One of the most important things to determine before heading into the mountains is how much and what kind of food to bring. Without sufficient energy, accomplishing big goals can be a dangerous task, since low energy can lead to poor judgment. There is, however, a big BUT that needs to be added to that statement since carrying too much food will add unnecessary weight to your pack, increasing the amount of energy you need to expend on each step. For us, there are a few go-tos, and a few basic “guidelines” based on the type of climb you are getting ready to do. Climbs such as the Three Sisters Traverse and the climb up the West Face of Mount Shasta both require different forethought based on energy needs, conditions, and season. Before each trip, we chat about what our goal is and if we had any “lessons learned” during the previous excursion; for example, Corie packed enough food for both of us on the Mount Bailey trip (which ended up being lucky since Andy forgot his food at the trailhead!). That was a small, painless reminder for both of us to CHECK our packs before we leave camp.
The guide we have below lists out a few of our favorites, why we love them, and when they are the must-haves. In future posts we will include a few of our favorite lightweight winter mountaineering meals so you can stop buying all of that expensive, dehydrated, over-salted stuff. This spring, we'll start experimenting with making our own dehydrated meals so be sure to check back for updates on that.
Disclaimer: KIND supports us with free product in exchange for promoting their brand and helping make the world a little kinder. But, we'd been eating their bars for years, long before we started working with them.
KINDSnacks- we love KIND for a number of reasons, the main one being that because the bars don’t have 50 ingredients, your body still functions normally after surviving on them for 48 hours. KIND bars are primarily fruits and nuts that we eat in our everyday lives, and we've consistently felt better eating these bars compared to others with more processed ingredients. The STRONG variety is not the best option for long, drawn out adventuring in the alpine since they are relatively low in carbs but they are delicious and make for a great while cragging or a high protein snack to break up the amount of sugar (natural or otherwise) that we're intaking. Our favorites are: Almond & Coconut, Blueberry & Vanilla Cashew, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt, and Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio. Seriously. Yummmmm.
We also LOVE their Healthy Grains granola. It's amazing.
Disclaimer: RUNA supports us with free product in exchange for promoting their brand and message. But, we'd been enjoying their tea for years before joining forces.
RUNA- For quite a while, we were drinking instant coffee during overnight trips or as a quick caffeine source at the trail head. Starbucks Via is the best we've found but it still tastes bitter and often results in caffeine "shakes" or "jitters". Although it did the trick, we were never able to find a good tasting and sustainable source of instant coffee.
RUNA uses a specific type of leaf for their teas that contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee per volume but double the polyphenols of other green teas. Unlike other teas, RUNA has no tannins, so it's surprisingly smooth with no bitter aftertaste. Couple that with organic and Fair Trade certified ingredients and we were sold.
Our favorite bagged teas are Cinnamon-Lemongrass Guayusa Tea and Mint Guayusa Tea as a hot source of pre-climbing energy.
Peanut Butter & Banana- On multigrain english muffins- the beauty of this simple recipe is that it not only tastes delicious, but it has LOTS of calories and the english muffins do not smush the way that normal sandwich bread does- BIG bonus. We mix it up occasionally and buy chocolate peanut butter.
Candy- easy, instant, straight to the heart sugary calories. Corie loves sour Mike & Ikes, Life Savers, and Sour Patch Kids. Andy loves Skittles and Snickers.