A Primal Backpacking Experiment

Last weekend I spent three days backpacking through Yosemite. It was amazing. Trees, rocks, mountain vistas, and 5 of my friends. Before I left though, I noticed one big problem: food. I have been eating primally since May, which means no bread, no rice, no pasta, no packaged crap. Basically none of the standard backpacking foods would do. But I knew there had to be a solution.

I asked a few primal friends for suggestions, and looked around on the internet for real foods that would last a while. What I came up with is listed in a previous post. My main concerns were whether or not the vegetables I had brought would last the whole weekend without refrigeration, and if I had brought enough to satiate me for the whole trip. Turns out, I had no need to worry!

All the food stayed fresh throughout the trip. I waited until the night before we left to buy it so it would be as fresh as possible. I decided to cut all the veggies up before going so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. A whole bunch of Kale, a dozen baby carrots, a red onion, each in their own zip-lock of appropriate size. I boiled two eggs and put each in a different bag of veggies so the wouldn’t bump each other and crack. Everything else I knew would be fine. At the last minute I decided to also bring a tomato, but not to cut it up. I also filled a plastic 4 oz bottle with some red wine as a treat.

It was too easy. During the day I’d snack on nuts, jerky and cheese. For dinner I had a delicious kale based salad with either salmon or jerky, carrots, onions, tomato, avocado, olive oil, lime juice, and a little salt&pepper. A little red wine and dark chocolate for dessert and I was a happy camper. For breakfast, I mixed a boiled egg, avocado, jerky, olive oil, and salt&pepper for a delicious start. A little hot water and honey and I was ready to start the day.

My friends that I went with insisted that there was no way I was going to have enough energy only eating what I’d brought. They had even brought extra food partly because someone backed out at the last minute and they already had it and partly because they expected me to need it. While they heated up water for their packages of Mac&Cheese, Chili, Oatmeal, or whatever else they had brought, I was eating my yummy salad.

The amount of calories I seemed to need really surprised me. I figured with hours of hiking each day I would be starving by the end of it, but I can honestly say that I was never really that hungry. I snacked a little throughout the day because I figured I needed it. When we set up camp and started dinner, the guys said they were starving, but I probably could’ve gone to bed without dinner and been fine. I was the first one to wake up in the mornings, and I had plenty of energy to keep up throughout the day. I’m not gonna lie, I definitely set the pace low, but that’s just because I’m a slow hiker.

Now to present the leftovers:

  • Half the kale
  • 1 avocado
  • 3/4 lime
  • 2/3 red onion
  • 1/3 carrots
  • all the almond butter
  • some olive oil
  • some honey
  • 1/3 chocolate bar
  • some salt&pepper

I learned many things on this trip, but this post is about the food, so I’ll only say two of them. 1: It is 100% possible to eat primally while backpacking. 2: Eating primally you actually don’t even really need a stove, something less to carry on my next trip!

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