For the experienced Hiker, Low salt, High Carbs and Protein are a given for their lightweight Food stock in their Back Pack, but, for the novice, the first things that spring to mind tend to be Tins of baked beans and bully beef!
In this article, I will show you a few of the best options to use to keep the weight down and the nutrition and energy up. Both of these important considerations if you need to move fast and far on foot. Space and weight are always an issue when packing a bug out bag and they both have an influence on speed and manoeuvrability.
Why Is Weight And Size Important
The general rule is that everyone must carry a backpack with their own equipment and rations Now, if you have babies and toddlers, you will have to carry theirs, and probably them as well. This makes the need for a lighter backpack even more necessary to make room for the baby clothes and food.
If you need your BOB, then you are in all likelihood on foot. This would mean that you are fleeing an in certain circumstances, you will be trying to avoid detection. To do this, you will want to be able to move quickly and quietly so weight and size would be important.
High Protein High Carbs
When considering what you need to carry with you, you need to consider the following:
- If you are on foot, you will need to keep your energy levels up so you will want carbs.
- You will want to have the stamina and will need the slow release energy from protein.
Ideally, you will want foods with high carbs and protein so stay away from the run-of-the-mill commercial foods that are high in sugar and salt with very little nutritional value. In all likelihood, you would make a better MRE at home that you could buy. Besides being healthier, they will cost a lot less and would more than likely cater to your families tastes and needs.
Pemmican The Wonder Food
This is the best of the best in my opinion, especially if it is made with grass-fed game or beef. What is it? well, it is a food source manufactured by the North American indigenous tribes as a way to store Buffalo and another meet for a long period.
They used to hunt Buffalo annually, sometimes travelling a long distance to reach the hunting grounds. Once the killing was done, they had to prepare and preserve the meat to take it back to their camp and it had to last them until the next hunting season.
This worked so well that when the Europeans arrived, the “borrowed ” the practice to preserve food for when they were hunting and for ships rations. There are reports of hunters living on nothing but pemmican for 2 years and remaining in good health. It is also reported that pemmican lasts for over 10 years without refrigeration.
Could there be a better food source? If you eat just pemmican, you need 550grams per day. That is about 180 grams per meal. It gives you the carbs and the protein with all the nutrition you need. It is also something that you can easily make at home for fraction of the price of other MREs.
The great thing about pemmican is that you can eat it cold, warm it up or add it to soup, mashed potato, beans or have it on bread. It is versatile and can make bland meals really interesting and enjoyable. It is easily packed on the outside of the bag and can be reached to be eaten on the go.
There are hundreds of makes of meal bars on the market but you need to make sure that the bar meats your nutritional requirements. You want a bar that provides you with everything that you need in a meal, not just sugar or salt etc. You need good nutrition and most bars do not hit the mark.
Meal bars are convenient, light and if you have the right one – or make your own, they can be nutritious. They are easily packed in accessible places on your bag so that you can reach for one when you need it without stopping to unpack or prepare a meal.
I make use of the Nutritious meal bar sold by Nutrition Mission. It has been around for years and has a proven formula. Their bar is manufactured by Herbalife and is obtainable here
Just as with the meal bars, there is a myriad of supplements out there for the choosing. All of them making claims to be nutrition and healthy but not many of them are scientifically formulated and tested. Most supplements come in containers with 14 or 30-day supplies which are not all that beneficial.
I make use of a scientifically formulated shake that comes in 1 meal sachets. These are easy to pack and just need to be mixed with water or skimmed milk. To use these, you would need to stop for 1 minute to add the sachet to a shaker with water and then you can mix and consume on the trail.
Their right supplements will ensure that you have all the nutrients you need at each meal. These could be a suitable alternative to your pemmican to make a change. You could alternate it with the pemmican and the meal bar.
Protein & Carbs
Ideally, you want to keep your energy levels up and to do this, you need to increase your protein intake as it is digested slowly, releasing a steady supply of glucose (energy) into your bloodstream. This avoids the sudden rush of energy and the accompanying sudden drop in energy a short time later that processed carbs give you.
See How carbs & sugars affect your body here
Instant Foods Eggs & Potatoes
There are a lot of instant foods like Powdered eggs, instant mashed potato, Pronutro etc that can be incorporated into your meals for your bug out bag. I would suggest that you supplement these with vitamins and items like dried fruit etc as a lot of the nutritional value of foods are lost during the drying process.
When selecting your foods, please check the labels to ensure that you are selecting food with the right nutrition. Having food with insufficient nutrition can lead to serious problems in circumstances that require your peak performance, mentally and physically.
This is an important consideration when deciding on how you are going to package your food. How you package your meals also determines the shelf life of the meals. After doing all the work to prepare and package the food, you certainly want it to last a reasonably long time.
Once you have made up your meal packages, you really need to vacuum pack them. This will probably enhance the item’s shelf life considerably, so break out the vacuum packing machine and the plastic bags. This is where you do a little more work to save doing all this over again in a few months.
When vacuum packaging your meals, remember to make small holes in any prepacked items like noodles etc. This will stop these bags from “bloating” in the vacuum pack as all the air will be drawn out through the little hole during the vacuuming process. Careful with powdered products and sticky products. A large hole will cause leakage.
This process will enhance the shelf life of the product.
Packing and Carrying
When packing your Bag, you want to keep the day’s food in an easily accessible place on the bag. It must be protected bu you must be able to reach it without unpacking your bag. If possible, place the first day’s rations in a pocket where you can reach it without removing the bag, or where a companion can easily reach it for you.
You would normally want to make the greatest distance in this first period so you will not want to stop to unpack food, and while you are about it, the same goes for water and toilet paper. You can refill these pockets with the next day’s rations when you stop at night. It is always handy to have your food close at hand.
Circumstances change from situation to situation and from person to person, so please do not consider anything as being written in stone. You must continuously evaluate your situation and adjust your planning accordingly. NB Don’t forget the water purification tablets.
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