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  1. #1
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    Default Vegan food on trail??

    Hey hiker babes!! I'm planning to Nobo in 2017 and probably my biggest concern is keeping up with my vegan diet. I've told myself that if necessary I will opt out for vegetarian food however my body doesn't enjoy dairy too much so I'm not sure how that will play out. Does anyone have any suggestions for prepacked food that is vegan AND tastes good? I'm thinking about making my own dehyraded soups and mailing them out, and I can easily make ramen with something besides the flavor packet but I want to try to get some sort of variety if possible. Thanks so so much

  2. #2

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    I think you will find your best bet is to make and mail yourself your own food. Mostly what I read in the trail journals and such about food availability on the trail is junk food and fast food. Very few opportunities for real food.
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  3. #3
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    either make all your meals and dehydrate, or spend a lot of money here http://outdoorherbivore.com/

  4. #4

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    I'm a vegan section hiker and I always mail myself food on the trail -- my preference is to mail to businesses like hostels, motels or campgrounds where I will be staying rather than post offices (which have more limited hours). I have gone through the thought experiment of imagining trying to resupply at some typical camp stores in the southern part of the AT where I have stayed -- at Neels Gap, Standing Bear Farm and Black Bear Resort -- and the pickings are slim. Good luck finding a protein source other than peanut butter or salted nuts. Grocery stores are a better option but there are many places on the trail where getting to a full-blown grocery store can be inconvenient.

    It sounds like you are looking for meal options that you add hot water to, so I can't be much help to you there since I always go stoveless and eat my food cold. But you will undoubtedly want food to snack on during the day. Some options for that are salted nuts of whatever kind you prefer and Clif Bars (these are options you usually CAN find as you go). I mail myself a food bar called "Organic Food Bar." They are nutritious and calorie dense and around a half dozen flavors are vegan. Unfortunately they are expensive. Here is a link to their web site:

    http://organicfoodbar.com/

    Good luck to you down the trail and to Whiteblaze.
    Last edited by map man; 01-10-2016 at 11:18.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by map man View Post
    I'm a vegan section hiker and I always mail myself food on the trail -- my preference is to mail to businesses like hostels, motels or campgrounds where I will be staying rather than post offices (which have more limited hours). I have gone through the thought experiment of imagining trying to resupply at some typical camp stores in the southern part of the AT where I have stayed -- at Neels Gap, Standing Bear Farm and Black Bear Resort -- and the pickings are slim. Good luck finding a protein source other than peanut butter or salted nuts. Grocery stores are a better option but there are many places on the trail where getting to a full-blown grocery store can be inconvenient.

    It sounds like you are looking for meal options that you add hot water to, so I can't be much help to you there since I always go stoveless and eat my food cold. But you will undoubtedly want food to snack on during the day. Some options for that are salted nuts of whatever kind you prefer and Clif Bars (these are options you usually CAN find as you go). I mail myself a food bar called "Organic Food Bar." They are nutritious and calorie dense and around a half dozen flavors are vegan. Unfortunately they are expensive. Here is a link to their web site:

    http://organicfoodbar.com/

    Good luck to you down the trail and to Whiteblaze.


    I was thinking about sending my resupplies to stores and hostels rather than post offices - I had a friend that hiked last year and I learned the post office was just major bad luck for him. Thanks for the tip. I am thinking about doing hot foods but at the most I only think I'll cook once a day, twice possibly when I'm in chillier places. The only stoveless vegan meal I'm aware of is tortilla shell burritos with pb & instant oatmeal so if you have any others I'm totally opened to trying them out!

  6. #6
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    Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. I've never done a long distance hike before so it's super helpful to get feedback

  7. #7
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    Have you gone through small groceries where you live to see what's available? That should give you valuable insight into what's generally out there to buy as you go.
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  8. #8
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    We're vegetarians who eat cheese sometimes. But there are plenty of easy options for vegan trail food. For dinners, couscous, instant potatoes, beans and rice (we usually make our own from dried beans and instant rice plus some taco seasoning powder). I think that a few of the Knorr's sides are vegan (the Spanish rice comes to mind). All of these can be cooked by just boiling water and then adding the food and letting it sit and rehydrate. The couscous, instant potatoes, and beans/rice can all be made without cooking as long as you give them some time to rehydrate in a container. And of course, you can (and should) add tvp to any meal as long as you add a little more water, too.

    Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are easy: all sorts of bars, granola, chips, tortillas, pb, etc.

    BTW, don't let your friend's bad experience with the PO put you off of mail drops. You will find that some of the small stores along the trail have very little variety and no natural/organic/veg section whatsoever. I've used the post office dozens and dozens of times on my hikes, and they've never lost a package. Use Priority Mail for everything, and all packages get mailed 2 weeks before pickup, and you'll be okay.

    Anyway, if you want to get fancier and have more options, you'll want to get a dehydrator and dehydrate your own stuff. We love the Sierra spaghetti from this book: http://www.amazon.com/Backpack-Gourm...ckpack+gourmet If you search around here and elsewhere you can find lots of recipes/ideas for dehydrating. Dehyrdating takes a good bit of time, but the advantage for a vegan is that you know exactly what's in your food and where it came from. I made tofu jerky a few times which was delicious tasting but too chewy for me.

