Preparing the right kind of food for a multi-day ride on the Munda Biddi Trail is one of the most important considerations cyclists need to make. Food can add considerably to the weight of one's backpack, significantly affecting the level of enjoyment experienced on the ride. The list below is just a guideline for you to get started.
If you wish to increase your recipe repertoire and learn more about appropriate food for multi-day off-road cycling, our friends at the Bibbulmun Track Foundation hold fantastic Food In A Fuel Stove courses!
Tips for your food preparation
- As with other gear, weight is very important when considering which food items to pack.
- On a longer multi-day trip (say three days or more), aim to pack about 700 grams - 1kg per person per day.
- A balanced off-road cycling diet includes more fat and sugar than a normal diet.
- Buddy-up and share as much as you can - you don't need more than one container of coffee, etc.
- Remove as much packaging as you can – re-pack in snap lock bags, they’re light and reusable. Better still, avoid buying heavily packaged items in the first place. Shop to Leave No Trace!
- Label the snap lock bags (eg Lunch day 1).
- Canned food is too heavy, bottles and glass jars are heavy and may break and you have to carry out the empties.
- Pack breakfast and dinner in one big strong stuff-bag, and lunch and snacks in another of a different colour – it makes it easier to find what you want when you need it.
- Do you really need a bowl? Can you eat from your pot? Do you really need a fork and a spoon?
- Luxuries are fine, but you’ve got to carry them - think before you pack! Some high energy and dehydrated foods, which may seem like luxuries, are actually very sensible on a ride eg sun dried tomatoes, fruit leather, chocolate. Take small quantities of highly flavoured, compact ingredients such as capers, herb and spice sprinkles, sambals and pickles, relishes and garlic, to add interest to the bland staples.
- Things that take a long time to cook or prepare can be a hassle if it’s cold, wet or late.
- Think! How much can you really eat during the time you are out there?
You pack it, you carry it. If you think you might need it, don't take it.
Pack it in, pack it out! (ie if you don't eat it, you must carry it back out.) Please adhere to the Leave No Trace principles for the Munda Biddi Trail and do not leave any food out there whatsoever. This includes apple cores, fruit skins, food scraps, buried or otherwise.
Do not assume you will be able to burn rubbish. Many campsites do not have a fire place - they have a year-round fire-ban. Also most sachets these days are foil or plastic lined. These either won't burn or produce carcinogens which you and fellow hikers will then breathe in. Remember most people are out on the Trail to get away from pollution. Do not burn plastics or polystyrenes. Please do not try and burn tins. They won't burn. If you bring them in then do the right thing and carry them out.
Our maintenance volunteers really appreciate you helping them reduce the amount of rubbish they have to carry out.
- Cereals: muesli (can be cooked for porridge). Look for a good balance of taste and nutrients. Add powdered milk to cereals and mix with water later. UHT milks are an option but they weight more.
- Porridge: oats, cracked wheat, semolina, polenta plus dried fruit (soak in hot water to create juice).
- Breakfast bars - watch the sugar content.
- Pancakes - these can be a great idea but make sure you have the time to prepare and clean up.
You can make sandwiches for the first day or pack some of the ingredients below and make them in the bush.
- Crackers: Ryvitas, Salada, sesame wheat, Vitta-wheats.
- Bread: sliced and fairly solid eg rye, pita bread, mountain bread.
- Cheese: Dutch edam/gouda keeps well. Regular cheddar cheese keeps well if removed from its plastic wrapper and is wrapped in cloth.
- Salami/biltong/jerky: choose your favourites. They will last longer if kept whole and not pre-cut.
- Sardines/tuna: sachets are now available.
- Toppings: margarine, peanut butter, jam or honey, vegemite or promite, chutney/pickles, hommus, tahini.
- Fresh fruit and/or vegies: generally for shorter trips only. Choose items that are easy to carry, such as capsicum, cucumber, carrots, celery.
There are many prepared packet meals, either rice or noodle based, available at supermarkets. When cooked simply and quickly, they make a filling and mostly tasty dinner. Add to these any extras you like – cheese, salami, tuna, dehydrated (or fresh) vegetables etc. Most people find they can eat a whole “4 serve” packet themselves, after a good day's ride!
Freeze-dri meals by Back Country Cuisine are lightweight, convenient and quick to prepare and tend to have better ingredients than the supermarket variety. Back Country Cuisine is available at the following stores on, or near, the Trail:
- Mountain Designs
- BCF Midland
- Dwellingup Adventures
- Camping World Collie
- Manjimup Mitre 10
- Pemberton Discovery Centre
- Ricketts Jack F & Co, Denmark
- Trailblazers, Albany
- Camping Kayaks 4 x 4, Albany
Alternatively dehydrate your own meals or ingredients before you go, prepare meal-sized sachets (snap lock bags) of protein and add-in flavouring ingredients, then simply add noodles, couscous or rice on your trip. Our friends at the Bibbulmun Track Foundation have dehydrators for hire. Many cyclists enjoy the benefits of drying their own food. The food lasts longer, is far lighter and is better for you. Almost anything can be dehydrated from broccoli to lamb stew to mangos.
- Protein: TVP/lentils/nuts/beans/salami/coppa or parma ham/split peas/tuna/dried duck or fish / cheese/biltong/chopped nuts-cashews, pistachios.
- Carbohydrates: rice (jasmine or basmati is good and cooks quicker than brown), pasta or noodles, dried mashed potato/rice noodles/ couscous.
- Add-ins: tomato flakes, dried onions, dried mushrooms, garlic flakes, parsley flakes, dried vegies, herbs and spices (mixed/separate). Remember salt and pepper, curry powder, stock cubes or powder (very good for quick flavour boost), flavouring base - packet sauce/casserole base etc, beef stroganoff/sweet and sour/ etc, grated parmesan cheese (for noodle dishes).
Dessert and snacks
- Instant pudding (packets or shake and set).
- Dried fruit and custard (try the instant custard sachets).
- Rice pudding, biscuits or chocolate.
- Trail mix: sultanas/raisins/nuts/banana chips/m&m's/smarties, lollies etc.
- Backcountry Cuisine desserts include apple pie, cheesecake and strawberry ice-cream!
Powdered milk, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, sugar, malt powder. Think about how much you will need - don’t just take a full container.