I have recently had the pleasure of walking one of the most beautiful tracks worldwide, the Three Capes Track in the Tasman National Park, Tasmania. This is a fabulous 4 day walk for beginners, families, and those who like a little extra comfort.
It’s a delightful 4 day walk with the added bonus of a comfortable bed and a kitchen and cookware, so you are travelling with a light pack – no tent, stove or pots and pans required. I have hiked a fair bit in the 90’s when hiking meant you needed to be totally self-sufficient. Light weight gear was still a fairly new thing so I learned to pack the bare essentials, particularly food. So I was pretty surprised to see comparative banquets complete with aperitif, bubbles, wine and a port finisher being served by my fellow hikers. Our food was cooked and consumed within 30 minutes. More fool us – we could have taken far more delicious meals. We didn’t take any alcohol, and the food we took was hearty but simple. It never occurred to us to carry a heavier pack and make our trip a little more gourmet.
Return to camping in the 90’s and my hiking buddy and I would bring a single treat each. We tried to out do each other and bought such items as camembert cheese, 100 mls of port, maybe a little chocolate and the grand treat for every hiker was powdered custard. Wow things have changed!! Amongst the feasts were mini meringues with king island cream, cheese and antipasto, dips and crackers, carrot and celery sticks and enough chocolate to sink a ship. Meals were vacuum packed marinated steak and fish, and salads to delight with dressings, a dash of sour cream and capers. What was I thinking with my continental rice and canned salmon?
Still if you are interested in a more basic guide to hiking food read on.
A few basics I have learned over the years are as follows:
- Aim for around 1 kg of food / day / person maximum (half that is possible)
- Fresh vegetables that seem to survive best are spinach (not lettuce), carrots (whole not grated), onion, tiny tomatoes, bite size cucumbers – there’s your salad
- Dense bread rolls, scrolls and even muffins are generally good value
- Cereal with hot water and condensed milk in a tube is a must
- Main meals with meat and vegetarian options are generally dehydrated – a well regarded Tasmanian brand is STRIVE, another is Three Capes Gear and Gourmet (they even dehydrate dips!)
However much of this advice does not apply on the Three Capes Track, it seems. I wonder what food and beverages I’ll take next time!
I always take my own trail mix, also known as SCROGGIN. The link above shows you how I make it – what’s included and what’s not. Keep your scroggin into plastic bags and keep them in your coat pocket. You’ll never unexpectedly go hungry while there is scroggin to be consumed!
Other great snacks for day walks include muesli bars, biscuits and cheese, fruit, and banana bread. All are nutritionally dense which means they are small but contain a lot of nutrients and calories. You need this over your day walk. Top this off with a small thermos of tea or coffee or miso soup and you will find your self with oodles of energy to get you through your day. Something to avoid would be a food that makes a sandwich soggy like beetroot or tomato – avoid those completely. Instead go for a full grain roll and then something like vegemite and cheese, or meat and salad that won’t make your lunch soggy.
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Jo Cordell-Cooper operates the award winning business Jo CC Holistic PT, offers personal training, stress management strategies, preparation for hiking workouts, and adventure travel to multi-day hikes, locally and overseas. Jo’s personal training private gym is in Geilston Bay, just east of Hobart, but you can work with her online too. Join us on facebook in my free group Holistic Personal Training for more healthy lifestyle tips and tricks.