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How to Plan a Multi-day Gourmet Paddling Trip (Part 2)

Last month, we looked at the easiest way to plan daily meals for a multi-day paddling expedition because early fall is considered to be the ideal time of the year to experience the unique feeling of freedom such trips provide. This month, we go from theory to practice with a typical week-long planner, to help you visualize how a trip should be organized from a gourmet point of view. Enjoy!

I've said it often and I'll repeat it again: the more strenuous a paddling trip is the more important it is to eat well, not only to sustain yourself and meet your daily caloric needs but mostly to keep your spirits high and to enjoy good times with your traveling companions. Nothing beats the pleasure of sharing a bowl of steaming soup or the convenience of a meal-in-a-pot vegetable couscous after 8 hours in the swell… I can assure you that good meals will always bring back pleasurable memories. You'll certainly always remember the strong head wind that slowed you down en route from Cape Cod to Martha's Vineyard and almost made you capsize. But when referring to that adventure, you will probably also add in the next sentence: "but I'll never forget the taste of that blueberry cobbler topped with cream that we had that first night of the trip; it made me forget how rough the crossing was!"

Good food will always make you enjoy any trip and cherish the souvenirs that go with it. That's why I believe that it is worth the extra effort of careful planning. Here is an example of a week-long food planner that I used last September for a totally autonomous expedition (no food suppliers available for 6 days). It is designed with the rules I shared with you last month about food safety, the life expectancy of fresh food and not carrying too much bulk. I also always note the portions' size to make sure I buy and carry enough foods for everybody in the group.

A few things to remember:

  • Every night at supper time I plan meals and snacks for the next day with my paddling companions and make sure we have sufficient food. We repack accordingly.
  • It's important to plan and prepare at least two or three quick and easily accessible snacks that will sustain you onboard in case you cannot land at an appropriate site to eat or if sea conditions get rough and force you to eat more to sustain the extra effort required. That's why I always fill my pfd pockets with dry fruits, salami sticks, granola bars, cheese every morning, before launching.
  • I also make sure that every paddler in the party gets enough provisions in case he gets separated from the group.
  • Foods should also be secured in your lower hatches and properly insulated from the warm air above to keep them at cooler temperatures and to make sure they won't get lost in case you capsize.
  • I have a preference for small plastic buckets and bowls with covers to store fresh items in kayaks because they are less prone to condensation than dry bags and prevent fragile foods from being bruised. I pack each container with specific meals or snacks and I identify their content (e.g. snacks, lunch day one, dinner day 5, etc.)
  • Preparation and recipes should also be included with the foods when required.
  • If you grill vegetables, make more so you'll have some for the omelet on the next day. This also applies for rice or bulghur.
  • If you want to eat fresh meat on day 2, like the beef burgers I've put on the planner, don't forget to freeze the meat and surround it with other frozen items like water jugs, juice, milk or yogurt to make sure it will keep safely for 48 hours.
  • To make cool green tea like in the planner, put 2 tea bags in a poly bottle, fill with water and let rest on your deck in the sun. Or make tea the traditional way by boiling water, let cool and pour in poly bottles.

Weekly Planner Day 1 (leaving for paddling trip at 8:00 am)

Breakfast: at restaurant near launching site Half grapefruit 2 poached eggs with bacon  2 whole wheat toasts with jam, orange juice Snack 1: (at 10:30 in the boat): dates  Lunch: (1:00 pm on the beach; note: can be made ahead of time) Smoked turkey and Swiss cheese submarines With lettuce, fresh tomatoes, mustard  vegetable juice Plums  Snack 2: (4:00 pm in the boat) Oatmeal cookies and cool green tea Dinner: (6:30 pm at campsite; note: fire pit available for cooking) Marinated lamb chops Grilled zucchini, bell peppers and onions Whole wheat pita breads Plain yogurt and fresh blueberries sprinkled with maple sugar

Day 2 (leaving for paddling trip at 8:30 am)

Breakfast: Coffee  Omelet with grilled vegetables  Whole wheat English muffin with butter Fresh grapes  Snack 1 (11:00 am in the boat) dry mangoes with almonds Lunch: (2:00 pm at campsite) Greek salad with whole wheat pita bread Apple juice  chocolate covered raisins Snack 2: (4:30 pm on site) berry picking in surrounding bushes Dinner: (7:00 pm at campsite; note: no fire pit available for cooking)  Cup of soup made with dry vegetables and cubes of vegetable broth Beef burgers on English muffins Cabbage and carrot apple salad (shredded cabbage from a bag) Mini brownies (from supermarket)

Day 3 (leaving for paddling trip at 7:00 am with outgoing tide)

Breakfast: (6:00 am at campsite) Coffee and granola bar Snack 1: (8:30 am on the beach) Dates filled with blue cheese Graham crackers Orange juice Snack 2: (11:00 am in the boat -rough sea-) Dry mangoes with half a granola bar Snack 3: (1:30 pm in the boat - no landing site in sight -)  Dry salami stick, tomato juice, multigrain crackers  Slunch (supper and lunch): (4:30 at campsite; note: no fire pit available for cooking)  Smoked oysters on multigrain crackers with cream cheese Raw vegetables (red bell peppers, cucumber, celery) Ceasar salad with sourdough croutons and bacon crumbles slices of apples sprinkled with maple sugar

Day 4 (leaving for paddling trip at 10:00 am, waiting for the winds to calm down)

Breakfast: (9:00 at campsite) Coffee  Creamy oatmeal cooked in soy milk With nuts and dry fruits Snack 1: (12:00 in boat) bagel spread with peanut butter  Celery sticks, tomato juice Snack 2: (2:30 in boat) Dry sausage, dry mangoes, graham crackers Dinner: (6:00 at campsite; note: fire pit available for cooking) Whole wheat vegetarian couscous With root vegetables and canned chick peas Apple sauce sprinkled with ginger snap cookies

Day 5 (staying at the same campsite and paddling around)

Breakfast: (9:00 am at campsite) Bagel with peanut butter and jelly Orange and coffee Snack 1: (11:00 am in boat) Dates  Lunch: (1:30 pm at campsite) Miso soup with rice vermicelli, grated carrots, onions and cubed tofu Ginger cookies and green tea Snack 2: (4:00 pm in boat) Apple, string cheese and almonds Dinner: (7:00 pm at campsite) Vegetable rice pilaf (with celery, onions, parsnips and dry vegetables) Freshly caught fish fillets on the grill Canned chocolate pudding with banana chips

Day 6

Breakfast: (8:30 am, leaving camp at 9:00 with outgoing tide) Granola bar, orange and coffee Snack 1: (10:30 am on the beach) Vacuum packed smoked salmon on rye crackers Lunch: (2 pm on the beach) Mexican bulghur (cracked wheat) and corn salad ginger snaps Snack 2: (4:30 in boat) Apple with almonds Dinner: (7:30 at campsite) Fresh carrot and celery sticks  Angel hair pasta with baby clams and dry tomatoes Grated parmesan cheese Fruit compote with fig cookies

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