What Do Vegans Bring Backpacking?

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.
— John Muir

John had it right. If you haven't had the profound pleasure of visiting Alaska, come on up already! And when you make it up here, give us a holler, we'll show you around.

Blueberry picking is my favorite thing ever.  Period. I cannot put into words how deeply I yearn to go on our adventures to pluck those juicy, sweet little orbs. It's on par with Christmas. For real. That magical feeling swells and swirls in my heartstrings in anticipation of mid-August when the blueberries are ripe and perfect. I think about it all year long. 

Vegan + Prius = Level 100 Eco-Hippy. 

Vegan + Prius = Level 100 Eco-Hippy. 

We like to pick our berries up at Sheep Mountain, in solitude. It's a vast place that's dominated mostly by four-wheeling hunters (Boo! #sorrynotsorry), but never really see anyone. People aren't generally backpacking where we go. Reason number one, the water situation is less than ideal. I mean, we got water, but we had to bushwhack the same amount of time we actually spent hiking up to our campsite. Reason number two, stupid four-wheeler noises in the distance day and night. Reason number three, it's out of the way. Way out of the way. 

On the plus side, there's lots of berries. The night before, we dehydrated a noodle recipe that I unfortunately wasn't able to document and do a post on. Maybe next week? But, I can give you some insight into what foods vegans bring backpacking. Or, at least the kinds of things that Todd and myself bring. Here's what we brought on this trip. Maybe it will give you some ideas!

  • 2 servings of homemade, dehydrated Teriyaki Pasta
  • 1 bag of falafel chips
  • 1 tub of hummus
  • 4 Prime Meatless Jerky strips
  • 2 Nutz over Chocolate Luna Bars
  • 2 Fruit Leathers
  • 1/2 Endangered Species dark chocolate bar
  • 1 box of Hot Tamale candies
  • 2 servings of homemade oatmeal packets
  • fresh blueberries picked for our oatmeal
  • 2 Starbucks Via coffee packets
  • 1 single serving Silk Very Vanilla soy milk
  • 1 single serving almond milk caramel latte
  • water
  • small concentrated Crystal Light bottle (in case you filter some funky tasting water, it happens)
  • snacks for the road trip up included Annie's Chocolate Bunny Grahams, Original Sun Chips, Gatorade, Monster Energy Drinks (don't judge), and Justin's dark peanut butter cups.

Our backpacking adventures may or may not also kind of be a junk food adventure as well. We don't eat a lot of processed foods at home and so when backpacking, we tend to go a bit crazy.

It can be heavy and cumbersome to bring fresh fruits and veggies, ensuring that they are properly prepared and packaged so they don't get damaged. I did try to bring some fresh foods. Okay, so I bought some apples...that we left at home....

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In case you're wondering, yep, Bob has his own pack. It's the best thing ever. Also, please don't judge me based on this photo. I am just now realizing how absurd I look.

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I know you're not supposed to cook next to your tent (I did work at REI afterall), but it was super windy we we got to the top and at that very spot on the right of the tent, was the only place of calmness. 

Regrettably, we were a bit early on the bluebs. Next week they'll be perfect. I only picked a small amount, until I finally felt bad and quit. Some bushes had ripe berries, a few were totally green, but most were somewhere in between and I felt pretty guilty picking them. 

Last year we went super late (not really thinking of picking berries) and hit the motherload up at this spot. However, a lot of the berries were seriously past their prime and tasted fermented almost! See last years trip in this post.

Bob did a little doggy meditating in the sun the next morning, when the wind was gone. I almost brought my yoga mat, but I only had my heavy one at home. It would have been a most epic yoga practice though!

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Todd snapped some early morning pics while I was still sleeping in the tent with Bob. There's a few more fun photos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that you won't want to miss. Like the time we had to eat with twigs...#mybad.

