Strategies for Superb Food When Kayak Camping

I was asked by The Kayak Critic.Net if I would join a host of other paddlers in providing three back-country recipes for the website.  

Instead, I decided to offer what I called 'strategies' for great food when sea kayaking - the first of which caused something of a 'stir'.  You'll see why.  

My post has been on for a week so I thought I'd publish it here too.  Check KayakCritic.Net for the other great recipes.  Continues

Simon & Liz on the Pacific Crest Trail
Get Someone Else To Do The Food.  Seriously, this is an excellent strategy.  

When I suggested to my girlfriend Liz (we're now married) that we hike the 2500 mile Pacific Crest Trail she said, "Only if we eat good food".  

Back then I treated food as fuel and my younger, stronger body would run on just about anything.  

Immediately, I appointed Liz 'Head of Food' and she continues to fulfil this role whether we're backpacking or kayak camping.  

The serious point is this - someone who really cares should plan the food.  That way no-one is disappointed.  If no-one cares, buy a bag of pasta, jars of pesto and live on the same food that saw Marcus Demuth circumnavigate Britain in record time.

Home Dry Your Food.  Liz's solution to keeping us well nourished on a five-month hike was to buy a home food dehydrator and make almost all our food in advance.  

I've written about this in detail on my blog but essentially it involves cooking a vast vat of tomato sauce then tweaking it with extras like beans and corn, before spreading it on the sheets of the dehydrator and turning it into what are called "leathers".  

It's like tomato jerky which, when combined with oil, becomes a great sauce to add to dried pasta or rice.  

When we sea kayaked Arctic Norway we took all our food for three weeks because even if we found a store we couldn't afford Norwegian prices.   The dried packages of food, sealed in plastic bags, slipped perfectly into the kayak.

Freeze In Tubes.  This is a brilliant strategy for kayak trips up to five nights in duration and was taught to me by Howard Jeffs.  

Take a thick, closed-cell foam sleeping mat and curl it into a tube around your cooking pan, holding it together with duct tape.  Ideally it will fit inside a dry bag too.  Cut and affix two circular foam ends to the tube.  

Cook all the one-pan meals you'll need - stews, chillies whatever - and decant them to freezer bags.  Now here's the clever bit.  
Put the bags into your cooking pan, shape them flat and put them in the freezer so you end up with a disc of frozen stew the correct size for the pan.  

Once you've frozen all the means for your trip (and you can leave spares in the freezer for impromptu trips) load them into the foam tube which will act as a cooler.  Each morning, slide out a disc and pop it into your pan where it will defrost by dinner time. 

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