Backpackers are special people.
They go outside carrying things on their backs, and suffer for their cause. This is doubly true for long-distance backpackers, the grimly-determined bunch who stomp along for months at a time.
All backpackers have one thing in common, though – they'll eat anything.
This is partly due to boredom, but hiking consumes mass calories, and hikers need calories to keep going. But food is expensive, and often hard to come by, so some forward-thinking backpackers have been experimenting.
For a long time there has been this MYOG or Make Your Own Gear movement among backpackers, many of whom do not have regular jobs. Even those who do work in the off-season don't make a lot of money, so they've gotten resourceful.
Well, the whole MYOG idea applies to food too, with a little twist.
You've probably heard the phrase eat your own dogfood. Normally it means that the best way to improve something you're involved with is to know it, and the best way to know it is to use it.
Fair enough, but backpackers live close to the ground, and are too literal-minded to grasp abstract concepts, so many of them just eat actual dogfood out of a bag.
Which makes a certain amount of sense.
For example, you blow into Pipe Wrench, WY on a Thursday afternoon during your Continental Divide hike, and you find a gas station. You already have gas, so you're OK there, but you do need food. Unfortunately, chewing tobacco, whiskey, beer nuts, and Hinkey Bars (at 98 cents each) are not going to serve you well, and that's all they have.
But every gas station and convenience store in The Real America does have a full selection of dog food. So you fill your pack with that, and clear out of town before sundown to avoid the people who do live on chewing tobacco, whiskey, beer nuts, and Hinkey Bars.
Some brands you might like are...
Taste of the Wild: High Plains Prairie Dog
"My personal favorite. It's DELICIOUS. I grab a handful at home whenever I'm hungry just to much on. I haven't tried Taste of the Wild: Roadkill yet, but my friends rave about it, so I'm going to." – Beth R.
Anything by Merric
- Chicken with Brown Rice & Green Peas
- Beef with Whole Barley & Carrots
- Lamb with Brown Rice & Apples
- Grain Free Cowboy Cookout (with real cowboy chunks)
"The only canned food I'd ever even consider carrying above the Arctic Circle." – Andrew S.
Sam's Arfy Chow
"Chicken, Brown Rice & Green Pea Senior Classic Recipe Dry Dog Food isn't just for old dogs. Make your own golden years slide by as smoothly as possible with Sam's Arfy Chow products. They contain omega fatty acids for skin and coat health and glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. You'll be romping down the trail like a young pup again in no time." – Flyin' Brian R. (You know who I am.)
"I always try each new dog food (never Iams, Beneful or anything with by-products – that's a little scary). CA Munchy Lamb Meal supports lean muscles. Plus the whole-grain brown rice has vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. The white rice gives me a quick energy boost, and the sunflower oil is hopping with those those essential fatty acids." – Jennifer PharStride Davis
"I've tasted a few other brands, but this stuff is truly great. When I'm really hungry, I can't hardly wait, and it all smells awesome!! My next bag will either be Leepin Lizzerd or Blue Buffalo. They're supposed to be pretty tasty, and they're made with real hemp oil residue." – Josh Gosh! Garrett (PCT Record holder, if I may say so.)
Q: What about cat food?
A: Freak – that's DISGUSTING! Get outta here!