It was a question of epic proportions that we did not have the answer to before we started planning this trip oh so many months ago: How exactly do you prepare 150 days worth of dinners, lunches, breakfasts and snacks? How do you make it all instant, super light, high calorie, and healthy? In other words we wanted to lose weight and stay fat – not really a common problem for the western world these days… We really had to make it up as we went along, and tried to have some fun at the same time. We looked to our gear as well, asking ourselves what was essential to our safety and what compromises could be made?
Preparing all the food turned into an epic in its self – trying to dehydrate it all by hand with 2 dehydrators running 24/7 can be fun and rewarding, but also overwhelming. I am so damn tired of weighing and measuring and vacuum packing food. Luckily there was Briden Solutions out of Calgary to fill in some of the missing gaps with yummy options like our favorite freeze dried scrambled eggs and bacon, as well as a whole range of meat, fruit and vegetable goodies.
We also discovered the wonders of the moringa tree! Powdered moringa leaves are this practically magical superfood that I couldn’t believe we had never heard of before. Since we were after something lightweight, instant, and nutritious, this turned out to be our number one option. Seeing as how 60% of our breakfasts are powdered fruits for smoothies and about 70% of our lunches are some sort of soup, it’s the easiest ingredient to add for a mega nutritional boost.
In the end we’ve succeeded in lowering the weight of our food to around a pound and a half per person per day! We have some pretty delicious options that we are excited about too: like our homemade powdered coconut curry squash soup, organic bison and wild rice, and powdered yams with handfuls of strawberries, apricots, peaches and pineapples (which we have nicknamed “yummy yams”).
One of our biggest weight savers with gear are our brand new crevasse rescue kits from Basecamp Innovations. Having to carry a standard 50m length of 9mm rope around traditionally took up a lot of weight and space in our packs, and didn’t really solve the problem of what if the person carrying the rope falls into a crevasse while skiing down unroped. (If you’ve ever tried skiing downhill roped in to someone you will know it’s not something you want to do on a consistent basis.) Our new kit consists of two 30m Technora ropes, which at only 6mm in diameter make our new kit almost half the weight of our old one – and much safer!
We continued to save weight everywhere we could. We replaced almost all our old gear and cut everything and anything we could down to a minimum. Things like pots with heat exchangers that save on fuel, ultralight expedition sleeping bags from Rab, and the lightest touring set up from G3 were a huge help. Now, with less than a week to go before our anticipated start date, we are praying to the sun and fair weather gods for a great high pressure weather window to fly down to the coast and get our first food drops out. We are so relieved the planning phase is almost over, and the fun and suffering is about to begin! We want to thank the following people for their unstinting support, without them we wouldn’t have been able to take the first steps of this traverse…