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Long Distance Backpacking--Any Celiacs Going Long Miles?

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Rebecca Mezoff

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 10:26 AM

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005. I love long-distance backpacking and completed the Colorado Trail in 2003. I'm heading out on the Colorado Trail again in a few weeks (500 miles) as a shake-down hike for a 2012 attempt on the Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles; April 2012). I'm comfortable with my gear, but always am looking for food options. I need LOTS of calories for as little weight as possible, so rice noodle soup is not going to cut it. I have seen people post things about quinoa (and have heard it can be dehydrated though haven't tried this yet). I've eaten Lara bars and like them, but would like to find something with even more calories per ounce.

Any food suggestions for me? This is a 5 month hike and will require a LOT of food. Most of it will have to be shipped to post offices along the way as I won't be able to find gluten-free options in small towns.

Also, I'm interested in whether anyone with celiac disease has hiked one of the long trails. I did read the blog of the "Breadless Horseman" who did the AT a few years ago--but his Mom put together all his food. I think literally dehydrated and constructed each meal. I don't have time for this. It would take me a month just to put food in little baggies! (Though I definitely am willing to do some food assembly--I do like some good tasting food).

I'm interested in whether there was any different physiological effects hiking the trail with celiac disease... I think if your gut is healthy (mine is finally), it shouldn't be that different than anyone else doing it, but don't know as I haven't done a long trail with celiac disease yet.
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Posted 16 July 2011 - 08:28 PM

Yay for getting ready to do the PCT! (That's a lifetime goal for me. That and Rainier.)
When I backpack, I make and dehydrate much of my own food - it doesn't actually take as long as you'd think, but you would want to be doing it over the course of the winter.

You probably want to look into freeze dried options (especially for fruits/veggies) as they are both much lighter and tastier than the dried versions (though, also more expensive).
You may want to just try to keep some oil (like olive oil, that would work in a lot of different dishes) in your caches for very high energy density "food". Peanut butter is also a good choice, and you could always fill a re-useable tube with small amounts in each cache.

Even without a dehydrator, you may find it worthwhile to consider trying to dehydrate some gluten-free grains - they'll cook quickly (or even without cooking, just soak in water while you hike - I'm a big fan of 'freezer bag cooking' for my backpacking trips). Ditto with beans. (Dehydrated chili reconstitutes really well!) And also eggs (which also makes a good dense energy source, and a tasty breakfast when combined with potatoes).
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Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"
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Posted 28 August 2011 - 02:30 PM

My gluten-free/CF spouse is planning an AT thru-hike in 2012. I am not at all sure this is do-able at this point, but I am reading up on dehydrating.

Do you like pemmican? What do you think about making hardtack with gluten-free grains?

Do you have a feel for how many calories you need each day?
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Posted 29 August 2011 - 11:42 AM

Two quick suggestions and I'll add more later when I have time. Costco carries a item called "Nonpareil Hash Browns". They are dehydrated and are sold in mini milk cartons. You add water and they reconstitute quickly and then you put the into a skillet. Secondly, Amazon sells several dried black bean packages. Again, just add water and they reconstitute very quickly. Both are all natural and pack some good carbo energy. Give both of these a try.

PS - Coloradan here.
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Brian Gansmann
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Posted 30 October 2011 - 07:40 AM

I was just diagnosed with celiacs last week. I climbed Mt Rainier this summer and am already scheduled to do I again next summer. It was a total white out on the summit so I need to go back to see the view from the top! :)

I went with IMG - a FANTASTIC guiding service! They provide your breakfast and dinner. Looking back it was very carb and gluten heavy. They will however do their best to accommodate any dietary restrictions.
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Posted 27 December 2011 - 01:00 PM

I have done 2 - 4 week trips to the BWCA and Quetico, and although I went prior to my Celiac's diagnosis, one thing I felt helped with quick energy was something called "Matt food." It's just peanut butter, powdered milk, honey, oats (Bob's red mill has gluten-free rolled oats), and chocolate chips. You just add the fixings to your taste. It's great to have a spoonful when you need a boost, and is rich in calories, protein and carbs.

Hope you have a great hike!
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