Meals and Menus

Last updated May 16, 2014

As important (possibly more important) than any other part of our trip is the food we use to keep us "fueled" as we paddle. Insufficient quantities of food or poor quality meals will quickly result in a bunch of disgruntled, unhappy canoeists. 

Although quality is important, it seems to me that quantity often seems to be the main priority. There's nothing worse than still being hungry at the end of a meal after putting in a long paddling day. I don't want to suggest that we shouldn't strive for the highest possible quality in our canoe-country cuisine. It's just that my experience that "everything tastes good on a canoe trip" seems to hold true for most groups. I've seen people who would normally consider themselves gourmets scarf down huge portions of canned stew as if it came from the kitchen of a world-renowned five-star restaurant.

The typical 2,000 to 2,500 calorie diet simply doesn't do the trick on a canoe trip. As a bare minimum, people will be burning off 3,000 to 3,500 calories while paddling, and a strenuous day of paddling into a headwind or portaging can boost that figure up to almost 5,000 calories. Woe to the person who tries to satisfy a group of hungry teenagers on anything less than this. Prepare to face a mutiny!

On Food ...

"It's rare to have people complain about eating seconds, but watch their patience disappear when there isn't enough for firsts" 

Bill Mason

"...I think of a Cree friend with whom I travelled early in the century.  I wonder what he would think about the modern day luxury of this food budget.  We had a canoe, fish line, rifle, two rabbit skin blankets, flour, tea and a bag of salt.  We slept under the canoe, and lived largely off the country - on fish, game and berries."

Sigurd Olson


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