Meal Planning

Part of my preparation for two upcoming backcountry trips includes planning the meals. Both are three night trips, so dinner is where my main focus is. This will be the third time I've had to think about backcountry meal planning but the first time I've put this much thought into it.

My first foray into backcountry meal planning was on my trip to the Escalante region of Northern Arizona/Southern Utah. My meal plan consisted of beef jerky, trail mix, tuna and tortillas. While it kept me alive, the food wasn't that much fun. We also had a break half-way through the trip where we could go into town and chow down on some Pizza Hut pizza.

My second trip, we were going to be nowhere near civilization for 5 days in the backcountry of the Grand Tetons. My buddy and I put a little more thought into it, but still kept it pretty simple with a handful of MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) and a lot of tuna and tortillas.

This go around, I'm planning for trips to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. I'm still planning on keeping breakfasts pretty simple, I might expand into Cinnamon Oatmeal and Raisins. I'm finding that the dinners will be mainly things you can make with Chicken and Rice.

Some of the constraints I've got to work with for the Rocky Mountains trip is that 3 1/2 days for two people must fit all inside a Bear Vault BV500 bear container. This is a new requirement in the RMNP backcountry as of this year. We had the same constraint in the Grand Tetons, but my buddy and I were both carrying a canister. This go around, I will be carrying the only canister for my son and me.

For my Smokies trip, I will be splitting the food between my wife and I and won't have to carry a bear canister. That should help a great deal and allow for a bit more flexibility.

So, for now, it looks like breakfast bars and Chai for breakfasts. Tuna and/or chicken packages with some seasonings wrapped in a tortilla or PB&J wrapped in a tortilla for lunches. And Chicken and Rice (mexican style, terriyaki style, veggie style, and cajun style) for dinners. A little red wine with dinner and maybe some apple crisp for dinner.

I'll let you know how it goes.


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