- When using a public campground, a tuba placed on your picnic table
will keep the campsites on either side vacant.
- Get even with a bear who raided your food bag by kicking his
favorite stump apart and eating all the ants.
- A hot rock placed in your sleeping bag will keep your feet warm.
A hot enchilada works almost as well, but the cheese sticks between
- The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain
ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
- While the Swiss Army Knife has been popular for years, the Swiss
Navy Knife has remained largely unheralded. Its single blade
functions as a tiny canoe paddle.
- Modern rain suits made of fabrics that “breathe” enable
campers to stay dry in a downpour. Rain suits that sneeze, cough,
and belch, however, have been proven to add absolutely nothing to
the wilderness experience.
- Lint from your navel makes a handy fire starter. Warning: Remove
lint from navel before applying the match.
- You’ll never be lost if you remember that moss always grows
on the north side of your compass.
- You can duplicate the warmth of a down-filled bedroll by climbing
into a plastic garbage bag with several geese.
- The canoe paddle, a simple device used to propel a boat, should
never be confused with a gnu paddle, a similar device used by
- When camping, always wear a long-sleeved shirt. It gives you
something to wipe your nose on.
- Take this simple test to see if you qualify for solo camping:
Shine a flashlight into one ear. If the beam shines out the other
ear, do not go into the woods alone.
- A two-man pup tent does not include two men or a pup.
- A potato baked in the coals for one hour makes an excellent side
dish. A potato baked in the coals for three hours makes an excellent
- In emergency situations, you can survive in the wilderness by
shooting small game with a slingshot made from the elastic waistband
of your underwear.
- The guitar of the noisy teenager at the next campsite makes
- The sight of a bald eagle has thrilled campers for generations.
The sight of a bald man, however, does absolutely nothing for the
- It’s entirely possible to spend your whole vacation on a
winding mountain road behind a large motor home.
- Bear bells provide an element of safety for hikers in grizzly
country. The tricky part is getting them on the bears.
Backpacking Meal Ideas
I like Top Ramen for lunch, hot with lots of noodles. I also took tostadas
or soft shell tacos, put anything you like into them. They keep very well for a
few days without refrigeration.
I have found couscous and dehydrated veggies with some spices thrown in
always makes for a great dinner. (easy to cook, light and very nutritious).
Check the health food stores.
They have a wide selection of protein and carb shakes that you can mix with
any liquid that have a good proportion of carbs and proteins, but they do lack
in the category of taste. You could get those refillable dispensers of
PB & J to go along with some crackers. Even if the crackers get crushed,
just throw them in a sandwich bag with a squirt of PB & J. But my personal
favorite has to be jerky.
Eat bugs! They have a lot of protein, you do not have to carry them, and there
is always plenty of these guys swinging around you :-)
I don’t have many suggestions regarding menu except the obvious (dehydrated
foods). However, it is always a good idea to keep the fat and protein to a
minimum for breakfast and lunch, and concentrate on the carbs. Calorie for
calorie, fat and protein take about 9 times as much energy to digest as carbs
(I’ve read) and so sap your body of energy that could better be used for the
physical activity at hand. Then the dinner meal should be heavy on protein and
carbs to help your body repair muscle damage and restock its energy reserves.
On long trips, you just need to make sure you’re getting enough protein in
that one meal per day. Maybe eating bugs as an appetizer would help.
Take a course in edible plants, and find out which animals can be hunted
in season. Our ancestors lived off the land.
Bagels, seem to work pretty good for me, I usually buy the stiffest
(but fresh) ones from the store selection so they are less likely to get
crushed in transit.
Flour tortillas. Tom Squire seems to always bring these, funny that he’s
from back east, I always forget that they are available, when they seem to be all
around us here.
Pineapple-Banana blend of Fisher Nuts & Fruits snack mix. For me, the best
tasting trail mix on the market.
Just a few questions that have always been bugging me: What are your
favorite and least favorite bugs? What are the best tasting bugs?
Do you usually eat them raw or cook them first? Do you have any good bug
recipes using ants, grubs, grasshoppers, or mealworms?
I’ve always heard fried grasshoppers are pretty good, although I have not
actually tried them myself. Can you really clean up a cockroach enough to
eat it without getting some horrible disease, especially if it’s a good old
sewer roach? Before eating bees, wasps, or hornets, do you need to pull the
stingers out first? I guess good common sense would dictate not eating these
guys live. I’ve always wondered about this one – how do you eat a
tarantula? They look like they would be pretty tasty. What is the best way to
prepare and eat a scorpion – without getting stung? That one
has always bugged me, although technically they are not really bugs.
Meal advice for longer backpacking trips:
To reduce weight: Skip buying the expensive meals at REI and instead buy the
lightweight meals at your local grocery store.
You will find that the packaging weights a ton, so instead, take the meals out
of the packages and combine more than one type of a similar meals in a single
larger baggie. Then buy one of those big coffee mug (plastic one with a sealing
lid) and use it to mix your meals up in.
You will find that the mug can be used for multiple purposes and it does not
sag when it is filled with hot water! By the way, those wet REI food containers
simply add to your weight.
For lunch: I would often have something hot (especially when I was in the
Rockies). Although you may not realize it, you can quickly heat up some hot
water at lunch time and make a quick hot soup. Just have your small cookstove
easily accessible, put the water on to boil and then get the rest of your
lunch sorted out. For these meals, I again use my coffee mug. I also use
Lipton style chicken noodle soup or beef broth. I put multiple packages
together into a simple baggie before my trek, and spoon it out as I need it.
