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Thread: Lunch anyone? What to eat on a winter day hike

  1. #1
    Senior Member adirobdack46r's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    South of Watertown, NY

    Lunch anyone? What to eat on a winter day hike

    I'm looking for suggestions on what to pack to eat at lunch time while on a winter day hike. Something that doesn't freeze solid and doesn't require breaking out a stove to make. I'm pretty good on snacks, but when it comes to lunch time it seems that what ever I brought along is frozen solid and unedible.

    I'm looking for something quick that I can take out of a bag/container and eat without any preparation time.
    46r #6053W

  2. #2
    Senior Member weatherman's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    South Metro Denver Avatar: Basin Ponds Bullwinkle
    I use winter hikes as an excuse to eat all the fat that I shouldn't otherwise. More calories per ounce, and it doesn't freeze solid unless it's extremely cold. I keep it simple: a block of cheese and a summer sausage for lunch, and carbs otherwise that don't freeze - muffins, brownies (a staple!!), some types of dried fruit, bread, etc. Leave the gorp for summer unless you have real strong teeth.

    Then again, I once did a 14-mile 10 hour trip in single negative digits F eating nothing but a big bag of Reeses Sticks, because it was too cold to stop, so I am no gourmet. Others will be.

    --would rather be hiking than typing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member daxs's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    On the beach Triavalon race
    Salami or pepperoni usually does not freeze. I have had cheese freeze on me though. Now I put my lunch items into a cloth bag with one of those chemical hand warmers and have had no problems with freezing since.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnL's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    At the end of the road
    PB&J on multi grain bread. If you use crunchy PB, you won't notice the frozen J. Pre-sliced wedges of cheese. Hot chocolate in a thermos. Plain dark chocolate bars. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

    Once in a while
    You get shown the light
    In the strangest of places
    If you look at it right.
    R. Hunter

  5. #5
    Member slevasse's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Laconia, NH Avatar: P'way climbing
    Peanut butter and chocolate frosting sandwiches!

  6. #6
    Senior Member TrishandAlex's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    White Mountains, NH
    We eat the whole time -- broken up Balance Bars are our favorite things. The honey yogurt and the honey/peanut butter flavors work best -- I break them up before we hike,. then pull the small pieces out as we go.

    Lots of granola, some chocolate, individual peanut butter crackers. And thermos' full of hot chocolate and apple cider....that's pretty much it for us.

    If we are able to have a lunch (without getting cold), we just eat more of the same.
    [B][SIZE=3]Patricia Ellis Herr (TRISH...ALEX...SAGE)

    Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those doing it. --Chinese proverb.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member WhiteMTHike's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    These are pretty good. The heaters inside them heat the meal up pretty quickly. They used to sell them at REI but I'm not sure if they do any longer. I know you can get them at Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops.
    "The laborers day ends with the going down of the sun, and he is then free to
    devote himself to his chosen pursuit, independent of his labor and his
    employer". Henry David Thoreau

  8. #8
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Dark Chocolate chunks
    Various nuts
    Dried apricots
    Cliff bars (cut into small pieces)
    Dried sausage slices
    Peanut brittle

    Carry a baggy of this (all mixed together) in a breast pocket and keep another one in your pack.

    Leave the zip-lock open and the jacket pocket partly open too. Nibble frequently. (Or, put the food into a small pouch that lives on your hip belt)

    On the last couple hikes my partner carried Bolthouse farms protein drink and ate that.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hikes4fun's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Peanut M&M's-Chunks of cheese, Hershey Bars broken up-Cashews, Jerky....I don't eat a whole lot in winter but I like a big breakfast before hiking.

  10. #10
    Senior Member The Hikers's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Barrington, NH
    We are with John L. Peanut butter and Jelly on some kind of REAL bread (AKA whole grain) We have hot herbal tea in the thermos, which tastes like Heaven on the summit. And yes, a chocolate bar hits the spot whenever we need a boost.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2004


    I like to either make or buy a Stromboli before the trip, cut it into 1"-2" slices, and take those. It stays bite-able and chewable when cold, tastes great even when cold, and it's pretty crush-proof.
    It's a lot like fun, but different.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mohamed Ellozy's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Brookline, MA
    Quote Originally Posted by daxs View Post
    Now I put my lunch items into a cloth bag with one of those chemical hand warmers and have had no problems with freezing since.
    I hike with two bottles of boiled water. One is in an outside insulated bottle holder, and it stays warm until it is empty. The other is in my pack, inside another insulated bottle holder, in a stuff sack with my lunch. That keeps my lunch (whatever it is) warm.

    For snacks I usually use Granola type bars. I carry a small belly pack (fanny pack worn on my belly). Before eating a bar I take it out of the belly pack (where it may be very cold) and put it for a few minutes between the belly pack and my body. Warms it up fast!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by expat View Post
    Stromboli (Greek: Strongyle) is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing one of the three active volcanoes in Italy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mohamed Ellozy View Post
    Before eating a bar I take it out of the belly pack (where it may be very cold) and put it for a few minutes between the belly pack and my body. Warms it up fast!
    An alternate method is to swallow whole (keep long axis well-aligned with long axis of esophagus) and allow it to warm up in the stomach.

    Don't forget the smoked oysters!

  14. #14
    Senior Member adktyler's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Saranac Lake, NY
    Some excellent suggestions so far! I always love learning from other peoples threads. Rob, you might find some of these threads informative:

    As for me, I have recently gotten into bagels and cream cheese! They don't free up too badly, and have a pretty high calorie bank. I used to use PB&J, but that gets really old really fast. I have also tried meaty sandwiches, but if I don't keep them warm, they freeze, and then are pretty much worthless. I also like the honey buns that you can buy at Price Chopper or another grocery store.

    As far as snacks, I usually bring trail mix and Clif Bars. I did an experiment a few weeks back where I took 8 different candy bars or various thicknesses and content,and put them in the freezer for 5 hours. I then took them out and ate them all. The results where that the Crunch Bar and the Hersey's Bar were the best, as they were thinner and easier to eat. The Three Musketeers and Snickers bars were really, really hard to even bite into. So I think I'll bring some thin, high-calorie chocolate bars with me next time.


  15. #15
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    A discrete lunch in winter is a poor idea. You have to stop, put on more insulation, eat (while your muscles cool down), and take off the insulation before getting going again. And then you start up hiking with cold muscles and a big lump in your stomach... Also hard to do in a cold windy location.

    A much better approach is to nibble continuously. (ie lunch time is any and all time between breakfast and dinner.) Anything that can be eaten in small amounts works--gorp, nuts, chocolate bits, fig newtons, candy bits, snack bars, candy bars, cheese cubes... This should include a good mixture of carbohydrates (fast energy), protein, and fat (long-lasting energy). (More fat in colder weather.) Ideally, you carry your lunch food in your pocket so all you have to do is pause, grab something, shove it in your mouth, and continue. Otherwise, carry it and your water in some easily accessible location where you can get at them quickly for a quick bite and drink.

    For things that freeze or become hard in the cold (eg cheese, chocolate), cut or break them up into small chunks at home and rewarm them in your mouth before biting down. (You can break a tooth on cold chocolate...)

    I carry my gorp in a 250 or 500 cc wide-mouth bottle. Just take the cap off and take a swig. Easy to do with mittens on and can be done through some face masks.

    A couple more relevant threads:

    Last edited by DougPaul; 02-06-2009 at 09:22 AM.

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