What’s the best food for a multi-day hiker on a budget?

Every hiker is different

Every hiker is different

Every hiker is different. Some walk at unfathomable speeds, addressing the many gadgets that swing from their bodies – satellite phones, altitude watches, GoPros – packing light, breaking records and forever under the strain of burning thighs and beading foreheads. Whilst others step slowly through the landscape, barely breaking sweat and ill-prepared in the event of a storm with an ancient cagoule that lost its waterproofing a decade ago, if indeed it ever had any.

I like both, though I must admit, I’ve never used a satellite phone, altitude watch or GoPro, let alone owned one. What I mean to say is, both have their values (another story altogether).

One aspect of this crude categorisation, however, that appears to linger at a constant, is my diet. No matter what the distance, the number of days, the environment or the weather, the food I bring with me seems to remain the same. The reason? I tend to veer on the side of frugal. Put bluntly, I’m a tight-arse. For those of you repelled by expensive, pre-made, dehydrated meals as much as I am,   here is a list of the items that usually find their way into my pack:

  • a cured sausage – for a few grams of protein this is perfect, and doesn’t require refrigeration
  • trail-mix, or as I know it, scroggin – high energy, dense and delicious
  • instant noodles – not on everyone’s list, but great as a quick means to relieve hunger and warm up once you have set up camp
  • powdered soup – very light, high in salt and a must for warming worn-out bodies
  • cereal bars and biscuits – bursting with energy and yummy
  • couscous – packs small, only requires water to cook and is an essential ingredient to Walker’s Risotto
  • instant mash – again, quick and easy, and remarkably light for the stomach space it fills
  • bread – I don’t like cooking my lunches. Bread lasts for days, though its morphology may alter
  • Jam – yes, I know, anything in glass should be heavily scrutinized, but think of the sugar!
  • tins of fish – packed with protein and omega-3
Five days of food - French Alps

Five days of food – French Alps