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Thread: Lunch ideas for winter hikes

  1. #1
    Senior Member timmus's Avatar
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    May 2005
    St-Bruno, Qc. Avatar: At Guyot Shelter

    Lunch ideas for winter hikes

    I am looking for new lunch ideas for my winter hikes. I am a sandwich lover, they are great during summer, but tend to freeze during winter...

    Besides the soup in the Thermos (kinda heavy), and the eternal hard-to-digest power bars (speaking for myself), what are the food you guys/gals like to bring on those big day-hikes?

  2. #2
    Senior Member jmegillon149's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Manchester, NH
    if you dont mind carrying a small stove, dehydrated backpacker meals are good, as are MREs with heaters
    "In that cool mountain air on an Appalachian Trail, Life is better there"
    -Yonder Mountain String Band

    Adopted trail: Zeacliff

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rob S's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
    Heavy, schmevy, .... I still like soup in a thermos.

    Heck, I've even been known to carry a cast-iron skillet and make grilled-cheese sandwiches to go along with soup.

    To avoid freezing sandwiches, try carrying them in inner pockets near your body. You can experiment with different pockets to figure out where the line is drawn between frozen bread and warm, mushy bread.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Sesame snaps, chocolate, candy of all types, cashews, tamari roasted almonds, ficello, cookies, granola bars(not power bars), suasage (cut up in little pieces if it's real cold). Tea laced with lots of maple syrup and carried in a Nalgene with a water bottle jacket. I've seen people with P&J sandwiches at -25C and they seemed to do allright.
    Eating is a problem for me, I have to make myself eat cuz I never feel like it so I try and vary what I take from hike to hike.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Umsaskis's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Northeast Kingdom of VT
    I'm still experimenting with this issue, especially because as Neil mentioned, I have trouble making myself eat in the winter. So I'll be interested to see what others have to say.

    I've done the thermos with soup (I need a better thermos). Also PBJ's don't freeze, but more often than not I don't feel like eating a PBJ. I've several times come up against a situation where I didn't eat enough and got to the point where I didn't want to eat, which is bad, and then the power bars really are unpalatable. So I've opted for cheese, mixed nuts and dried pineapple, which I usually want to eat, they don't freeze, and they restore energy fairly quickly if you're stupid enough not to eat enough once in a while. My sister brings quickbreads a lot. They crumble, but don't freeze and always taste good. My brother-in-law brings raw cabbage and cheesecake, but I really can't vouch for that....
    In the mountains, God has built a monument to Himself.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rhihn's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Voorheesville NY
    Quote Originally Posted by timmus
    I am looking for new lunch ideas for my winter hikes. I am a sandwich lover, they are great during summer, but tend to freeze during winter...

    Besides the soup in the Thermos (kinda heavy), and the eternal hard-to-digest power bars (speaking for myself), what are the food you guys/gals like to bring on those big day-hikes?
    Sandwiches will be fine if you can keep them close to you and not in your pack. Doesn't matter if it's mashed (as long as it's in a bag, of course
    ), still tastes the same. MRE's work, but they're heavy and bulky. There are other commercial heat-meals which I haven't tried, but I've been on winter dayhikes with some who have. The weight of a stove, even for a dayhike, might be a good tradeoff for hot soup, cocoa, etc. Personal preference. Another reason to drink lots of water, especially in the winter, is to be able to digest those power bars!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jeff-B's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Outer Limits

    Junk Food!

    I read in Backpacker Mag, where a certain winter mountain biker professional would eat only junk food because it won't freeze. Meanwhile his competition would naw on frozen granola bars.

    I forgot the bikers name, but he swore on Twinkies, Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and the like.....

    Seriously, I have not carried these....but often thought about how good a Twinkie summit snack might do!

    I am a beef jerky, chocolate type of climber for sure.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jim lombard's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    Washington in March
    Stella Doro potato bread sticks dipped in hot tomato soup are excellent. I keep stuff in my pockets like chocolate so it doesn't break my teeth! I rarely ever have to force myself to eat
    But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.

  9. #9
    Senior Member percious's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    Arvada, CO Avatar: Colden Spies ADKs
    Summer sausage, Cheddar Cheese, and Trail mix are my staples.

    The sausage and cheese are good down to 0*F and lower if you keep them near your body. Trail mix is good, because smaller bits are more easily warmed by your mouth and then chewed. I also like to take the bite-size snickers for this reason.


  10. #10
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    Fig bars, nuts, chocolate bits, raisins, cookies, pre-cut cheese, etc. Stuff that you can nibble on more or less continuously. I carry such food in my pocket so it is always available and make a point of eating and drinking at least once an hour. The nuts, chocolate bits, and raisins (ie gorp) are in a 500cc wide-mouth bottle so I can swig them while wearing gloves/mittens and, if need be, a facemask. Easier to keep dry in the bottle than in a plastic bag too if it is raining.

    Some items can get hard enough in the cold to break teeth. Such items should be pre-cut into bite-size chunks. Warm them in your mouth before chewing.

    Reasonably dry sandwiches on relatively robust bread that don't fall apart work well too. They too end up in my pocket and are eaten in several nibbles.

    It is desirable that all in the party have eat-on-the-run (or on a very short stop) food so you do not cool down while eating. A sit-down lunch will result in many cold hikers. (The alternative is that if one has to stop for an extended period to eat, then all must stop. OK if everyone has extra insulation ready and is willing to spend the time.)

    Last edited by DougPaul; 11-16-2005 at 12:19 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member WhiteMTHike's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    MRE's with heaters gets my vote.

  12. #12
    Senior Member spider solo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    Although I don't like it that much I have found myself using it esp this year. I guess you could say it taste a little bit like pudding. Other than that I bring PBJ and cut them in half, eating some through out the day. Gorp is always nice to have along on hikes but if you get in the habit of eating it as part of your daily diet it sure can pack on the pounds.
    I have good luck with Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars they don't freeze up and I find them easier to digest.

    Much like Doug Paul mentions I don't eat lunch I continually snack through out the day small amounts here and there...sometimes resting and sometimes not as I eat.
    Last edited by spider solo; 11-16-2005 at 12:39 PM.
    "you've got to stand for something'll fall for anything"

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2003
    For sandwiches I have found two favorites: (I include the brand because they are what I like. If you donít really like it, you wonít eat it. And on long winter hikes food can make all the difference!)

    A good egg bagel (I like Shaw's) spread with Guldenís mustard, with Sara Lee honey ham and a good swiss cheese (and more mustard )

    A good oatmeal bread (I like organic oat-nut) with lots of Teddie Old Fashion chunky peanut butter and Trappist rhubarb-strawberry preserve.

    I have also enjoyed a grilled marinated chicken breast w/o any bread; just eat out of a baggie.

    (An insulated lunch sack keeps them from freezing.)

    A thermos of hot drink (hot raspberry cocoa is a favorite) is always nice.

    I also keep some snacks in a pocket close to my chest to easily snack on (examples: cashews, energy gels, cheese, grapes, tootsie rolls )
    I'm just outwalkin....

  14. #14
    Senior Member prino's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Montreal Area Avatar: Rammy
    What am I doing on this damn computer.... I should be out on the trails!!

  15. #15
    Senior Member hikerfast's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Concord, NH
    atkins shake powder mixed in my water bottles. one day last winter i climbed mt adams up and down, all day hike. when i got to the bottom i realized i never ate my 'lunch'. the shake mix i put in my water instead of gatorade for low carb purposes kept me sustained all day. now on every hike i just mix enough in with the water for however many calories i feel like i need. if you arent a low carb person you can use any protein powder. very easy.

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