    One more thing: you can't carry enough food on the trail to prevent some weight loss and malnutrition, so you're going to have pig out in town to make up for the calorie deficit on the trail. You may find that some of the small towns on the trail have few or no vegan options. Your friends will be pigging out on pizza and ice cream and baked goods in every town. So you need to think about how you will pack on the calories in town when the restaurants have nothing vegan on the menu, and the small stores don't offer much variety (this will be an especially big problem in the South). if I was hiking vegan on the AT, I would do all of my food by mail drops plus send myself abundant town snacks in each resupply package to ensure that I'm keeping my weight up. I've met 3 vegan thru-hikers on the PCT and AT, and they were among the skinniest hikers I saw (even when compared to how skinny the average thru hiker is).

  9. #9

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    You can make your own dehydrated meals just about as easily as a soup. I dehydrate most of my own meals, perhaps making a non-dehydrated meal about 1 out of every four or five meals. I like to rehydrate my meals by bringing the food to a boil then slipping the pot in a cozy for about 10 minutes. Sometimes it takes a little additional cooking afterwards. I might add a little corn starch at the end to make a thicker gravy for instance.
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    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    I haven't done through hiking, but I cook and dehydrate all of my meals, and then I use the freezer bag cooking method on the trail.

    Second, someone forwarded this to me today: http://veganontheat.blogspot.com/201...ian-trail.html.

    Third, I wish that everyone that is vegan would either post recipes or start some kind of email recipe swap mailers. I have bought a bunch of books, tried various recipes, and found some winners, but it is a long, slow process, and it would be great to shorten up the discovery process.

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    I am vegetarian but have been vegan on the trail in the past. Lots of hiker food like pop tarts is vegan anyway, but check out Harmony House if you don't want to have to dehydrate your own stuff. Lots of dehydrated veggies, TVP, and vegan soup mixes.

  12. #12
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    Good To-Go is vegan, I think. Made by a couple in Maine. Single servings too.

    http://goodto-go.com

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    Sorry for replying to everyone so late but I appreciate all of this feedback so so much! This is all super helpful beyond belief

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    I'm no doubt doing a lot of pre made meals to periodically send to myself. I know there's a lot of hiking blogs, however I totally agree there's not many vegan based ones. If possible I'm going to try to post my own blogs and want to definitely focus on the food aspect. Hopefully it'll work out and help fellow veg cuties

  15. #15
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sshannonsimss View Post
    I'm no doubt doing a lot of pre made meals to periodically send to myself. I know there's a lot of hiking blogs, however I totally agree there's not many vegan based ones. If possible I'm going to try to post my own blogs and want to definitely focus on the food aspect. Hopefully it'll work out and help fellow veg cuties
    Looking forward to adding some much needed new recipes to this coming season's line up. Send them in!

  16. #16
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    I'm ovo-lacto vegetarian, but much of my trail diet is vegan. I'm stoveless as well. And I didn't do any food drops on the AT.

    My staple for much of my calorie intake is a homemade muesli I can make on the sidewalk outside the grocery store, combining rolled oats, walnuts, and raisins. Much of the rest is from tortillas, crackers, peanut butter, raisins and other dried fruit as I can find it, and tree nuts. My trail diet is pretty simple and limited, but that's OK with my hiking style (I know from long experience I'm a lousy camp cook). I have a pretty good budget for town meals and spend quite a bit on the best salads and vegetable soups I can find. When I start craving calories, I seek out Chinese, Mexican, Greek and Italian restaurants, fairly easy to find and usually some near-vegan options.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    I'm ovo-lacto vegetarian, but much of my trail diet is vegan. I'm stoveless as well. And I didn't do any food drops on the AT.

    My staple for much of my calorie intake is a homemade muesli I can make on the sidewalk outside the grocery store, combining rolled oats, walnuts, and raisins. Much of the rest is from tortillas, crackers, peanut butter, raisins and other dried fruit as I can find it, and tree nuts. My trail diet is pretty simple and limited, but that's OK with my hiking style (I know from long experience I'm a lousy camp cook). I have a pretty good budget for town meals and spend quite a bit on the best salads and vegetable soups I can find. When I start craving calories, I seek out Chinese, Mexican, Greek and Italian restaurants, fairly easy to find and usually some near-vegan options.
    This pretty much reflects my experience on the AT (which is a different animal than expedition backpacking into a wilderness area and carrying all your food w/o resupply---then you can home dry whatever you want).

    When backpacking the AT I always relied on local grocery stores along the way to supply my food. No mail drops, no caches etc. It's so much easier to just hit the next store and stock up the pack and easy to do as a regular vegetarian, not as easy as a vegan.

    As Garlic says, you can rely on oatmeal and muesli and natural peanut butter and raisins and cheese and whatever else you can find that isn't pure junk (sugar and hydrogenated fats). Vegan on the other hand is more difficult, especially for restaurant meals, and especially when relying on small mart-type grocery stores.

  18. #18
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    You can also buy backpackers pantry food on amazon in bulk containers and measure out what you need day by day. Definitely check out harmony house for a reasonably priced dehydrated vegetables, beans, and TVP just stock up on your own grain like cous cous and you'll be set.

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