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Yep, I think it's settled that we'll be heading up there again very soon. I can hear those little blueberries calling my name! Bob can too.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets & Backpacking

Today I give you a simple recipe and some awesome Alaskan backcountry pictures!  When Todd and I decided to go backpacking up by where we got married last year, we knew we had a rather large stash of 1000 year old Mountain Houses and Backpacker's Pantry freeze dried meals. We dug them out only to discover that, as vegans, we couldn't eat a single one. Poo.

So, I decided to make some oatmeal for us. When I was a child, we always brought along those little, sweetened packets of oatmeal backpacking. My favorite was the Fruit and Cream type. Don't you dare give me any of those Apples and Cinnamon ones, blech! Did you know those little packets have whey in them, though? Why, Quaker!? Why???

Oh well. So if you don't want whey in your oatmeal either, here's how to make your own! I used erythritol but you can use sugar if you like. 

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal PacketsBe sure to add freshly picked berries if you have access! This is my favorite breakfast. Bonus points if you eat it in sleeping bag, outside on top of a mountain!

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packet

Inspired by Quaker Oats

Makes 1 packet

  • 1/2 cup dry instant oats
  • 2 tsp. erythritol (or sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla powder
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (optional, or cinnamon, etc.)
  • boiling water (amount to preference)
  • add-ins (berries, fruit, seeds, nuts, etc.)

In a small baggie/canister/bowl add all the ingredients and mix or shake well to combine. When ready to use, place in an appropriate bowl and fill with desired amount of boiling water.Voila. Done. 

Awesome Alaska Backpacking Pictures

And now on to some amazing Alaskan photos. Below you'll see some of the berries I put in my oatmeal!

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal PacketsYes, it was a little late in the season, however, the blueberry situation was OBSCENE! I went bananas...obviously. 

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal PacketsBlueberrymania, no? It was pure joy. The Fall colors were very lovely. We don't have these colors quite yet, outside of the mountains. 

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Still a little ways to go! It was extraordinarily muddy. And here we are, finally at camp! We made it!

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

This is the Official "My Backpack's Off"' pose, in case you were wondering. There's no quite feeling like it. Don't laugh.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Todd and Bob may have the whole "relaxing" thing down a bit better than I do.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

We saw a massive bear print along with scat. So that was special.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

This is what vegans bring camping when they don't plan ahead and dehydrate a meal. There is also some chocolate with candied ginger, and lemon drops too!

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Todd got a JetBoil for his birthday. What a spoiled boy!

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Our furry child hauls his own goodies, of course. 

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

He loves us.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Family picture! We were photobombed by a blueberry...

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal PacketsWe were happy to squeeze the last backpacking trip in before the snow flies. It was 32 F when I left for work this morning, so literally, we could have snow any day now! Bring it on.

Produce On Parade - Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

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Meatless Jerky? Meatless Jerky!

Well, it's summer in Alaska. And it's hot. Like, unseasonably hot. This is a good(ish) thing because the last three years have been awfully rainy. Summer in Alaska means two things to someone who was born and raised here. Number one is tourists. Oh, the tourists. That's for another post though. And number two is backpacking. Yes, almost as wonderful as skiing.

The problem with backpacking in Alaska is that come mid-June, in town there will be lush, greenery bursting from the trees, the grass will be waving in the wind and (hopefully) the hot sun will rest on your shoulders and back. However, up where the backpacking happens...erm...not so much. Todd, Gracie and I went up to the April Bowl in Hatcher Pass to hike this weekend and though it opened early due to our unseasonably warm temperatures, there was still snow! Check it out yourself!

Backpacking and hiking has been on our minds ever since we got back from Ohio. It's in our blood and we have the itch, people! I began thinking about how I needed go to the store and get some of our backpacking essentials. Our list includes lightweight, nutrient dense foods. We sometimes make our own dehydrated dishes or purchase some at REI. We also always bring some trail mix and beef jerky. Oh dear. Beef jerky is not going to fly with our vegan values. I pondered this for quite some time until I decided that it would be an awful thing to subject Todd to, no beef jerky on our backpacking trips. So, of course I began searching for a meatless beef jerky. I just knew someone had to make it. And that someone(s) are the good vegan people at Primal Spirit Foods. I first found this meatless jerky on Amazon.com (where my research knows no bounds) and I received an assortment of strips to test and review.

