Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
backpacking food
Display Avatars Sort By:
Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Olive oil in bottles on 09/28/2012 10:37:18 MDT Print View

Pakit Gourmet sells small foil pouches of decent quality olive oil. A little pricey, but convenient.

Timothy McGee
Re: backpacking food on 08/14/2014 17:35:29 MDT Print View

thanks... great find.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
re: packets on 08/14/2014 18:42:53 MDT Print View is your friend. Olive oil and all kinds of other condiments in tiny packages.

john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
Coconut oil on 08/16/2014 15:31:09 MDT Print View

Has anyone thought of coconut oil? Just as healthy as olive oil, almost as many calories (245/oz), and solid below 25C or 76F, which makes carrying a lot safer most of the time.

Is easy to eat 1 oz with a bowl of porridge say. How easy is it to eat 1 oz of olive oil?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Coconut oil on 08/16/2014 17:35:22 MDT Print View

"Has anyone thought of coconut oil?"

Comes in 1 oz foil packets from Artisana. Good stuff.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Second breakfast" on 08/17/2014 20:17:11 MDT Print View

A second breakfast?? What is yer friend, a Hobbit? ;o)

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: "Second breakfast" on 08/17/2014 20:24:24 MDT Print View

I always have second breakfast on trips Eric.

On another note I was on a slack pack trip this weekend with my wife, my
buddy and his wife and we brought pulled pork, bread rolls and corn
on the cob(pre cooked, wrapped in foil and placed at the edge of a fire), and lots of beer and wine.

Happy days.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Carrying Olive Oil on 08/19/2014 13:04:25 MDT Print View

On my JMT trip, I brought olive oil with me and took "shots" of it with my meals to add calories.

Yeah, does not taste great, but worked for me.

However, I found that using these disposable foil pouches worked great for my 15 day trip. No leaks.

This is just one example, these are fairly common now in the stores.

They are seam welded and I could fill one up with olive oil and close the top and squeeze as hard as I could and could not get it to leak.

Granted, I had to carry a bear can, so I was not squishing the pouch all of the time, but I was impressed that I could not "pop" one by squeezing it in my hand.

Light and cheap too....form of recycling.


d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Carrying Olive Oil on 08/19/2014 13:15:27 MDT Print View

That sounds like a great idea to carry oil in, Tony - I've always used a 100ml nalgene container from my old lab job, but that too big for most trips. Thanks!

Morgan Rucks
(rucksmtr) - F
olive oil on 08/19/2014 14:25:45 MDT Print View

The best bottle I've found for carrying Olive Oil is reusing a bottled water bottle, especially the little 8 ounce ones.
I'll use a bottle like this, they are leakproof and free, and you can throw them out when they get gross.


What tastes REALLY good is the night before you leave for a trip is to chop up a bunch garlic, basil, and other classic spices and add that to your bottle of oil.

You can pour that stuff on anything. Rice, bean, couscous, tortilla wraps, bread, tuna, you name it.
It is delicious and calorie dense.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 08/20/2014 00:55:21 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/19/2015 10:39:12 MDT.

Will Webster
Garlic in oil on 08/20/2014 04:37:13 MDT Print View

An interesting article on the food safety aspects of infusing oil with garlic and herbs:

Short version: Botulism.

Kate Moody

Locale: Acadia
Clarification on 08/20/2014 12:48:59 MDT Print View

Just to clarify something Roger just posted, coconut oil has zero cholesterol of any kind, but due to the type of lipids in it, it can increase the body's production of bad cholesterol according to some sources. I'd believe it too, any lipid that is solid at room temperature tends to do that. No plant product has any cholesterol as that specific set of fats is only produced in the livers of animals.
I do use coconut oil for one thing tho, it makes a decent hand moisturizer! Wouldn't want to use it for that purpose while camping tho, it would likely attracts insects, marmots and bears...

Edited by KitKatKate on 08/20/2014 12:50:12 MDT.

