Monday, 30 May 2011

Camping food

I have a serious problem with getting enough calories into me when I am on a trail. The reasons for this are as follows:

1) I lose my appetite when walking. I eat less after a walk than I do in a normal day; my appetite just disappears and I rarely feel hungry. This is noticed after single-day walks as well as during longer trips.
2) As I walk on my own, meals are not a social affair. This means that cooking can easily become a chore, especially during wet weather.
3) I generally try to walk too far each day, especially when wild camping. This means that I am tired when I reach camp, and often just want to curl up into my sleeping bag at the end of the day.

These combine to mean that I often do not cook meals whilst camping, especially in the mornings. A side effect is that I carry food and cooking gear for much further than is technically necessary.

Of course this is really bad. I lost about half a stone in weight whilst backpacking Offa's Dyke, weight which I could just about afford to lose. If I had spent another week walking then I expect I would have been in trouble.

Because of this I carry lots of home-made cakes, flapjacks and nuts and raisins, meaning that my diet becomes remarkably vegetarian when I am camping. These (albeit healthy) snacks allows me to nibble frequently, rather than have a full meal twice a day. I only eat meals when I either feel like cooking or pass pubs.

The strange thing is that I like cooking at home; I find it an enjoyable activity. Yet camp-cooking is far from enjoyable, even when I choose the food and ingredients with care.

When I was on the Coastwalk I found that the weight dropped off me for the first three months, remained static for the next six, and then increased for the last three despite an increasingly average daily mileage. At the end of the year I weighed only slightly less than when I had at the beginning. This is perhaps explained by the fact I had a professionally-trained cook travelling with me...

I am not sure that the solution is going to be for this. My rucksack is packed ready for another trip, but I have yet to put any food into it. I am making myself two promises for this trip:

1) that I will cook every night (unless I am very near a pub)
2) that instead of doing 20+ miles every day, I will limit myself to an average of 16. This will give me time to dawdle and perhaps even enjoy myself!

Alas these are promises that I will probably break.

No comments: