Eating on the trail

Eating on the trail

Written by Michael Moss 


I've had some trouble with food over the years when it comes to eating on the trail. At 15, I hitched a ride with friends to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite for a weeklong backpacking trip and it wasn't but a minute or two after I put my stuff down on a campground table and went off to chat up some nearby girls that someone shouted, "Bear!" and I turned to see a nice black bear making off with my stuff sack full of all my food that I swear I was about to hang in a tree for safekeeping. Not enough money to resupply, I had to go home.


Seven years later I was back in the Sierra on a planned 10-day trip by myself up the Kern River and ran low on all food except a giant bottomless bag of roasted soybeans, and never again will I eat a roasted soybeans. And since then, the food I've managed to take and hold onto on the trail has been, well, mediocre at best: lightweight being the operative goal. So imagine my surprise this summer when I went to Montana with my 11-year-old son Will and we stopped at grocery in Bozeman called the Co-Op to supply up. They had a whole section of backpacking food and we both fell instantly in love with Mary Janes Farm foods.

This stuff was organic. No chemicals added. Just great, simple ingredients, local from Idaho and yes, very light. And the coolest thing: the packages stood up on their own. So we could set them on the ground, pour in the water we boiled, fold over the top and wait and watch as they rehydrated. And then, because it was just me and him, eat right out of the pouches.


Will's favorite was the Mac N' Cheese, but be warned he loves Kraft's too. We both loved the Curry in a Hurry, and the Rice and Beans. Not to neglect my old friend Mountain House, we picked up a Fire Roasted Vegetables, and it was actually really good too, chewy but plump.  But there was a slight problem with it. The directions called for pouring off the excess water from after the vegetables were rehydrated. And in hindsight I would have just drunk the water. Because I poured into the grass near our isolated camp, 5 miles from the road, and only later we realized just how delicious the vegetables were, both to us and presumably to any bears in the area.


Only this time we were not camping in black bear country. A somewhat sleepless night ensued as we worried about a visit from the bear who does own this part of the world. 

Eating on the trail
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