I also bring a lot of rice (instant variety) along with me.
I put the soup and rice together in the cup, and add hot boiling water.
Two minutes later, I have a hearty and filling lunch.
Crackers are good and so is peanut butter.
Get rid of any jars and put your peanut butter into a hefty baggie (freezer
variety). Also, I often mix my peanut butter and jelly or honey together before
putting it into the baggie.
Meals: If you really want to buy the REI meals, go ahead, but get rid of the
packaging and again baggie them. Be sure to read the cooking instructions of
the meals before you buy them. Simpler is better. Also, as the trek is for
two weeks, accept the idea that you will be eating the same meal more than
once on the trip and combine the meals when getting rid of the packaging.
Also, I like to bring hot chocolate and I rip open all the packages and throw
them all into a baggie, from which I spoon out what I need as I need it.
The same can be said for coffee (heck you can combine the coffee, sugar, and
powdered cream into one baggie. If you decide not to purchase the REI meals,
the grocery store ones I prefer are the bagged pasta meals (there are a large
variety of these. For protein, I get a variety of beef jerky as it is light
weight. Tuna is okay, if you plan to use it up the first few days, but you will
have to carry the cans (in and out). I add the jerky to the beef broth and rice
mixtures for lunches/suppers. Simple and tasty. Be sure to bring along salt and
pepper (again put these in baggies...the really small ones work best).
Breakfast/Snacks: I know you didn’t ask, but I’m on a roll. Put your
packages of instant hot cereal together into a single baggie or two or three.
Plan for a variety of flavors to avoid the “yuk” feeling after
10 days. For oatmeal with apples and cinnamon, I bring along a lot of dried
fruit (and dried apples weight little). I mix the dried fruit with the oatmeal
in about equal portions and then add the hot water ... makes a nice feast and
you get your nutrients. Sometimes I add nuts to add protein. Bring along some
dry cereal, add some dry fruit to it and then add hot water. Granola works
great for this and tastes good warmed up. Bring some vitamin supplements (but
only if you are already taking them ... don’t do anything new). For snacks the
first week, some fresh fruit would be great, but don’t bring anything with a
hard core (you’ll be carrying it out). Stick to the basics ... the hearty
fruits ... i.e.. small oranges and apples. Dried fruits and nuts are also great,
but don’t get carried away here (how many times have you brought out 1/2 the
“trail mix” that you brought in.
I prefer to not mix the nuts and dried fruits until I want to.
Baggie them individually allows you to add almonds to your dinner pasta
(added protein), some seeds to your oriental noodle meal, or even some plain
peanuts to your peanut and jam sandwich. By the way ... bread weighs little,
yet a lot of people are hesitant to bring it with them ... don’t be hesitant.
It doesn’t usually go green in your kitchen during the first week or two
(and it won’t on the trail), although be sure to place it near the top of
your pack, or you’ll have flat bread (which tastes the same, by the way!).
Power bars are great and weight little (even their wrappings are lightweight).
For the garbage you will carry out. Be sure to bring along a few large
sealable baggies to put the other baggies into. Finally, put your meals
together in a big bag and then step on your scale (first without it and then
with it) ... gauge the weight of your food.
You might want to do this before you put everything into baggies and after.
The baggie idea will save both backpack space and weight, up to 10 pounds!
Lastly, have a wonderful trip,
IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU...
The members of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Unit
would like to remind you of some helpful hints:
The one thing that can save your life is - your mind! USE IT, and chances
are good you will survive your visit to one of the most beautiful counties
in the United States.
Tell someone responsible where you are going, your approximate time of
return, notify them of any changes, and contact them when you do return.
Know the weather conditions and dress for the worst weather expected.
Carry a survival kit — a survival kit is a personal thing but it should
meet three needs:
This includes such items as:
- fire building
- matches in a waterproof container
- a space blanket
But the most important item you can carry is common sense.
Keep tuned to local radio stations for weather conditions and bulletins.
If someone in your party is overdue, notify the Sheriff’s Office immediately.
- If you do become lost:
- ADMIT IT! Admit that you are lost.
- Find shelter.
- Stay in one place.
- Build a fire.
- Most importantly: DON’T PANIC!
Never go alone, always travel with a companion.
Tell someone where you are going Explain what route you plan to take, if
you fail to return on time and your vehicle is still where it is supposed
to be (leave the vehicle description, license number etc. with the contact
person), the authorities may search for you.
While on your journey, avoid changing your plans without leaving or sending
word about the plan changes.
Never leave a message on the outside of your automobile if it is parked
at the trail head. Thieves may make use of the information in your note
and strip your vehicle to the bones. If you leave a note, leave it inside
the vehicle where it can be FOUND by the authorities should they open it.
As you travel, stop and look back frequently. This will familiarize you
with the terrain behind you and it will be easier for you to recognize
the proper path when you return.
By letting rattlesnakes know you are in their territory you can avoid an
Always carry adequate water to avoid dehydration or heat exhaustion.
Learn to recognize your own tracks, foot and vehicle, as a clue to your
previous travels. Learn to use a walking stick as the marks left on the
trail by a walking stick are very distinctive.