The vegan backpacking thread

Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by Stuart, Apr 25, 2020.

  1. Stuart

    Stuart Section Hiker

    I'm interested to hear positive suggestions for vegan backpacking.

    I'm not vegan but am pretty close in terms of my diet. In most other areas of life I don't use animal products but then in some I do... However, I'm interested in moving closer to becoming vegan.

    I'd like to hear about backpacking food but other gear as well.

    Despite thinking I was pretty aware of veganism I had a start the other day watching Mary Mansfield's YouTube channel where she talks about sleeping bags and wanting synthetic in order to avoid down, not something I'd ever really considered before.

    She's also got good experience of nutrition on long treks having done the PCT

    I'll stop there.
    SteveMat, theoctagon, and38 and 4 others like this.
  2. Snowonher

    Snowonher Summit Camper

    I’ll be following this thread closely. My diet is 95% plant based, but mainly for health benefits so I still use down and other animal products in gear.

    Having said that, my motivations for being plant based are now becoming more environmental, so I’ll look at how that can effect my gear choices in the future. (I guess environmental reasons is a separate topic in itself as it necessarily includes environmental impacts of all kinds, not just animal products).

    The only gear I’ve really bought with this in mind are vegan shoes from Vivobarefoot. I still own a couple pairs of leather vivos, one pair i bought recently, but their vegan options are so good that in the future I’ll stick to buying them.

    As for food, Firepot do 3 or 4 vegan dehydrated meals and in my opinion they’re really, really tasty...not just compared to trail food. I also drink a lot of Huel or MyProtein Whole Fuel which has all the macros and micros you need. I keep it pre measured in a shaker and add water when i pass a source.

    Personally, although I’d like to reduce gear from animal products, gear isn’t such an urgent issue for me as I typically keep a down jacket or bag for 5+ years, which compared to the daily impact of the meat industry feels a lot less harmful. I’m sure my view will change, though.
    theothernickh and theoctagon like this.
  3. mathijs

    mathijs Summit Camper

    I'm vegan/plant-based since the start of the year and I'm really satisfied so far. My recovery has been better and more energy all around.
    Check out Scott Jurek, he is an endurance athlete with many astonishing results all done while being vegan. His book Eat & Run is a good read about the plant-based endurance lifestyle.
    My future gear purchases will all be animal cruelty-free as well, it's not hard to find vegan products since most outdoor gear companies are starting to be more "green". For example, nearly all Inov-8 shoes are vegan.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
    theothernickh and Snowonher like this.
  4. OneBeardedWalker

    OneBeardedWalker Trail Blazer

    Snowonher likes this.
  5. Snowonher

    Snowonher Summit Camper

    Dan Stenziano has a good youtube channel and he’s just put out a video about eating vegan on the CDT. On the whole It’s predictably pretty trashy but there are a few good ideas so maybe worth checking out:
    theoctagon likes this.
  6. Stuart

    Stuart Section Hiker

    On food, I wonder if the USA is more vegan-friendly than smalltown Europe? Mary Mansfield seemed to find it OK on the PCT but bought a lot of bespoke vegan dehydrated meals (she's also an incredibly positive person, which helps).

    Short trips are fine if you can prep your own dehydrated food

    Last year in Spain in Aragon on the GR1 it was very difficult to resupply even as a vegetarian, never mind vegan. I wonder what it would be like, say, on the Cape Wrath Trail?

    I've got a speculative idea, probably never to be fulfilled, of walking through the Tatra and Carpathians from Slovakia through to SW Romania. That would be a challenge on a vegan diet!
  7. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    Thankfully none of this silliness here 3DEF15FC-39F8-460C-BB16-03C25714C56A.jpeg
  8. MikeinDorset

    MikeinDorset Ultralighter

    (Sort of) vegan here. I went fully vegan for about 18 months but for health reasons (I've always had a low-ish iron count and supplements don't have much effect), I now eat plant stuff 13 days a fortnight and on the other, a steak (with plant stuff). GP friend said to give it a try and it works, the difference is enormous. It's the kind of choice that gets some people a bit apoplectic, but there we go. I'm open about it with friends.

