August 26, 2013
Backcountry Menu Planning: What Do You Pack?
By David Draper
In about a week I’ll be packing into the Utah Book Cliffs for a backcountry elk hunt. The next few days will be a flurry of last-minute activity, including exercising, shooting, and packing for trip. I’m also still working out my menu for the seven-day hunt, and that’s where I could use a little help from you. I have a pretty good idea of what my hunting partner and I will be eating, but am looking for ideas from hunters with experience camping and hunting well away from the trailhead.
I have hired Flying J Outfitters to pack us into a drop camp via horseback, so we don’t have to go super lightweight, but we do still have a weight limit to consider. A lack of refrigeration will limit what goes into the panniers for the pack in, and to put further constraints on the menu, the closest water source will be about a mile away, with a steep uphill pack back to camp. While I’m not on a budget per se, I am cheap by nature, so I’d like to keep the cost of groceries to a minimum.
Price is the reason for some of what’s featured in the photo above. Instant potatoes are on sale this week for a buck a package. Same goes for the Knorr Sides, which are going for 99 cents right now. I will probably be adding a few Mountain House meals to the larder and, of course, there will be plenty of venison jerky and snack sticks, along with trail mix, oatmeal, peanut butter, trail bars, and probably some fresh fruit like apples and oranges.
Hopefully, by the middle of the week we’ll be enjoying some fresh elk steaks, but what’s missing or what would you add to the grocery list (other than a bottle of whiskey, which I assure you will be added to the pack)? Any insight on what makes for a great meal in elk camp?