Oh yes, people. It exists. Meatless vegan jerky is a thing and it is downright tasty! Besides their tastylicious jerky, I love their mission statement too.

"We at Primal Spirit Foods are dedicated to offering the consumer healthy, high-quality, meat alternative foods and other products that all are natural and good tasting...We have purposely chosen the manufacturing and sale of meat alternative food and healthier products as an expression of our desire to act more harmoniously with the environment, and our fellow living beings."

Makes my heart sing! I'm also immensely happy that they are vegan and not just vegetarian. It's difficult to find "meatless" products that don't have egg or milk in them! Seriously. Why not just go all the way? Lots of people have dairy and/or egg allergies! Why not take them into consideration? I don't know...it just doesn't make sense to me. Okay, okay, I'll get off my soapbox. I'm so sassy today!

Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky

What: Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky come in six flavors. Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime, Teriyaki, Hot & Spicy, Hickory Smoked, and Texas BBQ. I love how there is a flavor for nearly everyone! They range from 78-108 calories each. They are lightweight and are great for camping, backpacking or slipping into lunches. I think I'll keep a few in my car and purse for those times hunger strikes!

How: The Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime and Teriyaki jerky stips are seitan based. The Hot & Spicy jerky is made from shiitake mushrooms and the Hickory Smoked and Texas BBQ jerkys are soy based.

Why: Because jerky doesn't have to be cruel, and it can be absolutely delicious being plant-based as opposed to meat-based. But to be honest, I think they made it for Todd and me and our Alaskan backpacking adventures. Sounds about right.

Cost: Depending on how it's purchased on Amazon, Primal Strips will cost anywhere from $1.05-$1.67 per strip. Not bad! This might vary in your local stores, however.

Taste: Todd and I both really enjoyed the bold flavors! My favorite was the Mesquite Lime, with the Thai Peanut a close second. Todd's favorite was the Texas BBQ. We loved how spot-on the flavors were. There wasn't one we didn't enjoy! They were a tad salty for my tastes, but when hiking, salty is just what you need.

Compare: The jerky sort of resembles a really fatty, marbled piece of meat which I found to be slightly disturbing at first. It isn't tough like meat jerky is, it's very tender. I appreciated that and Todd as well. This vegan jerky would be a great alternative to meat jerky for the elderly and children as it is much easier to consume. It also doesn't get stuck in your teeth! Yay!

Convert: Still an omnivore? If you're trying to be healthier or just want to try something new or impress your friends, give this meatless jerky a try. Just because am a vegan doesn't mean I was a little unsure of such a thing as meatless vegan jerky. I don't just sit around in my hemp pajamas (I don't own any hemp clothes...for the record) and eat bowls of tofu and seitan. In fact, I had seitan for the first time just last week!

Recurrence: I will definitely be purchasing these. I think they will be great to take along for our adventures as they are lightweight, nutritious and tasty. I'll also keep a few around in my purse in case I need an emergency snack. I already ordered my first box from Amazon!

Someone really wanted to try one...but, it was too good to share. Are doggy treats from Primal Spirit Foods next?

*Disclaimer*  Produce On Parade is a personal blog written and edited by myself and Todd only, unless otherwise noted. Our reviews are completely based on our own opinions of the product reviewed. We are not paid to write posts. This product was supplied to us as a gift by the company to test and review. Otherwise, if we mention a company by name and there is no disclaimer at the bottom of the post, we am merely writing about something we like, purchase and/or use. The fact that we do receive a product as a gift to test and review, will never positively influence the content made in our post.