    (Actually, in response to the above meme, I've found the opposite: I don't talk about it, other than to let people know if necessary (but I know that plenty of vegans do), but I'm *astonished* at how much other people want to quiz me about it. It's nuts sometimes. I have found it odd how people think it's OK to audit my choices in the most extraordinary detail. I'd never think to interrogate their moral failings as a parent or religious believer, for example.)

    I didn't get rid of any animal products like down sleeping bags. It wasn't going to save an animal's life and I'm not bothered about signalling. But I've not bought animal products since. Down lasts for ages if looked after, I have a couple of good synthetic jackets as well and I don't wear leather or suede boots, just walking trainers and I check the component materials. I rarely need to wear smart shoes so I just look after those and hope they'll last a lifetime with a bit of resoling now and then. I can't honestly say for sure what I'd do if I needed a new sleeping bag but I would certainly aim to get synthetic, I think.

    As for backpacking food, I think vegan cheese is awful as are most meat substitutes so I avoid them. Here's what I like but I doubt it's anything new. I'm only ever out in the hills for a night or two a few times a year and I'm happy to eat the same stuff for a couple of days and then binge on novelty once home, at a campsite or in a pub with a vegan choice or two.


    Peanuts. I eat a ton of peanuts when hiking, I can't get enough of them.
    Dried fruit and nut mix
    Dark chocolate
    Falafels fall apart too easily unless in a roll, but samosas seem to hold together. I quite like them a bit soft and soggy out the packet, though.
    Peanut butter and jam rolls
    Avocado or guacamole
    Home-made bean dip
    Chickpea 'coronation chicken' sandwiches with vegan mayo
    There are lots of easy and tasty vegan tray bake and energy bar recipes out there.
    Vegan 'sausage' rolls made with mushrooms, nuts and onions.
    Mixed bean salad in a pot. Add more olive oil.


    Ramen noodles. Get the nicer Asian ones from a Chinese supermarket, they are much nicer and come with better sachet thingies. Pimp up with some spring onions and shredded cabbage and (more!) peanuts, or Tofu puffs from the Chinese supermarket.
    Any sort of home made lentil/chick pea curry, boiled in the bag ( I suspect those would dehydrate well, lots of vegan recipes would I expect)
    Instant oats made with water are just fine.
    Any sort of vegan/nut burger you like, take frozen, let defrost during the trip and just heat in a bag and squish into a flatbread with something.
    Pasta and vegan pesto
    There are lots of ready to heat pouches of grains and legumes now. I assume that if I can microwave them I can simmer them. I add more olive oil.

    I don't think there's much of a problem to provide sufficient energy or nice food, I think it's more that there's a bit less convenience and fewer dried options. If I was doing longer trips I would get a dehydrator, I think, and learn to dehydrate my own meals.
  9. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Cut out dairy and eggs 100%, and meat 90% since last winter

    For home i don't buy any prepackaged food anymore
    I usually cook up a huggeeeee batch of old favorites about once a month and freeze them:
    Vegetable stew
    Vegan bolognese sauce
    Tomato sauce

    I'm not much of a "weigh it out" kinda bloke so the ingredients change each time, but usually
    Mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potato, peppers, onions/shallots, ginger and tumeric root
    Various beans are then added depending on what i can get
    I find black beans slightly mushed up are pretty good texture wise

    Home made pasta, spaghetti (Mrs's mum makes it not me)

    I'll make a huge salad bowl once a week:
    Grated cabbage and carrots, peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach
    I'll then add 1/2 apple, avocado, grated fresh ginger, fresh blueberries, crushed walnuts, olive oil
    Sometimes i'll add some fresh fish (type depending on what was caught that day) or shrimps, or tofu (usually heavily spiced cause it taste like crap otherwise)

    Even if i had a dehydrator i don't see any of my usual suspects dehydrating well
    So will be watching this thread carefully for dried hiking food suggestions :thumbsup:
    Snowonher and theoctagon like this.
  10. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    You mean you don't have it all on a spreadsheet :eek:?
    gixer likes this.
  11. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    I've been something like "vegan" for 5+ years. It's a pain travelling, but from the comfort of home and doing 2-7 day trips with a permanent residence, a dehydrator makes a huge amount of difference. No challenge at all. I don't bother with fancy dehydrator recipes, I just dehydrate leftovers in the run up to a trip. They don't dry as well as drying individual ingredients, but they last fine for at least a few weeks. Best, tastiest and most nutritious backpacking meals I've had. Drier meals do work better, or ones that can be a bit soupy and sludgy (e.g. I'll leave my dals simmering for ages to evaporate the moisture before drying them).

