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Camping on a GF Diet

2 replies [Last post]
Lucas's picture
Joined: 06/23/2013

Ever go to one of those outdoor shops? We really enjoy hiking, particularly of the long-term variety. However, when you’re hiking this long, you can’t exactly carry a cooler with you, can you?

It’s also difficult in that outdoor shops (such as Eastern Mountain Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.) don’t plan to cater to a GF lifestyle. You can’t fault them for not doing it, but it is difficult. Practically any dried provisions they provide is wheat based - gluten typically being the thickening agent in dehydrated soups and other items.

We were looking for some food of the “just add water” variety. As someone relatively new to a Gluten-Free lifestyle at the time, this presented a challenge. What really helped us was thinking outside the box for the two weeks we’d be away from civilizations.

First, we thought about the basic needs. We’d need protein in droves to survive the trip. So, we picked up a few boxes of protein bars, granola, trail-mix and beef jerky. We were able to also find some vegetable and bean soups that just needed boiling water.

We also had porridge and protein shakes packed, along with our water.

With little refrigeration, there wasn’t a chance to bring along meats or dairy, so we decided to stay off from these. We did also grab a bunch of fruits - both freeze dried and fresh.

Along the trail, we also ended up fishing a few days, and getting some food for ourselves from along the trip. Still, not an easy task, but worth it!

What do you do on hiking trips?

Andrew's picture
Joined: 02/22/2013
Re: Camping on a GF Diet

I haven't convinced my wife (yet) to go on overnight backpacking trips, but that is the most fun since you are completely away from the conveniences of modern day civilization (unless you get good cell reception). Good cell reception just means its time to turn the phone off. We do, however, go on car camping excursions on occasion. The car makes eating easy with a cooler, ice, power, and no weight restrictions.

If I were going on a gluten-free hiking/backpacking trip with no car to help out, I would be sure to take some Salmon jerky. If you get the wild caught sockeye or king salmon jerky (we order ours online from Alaska's Best Salmon Jerky), it's both healthy and tasty. I like the original flavor, but they have a few other varieties that I'm sure are pretty good too. Whenever ordering from anyone, be sure to order the Salmon jerky, NOT the Salmon strips which can be wet and oily. If you order the strips - you will most definitely have salmon oil everywhere and you may have bears tracking you if they are in the vicinity -- the primary reason I haven't convinced the wife to do any overnight backpacking -- the bears!

Anyway, the Salmon jerky is a delicious smoked variety, very lightweight, chock full of protein, easy to prepare (open and eat), and the all-around best hiking food (along with trail mix) that I can imagine. And it's much better for you than any beef jerky.

We've tried other brands of Salmon jerky, even from trusty Trader Joe's, but the other brands seem to be a lot sweeter and just not as good as Alaska's Best. If you can't get Alaska's Best, you can get some from Dejon Delights, although they run out sometimes before Salmon season in August/September. You can see the review for the Dejon Delights Salmon strips (not the jerky) here.

Happy hiking!

Lucas's picture
Joined: 06/23/2013
Re: Camping on a GF Diet

Ah, Trader Joe’s! We’ve only recently been introduced to this place.

I think I was most surprised when going to local outdoors shops and health food businesses, how few actually offered Gluten Free food. It’s been a challenge.

But, Trader Joe’s has been a bit of a lifesaver when it comes to that! We’ve found some great options for food and snacks -which have been our principal interests when going hiking.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of “the breakfast”. Being a morning person, and my girlfriend not being one, it’s my favorite part of the camping experience. You wake up, you smell coffee, and you get bacon. If ever bacon intolerance happened, kill me now! Haha

I’ll try to look into the Salmon Jerky. Never tried it. Jerky is a great option. Trailmix is usually gluten free.

So, for us, (and in an attempt to avoid bears, as you mentioned) we have a big meal in the morning and snacks throughout the day.

We carry a small pack of refrigerated goods (ultimately backon). We hardboil eggs and keep them whole for meals. We have a recipe for easy peanut butter cookies, and we bring those with us.

It works. Not as easy, mind. Hope you can convince your wife to come along on the hike!