North America has some of the most amazing hiking and camping locations in the world. There are stunning national parks and trail systems that are meticulously managed by a combination of government agencies and dedicated volunteers.
We have chosen some of the best destinations to highlight in this article. These are natural wonders that are for serious outdoorsmen. Most are not campsites where you can park an RV and cook up a meal from the local grocery store. You will want to plan your food wisely so that it will last for several days during your trek.
Zion National Park
Zion is hot right now. This beautiful park is nestled in the southwest corner of the state of Utah. This is a diverse landscape that varies from dry dessert areas with orange colored arches and outcroppings to lush green oases with natural water features. The Virgin River carves its way through the canyon. A hike along the river offers breathtaking views. The night sky is lit up with a blanket of stars.
Banff National Park
Banff is one of the most beautiful locations in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It is a year round outdoor playground. Banff caters to those who absolutely love to explore the great outdoors and all that the Rockies have to offer. The free-standing limestone pillars beckon to adventurous climbers and hikers. You can climb the rock face of Squaw Mountain or off-road cycle along Healy Creek.
The Hawaiian Islands
The islands of Hawaii have some of the best hiking and natural wonders to take in. Plus, they are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean! The Big Island has fabulous black sand beaches, lush rain forests, snow covered peaks, and solidified lava deserts. The biggest natural attraction is the active Kilauea volcano.
Maui is ideal for those travelling with children. Oahu attracts surfers and outdoor adventurers. Kauai has some of the most spectacular hikes along the lush cliffs towering over the ocean.
Grand Teton National Park
Sitting just above the ski resort of Jackson Hole are the towering Teton Mountains at 13,770 feet tall. The peaks are capped with snow. The most photographed areas of the park are Jackson and Jenny Lakes
that grab the reflections of the peaks. In the high summer season, hikers hit the area's trails in search of spectacular mountain views and hidden waterfalls. The Snake River is popular with rafters.
This park is 500 square miles. It boasts of black bears, grizzlies, bison, and moose. Travel just north and you are in Yellowstone National Park.
The White Mountains
The White Mountains are a spans over approximately one quarter of the state of New Hampshire and into a corner of the state of Maine in Northeastern United States. This is one of our favorite areas to hike along the Appalachian Trail. They are part of the northern Appalachian Mountains and the most rugged mountains in New England. The range is heavily visited by both New Englanders and residents of Quebec, Canada.
The Presidential Range, as this part of the Appalachian Trail is referred to, includes the 6,288 foot tall Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. Mount Washington is known for its weather extremes. For this reason, there is an observatory on top of the mountain for research. It is possible to drive to the summit. However, this mountain is a climber’s dream. You will go from dense forest to tundra conditions.
Planning Meals for Your Trip
Before heading to your destination, you will want to plan your meals and make sure you bring the best food choices that will last the longest. Think like a survivalist so that you are prepared for anything. MRE kits are a great place to start.
MRE stands for Meal Ready to Eat. Each MRE Meal Kit contains military grade rations and include a 3 course 1,200 calorie meal with an entrée, a side dish, a bread or cracker with spread (peanut butter or jelly) or cheese, a dessert, and electrolyte beverage mixes. Each kit also contains condiments, a napkin, a spoon, and a flameless ration heater.
These kits are shelf stable and designed to last up to five years when properly stored. The food is pre-cooked and ready for consumption. The flameless ration heater enables you to enjoy a hot meal.
In addition to dehydrated, freeze-dried, and vacuum sealed foods there are certain natural and properly packaged foods that last quite a long time that you can pack for your excursion as well. In our experience, the foods with the longest shelf-life include:
Salt is a naturally occurring mineral that can literally last forever if not contaminated.
Canned Foods will last much longer than fresh produce. Consider beans, vegetables, fruit, chili, and sardines in cans.
Honey is an excellent long-lasting food that can be used in place of sugar for sweetening just about anything. It also has antibacterial properties.
Sugar won’t last as long as honey. However, if it is stored in air-tight and pest-proof containers it can last a few years.
Vinegar is a great preservative. You can preserve vegetables and animal protein in pressure sealed jars for a very long time.
Powdered Milk is a great substitute for real milk. There really is no safe way to carry real milk in a backpack without it spoiling. Powdered milk can quickly be reconstituted with water for cereal or coffee.
Rice can last for years if it is stored in closed containers that will not allow moisture or pests in.
Peanut Butter is one of our favorite foods for hiking and camping. It provides energy in the form of protein and fat. A jar or tube of peanut butter can last up to 2 years.
Storing Foods for Trips and Emergencies
Proper storage is paramount to the shelf life of food. Cool, dry, dark environments are best. Air-tight containers are necessary to deter mold and pests.
Rotation is just as important. We recommend you clearly date any food you are storing, if there isn’t already an expiration or best buy date stamped on the packaging. Place the oldest foods on the front of a shelf and be sure to eat these first. As soon as foods hit their expiration date, rotate the foods from the back of the shelf to the front and replace with more new foods. Organization is a good habit when stockpiling.
As advocates and preparers of MRE kits for military needs, camping trips, survival, and emergencies, we think everyone in North America can benefit from keeping some stores of food on hand. Meal Kits can take the guesswork out of your meal storage needs.