Now when anyone mentions a wilderness overnighter, two things spring to mind for me. Fun and sub-par, freeze dried meals....
If you're anything like me (old and fat with an insatiable appetite for food), food is a massive part about life in general but more so when you really need it. Quality, quantity and ease of use must rank highly on my pigometer so when deciding my overnighters, my choices have always been taken very seriously.
Recently, I had been reading a fair bit of hype about the go native world 24hr food packs from many others adventures with fairly consistent and promising results. Naturally, my curiosity levels grew so with a pending south island trip to ride the old ghost road, I thought I'd give them a go.
Previously, I had generally used other freeze dried products such as back country cuisine, Absolute Wilderness or my own hybrid mixtures of things. Now don't get me wrong here, These meals have done the job for me, but I often found I needed to eat more then I really should to be feeling properly refueled. Coupled with that my stomach often quietly disputes the dehydrated foods for days to come.... I'll leave you to figure that one out.
The part that separates the Go native meals from the rest are they're real food, NOT dehydrated... Ok, so dehydrated is still real food but you get what I mean. The food is a Ready to go, pre-cooked, heat and eat, wholesome style of food with actual chunks of veges and flavours worthy of a meal out.
So with my vegetable curry 24hr food pack in hand (Bag), an extra ziplock bag loaded full of canned corned beef for some extra protein and an added macho meat mentality. A few extra items of food I felt necessary to carry for our longer then 24 hr mission (extra sea-lord tuna pouches for lunches, extra coffee bags, a few extra Em's Power-Cookies and snack treats). I set out with a bunch of 19 other good bastards en-route to the infamous Ghost Lake hut.
Now for those that have completed the Old Ghost Road, they will note that the Ghost Road's sleeping and eating facilities are literally hotel like. Coffee cups, plates, pots, pans, self igniting full-size gas rings and excessively pure, West Coast water.
Arriving at the hut, all the other suckers began their soaking process of their dehydrated food and waited impatiently for boiled water to become available. All but 3 of us that was....Two others did it tough and carried in eggs, steak, a few veges and some canned food. Did their hard work reap the rewards? I know one thing for sure is they were about ready to start eating the weight in food very early on in the day which proved the balance of weight to fuel still plays a fairly major part. We calculated their weight of food was around 3-4 kilograms which seemed a near tonne compared the rest of us..... Of course I was by far the smartest here though right? Wholesome food that didn’t weigh the world.
So in goes my cup of water to my rice sachet which happily sits off to the side while I empty the vegetable curry mix and my added Corned beef into the pan to cook through. All the while the aroma is gradually wandering it's way around the hut with many a "what have you got?" frequently popping up while they begrudgingly glance at their pouches of mush with a severe case of food envy.
For the first time on an overnighter, I felt like I was properly fueled and ready for a solid nights sleep and the pending next days 55km’s of pedaling. Having actually eaten what felt like a home cooked meal that not only filled me up, it tasted as if it was freshly cooked from raw ingredients I was certain I had reached king status. This is all the while being 1390m above sea level inside a 60 sqm hut remember?
Main meal aside, the 24 hr food pack is pretty spot on for what you'll need while out and about for a day in the wilderness. Their fruit bars are absolutely delicious and work too! The pack comes ready with main meal, lunch, Breakfast and a few snacks all neatly packed inside a sealed bag that will squash down to an easily manageable size.
If you're going for over 24hr's like we did then I suggest you top up the pack with a few more like items to a level you're comfortable with. Add a few treats, more tuna pouches, energy chocolate, scroggin, a few soft lollies and a can of beer.... OK, so maybe the latter isn't absolutely essential but it's worth it.
As always with these types of food and scenario's, it always pays to try things out before you go if you are new to these styles of adventure. There is nothing worse then reading some morons blog and taking it for gospel only to find you spend the whole time starving. You know your body and what fuels it but trust me when I say, you'll enjoy these meals from the Kiwi Legends at Go Native World.
Get your's straight from the good folks here or find a local retailer to purchase in store. One important thing to note here is not only do they do food packs for your adventure, they also have some snazzy little accessories for roughing it in the wild....