The first and most important point to remember, is that you have to carry and cook all your food.
Avoid carrying food items containing water, such as canned goods. Take powdered milk (not fresh milk), dehydrated meals rather than fresh meat & vegetables, dried fruit rather fresh fruit etc. Don't take whole packets - in many cases you can weigh out just enough for the trip plus a little extra for delays or emergency.
Avoid carrying tins of anything. Tins usually have quite a lot of liquid and you will have to carry a tin opener plus carry the empty tin back out.
Don't rely on the hut having gas cookers or that there will be a good wood stove or fireplace. Take you own small gas cooker with enough gas for the trip.
Trampers usually stop every hour or so and snack on something like nuts, dried fruit or chocolate so bring a supply for yourself. Lunch food should be able to be eaten on the track. You might be able to boil the billy but don't rely on it.
These days most people carry water. Unless you are on the tops where little water is available from tarns and you know it will be hot, then carrying one litre is enough. You can refill your water container at streams as you go along.
Always pack a little bit of extra food. You should be able to survive on the food in your pack for a day longer than the length of the trip.
For one or two night tramps, people work as individuals or in pairs. On a longer tramp or a “gourmet” tramp, the Trip Leader may organise menus and ask trip members to bring specific items.
When cooking in a hut, you need to think about meals that can be prepared using a single pot on a single gas burner – both of which you will be carrying.
Pots & Pans:
A two litre aluminium billy should suffice. Don’t bring a stainless steel kitchen pot complete with handle. If your choice of food requires frying then a small fry pan will be needed; don’t forget you might also need a little bit of oil or butter for the pan.
Ideas for Evening Meals:
- Dehydrated meals
- The range available today is wide and they are now very common on club trips. The ultimate is to have your own dehydrator and make your own meals.
- Weigh out the amount you need. Small shapes are better than fettuccine or spaghetti as you won’t have large pots to cook in. Don’t forget the salt.
- Salami / Tuna
- These can be mixed with pasta and a packet sauce. Experiment at home first.
- Small containers of ready-to-eat stewed fruit can provide an ideal finish to a meal.
- Your choice (Tea/Coffee/Chocolate/Soup). Don’t forget to allow for milk & sugar if needed. An extra sachet of soup is always good for emergency food.
- Other Food
- It's your choice whether you bring some crackers and cheese and/or hummus etc. If you like an aperitif you will need to carry it. A packet of your favourite biscuits will go down well with a cup of tea/coffee/soup.
- Cereal / Muesli
- At home weigh what you eat in 1 serving and bring just that weight.
- Milk Powder; full or skim milk
- Measure the amount needed at home.
- Tip: Mix it the night before and it tastes nicer.
- A simple gauze toaster works well, but you will also need bread and spreads.
- Full Monty
- Your choice, but remember you have to carry and cook it.
You will need something to eat between breakfast and tea. You may not be in a hut for lunch and it might not be possible to even boil a billy. Track food needs to be at the top of your pack, easy to eat and nourishing.
Hard to beat your own mixture of nuts and or dried fruit, chocolate and sweets. Carry a bit more for emergency food. Some people mix it all together; others keep it separate.
Cheese, salami and/or crackers. Bring your favourite, but weigh out what you need. It is unwise to bring a kilo block of cheese, when you will only eat 150 g over 2 days. Don’t forget a knife that can cut your snacks.
Nice but can be heavy. Remember 90% of fruit is water. Bring dried fruit and consume the water around you.
If in doubt about any of the above please check with your Trip Leader.