Best hiking food – add luxury

The hiking of the olden days, with minimal baggage, freeze-dried food and powdered soups is soon a thing of the past. The mountains are just as beautiful and your back pack is still easier to carry if it weighs less, but hand on heart, there are many of us that probably want a bit of luxury on our hike? Enhancing your experience in nature by spending a bit of extra time and effort on food is so worth it. Any time.

Renskav med sura lingon | Foto: Sandra Lee Pettersson
Lingonberries come ripe in August. Add some for a delicious Trangia meal. Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson

The mountains – simmering hot, any time of year

I remember wintry mountain trips with my sister and stepfather. In our packs we’d have exact measures of whiskey, carefully packed so that all of us could have a small sip of this fine drink after a hard session of skiing. On days when the headwind felt like small nails on our faces, it was even more appreciated. The amount was so small that it almost evaporated in our mouths before reaching our stomachs. But the taste remained, and it was a divine experience – up high in the mountains, in the twilight with the white expanse spreading out as far as the eye could see. Maybe it was because we knew that we’d carried it mile after mile, on top of the snow crust or through deep powdery snow.

Photo: Anders Robertsson

If you’re hiking between huts where food is served it may still be worth packing some extra goodies to eat en-route, rather than just sandwiches. As you use up plenty of energy, it’s a good idea to pack food that’s full of nutrition and gives that extra bit of fuel for your body and mood. If you’re going to prepare food in the mountains and be out for several days, you need to be smart about your planning and packing. If you want to bring fresh meat to cook, freeze it first and pack it carefully in newspaper. The meat defrosts slowly and can easily keep for at least a few days before it should be cooked. Dried and salted meat will keep for longer in warm temperatures. Preparing a rich stew in advance, that you bring along in a thermos for the first meal, will save you preparation time on your first day. If you are camping in the mountains and wake up to bad weather, prepare your lunch and pack it in a thermos before you start your day’s hike. It is easier to take a break in bad weather with ready-made food than to set up camp and start cooking.

Vandrare på väg till Helags | Foto: Erika Willners

Save weight and cooking time

What food is best for the mountains and how should you prepare it? Well, this is completely up to the hiker. Naturally, it’s smart to bring as light, and as filling, food as possible. If you love fried zucchini you may want to take the opportunity to eat it at home instead of carrying it in your back pack. Generally, vegetables that are high in water and low in sustenance aren’t worth carrying with you. Fry them beforehand instead, this will save you weight and cooking time. If you’re only hiking for a few days you can prepare a lot of food that will keep well and you avoid carrying unnecessary weight. Food with high nutritional value, preferably with bit of extra fat is smart. Coconut fat in your morning coffee is great. Many people claim that it is extremely healthy, which is good. But in addition to that, it is an energy reserve that is far richer than both oatmeal and sandwiches. And, it works well as balm for wind-chapped lips.

If you are only going on a day trip, try bringing equipment and ingredients for a real feast. Maybe you don’t need to walk and carry so far. Taking plenty of time preparing and enjoying good food out in nature, in the mountains, with a deafening silence, this should be on everybody’s bucket list. This might actually just be the meaning of life.

Lokala delikatesser från Jämtland Härjedalen | Foto: Sandra Lee Pettersson
Cloudberry and cheese on a cracker - delicious! Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson

Three “must-haves” for a mountain hike:

  • Coconut fat, eat it on a sandwich, fry with it, stir it into your coffee, use it as lubrication.
  • Dried reindeer meat for meat-eaters, preferably the most luxurious version, Goijke Suovas, dried and smoked, often topside meat.
  • Nuts/pumpkin seeds and good quality dark chocolate to bribe tired companions – and yourself – up steep ascents at the end of the day.