Yellowstone Backpacking Food Safety, Part One

Food safety on a backpack trip, in Yellowstone and elsewhere, begins with the effort to ensure that the food ends up in your digestive tract, not in that of a bear. Or, for that matter, in that of a mouse or squirrel! And this effort begins in the grocery store.

When shopping for backpacking food, remember that some foods spoil easily and others do not. Also, remember that a bear’s sense of smell is over a thousand times better than that of us lowly humans, so please, forget the bacon and other forms of fresh meat. Please walk right past the grocery store meat department and spend your shopping time pondering different brands of oatmeal, rice, pasta and energy bars. Do you really have to have fresh eggs and pancakes on a backpack trip? Are we Americans really so spoiled that we can’t forgo culinary luxuries when out in the wilds for a while? Ask yourselves why your out in wild nature to begin with! Do you wish to spend huge amounts of camp time preparing fancy (and smelly) foods, or would you rather be watching wildlife or sniffing wildflowers ? Or maybe just sitting under a tree watching the clouds go by (my personal favorite activity). Or exploring the terrain near camp. So leave highly odoriferous foods that will attract bears in the grocery store. This will also keep you from working too hard once you reach camp.

While planning and preparing a wilderness backpacking menu is beyond the scope of this missive, in following the above advice, consider how much you’ll enjoy that first icy brew and hot bison burger on a toasted bun after you leave the wilderness! And stay tuned for part two of “Yellowstone Backpacking and Food Safety”.



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