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Lisa Maloney

Lisa\\\'s Hiking Blog


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Camping Food for Backpackers? Yes!

Friday May 30, 2014

In this week's newsletter I included a few car camping recipes that can (usually) be adapted for backpacking. (Here's a batch of candidates from About's camping expert and another from Dirty Gourmet.)

But all those fresh ingredients -- all that mixing! Not all recipes can be turned into backpacking fare, depending on the specifics of your situation and climate... but if you're going to do it, here are my suggestions for how:

Plan to eat anything particularly perishable, squishable or large/heavy on the first night. Your belly will be happy, your pack will be lighter and smaller, and you won't have to worry about cramming it into a bear- or rodent-proof bag, can or locker.

Consider cooking time. Long cook times mean carrying more fuel... and a longer wait time for dinner. Pot cozies can help with the fuel issue, but only to a certain point. (You boil the water briefly, stick the pot in the cozy, and let it continue to cook while you go about your other business.)

Remember food safety. Not only does that include washing your hands before and after handling the food, it also means keeping any perishable foods at appropriate temperatures. Personally, I'm not interested in hauling a collapsible cooler around; remember, you'll be stuck with it long after the food is gone. So I choose ingredients that can handle whatever ambient temperature I'm dealing with for the required length of time.

(Protip: Hiking in places like Alaska means chocolate is always on the menu because it hardly ever melts. Score!)

Use odor-proof bags for smelly ingredients. I once hiked with a guy who carried several pounds of raw buffalo meat into bear country. Wrapped in newspaper. Without even letting the rest of the group know what he was doing. Not cool.

On the other hand if he'd used odor-proof bags, he could've been a hero.

Use collapsible packaging. No matter what you're using, avoid rigid containers that will continue to take up space in your pack after the food is gone. (And no, you shouldn't burn those plastic inserts or any plasticized wrappers in a campfire -- yuck!)

Pack your trash out when you're done. That should go without saying, right? Remember, leave no trace!

Can Duct Tape Do That?

Thursday May 22, 2014

It's come to my attention that when I wrote these three questions you can use to lighten up your pack, I left out what may be the most important question of all:

"Can duct tape do that?"

Bear with me -- I'm mostly serious here.

Protecting Your Car at Trailheads

Monday May 19, 2014

Car break-ins at trailheads are a common problem. After all, most trailheads are fairly remote -- and crooks can be confident that the average hiker is leaving his or her vehicle unattended for a decent stretch of time. Read More...

So You Carry Bear Spray...

Friday May 16, 2014

Brown bear print in mud...but do you know how to use it? There are some unusual ideas out there that do kind of make sense, if you step back and think about it -- but in actual practice they're pretty much the opposite of what you should be doing. Read More...

When Bullwinkle Attacks

Monday May 12, 2014

There was a reader question about moose safety the other day, so I think now's a good time to recap what you can do to prevent a bad moose encounter. Read More...

It Can Happen to Anyone...

Sunday May 11, 2014

I spent last night car camping to test out my new homemade backpacking quilt. It's a failure, or shall we say geographically inappropriate -- I created a warm-weather quilt for use in Alaska. Oops! That's why following a pattern is a good idea (double oops) and why you test such things in a drive-up campground or your back/front yard -- if things don't pan out, relief is only a few steps away (as opposed to a few miles).

But I digress. What really got me started writing about car camping is the way my foot caught a concrete curb as I was walking around, hunting for an empty campsite. I'd already committed to the step I was taking so it turned into a headfirst Read More...

3 Tips for Hiking in Extreme Heat

Thursday May 8, 2014

With temperatures already hitting 70-plus in some parts of the nation (including up here in Alaska, believe it or not), now's a good time to review a few important things about hot-weather hiking: Read More...

The Experts We Forget

Monday May 5, 2014

You probably already know that guidebooks are a great place for advice on local trails, right? But don't forget a few other sources of expert info that might be right under your nose. Read More...

Fire, Fire!

Saturday April 26, 2014

In a perfect world, you'll have access to perfectly dry tinder, kindling and logs anywhere that you decide to build a fire. Of course that hardly ever happens...

(Wait -- should you even be building a fire there? Unless you're in a survival emergency, on the limited terrain types that won't suffer long-term scarring from a fire or there's an established fire ring already in place, the answer is no.)

But back to when you can build fires.

Am I Ready to Sleep Outside?

Wednesday April 23, 2014

If you're not the outdoorsy type, taking your first dayhike can feel like a giant leap outside your comfort zone. But once you're hooked on hiking, you're only a few short steps from making -- and enjoying -- your first overnight backpacking trip, too. Read More...

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