You want to make some oatmeal at home? Easy! Just fill a bowl with water and an oatmeal packet and throw it in the microwave for two minutes. Want to make some oatmeal on the trail? Go get your oatmeal packet out of the bear bag you have hanging 200 feet from your campsite and pull your stove and fuel out of your pack and assemble them. Then pour some water (that you had to filter by a stream) into your pot and wait for the water to boil (which takes longer in cold, windy weather). Once you’ve finished you have to clean your pot and spoon before you can do anything else and put any trash back in the bag that’s hanging 200 feet away. Needless to say, your oatmeal will take longer than two minutes, and this is just one example. We won’t even go into the time involved with defecating. Luckily, the beauty of backpacking is that there isn’t much need to worry about time, so this isn’t really an issue.
Eating Isn’t Always Enjoyable
When you’re at home, you may often think, “What do I want for lunch?” and you’ll ponder what you’re in the mood for. You don’t have this luxury when backpacking. You may feel limited by choosing lightweight options that you can cook easily on the trail. Or you may not be in the mood for the food you brought. Either way, you have to eat something because hiking all day burns a lot of calories and you need the energy. This is when you find yourself forcing food in your mouth that you weren’t exactly looking forward to.
Despite these seemingly grumpy observations, we also realized how rewarding backpacking can be. We definitely were not deterred. Plus, we have a feeling we’ll have mastered backpacking and won’t think twice about any of these things by the time we reach Katahdin.