During the winter season, the human body’s resistance is affected and outdoor activities take a toll on your energy levels. Cold weather slows the body’s heat production and makes survival a difficult task. When you are moving through heavy snow, proper intake of trail survival food is needed to maintain the optimal body temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cold air respiration, movement through heavy snow and carrying heavy gear will require proper nutrition if you want to make it throughout the day. Our body is composed primarily of water and keeping it warm during the winter season requires a large amount of energy. A high intake of calories is needed in order to produce enough energy to keep the body’s functions from failing. The average American has a daily caloric intake that varies between 2000 and 3000 calories, but when working outdoors in the winter, the caloric intake should be two or three times higher.
If you are working outdoors in the winter, you might have noticed that there isn’t any noticeable weight gain, regardless how much you eat. You don’t gain weight because your body metabolizes food for energy, to keep you going forward.
Many outdoors-men agree that what you eat in the winter is more important than how much you eat. During the winter season, they make sure to have pre-made nutrition sources that will keep them going regardless how harsh the weather is.
The following winter trail survival foods will make sure that you keep going and stay warm during this harsh season.
Trail survival food – Pemmican
This is one of the trail survival foods that gain a lot of popularity in the last ten years and it’s mostly due to the information that resurfaced online. Pemmican is a nutritious, preserved food created by the women of Native American tribes. The term Pemmican is derived from pimii, the Cree-Chippewa word for fat. Pemmican consists of a mixture of cooked, dried and shredded buffalo meat, or fish, which is combined with melted fat. The pemmican was tightly packed into a bag made of buffalo skin and used as a convenient type of long lasting food.
It was one of the old ways of preserving meat and even today, it is still an appreciated method of making trail survival food. In today’s modern times, Pemmican is ideal for outdoors-men because it is a high-energy, fast food that is easily transportable and long lasting.
Here is a pemmican modern recipe:
- Dried lean beef, buffalo or venison
- Beef suet
- Seedless dried fruit (apricots, dried apples, etc)
Grind the meat and dry it using a food dehydrator or an oven. Once the meat is crispy you can grind it into a powder. Melt the suet until it becomes golden brown and liquid. Strain out any solids if the case. If you cool the suet, re-melt it and strain it again, as it will improve the shelf life of the pemmican. Chop or grind the dried fruits and add it to the meat. Pour liquid suet onto the meat and fruit mixture. Mixes best if suet is warm, and allows you to use less of it. Now, press the pemmican into a tin using a spoon. Let it cool in the fridge, than turn it out and cut into bars the size of candy bars. (Source) Make sure to follow the source for the traditional recipe and more information.
Each of these pemmican bars can be used as meal substitutes and will provide complex nutrition. Add them to your survival bag and make sure you consume them with a minimum of 10 ounce of water per serving.
Trail survival food – Winter trail mix
This is another trail survival food that can be found in the backpack of those who like traveling when weather is not so kind. You probably know that raisins and peanuts are the basis for most trail mixes because the peanuts provide fat and the raisins provide natural sugar. This combination is good for all year round, but a good winter trail mix requires some supplemental ingredients. A winter trail survival food mix should start with nuts (most calories dense ingredient) because they provide a good amount of saturated fat, protein and carbohydrates. Macadamia nuts and cashews are preferred by most outdoors-men due to the amount of calories they provide.
However, regardless of what nuts you chose for your winter trail mix, make sure they are low salt or salt free. This will prevent you from getting dehydrated during cold weather. Adding coconut flakes to your mix will assure a good source of carbohydrates and fat. To complete the mix you need to add ingredients that will enhance the flavor, ingredients such as cranberries (fiver and natural sugar) and dark chocolate chips or peanut butter chips (an extra boost of nutrition and flavor). You need to add fiber in the mix because it will help with digestion, a process that can be slower in the winter.
Winter trail mix ingredients:
You need to use equal measures of each:
- Macadamia or cashew
- Dried cranberries
- Coconut flakes
- Dark chocolate chips
- Peanut butter chips
Each quarter cup of the trail mix you made should provide 200 calories and 14 grams of fat.
This trail survival food is easy to make, it’s tastier than pemmican and kids love it. It’s a perfect choice for every outdoor adventure.
Trail survival food – Coconut Spicy Hot Cocoa
This is a trail survival food that I’ve learned about while traveling to Iceland in 2009. The guide that was accompanying us made it one evening and it was quite tasty. According to his experience, this mix warms the body in three stages. First, the initial warming comes from the hot drink itself. Second, the cayenne pepper will open blood vessels and provide an optimal blood flow. And the third warming process comes from the fat and sugar metabolizing in the body. You can prepare the mix at home, you put it in your survival bag and when the time comes, all you need is hot water.
Suggested article: Growing cayenne pepper and it’s benefits
You can make this trail survival food in two simple ways and the easiest method requires some store brought coca mix to which you will add a dash of cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of coconut oil. The original recipe was using butter, but after discussing with my survivalists friends, they recommended adding coconut oil. It works better because it lasts longer than butter and you don’t need to refrigerate it. In cold weather, the coconut oil will not melt because the temperature in your backpack won’t be hot enough to affect it. You don’t have the same guarantee with butter.
Another alternative is to mix dry ingredients and pack the coconut oil separately. You will produce a good amount of mixture, lasting for many servings and you can carry it loose without any problems. For an 8 ounce cup you can use 3 1/2 tablespoons of mixtures. The dried mixture won’t be affected by extreme cold and you can carry it everywhere. This mix is caffeine free and you can consume it any time of the day.
Coconut spicy hot cocoa ingredients:
- 2 cups of brown sugar (it has that caramel taste and it’s better than regular sugar)
- 1 cup of cocoa
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
The trail survival food suggestions from this article are a few ways to make sure you receive an adequate amount of calories during your cold-weather activities. They are a supplement to the meals you should be eating regularly and should be used as stand-alone meals only during emergencies. The trail survival food is great on the go and the foods listed above will store great in bug-out bags and vehicles, especially if sealed in a vacuum packer.
I have to specify that the trail survival food is just one of the needed factors of the winter survival formula. Proper clothing and gear are crucial as well and will increase your odds of surviving considerably.
Stay warm and God Bless!
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