Depending on the type of trip, your meal plan could look like typical backpacker-fare or it could resemble backcountry glamping. As you're considering your trip and food, keep your objectives in mind. If your goal is to cover as much distance as possible, you'll want to pack lighter, dehydrated meals. If your goal is to cover distance but take your time doing it, your meals can get a bit more creative.
Because there are numerous resources about packing light food for backpacking, this post will focus on the creative meals you can enjoy while on a multi-day paddling adventure. Without the constraints of carrying the weight on your back by use of a wannigan (wooden box that sits in the middle of the canoe) for your canoe trip, options abound for your meals as these sturdy containers make it easy to store food and supplies for water travel.
Oatmeal: The most important meal of the day! If oatmeal is your jam, bring fresh fruit to slice up and heat over the fire for a warm, sweet breakfast treat. For a lighter, quicker, option, dress up your oatmeal with granola or coconut flakes.
Pancakes: In addition oatmeal, if you're carrying a skillet in your wannigan, bring just-add-water pancake mix for a breakfast feast! Slather on some nut butters or hazelnut spread for a mouth-watering pancake masterpiece.
Tuna (or chicken) Melt: Jazz up your lunch routine with tuna melt (or chicken melt) pita sandwiches. Carry in packets of pre-cooked tuna or chicken, pita bread and shelf-stable cheese; assemble your sandwich and heat up over a fire for a tasty mid-day meal.
PB&J: An alternative is the ever popular PB&J; pack a jar of peanut butter (or individual packets, if a small group) and squeezable jelly for a quick sandwich that's easy to make and eat while on the water.
Stir Fry: This is where the magic happens, friends. With a bit more time for dinner, you can really get adventurous. Consider packing fresh broccoli and peppers (pre-cut before the trip) and add in pre-cooked chicken packets for sizzling stir-fry over the fire.
Pasta: If you packed a pot in your wannigan, boil pasta and combine pasta sauce (repackaged from glass jars or aluminum cans) and pre-cut veggies for Italian night at the campsite.
Calzones: If you're feeling really creative (and luxurious), bring in just-add-water pizza dough, pepperoni, shelf-stable cheese and cook a pizza or calzone over the campfire. This is a meal you will not regret or soon forget.
Often times we overlook the 'fun' part of food when planning outdoor trips. Food is fuel, first, but it can also be a playful, adventurous experience, too. I hope this post inspired you to think outside the box (er, inside the wannigan, rather), when preparing for a multi-day canoe trip where weight of supplies is less of a factor than multi-day land adventures. As always, please practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out everything you pack in to leave the wilderness around as pristine as you found it.
*All Photos Courtesy Lynne Petre.