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Eat: heavy meals while keeping it light; why I always bring dry food when I’m on a hike in Norway

I realize that the title might not sound very appealing at first. But let me tell you why the opposite is true. Every time I'm packing my backpack, I always find myself just a little short on space. I'd rather bring an extra pair of socks or another pair of trousers in case the first two get soaked.

However, that space always seems to be occupied by food and provisions, depending on the length of the trip. You need to bring far more food than you'd initially think! And here's why. You wake up in the morning after a rather chilly night. You're hungry because you burn more calories sleeping outdoors. You pack up your tent, hoist your backpack, and trek for 5 to 6 hours before reaching your next destination.

The terrain is far from flat; it's undulating, and at times, you have to take big steps to climb. Essentially, you're doing half squats for about 5 hours straight, with an additional 30kg on your back. You get the point.

You burn significantly more calories than on a typical weekday, yet the inclination is to skimp on food. That's why I want to share what I pack for a long weekend or more in the wilderness.

Real Turmat dry food

The main meals I bring are all dry food. My absolute favorite is REAL turmat. Meals come in various flavors and are fantastic in quality and flavour. All you need to do is boil a bit of water, pour it into the bag, stir a few times, and in about 8 minutes, you have a soothing hot meal worth around 500 calories.

The fantastic part is that when you're in the middle of a forest or on a plateau, you suddenly find yourself enjoying a warm curry or stew. Besides being enjoyable, eating warm food provides a sense of comfort, especially when you're alone in the wild. The psychological effect of a warm meal cannot be underestimated.

You can buy these meals online beforehand, which I highly recommend. It helps you realistically assess the space available in your backpack while packing. Depending on the type of trip, one warm meal per day is usually enough, along with a hearty breakfast. I often bring the cheapest dried packets of porridge. Again, they weigh next to nothing and take up relatively little space, so I always end up taking too much, just to be safe.

They pack a decent amount of energy and are very economical. I also bring a large bag of dried raisins or cranberries to add some flair to my breakfast. Even better, if you're out in late summer or early autumn, you can harvest your own berries.

What else you could or should consider bringing (or that I at least would bring):

  • One container of powdered coffee/loose tea with a tea holder.

  • A small container of salt and some of those sugar sachets you can "borrow" from your local coffee shop (no, don't do it, DON'T).

  • A bag of peanuts or other nuts. They're rich in energy and iron, which is good when you need a pick-me-up. Also, your muscles need iron for optimal recovery.

  • Some chocolate. Trust me, after climbing a peak, there's nothing better than treating yourself to something sweet. It also quickly brings any potential low blood sugar back up. My favorite: Tony's Chocolonely (child-labour and slave-free chocolate which is by far the best chocolate I ever had).

  • If I'm going on a longer trip and unsure of the duration, I often bring a few sachets of potato puree. With a bit of salt, it's quite palatable.

  • Optionally, some sachets of powdered soup. It weighs nothing and is delightful during a break. Again, good for your overall mental balance.

As I mentioned, it's wise to buy the first batch of food in advance to ensure it fits in your backpack when you set out. I usually do my shopping in a regular supermarket, but I also order online. Sometimes, there are good online deals for dried meals. They might seem a bit pricey, but if you had to buy all the ingredients separately, your meal would easily be twice as expensive.

It might sound rudimentary if you're not accustomed to it, but once you're outdoors and exerting effort every day, every bite truly tastes fantastic. So no you know what food to bring on your hikes when visiting Norway. And I'm curious about your experiences. Hit me up on Insta if you're eager to share!


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