Backcountry Burrito Bonanza

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It’s a backcountry burrito bonanza. We are serving up an eggs-quisite meal for the great outdoors.

Preparing food in the wilderness where kitchen conveniences are not available should be easy, fun and delicious.

To help you with your camp meal preperation, we have provided an easy-to-make and delicious-to-eat breakfast recipe.

Sunrise Breakfast Burritos ( 4 servings )

What you’ll need:

  • 4 large tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of powdered eggs (makes approx. 6 eggs)
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • 1 package shelf stable bacon
  • 1 large potato
  • Tbsp cooking oil
  • Your favorite toppings

Directions

1. Prepare your egg mixture. Combine water and powdered eggs and set aside. If you purchased a retail package of powdere eggs, follow the directions on the package.
2. Chop your potato into bite-sized cubes. Add oil to pot or pan. Fry until tender for approx. 10-15 mins. on medium-high heat. If your stove only has one setting – high, like the whisperlite – keep an eye on the potatoes and stir to keep from burning. Set aside. We season with roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning for some extra flavor and also place inside a container and rest it inside a pot cozy to maintain its heat.
3. Cook your egg mixture by simmering on medium-low heat. If your stove does not simmer, stir constantly to avoid burning the eggs. After approx. 2 mins the eggs will start to solidify. Continue cooking until all the eggs are solid but still moist. Set aside.
4. In the same pot, heat your shelf stable bacon. This is fully cooked so it only requires 30-60 secs to heat up.
5. Add potatoes, eggs, bacon and your favorite toppings to a tortilla, wrap and enjoy. We like to top with Ketchup or rehydrated salsa, shredded cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

With a breakfast like this you’ll wish every morning started with a little sun and salsa!

Camping Checklist

Whether you’ve been camping for 5 years or 5 months there is something that almost all campers should start out with, and that’s a camping checklist. A good camping checklist is the backbone to every good trip… trust me, you don’t want to find yourself in the woods on the first day of a 5 day trip and realize you forgot TP!!

You may already have a great list, or maybe you free style it and make a new list every time you plan a trip. If you landed on this page in search of the perfect camp checklist then look no further because you’ve come to the right place. The group here at TwoCanoe has been tweaking and fine tuning their camping checklist for years and I think we’ve finally nailed it! Below is the list however I’ve also made a handy dandy PDF version that you can print off and check items off as you pack. For the print version click here: Camping Checklist

Some of this gear can be considered optional or not required at all, however we do feel that most of the items will be necessary at some point on your trip, whether thats backpacking, canoeing or car camping. We also consider this to be the bare bones of equipment, if you’re a car camper you may be inclined to take more items then what we have listed.

Don’t hold me responsible for forgotten gear, you still need to put these items in your pack, plane, or automobile! However, if you see that we’re missing something let us know, I don’t want to end up in the woods without my… umbrella? just kidding!

Now go pack your stuff, check your list, and have a great trip!

Canoe Equipment:
• Canoe
• Paddle (Incl. 1 extra)
• Life Jacket
• Whistle
• Bailer Kit
• Roof Racks / Canoe Pads
• Tie Downs 

Shelter:
• Tent / Poles
• Tarp
• Paracord 25′ x 6 = 150′
• Spare Tent Pegs for Tarp
• Tent Repair Kit

Fire:
• Pocket Saw
• Fire Starter / Matches

Sleeping:
• Sleep Pad
• Sleeping Bag
• Pillow

Clothing:
• Long Shirt
• Long Pants
• Jacket or Sweater
• T-shirt
• Shorts
• Underwear
• Socks
• Hiking Boots
• Hat
• Rain Jacket / Pants
• Bug Jacket
• Bathing Suit
• Towel

 Kitchen:
• Food
• Food Barrel / Bag
• Barrel Harness
• 50′ Rope to Hang Food
• Fuel
• Stove
• Utensils
• Cook Pot
• Plate / Bowl / Mug
• Spices
• Water Bottle
• Water Filter
• Camp Suds
• Sponge
• Dry Towel
• Garbage Bag 

Toiletries:
• First Aid Kit
• Allergy Pills
• Anti Inflammatory (Advil)
• Pain Pills (Aspirin)
• Toilet Paper
• Trowel
• Toothbrush / Paste
• Floss
• Sunscreen
• Deodorant
• Nail Clippers
• Body Wipes
• Hand Sanitizer
• Chap Stick
• Bug Spray
• After-Bite

Navigation:
• PLB
• Compass
• Map / Waterproof Case
• Trip Plan – Left with Contact 

