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Making your own expedition food

I wrote this during the summer of 2022. It’s three seperate pieces about making your own camp food. I posted it on Facebook, but as things can disappear there I thought it’d be a useful thing to share here. I hope some of you find it useful.

“I’m heading off for a couple of weeks on my bike next week. It’ll be another trip around Wales to follow my Welsh 550 route. It’s off road virtually the whole way (90 % ish). I’m heading from Llandudno and the Great Orme to Swansea and Worm’s Head then back again. I will take the odd hostel or B&B night but it’ll mostly be wild camping.

I balked at the price of camp food and I’m fed up with environmentally unfriendly packaging. If you are out for one or two nights it’s easier to buy your camp food pre-prepared and Tent Meals and FirePot both do meals that you can rehydrate in your own pot, this is the way to go folks.

If you are doing a lot of camping then it’s worth thinking about preparing your own food. There is an initial outlay, but you might have quite a lot of what you need. I’ve based my meals on rice noodles, couscous and freeze dried rice (bought from Tent Meals).

I’ve purchased some other freeze dried ingredients ,such as onions, garlic, olives, apricots and added herbs, spices, nuts and seeds from home. Rice, onions and garlic are the base of many meals. I’ve cobbled up some Italian inspired meals, Moroccan, Chinese and Indian. Tests at home are satisfactory. For packaging, we had a load of Covid testing bags. Each bag is a bit small for one portion, but one and a half works fine.

I’ve bought a collapsible bowl with a good lid to rehydrate the meals with boiling water. I’ll take shop bought, take away and pub food where I can, but I’ve got nine meals here and ten breakfasts that I made last week to give me that freedom about where I can stop. Next week I’ll make my own energy bars.”

Part two - Breakfast

“O, so simple. A generous half cup of the cheapest porridge oats, a generous tea spoonful of brown sugar, a generous tea spoonful of powdered milk and a handful of freeze dried strawberries and raspberries. Fill with boiling water leave for 5 minutes and enjoy a good, cheap, lightweight breakfast. Easy to wash your pot. Carry subsequent days breakfasts pre prepared in a freezer bag. In total less packaging and much, much cheaper than the commercial alternatives.”

Part three - Energy bars

“Now, this is dead easy and will save you money. You can call them energy bars or snack bars or whatever you like. What’s important is that you can choose exactly the flavours you like and you can mix and match so that they’re different every time.

I’ve made two different ones today. Firstly I made apricot, raisin, pecan, sesame seeds and toasted oats. Then I made date, raisin, cashew and chia seed ones. Both have a few drops of apple juice concentrate for binding, but you could use a drop or two of water.

The apricot ones are a bit sticky and dates make the better bars, but it’s good to have a mix. You just put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix well. I start with a largish amount of the first ingredient either dates or apricots. I then add about a third as much of flame raisins. I get these two well mixed before adding the next ingredients. I add a few drops of the apple juice concentrate then tip in some seeds, oats or nuts as you like. The mixture will stick together quite soon. You then just take small handfuls out and roll to your desired shape, you could do turds like mine or balls like someone else’s, whatever pleases you to eat. I roll the bars in oats to reduce stickiness then pop them in the fridge to firm up a bit. Each one of mine will fit in a left over covid test bag or I can pop a few in a freezer bag which is reusable or, indeed, you could use a hard plastic box, whatever works best for you really.

They should keep for a long time as there is nothing to go off really. The apple juice concentrate does say, once open use within three months, but I know my bars will all be eaten long before that!

To be fair I carry chocolate as well, I love a boost bar now and then!”

Postscript. I actually found these bars quite heavy, heavy on my stomach that is. I couldn’t eat too much and suspect I’d have been as well off with a bag of dates, but please do experiment. Malt loaf and Boost bars are my current favourite snack foods.

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