Real Food for Mountaineering

When I began my journey of exploring the wilderness, initially I didn’t put much emphasis on meal prep, primarily focusing on the physical activity.  During one college summer, I was working as a volunteer for the National Forest Service and my meals consisted mostly of Top Ramen® and Mountain House®. I had a personal stove, which I only used to boil water, and a variety box of Clif Bars® to fill in the gaps. I’m certainly not the first to survive on such a diet, but over the years I have learned to value quality nutrition and I now enjoy real cooking as part of my outdoor experience. These days, I train quite frequently for skiing, climbing, etc., and my body craves more legitimate nutrients. I am also a creature…

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MSR Folding Utensils – Behind the Gear

Even eating utensils require quality engineering. Product Manager Steve Grind answers a few questions about the design and performance of MSR’s Folding Utensils, designed for maximum packability and food-to-mouth efficiency. We know what’s important when you’re camping. What is the advantage of a folding spoon, fork or spork? Folding utensils are popular because they collapse into a much smaller configuration for packing, and often provide an overall longer utensil that is more suitable for use with pouch-cook meals. And utensil length is important if you’re a freeze-dried food aficionado, assuming you’d prefer not to spend your after-dinner time cleaning stroganoff from your knuckles. Some people prefer rigid utensils for their simplicity and ease of cleaning—and there are some good, long, single-piece utensils available. I tend to take folding utensils on…

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MSR Backcountry Cafe: Tomato Pasta

Though it was early September when my husband and I were cycling through the Po River Valley region of Italy, the summer sun still blazed, dry and scorching, lending a golden light to an already golden landscape. As well as being oppressively hot, the afternoon was also deathly quiet. We were used to this Italian riposo by now, that time between about two and four in the afternoon when shops closed, the buzz of activity at the local café dwindled, and the wooden shutters on everyone’s homes were shut tightly against that flaming sun. And so, it was with some surprise that I happened upon an elderly man who was up and about, despite the riposo. He was standing in a field that was parched, barren, and brown, walking carefully through the…

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Building Your Backcountry Kitchen, Part 1: Storing, Stashing & Stocking

Even if you’re content to subsist primarily on reconstituted meals in the backcountry, there’s always room for improvement (it’s amazing what a dash of soy sauce or a dollop of peanut butter can do, for example). If you genuinely enjoy the challenge of creating healthy, delicious fare while out in the back of beyond, having a well-stocked portable kitchen will serve you well. The following are tips on storing, stashing, and stocking your backcountry kitchen. I’m not going to address cookware here, as what you carry depends upon the type of trip, destination, and your personal preference/weight-bearing capabilities. (See Part 3: Cookware and Stove Pairings.) One of the main considerations is keeping your kitchen kit lightweight and compact. If you’re going to be on the river or in a clime…

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