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Food choices while bikepacking

Old 08-04-21, 08:37 AM
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rbrides
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Food choices while bikepacking & bike touring

What foods do you experienced bikepackers and touring cyclists prefer? Decades ago I backpacked a lot and the "freeze dried" foods of the day were yuck! I hear today they are pretty good. I car-camp a lot but planning my first 4 day bikepacking trip and am looking at all food options. Any advice?
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Old 08-04-21, 10:45 AM
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For dinner, pasta, often with foil packed chicken, tuna or salmon and whatever vegetables I can find.

Penne with shallots, fresh garlic, zesty lemon chicken, zucchini and Roma tomatoes last Friday. The last two ingredients I bought from a farm stand en route to my campground.




Brought a bagel with me for breakfast Saturday morning. Went shopping that afternoon during my day ride for dinner and Sunday breakfast. Had fig bars for the latter as I only had 30 miles to a train on Sunday.

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Old 08-04-21, 11:11 AM
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Will you have access to shopping? What I eat really depends upon access to shopping and restaurants.

Breakfast is easy: Oatmeal and nuts/dried fruit is my AM meal, and that works for no store access. Add pastries, fresh fruit, etc. if there is shopping.

If limited access to shopping for lunch/dinner, pasta or rice mix packets and tuna packets are an, easy, cheap and good meal. Fresh green beans and other veggies last for days uncooked, so I sometimes add these. Apples last for days also.

I do use freeze-dried meals, but they are expensive and just so-so on taste, so I try to limit them.
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Old 08-04-21, 01:11 PM
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We always carry tortillas, mayo packets & tuna packs. Peanut butter, coffee and Clif bars are our other staples. Then whatever peppers/veggies we can buy along the way to add. We try to eat one meal out per day. Sometimes its tuna for 2-3 days.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:54 PM
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What I eat depends on how much access to restocking there will be. When I can I shop daily and eat in a diner or other restaurant once a day or so. If off the grid I pack like I am backpacking. I have hated most of the freeze dried food I have tried except a few items like freeze dried veggies or fruit, but the meals usually suck so I don't use them. I did have some European ones that were really good. I got them from a hiker box when backpacking. Not sure of the brand (the label was in french). I am pretty sure they aren't sold in the US and were left by some European backpackers.

In general I seldom take much food from home and buy as I go. The exception would be if going into the back country, but I am more likely to go backpacking or canoe camping when I go off the grid..
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Old 08-04-21, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by veloz View Post
coffee and Clif bars are our other staples.
Heh. My goal each morning is to get the coffee brewing in the French press before I need to bleed the bladder.

And I always try to have a couple of Cliff bars in reserve if there will be long stretches without services.
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Old 08-04-21, 04:11 PM
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I don't bother with a stove anymore. I like hard dried sausage (portugese, italian and french variants) and a chunk of real Parmesan cheese. I make a special nut and fruit mix (sort of a fancy gorp). Tortilla pockets last a long time. Single packet Mayo and tuna isn't bad. If I have drop sent, I might have some sardines to eat. Chocolate covered almonds and Peanut MMs. Sometimes cold soaked tea is nice. A little honey is a treat. Energy bars for breakfast, I like to get right up and go. My pace is pretty slow and I do not even try to replace all the calories. If I get to a place that serves food, I will eat a good amount and especially vegetables. I will carry a small amount of dried fruit but never veggies because of weight. I have eaten enough mountain house freeze dried in my life, it is really expensive, really salty to my taste, and some of the recipes are indeed somewhat palatable. I am more of a hiker than a camper, so, food is just fuel.
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Old 08-04-21, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
What foods do you experienced bikepackers and touring cyclists prefer? Decades ago I backpacked a lot and the "freeze dried" foods of the day were yuck! I hear today they are pretty good. I car-camp a lot but planning my first 4 day bikepacking trip and am looking at all food options. Any advice?
How light do you have to be? Are cans out? Will you bring cooking gear? Is this a solo trip? Do you want to spend the absolute minimum amount of time in food preparation, or spend a bit more time for better meals?

