Just Add Water
by PJ DelHomme
We’ve covered energy bars in this section, but there comes a point when elk hunters need to eat real food. Bacon and eggs are great, but what about the quick and easy options for a hunter who’s living lean and chasing elk hard all day? There are lightweight options out there. Here are a few of our favorites.
Oatmeal—To put it simply, you’re going to get full and stay full. Don’t be afraid to add brown sugar, raisins, whatever you need to get it into your gut. Regular oatmeal weighs no more and only takes about four more minutes to cook than the instant stuff. It’s worth it. Coffee—Dump a nearly weightless and surprisingly tasty pack of Starbucks Via instant coffee into a cup, add hot water. It’s that easy.
Consider eating the big meal of the day around 2 or 3 p.m. when the elk are relaxing in their beds. When it’s time to hunt, you have elk on your mind and not an empty stomach. If you end up chasing them into the evening, all you need to do is drink plenty of water and munch an energy bar before crawling into bed. Backpacker meals from Mountain House or the newly launched and tasty Paleo Meals To Go
and even a few packs of ramen noodles are fair game when it comes to packing in the calories by only adding water. You can also purchase military MREs that don’t even need water and come with their own flameless heater.
Few things compare to the taste of filtered mountain water, but consider supplementing your free spring water with more energy. Single-serving packs of Clif Shot Electrolyte mix, or Mtn Ops Enduro offer a tasty way to replenish spent reserves. While that thermos of coffee sounds good (and warm) the caffeine acts as a diuretic and helps dehydrate you. Herbal tea is a great alternative when it’s cold.
While the lightest option to heat water is to simply build a fire, it’s not the most efficient or covert. Why alert every elk within a mile of your presence when you can easily whip out a stove and fuel canister? Stoves like the MSR PocketRocket ($40) will boil water in two minutes, take up minimal space and emit only the scent of dried shrimp from your ramen.