Fast and Light

Tramping food options for the New Zealand outdoors by Paul Garland. First published in August 2011. Reprinted and revised in April 2013.

This book is written for those, who like me, are always looking for interesting new foods and recipes to extend our daily ration, and make eating a little more exciting and enjoyable, as we hike through our beautiful wilderness. It has been prepared for all trampers in New Zealand who want a few new food ideas, but in particular, it has been prepared for those trampers undertaking multi day tramps, who have greater weight and bulk limitations.

Fast and Light is the theme of this book and where possible I have tried to include as many light weight recipes and food types as possible. For the sake of variety, not all the meals are truly light in weight or volume, but with a bit of mix-and-match planning, most trampers will be able to sort out a menu that fits their weight restrictions.

I have also tried to include as many quick cook recipes as possible, to reduce both the cooking time and the fuel required. Meal preparation times are meant to be a guide only, as cooking conditions will vary considerably and will be influenced by altitude, weather, etc. With a bit of practice, most trampers soon learn to maximise the efficiency of their stove and achieve the best results from their fuel supplies.

I have decided to included only a few fresh food options or ready-made meals brought from home. These are great for first day or overnight meals and you should consider them as part of your menu planning, but in this book I wanted to focus more on the food options for extended and multi day tramps, as these are more challenging to achieve.

Where possible I have provided recipes using basic ingredients found in your pantry or at the supermarket. I have tried to include as many natural foodstuffs as possible to make up the flavours, but sometimes it’s just easier to grab one of the many packet products now available, to achieve the same result. From instant gravy through to stir-fry wok creations, the shops are full of them and if it makes your meal more enjoyable, then use one.

The same goes for meat and fish items. A small tin of smoked salmon or chicken at 85g or125g is not a big consideration in weight, in return for the flavour and texture they give to your meal. For those of you who have access to a dehydrator, I have shared two of my basic dehydrated meat dishes (chicken and beef), to provide a lighter weight alternative.

Tramping food should not be just about eating enough food to keep you going it should be part of enjoying the whole outdoor experience. When planning the meals for your next tramp, think about the whole package. Plan to have a really good breakfast, an interesting lunch and a slap-up dinner.

This way you get variety, not only in texture and flavours, but also the satisfaction of a great experience as well. I hope you enjoy the recipes in this book and that you find it helpful in planning your next tramp.