    When I spend long periods abroad, generally living off my bike or out of my backpack, my diet becomes a lot worse... a lot of orange lentil and riced based dishes. Lentils are cheap, cook quickly and quite dense in protein and iron. I'll carry a few jars of my favourite spice mixes (bere bere and garam masala), and some soy, sweet chilli in small bottles. I'll also bring a small bottle of olive oil, which I stuff with garlic and chilli (great calorie dense flavour).

    I eat as much fresh veg as I can when stopping in town.

    At home I've stopped worrying about diet after years of people worrying I might be about to die. I did blood tests last year and wasn't deficient anywhere. Simply I eat a wide range of fruit and veges, with a few staple legumes and pulses. Supermarket veg is usually low quality in both flavour, environmental impact and nutritional density.

    Whenever I'm settling somewhere for longer than a month, I've made a habit of finding local organic veg box schemes. They're largely seasonal (though many will import, particularly in winter months), much fresher and tastier and nutriotional + the lack of choice means I eat a lot of stuff I wouldn't necessarily pick out at a shop (and a lot of stuff usually isn't available in non-specialty shops - supermarkets are limited to about 20 staple vegetables year round, when there are hundreds of varieties that grow in the UK), which gives diversity to my palette and nutrional intake.

    In the UK, it has always costed between £9 and £15 for more than enough fruit and veg for me through a box scheme. Cheaper if you're sharing with someone. When I am relying on supermarkets I easily spend more on lower quality (nutrition, flavour, miles) produce. So it's cheaper, better quality and supports local(ish) business.

    The Soil Association has a list of UK box schemes -

    Random side note - lots of vegeterians don't use down either, for obvious reasons. It's been a relatively recent phenomenon that there have been obvious distinctions between vegan and vegeterian diets. For example many years ago most vegeterians wouldn't consume dairy or eggs as there is a lot of inherent animal slaughter in those processes - these days the term vegeterian has become a lot looser and generally just means someone who doesn't consume the flesh of an animal - some people even call themselves vegeterians if they don't eat red meat, but still eat chickens and fish :confused:
    OneBeardedWalker and Snowonher like this.
  12. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Interesting article on "fresh" produce on the BBC

    Gist is,
    Unless your getting "just picked out the ground" fresh, some veg retain more vitamins when they are frozen, others tinned
    Thought that really interesting

    Vitamin C isn't a worry for me, i love kiwi fruit so have 1 or 2 a day
    Spinach losing 75% of it's VitC after 7 days in the fridge is crazy though :eek:

    Same here
    Impossible to maintain a decent diet when i'm working away

    I usually buy a lot of fruit and eat as much as i can, but for food it's business meals or airport food

    Started insisting on having an apartment rather than a hotel room, so i've been preparing food to take into work the next day
    Not easy after 12-16 hours work then commuting though

    On the plus side, when i'm working away i tend to be working hard physically, so far i've lost weight on every project even with the crap diet
  13. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    Then there are various cultural and religious differences, such as Hindu vegetarians, who eat milk but not eggs. But the moral and ethical arguments are probably best left elsewhere.

    Interesting organic veg box link, thanks (though I'm not really tempted by the box idea myself).
  14. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    Indeed - it becomes murky ethical territories.

    Out of curiosity what's your resistance to the box idea?