David Dietrich

Locale: Central Mississippi
Re: Fat the convenient way on 08/23/2014 08:19:42 MDT Print View

I also believe in oil. In "The Ultimate Hiker's Guide", Skurka points out that oil is the most calorie dense (and space efficient) food you can pack. He eats mostly chocolate. I like to use nuts, seeds, protein powder, and coconut oil. They mix very well in a cup to make a nice, calorie-dense sauce. I woundn't waste space with fruit or carbs.

Edited by Hinds on 08/23/2014 11:23:44 MDT.

David Dietrich

Locale: Central Mississippi
Re: forget the olive oil... on 08/23/2014 11:19:10 MDT Print View

I am going to pitch in here against olive oil and (I would add) long-chain, unsaturated oils in general. These are more difficult to digest because they must be broken down before passing through the wall of the small intestine. By contrast, short- and medium-chain fatty acids pass straight to your bloodstream. To get an idea of what an impact this makes, here's a snip from Wikipedia:

"Short- and medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed directly into the blood via intestine capillaries and travel through the portal vein just as other absorbed nutrients do. However, long-chain fatty acids are not directly released into the intestinal capillaries. Instead they are absorbed into the fatty walls of the intestine villi and reassembled again into triglycerides. The triglycerides are coated with cholesterol and protein (protein coat) into a compound called a chylomicron." (

On top of this, fatty-acids in general are superior to other metabolic fuels because of their ATP (energy) density and because they are preferred by critical muscles like the heart and skeletal muscles:

"Fatty acids are important sources of fuel because, when metabolized, they yield large quantities of ATP. Many cell types can use either glucose or fatty acids for this purpose. In particular, heart and skeletal muscle prefer fatty acids." (Ibid.)

Now that we can assume short- and medium-chain fatty acids are the ideal energy source for us (hiking or not, imo), where do we get them?

"Short-chain fatty acids have four to six carbon atoms. These fats are always saturated. Four-carbon butyric acid is found mostly in butterfat from cows, and six-carbon capric acid is found mostly in butterfat from goats. These fatty acids have antimicrobial properties-that is, they protect us from viruses, yeasts and pathogenic bacteria in the gut. They do not need to be acted on by the bile salts but are directly absorbed for quick energy." (

"Medium-chain fatty acids have eight to twelve carbon atoms and are found mostly in butterfat and the tropical oils. Like the short-chain fatty acids, these fats have antimicrobial properties; are absorbed directly for quick energy; and contribute to the health of the immune system." (Ibid.)

A problem with olive oil (like most vegetable oils) is that its main fatty acid is a long chain fatty acid which must therefore go through a comparatively long, energy intensive process of decomposition and recomposition to provide energy in human metabolism.

Basically the only two plant-based oils with significant amounts of MCFA's or SCFA's are palm *kernel* oil and coconut oil. As for animal sources, butter is the star player since fats such as lard and tallow aren't readily available now, but it is worth noting that beef pemmican (which is mostly beef tallow) was a prized staple among the American frontiersmen. It's not particularly easy to acquire now, but it's an excellent trail food.

Another factor to consider is the saturation of fatty acids. Saturated fats have no double bonds between carbon atoms, so they are "saturated" with hydrogen. This makes them more calorie-dense than mono- or poly-unsaturated fats.

In addition, polyunsaturated fats are more prone to rancidity both in the air and in the human gut and blood where oxygen is also present due to respiration. Here's a concise explanation:

"Unsaturation means that some hydrogen atoms have been removed, and this opens the structure of the molecule in a way that makes it susceptible to attack by free radicals. ... When the oils are stored in our tissues, they are much warmer, and more directly exposed to oxygen, than they would be in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidize is very great. These oxidative processes can damage enzymes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy." (

Next, there is the problem of enzymes.

"To defend the seeds from the animals that would eat them, the oils block the digestive enzymes in the animals’ stomachs." (ibid.)

Besides being typically associated with enzyme inhibitors, unsaturated oils require additional enzymes in order to break the double bonds that distinguish them from saturated fats.

"β-Oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids poses a problem since the location of a cis bond can prevent the formation of a trans-Δ2 bond. These situations are handled by an additional two enzymes, Enoyl CoA isomerase or 2,4 Dienoyl CoA reductase." (Wikipedia, "Fatty Acid Metabolism").

beta-oxidation is the process by which we get energy from fatty acids, and the "cis" bond is the chemical structure which distinguishes unsaturated from saturated fats.

