Backcountry Nutrition Part 2: Food Longevity, Storage, and Sanitation

Adventure Dining Guide is a culinary web series that takes you out of the kitchen and into the great outdoors. Join Michelle Shea as she hits the trail with professional athletes, chefs, and outdoor enthusiasts to learn how to eat civilized, miles away from civilization.

Charcuterie in the backcountry
Bring foods that keep up with you! Knowing how long foods can last unrefrigerated will allow you to bring fresh, nutritious ingredients into the backcountry.

Thanks for reading the second installment of “Backcountry Nutrition”! In case you missed it, the first post was an overview of meal planning and how to select the right foods for your journey. In this edition of Backcountry Nutrition we are going to discuss common issues with food in the backcountry and ways to prevent contamination.

Food Longetivity

Fresh foods provide great nutrition on the trail, which in turn will improve your body’s performance. Knowing how long these foods last are integral to the success of your trip. Here are two fabulous references I use to determine how long foods can go unrefrigerated:

Storage & Organization:

Always store your food in the proper containers and take any needed precautions to ensure everything stays safe. Do your best to keep your meals organized, and take these important tips into consideration:

  • Keep food out of direct sunlight.
  • Store food in air-tight containers to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Double bag containers that might leak.
  • Hang your food at night and use bear canisters to keep critters out.
  • Keep your food sealed and away from bugs as best you can.


One of the most common ways to get sick in the backcountry is from lack of sanitation. Make a point to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket and use it frequently – after bathroom breaks; before grabbing a handful of trail mix; before cooking dinner. This cuts down on the prospects of ingesting bacteria that can make you sick. Soap and water are considered by some experts to be a more thorough hand-cleansing option because the act physically rubs and rinses away everything from dirt to unseen microorganisms. But the rubbing action involved with sanitizers may accomplish the same result. Remember to always wash your hands before handling any food, and if you have a sous chef, make sure they have clean hands before assisting you in the kitchen.

Thank you for checking out “Backcountry Nutrition”, hopefully you picked up a few tips to make your next adventure gourmet! For recipes and additional information please visit Keep an eye out for the next TMS blog post from Adventure Dining Guide called “Tails on the Trails” featuring backcountry dining tips for your dog! Happy trails!

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