    That was interesting. Though i interpretted the canned section as the highest degradation of nutrients?
    The stage of the plant during harvest has a lot of impact on nutrients in various parts - e.g. sprouts are very nutritionally dense (generally).
  15. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    I don't think it's a bad idea, it's just one I have no need of. I'm luck enough to live in a place with several greengrocers within easy walking distance, including two that sell organic fruit and veg if I wanted, and to work flexible hours, so it's easy enough for me to go out and get what I want without paying extra for someone to deliver it. However, I can see the appeal of being presented with random unusual (to me) veg that would force me to cook something different; though there's equally the risk of that stuff going to waste cos I can't get around to working out what to do with it...
    oreocereus likes this.
  16. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    Gotcha. I know a few folks who’ve started box schemes and indeed had trouble with customers generally being confused by some veges. One or two will put out suggested recipes with the box which is helpful but it isn’t easy always.

    One of the reasons for the delivery (although some people run them with a few “collection points” often a school or community center - in France train stations seem to be popular too!)is that it theoretically reduces costs - paying for half a day or whatever of delivery is cheaper than rent, staff and the needs to the shop holder to turn a profit. Whether that works out as cheaper in reality might be depend on what’s around you. I liked the green grocer from round the corner where I lived, but I’d regularly spend 2-3x as much as I would on a box. I do like going to markets and grocers though.

    It’s not necessarily the right solution dit everyone, but as low income earner who is interested in supporting more sustainable and local agriculture (and likes experimenting in the kitchen with new produce), it works well for me :)
  17. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    Yeah, TBH I haven't costed box versus shopping, I was just assuming delivery is bound to be a bit more in the same way that supermarkets normally charge a bit (and I think it's usually less than the actual cost) for delivery. <insert shameful face here> Another advantage of visiting the greengrocer's is that it forces me to get out of the house when it would be easy to sit in and work all day. <repeat face here!!>
  18. Snowonher

    Snowonher Summit Camper

    Thought I’d share a few snacks I’ve tried recently. I’ve been looking for snacks with low sugar but decently calorie dense and nutritious. I’m a big fan of nut butters but never thought of using these sachets while hiking...they’re so much easier than carrying hand fulls of nuts. The almond/coconut combo tastes amazing and has 200kcal. The Fuel cookie has 200kcal and super low sugar. I mixed the green superfoods sachet into my water for 2 portions of veg/fruit. It also has added vits and mins and caffeine from yerba mate. It’s lemon-lime flavour and the taste is nice enough while drinking what looks like pond water...nothing unusual if you drink smoothies etc!

    Tried these on a day hike up Corno Grande yesterday and I was really pleased. I bought boxes of all this stuff online so these will be my staple snacks for the summer.

    Got some of these ideas from Cotezi:

    edh likes this.
  19. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    The Pip & Nut are great..I 'moved on' to Fuel as well...but the mega 'doses' of butters

    Around 1200 calories for a pack....great for me as I don't swallow food well.

    Edit: I don't know if they are vegan :eggonface:
    Snowonher likes this.
  20. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    I’ve got these and it doesn’t mention vegan. I bought a bunch of these in a moment of furlough boredom only to find they are out of date soon. Be warned. C2128CA3-6E5E-40CF-980D-CE92EF6C6D2E.jpeg
  21. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I used to love cliff bars :( and used to purposely buy the shirt dated ones from wiggle & ebay...
    Like crack cocaine for hikers :thumbsdown:
    Rmr likes this.
  22. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Section Hiker

    Mmmmm, Clif, got a box of 12 on order for this summer's outings (cue Homer Simpson type drooling....)
    Rmr and Chiseller like this.
  23. Snowonher

    Snowonher Summit Camper

    I like cliff bars but don’t they have like 20g of sugar per bar? They have me wired. It’s really difficult finding bars with low sugar.
    Chiseller likes this.
  24. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    I just don't get cliff bars popularity. I've only tried a couple, which were super sweet.
    For the same cost, you can buy a whole boxful of similar but crumblier "luxury" cookies in any food store.

    I'd rather have flapjack
    Rmr, Enzo, cathyjc and 3 others like this.
  25. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    I kinda like Cliff bars but prepare Nakd bars. Flapjack is also good.
    Shirt dated? Was this a romantic engagement with the type of person known as a stuffed shirt? ;) (Just as well they weren't shirt dated Nakd bars!)
    Chiseller likes this.

Share This Page