First and foremost, you are going to need a good pack. I mentioned in my last post my Osprey Daylite pack. It is a great pack for day hikes and it sits correctly to not add strain to your back if you have to cram a lot of gear and snacks inside. It is a great investment and while there are tons of great options and sizes out there, a good pack will help make the trip that much easier. I was able to carry an extra pair of clothes for both of us, two extra water bottles, map, first aid kit, snacks, and an extra pair of shoes for myself. 13 Liters is a lot of room for a day hike, so make sure whatever you choose works for the type of outdoor activities you enjoy doing. I plan on using a larger version of my Osprey for my AT hike (more on that later, I promise).
One of the biggest essentials for me is water. I get so dehydrated on hikes and walks I knew we would need a lot of water, but often times bottled water does not always cut it and carrying water around can get heavy. Besides the two jugs we brought for cooking and cleaning at our camp site, I brought my Nalgene bottle (sticker from here) and he brought his CamelBak to make sure we could always refill if need be (we also have this filtration system for our water as well).
Snacks are often the most difficult to choose for me. While we love energy bars, often times to calories are in the sugar and not in the protein we need. I tend to make my own so I can customize what I can put in it. This is one of my favorite recipe bases to start with. I like making my own with easy organic ingredients so I know exactly what is in each one. It makes for a healthier choice and are cheaper to make on your own instead of buying them for twice the price. If you have time, make your own. I also like these and these too! If you want to buy a pack, I recommend these mutli packs, as it is a great organic option with tons of protein and no added sugar!
There were a few items, however, i did purchase specifically for our hikes. One of my favorite new foods is nut butters. These have a lot of protein and gives you lots of energy, paired with crackers or fruit, they provide a lot of nutrients your body often loses while hiking or walking. I really love Justin's and paired well with organic green apples were a perfect combo. These pack ton of protein and are sure to please. Every hiking and camping trip I have taken a jar with me. It is a perfect snack.
When it comes to cookware and gear, always choose items that have multi-purpose functions. I love Stanley personally. They have been around for ages and their gear truly stands the test of time. I really enjoy the easy clean up and they are light weight enough to carry in a large pack if need be. For this trip, I brought my cast iron since we were camping for our main cooking pan. But, when it is backpacking only- we only use our small cook set and the mini cook set for our tea/boiling water for our on the go french press coffee.
As far as dinner, we choose easy products we could make with simple add-in's like water or raw vegetables or fruits. I really like boxed quinoa, or any rice blend will do. We always pre-cook our hamburger meat with spices before we leave home to ensure for quicker cook time - and dehydrate it if we know we cannot have a cooler nearby. I always have extra dried spices on hand to season anything and if we can fish nearby, that saves space in our bags and coolers for extra items we may need. Also, if you have not discovered walking tacos, consider making them beforehand to "test" the waters to see if you like them. They are super easy to make and it does not cost a lot to get all the items you need.
Camp cooking is super easy and very healthy if you take a few steps beforehand to ensure you have everything you need. If you have tips or tricks or any recipes, I am always looking for new things to add to our list. Share away!!