Sorry I answered your question with lots of questions, but there are so many ways to answer your question.

First photo (freeze dried plus a packet of instant cereal thrown in for filler) takes a lot less time and effort than the second photo (cooked pasta and sauce).





I suspect you are not interested in ham and eggs.





A gal I used to work with would add a brick of ramen to water in a jar in the morning, by lunchtime it had re-hydrated for her lunch.

There are so many options, you really need to think about what you would like to do and how you would like to do it.
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Old 08-04-21, 07:08 PM
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As mentioned above, cured meats and good cheese along with canned fish are also good. No refrigeration necessary. Think I ate an entire pig worth of jamon in Andalucia.
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Old 08-04-21, 07:51 PM
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I've been traveling without a stove for almost twenty years now. It helps me to forget about the concept of "meals," and eat something good every time I stop for a break. Rolled oats, nuts and nut butters, fresh and dried fruit, fresh veg, bread, more nuts. When I can find them, dehydrated beans work well with some time to reconstitute. Same with instant mashed potatoes. Ramen noodles can be eaten without boiling, like a big cracker. I don't eat animal products, so lots of nuts for me. On my bike tours, it's pretty easy to find a decent place to eat almost every day so I get more fresh food on tours.
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Old 08-04-21, 08:29 PM
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Bike touring usually allows connections every now and then to the mother ship (supermarket). Much different than backpacking. So many possibilities in the mothership. As for not carrying a stove, mornings without coffee at camp would be heresy. And the joys of boiled eggs, yum. Visiting food stores while bike touring reminds me of luxuries that I have access to when not touring, that I too often take for granted.
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Old 08-04-21, 11:12 PM
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Where I tour in Northern Ontario, Canada; stores are few and very far apart. I carry lots of dried fruits and nuts to snack on whilst riding. I have a small butane stove that almost fits inside a jersey pocket. I use it for making tea or coffee and for cooking on a chilly/damp day or whenever I want a hot meal.



For food, I browse the dried foods section at the supermarkets. I eat pasta, and pancakes, and dried potatoes a lot. Dried meats are something else I consider. I don't use much freeze-dried food as I find it quite expensive hereabouts and not all that filling per serving size. I also sometimes make bannock a type of bread that can be made in a small frying pan. Peanut butter and jelly are good to put on bread. I found a store here in town that sells dried homogenized milk powder. Cliff or other energy bars are great for a quick pick-me-up whilst riding.

Cheers
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Old 08-05-21, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
What foods do you experienced bikepackers and touring cyclists prefer? Decades ago I backpacked a lot and the "freeze dried" foods of the day were yuck! I hear today they are pretty good. I car-camp a lot but planning my first 4 day bikepacking trip and am looking at all food options. Any advice?
1. 4 day trip....you dinna say....are there restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets along the way?

2. need to carry all meals, or just a few in case you can't find food along the way?

3. some freeze-dried meals are great, some taste like carp. you need to try a few to see if they suite your plate.

4. how 'bout a trip down to the big-box store.......check out all the aisles to find neat stuff you never knew was available.
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Old 08-05-21, 05:23 AM
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If touring I use whatever I find at stores and restaurants but if I am bikepacking (usually back-country) there are no (or not many) stores so I pack my own freeze dried meals. I use both of these authors recipes and mix my own freeze dried meals. Andrrew Skukra and Sarah Kirkconnell. These pack much smaller than the store bought FD meals and much cheaper.

Her book:
​​​​​​https://smile.amazon.com/Trail-Cooki...-no-redirect=1

Some of her single bag recipes, I don't use freezer bags, use an insulated pot. Easy recipes and tasty:
​​​​​​https://trailcooking.com/fbc/

His page with my favorite recipe:
​​​​​​https://andrewskurka.com/backpacking...fritos-cheese/
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Old 08-05-21, 05:24 AM
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I know some people eat carp. What does it taste like?
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Old 08-05-21, 05:31 AM
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Almost a year ago someone asked me to provide more detail on the food I brought when I had to carry a couple weeks of food. I wrote a rather lengthy post, at:
will bike weight make a difference to an old guy like me?

