All spread out

Only part is actually spread out — just the food I’ve accumulated so far. It seemed like an appropriate time for an inventory. I figure I’ll need something like 30 breakfasts and 30 dinners as well as 268 snacks for the 40 days. 

(You’d be correct if you spot that my numbers don’t compute. That’s because I’m hoping to crash quite a few nights with family and friends along the way — analogous to an Appalachian Trail thruhiker using hostels and hotels in the towns along the way.)

I’ve been gathering supplies as I am inspired. I’m not a good store browser, instead normally focusing on exactly what I need. It’s been interesting to wander the aisles of grocery stores big and small, ethnic and mainstream, trying to look at everything and consider how I might use each item. My wife, on the other hand, is a marvel at possibility-browsing. She’s turned up many possibilities. Combine all that with the various backpack trail food books and websites/blogs I’ve been scouring, and the forty and more recipes I would like to try …


Some of what shows here is a few ‘complete’ meal packages I’m considering. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but it sure seems to me as if they’re light on nutrition, both in terms of calories and in the protein/fat/carb balance. (I’m a Type 2 diabetic in reasonable control mostly through moderate carb restriction and subsequent fat increases.) 

Mainly I’m leaning towards boil-water, pour-in-dehydrated-mixes, pot-cozy-wait. I’ve tried out variations on the theme of TVP + dried veg + various sauces / flavourings + olive oil or Parmesan. I’ve been dehydrating cooked beans as an alternative to TVP. I’ve got various carb-y alternatives to dehydrated veg. Now I must run these ingredients through the much more interesting recipe ideas I’ve gleaned from the literature. (Grist for future posts here, I’m thinking …)


I’m also trying to decide between two tarps for my hammock. The top smaller triangular more-shiny tarp is the asymmetrical light-weight version that came with my excellent Hennessey Ultralight Explorer Classic hammock. Its obvious advantages are lightness and ease of hanging, especially when I use the standard method of keeping the tarp attached to the hammock. Two main tarp suspension lines to hang off the trees, and two stakes to spread the tarp. Done!

The most obvious drawback of the small asymmetric tarp is that it doesn’t provide an abundance of rain coverage. I’m somewhat worried that relative lack of protection could well be significant over the forty days …

So the larger darker — and heavier — tarp underneath is the Hennessey Hex tarp. I didn’t buy the lighter more expensive version, so this larger tarp with better coverage is about 500 grams heavier than the original as well as being considerably bulkier and requiring more complex setup. It’s in effect triple the weight of the original. 

It’s going to raining and breezy tomorrow night. I think that’s appropriate conditions for a shakedown try of the new tarp. I’ll keep you posted …

BTW, many thanks to Anne, Torie, and Hart (and one other experienced BTer whose name I never did get) for excellent feedback and insight. Keep it coming!

2 thoughts on “All spread out

  1. Just a thought… correct me if I’m wrong! Since you have to carry your water for several days at a time (or do you not, usually?) could you not carry some tinned/tetrapacked wet food as well? You’ll get water from it when you eat it, so it’s sort of a balanced trade off? Not for all your meals, perhaps, but a nice sachet of tomato paste, chicken stock (salty soup!), curry paste, or some tinned fish might be nice from time to time?

    • It’s a thought. I’d carry that included water for days, so it would only make sense for the first day perhaps. Fresh stuff might be even better.

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