Bikepacking...food for extended trips


Puckertoe

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I not sure if this is the correct place for this post or if it should be in the life after W30. 

I'm planning a 6 month bike trip across Europe next year and am a bit stumped for alternative to my usual expedition style bike campingfood. It tends to be pasta and rice based evening meals, oats for breakfast and crackers and cheese or spreads etc at lunch.  I've found during the W30 that dairy and grains cause real problems for me. I'm not keen on trail mix type stuff, obviously I can't make bars or buy protein bars. Cost is also a critical issue along with being able to buy stuff in small towns, campsites, service stations an carrying it long distances and packing three days worth max.....No challenge there then?

My last trip was 8 weeksand by the end of it I had a lot of muscle inflamation. So want to try going grain and dairy free this time.

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It's a good thing you're going to Europe, where even gas stations tend to have a lot of healthy choices, and every small town market will have things you can eat.  I'm going to assume that you'll have a camp stove or some other way to cook, since you mention foods that require cooking.  Here's what I think I would do, assuming you are still eating a strict Whole30 diet:

 

- Plan to buy and eat all your food each day.  So each day, there would need to be a stop at a market of some kind.  Europe has a variety of markets, everything from the convenience store to old-fashioned true markets to warehouse stores.  It'll be important to research what'll be available in each of the countries that you visit, and each area in that country.

- Buy whatever is fresh and on sale that day.  Include fish or meat, green vegetables, several root vegetables, fruits, avocado, tomatoes.  Also eggs.  I know you said you're not keen on trail mix type things, but I think some dried fruit and nuts will be important backups; there'll be a day when you need it, I'm pretty sure.  Restock when you need to on those.  Carry salt and spices with you, and a small amount of your favorite cooking fat.  Make sure you have enough calories to last you through the end of the next day -- figure that out on practice runs here in the US, where it will be easier to correct for errors.

- Every evening, cook everything except some of the eggs and vegetables for breakfast.  Keep some for lunch and snacks the next day, eat the rest for supper.  

- Every morning, cook and eat the eggs and vegetables, add some of the protein from the previous day.  I'd also boil a couple of eggs to eat during the day.  

- Throughout the rest of the day, eat everything that you cooked the previous night.  

- Stop at the next store before you run out of food, repeat the whole cycle.

 

It sounds like a really interesting trip.  How do you manage to have six months free to do it?

ThyPeace, hasn't had six month free since she dropped out of grad school 20+ years ago.

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Thanks for the reply. Retire early...get kids out in the world,first though. Then go for it.

 

It's just has to be grain and dairy free and needs to give around 5000-8000 calories a day. Can't bank on a shop let alone a market. Crossing the least populated areas, and camping/ bivis. Has to be robust and light weigh and able to be carried 3 or more  days foods at a time.mie 3 days between shops.

Markets are a great source of wonderful fresh food in Europe. We will be using them as often as possible, and our route will pass through plenty of small towns on the way. Hopefully a few will be big enough for markets.

I lived off Fanta and ice cream on my last trip, along with croisant, ham and cheese. Most places across Spain, Portugal, all I could find some days was bread and patisseries, along with sweets etc at petrol stations, and local bars with pizza and stuff like that?Taas of the big cities and tourist areas was virtually non existant.  The once great cuisine of the countries has been seriously beaten by modern industrial food. We are talking about way out in the rural areas. 

So I need things that will travel well. Eggs don't generally do well unless buying them and cooking imeadiately, but am happy to do that. 

So far I've come upwith cured meats and veg, carrots, onions potratoes etc, but it's all really heavy and doesn't give all that many carbs which is important.

Salads crush too much, tomatoes etc have to be eaten immediately after purchase.

 

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I've been long distance backpacking before, and I had a lot of success with Whole30/Paleo trail foods made in my food dehydrator (I have an Excalibur). You can make almost anything, from fruits and vegetables to jerky or coconut milk yogurt! I think there are also some models designed for the trail that are solar-powered. 

I'd also suggest scouring REI or Hudson Trail (or any other outfitters) for on-the-go cooking gadgets or asking their employees for advice.

Last suggestion: try looking up local edible plants in the area you're traveling through! For example, I'm from the eastern US, where wild edible plants like asparagus, wood sorrel, chicory, dandelion, mustard, and lambsquarter are common. Knowing which plants you can eat away from grocery stores is very useful in a pinch!

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I don't think it will be possible to meet all your requirements at once, Puckertoe. I think you're going to have to be flexible. So far, it sounds to me like you are eliminating every choice that has been offered, which is a recipe for a whole lot of hunger and, at the rate you'll be burning calories, will eventually result in a physiological -- and potentially physical -- crash. So Plan A and B and C all need to be in place, and the fallback of Fanta and ice cream will need to be on the list even though they cause long term problems. Similarly, heavy stuff needs to be an option even if it means fewer miles per day. Paths that do not leave you stranded in a forest three days from food need to be an option. Put it all on the table, prioritize, and pick the things that matter most to you.

Also, if you are determined to be three days from food, fine -- then I suggest high-quality dehydrated camping food (for example, Mountain House) and accept that it will include at least some non-compliant ingredients. The scrambled eggs have dehydrated milk, the beef stew has hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yes. And they have the advantage of being edible with nothing but cold water added to them.

Here's the link to the Mountain House web site, if you haven't seen it. http://www.mountainhouse.com/

ThyPeace, has had their foods but it's been a while. They're better than most of those variety, and you still have to recognize that it's not fresh food.

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