There might be some ideas for you for your short trip.
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Old 08-05-21, 05:51 AM
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I love virgin olive oil on french baguettes. I usually buy two of them and put them under the bungie cord.

Plus, oil is very dense......lots of calories per oz
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Old 08-05-21, 07:33 AM
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This is a common topic on various biking sites. Here are 34 links to information about food to take while touring. Not all of them are about directly about food. Some are about food from specific countries, how to make good coffee when camping, etc. But, several of them deal with what people eat when touring and how to create meals to take on tour.
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Old 08-05-21, 10:51 AM
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I keep things simple. I always carry couscous, Raman noodles, instant oatmeal, honey, energy bars and tea bags. Those will get me through a few days off grid. I supplement those with salami, cheese, flat bread and plenty of fruit. If I'm passing a store on the way to a camp I'll sometimes buy something like canned beef stew and some beers. There are also quite a few Mountain Dews and Snickers consumed.

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Old 08-08-21, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by timdow View Post
Will you have access to shopping? What I eat really depends upon access to shopping and restaurants.

Breakfast is easy: Oatmeal and nuts/dried fruit is my AM meal, and that works for no store access. Add pastries, fresh fruit, etc. if there is shopping.

If limited access to shopping for lunch/dinner, pasta or rice mix packets and tuna packets are an, easy, cheap and good meal. Fresh green beans and other veggies last for days uncooked, so I sometimes add these. Apples last for days also.

I do use freeze-dried meals, but they are expensive and just so-so on taste, so I try to limit them.
thanks for the input. I usually take apples and those fruits etc that naturally stay fresh for days and weeks.
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Old 08-08-21, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
This is a common topic on various biking sites. Here are 34 links to information about food to take while touring. Not all of them are about directly about food. Some are about food from specific countries, how to make good coffee when camping, etc. But, several of them deal with what people eat when touring and how to create meals to take on tour.
that is a great link. Full of great info. Thanks.
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Old 08-08-21, 06:48 AM
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Great food choices.
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Old 08-08-21, 06:50 AM
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Nun, also great recommendations.
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Old 08-08-21, 07:41 AM
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I forgot to mention that I also carry dried fruits and various nuts. I munch on those as I ride along. It's quite surprising how much further one can go if one snacks whilst riding compared to not snacking. Makes it nice not to have to stop for a meal around noon during blackfly and/or mosquito season.

Cheers
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Old 08-08-21, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I don't bother with a stove anymore. I like hard dried sausage (portugese, italian and french variants) and a chunk of real Parmesan cheese. I make a special nut and fruit mix (sort of a fancy gorp). Tortilla pockets last a long time. Single packet Mayo and tuna isn't bad. If I have drop sent, I might have some sardines to eat. Chocolate covered almonds and Peanut MMs. Sometimes cold soaked tea is nice. A little honey is a treat. Energy bars for breakfast, I like to get right up and go. My pace is pretty slow and I do not even try to replace all the calories. If I get to a place that serves food, I will eat a good amount and especially vegetables. I will carry a small amount of dried fruit but never veggies because of weight. I have eaten enough mountain house freeze dried in my life, it is really expensive, really salty to my taste, and some of the recipes are indeed somewhat palatable. I am more of a hiker than a camper, so, food is just fuel.
I've considered dropping the stove as I eat in restaurants a lot and also often default to hard cheese, salami and flat bread. However, I do like a cup of tea and there are those times when you are camping that a hot meal is really welcome. So I do carry a small cooking kit consisting of an alcohol stove, mug, lighter, cloth, windscreen and tea bags and a collapsible cup that fit in s small mesh bag and a bottle of fuel and a spork. It's enough to make tea, soup, oatmeal and couscous.


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