Having said all that, we cannot help wondering what the foods lowest in unsaturated and highest in saturated fats are. Fortunately, there are lists for this sort of thing. In one following, "PUFA" means "Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid" and "SAFA" stands-for "SAturated Fatty Acid":

Butter (4% PUFA, 50% SAFA)
Ghee (4% PUFA, 48% SAFA, 2% cholesterol)
Cocoa Butter (3% PUFA, 60% SAFA)
Coconut oil (2-3% PUFA, 92% SAFA, 0% cholesterol)
Palm kernel oil (2% PUFA, 82% SAFA)


As a final note: I always cringe when I see people posting about eating starchy carbs and/or sugary fruits with their fats. This is a recipe for prolonged, energy-sapping digestive malease.

"Dietary carbohydrates (sugar) stimulate the release of insulin which inhibits the breakdown of lipids (fats and oils) for energy and directs them towards metabolic pathways for storage as FAT." (

Unless you are willing to suck down melted butter or coconut oil by the quart (hint: don't), you *will* need to dilute your fatty acid goodness with *something*. I recommend protein powders (e.g., pea, rice, or hemp), lecithin powder (preferably sunflower), and possibly some low-carb nut or seed meal/flour (e.g., coconut flour, almond flour, flax meal, etc.) and, if you feel adventurous, low-carb green "superfood" powders (e.g., chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, and derivative blends thereof).

Keep in mind that it's easy to overdo nuts and seeds. These have high concentrations of unsaturated, long-chain fatty acids which will clog your metabolism and sap your strength. However, they *are* a step up from high-starch fillers like oatmeal, peanuts (which are legumes, not genuine nuts), and potatoes which completely lay waste to your insulin pathways and leave your precious oils sitting in your gut and fat tissue unused.

Edited by Hinds on 08/23/2014 11:25:54 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Fat the convenient way on 08/23/2014 12:28:37 MDT Print View

"I woundn't waste space with fruit or carbs."

A certain amount of carbs is necessary to support the metabolism of fat. If you don't get it from dietary sources, the liver will convert protein to glucose from either dietary protein or muscle. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 30% of your dietary calories supplied by carbs, although the percentage will vary with the intensity of your exercise.

Will Webster
Re: Re: forget the olive oil... on 08/23/2014 14:24:54 MDT Print View

You lost me when you cited Mercola as a source.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: forget the olive oil... on 08/24/2014 07:00:45 MDT Print View

The diet discussion reminds me of an episode of "This American Life" about modern jackass.

I am all in on olive oil.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: forget the olive oil... on 08/24/2014 07:46:22 MDT Print View

David -

"Skurka points out that oil is the most calorie dense (and space efficient) food you can pack. He eats mostly chocolate."

Oh, please ...

"On top of this, fatty-acids in general are superior to other metabolic fuels because of their ATP (energy) density ..." [emphasis added]

ATP is Produced in the muscles, not taken up from some "Supply".

"Fatty acids are important sources of fuel because, when metabolized, they yield large quantities of ATP."

The precursor to ATP is glucose, regardless of it source.

"Now that we can assume short- and medium-chain fatty acids are the ideal energy source for us (hiking or not, imo)..."

If it works for you, good. But for most, Fats and high activity levels don't go together well. On the other hand, Carbs are readily digested (to glucose) at very high activity levels.

"Dietary carbohydrates (sugar) stimulate the release of insulin ..."

Again, not true for high levels of activity. The insulin response is Suppressed at these times.

Pseudo-science at its worst, IMHO.

Edited by greg23 on 08/24/2014 09:33:49 MDT.

Katherine .
(Katherine) - F

Locale: pdx
just pay attention to your body on 08/24/2014 14:21:21 MDT Print View

I think the OP would be best served by simply bringing a broader range of foods and seeing what works for him.

What do you crave? What makes you sluggish? Pay attention to what you feel you need and eat that then (if you brought it, hopefully).

Personally I was wishing for more yogurt covered preztels on my last trip. And could have done with fewer larabars.