54:22 MDT Print View

Chip bags clean up nicely with soapy water so buy whatever you want to eat. However, it is often hard to tell from the outside if the bag is mylar on the inside. I currently have a 12 oz Archer Farms Market Tomato and Basil Potato Chip bag from Target.