Recipes & Food: Easy Eating
You're planning a bike overnight deep in the forest and you'd like to keep dinner simple? Instead of cooking and cleaning, would you rather spend your time biking, hiking, fishing, or exploring the land around you? When I have a busy weekend bicycle trip, I put ready-to-eat foods in a bear-proof canister and hit the road. It’s quick, easy, and tasty.
A bear-proof canister keeps your food safe from bears and other forest critters (e.g. mice, raccoons) without needing to hang your food from a tree each evening. Hanging food has always been a time-consuming hassle for me. It’s difficult to do well, especially after dark. With a bear canister, I just set my food down in the forest about 100 yards from my tent. In the morning I walk over and pick it up again. The canister I use is the popular BearVault BV-500. It’s 12 inches high and 9 inches in diameter, and easily holds enough food for two people for two nights, with room to spare for other animal attractants like toothpaste and sunscreen. I usually attach it to my front or rear rack with bungee cords (either on top or on the side). I put a stuff sack around the clear canister to keep the sun from overheating my food, and I wrap an old bike tube around it to protect it from scratches. I’ve also carried my canister in a trailer or large pannier.
Ready-to-eat foods save even more time. With nothing to cook and little to clean, there’s no need for a pot, stove, fuel, or dish soap. On a recent two-night trip with my six-year-old son, we took the following foods: bagel sandwiches, bagels + cream cheese, pasta salad, dried fruit mix, energy bars, granola bars, chocolate covered pretzels, cookies, candy, peanuts, and Kool-Aid packets. Ready-to-eat works best on summer overnights, when the weather is warm and there's lots of daylight for exploring. In spring, autumn, or winter the cold, dark evenings can leave you craving soup and hot cocoa.