I took my daughter on her first overnight backpacking trip this weekend, which would have been fantastic had it not been for the mosquitoes. Other than that, it was a lovely trip, just to the Southeast of Three Finger Jack.
Anyway, in preparing for the hike I spent some time researching good backpacking food. One thing I had to work to keep in mind, though, was that much of the literature assumes that you are thru-hiking, or taking longer, more arduous trips that you can with a seven-year-old. If you are only walking 3 miles a day, you have to watch out for the high-calorie, low space/weight stables common in the hard core hiking literature. Since my daughter’s a bit “particular” we opted for Mountain House’s freeze-dried mac & cheese for dinner, which went over well, and was tasty enough, although their sweet and sour pork is still my favorite. I want to try experimenting with some cheaper alternatives, like ramen and freeze-dried veggies/tofu, or instant refried beans and rice, which are pretty easy to come by.
I also tried “Ultralight Joe’s Moose Goo”, which is 2 parts honey, 2 parts “corn flour” or masa harina, and 1 part peanut butter. Joe suggests putting it on tortillas, which is what I did. Tasty, callorie dense, and pretty stable. Much less gooey than peanut butter by itself, and pretty easy to work with, at least when it’s 80° out. According to the literature, it’s pretty much immovable below about 40°.
Also a big success was Alacer Corp.’s ElectroMIX: basically unsweetened electolite powder that you mix into a liter of water. It tastes great, with none of the cloying sweetness of Gatorade. Just the thing for hot weather, and it weighs practically nothing.