Cold Weather:
• Tuque
• Gloves
• Long Johns
• Sleeping Bag Liner

Other Necessities:
• Sharp Knife
• Headlamp
• Extra Batteries
• Duct Tape
• Watch
• Sunglasses

Nice To Have:
• Paddling Gloves
• Base Camp Footwear
• Bear Repellent Spray
• Fishing Rod
• Tackle
• Camp Chair
• Day Pack
• Book
• Camp Journal and Pencil
• Cards
• Camera / Extra Battery
• Cellphone
• Candle Lantern
• Hammock

Bon Appétit

Planning a canoe trip can be just as fun, if not more exciting, than going on the canoe trip. Ontario offers so many interesting, and unique tripping experiences that the anticipation of traveling a new route and exploring a new lake is fun in itself.

One important aspect of our trip preparation is meal planning. Now, if you choose to take the same meals and snacks for every trip, I can see how you wouldn’t find meal preparation that exciting, but the TwoCanoe crew does like to experiment and try new things. We also like to prepare all of our foods ourselves. An easier route in meal planning is to buy pre-dehydrated or freeze dried foods from your local outdoor store, but that takes part of the fun out of planning your next trip, and a chunk out of your wallet.

Choosing the food items for your trip depends on the length of your trip, how much you may be required to carry over portages, and what your general tastes are. We like our foods to be light, to take up little space, and still hold tons of nutritional value while tasting great. When you are in the sun all day, paddling or carrying your gear, it is rewarding to have great food to refuel you along the way.

Below you will find a sample trail menu for a 3-day trip.

Continue reading

Break out the Jiffy Pop and Smores!

We couldn’t go on our recent trip without capturing some moments on video. What you’ll see is pretty much a combination of reality tv and the Blair Witch…..minus the tv drama, the never to be seen witch, the $1,000,000 winning’s or the critical acclaim. I guess the only similarity then would be the awkward close ups and my unsteady camera hands.

There are two parts below, covering our 3-day trip in Algonquin this past weekend. Enjoy!

Feeling Dehydrated?

Those of us who have gone on extended backcountry hiking or canoeing trips already know the most important fuel is not the stuff you use to get your stove burning, rather it is the fuel you need to keep your body going. If you run out of butane, or white gas to keep your stove lit, you can make a fire, however, if you run out of food it doesn’t matter how big your fire is, you’ll have to work hard to find the fuel to move on.

Food requires a fine balance between nutrition, weight and personal taste. With a little creativity, you can complete your outdoor adventures with an adequate supply of food. Not only can it taste great and have all the required nutrition but you could also minimize the amount of weight in your pack or food barrel.

Car campers have the luxury of bringing almost whatever they want. They have plenty of room in their vehicle, access to coolers and ice, barbecues, large stoves and almost no weight restrictions. Backcountry campers on the other hand have to limit their luxuries to reduce weight and bulk. I don’t want to imply that backcountry campers will have to sacrifice everything, because with some smart planning and a little preparation, you can enjoy delicious food to keep spirits up and energy levels high.

One of the largest contributors to food weight in your pack is water. I’m not only referring to the water in your bottle or hydration pack, but the water that is found in food as well. Meats, fruits, vegetables, soups and sauces all contain large amounts of water. If you can reduce the amount of water, you can drastically minimize the amount of weight in your pack.

Dehydrated food is easily accessible at many grocery and bulk food stores, however they tend to have added sugar and preservatives. An alternate option is to dehydrate your own food. This can be achieved using various methods, but the easiest is to use a food dehydrator made specifically for that purpose. Food dehydrators come in many shapes and sizes, but generally they all work in the same manner. With a little heat and circulated air, it slowly strips food of its moisture leaving all the nutrition.

Many foods can be enjoyed in their dehydrated state. Dried fruit is a great snack and an excellent source of energy. Dehydrating fruit concentrates the natural sugars so your pineapples and bananas will taste extra sweet on the trail. It can take from 6 to 36 hours to completely dehydrate fruit. Some fruit becomes brittle and will snap when ready, others will become leathery and pliable. No matter how long the wait, the results will be well worth it. Favorite dried fruit here at TwoCanoe include pineapple and kiwi, these tend to be very sweet and reduce well when dehydrated.

Tip: A natural way to keep fruit from browning when sliced, add a little lemon juice which helps to prevent discoloration. The result is fresher looking dried fruit with little to no impact on taste.

Dried meats, like beef jerky which can be seasoned to personal preference, are a great snack. It can also be rehydrated and added to a stir fry with dehydrated vegetables and rice. I purchased a dehydrator a few years back at Canadian Tire for $50, with the intent on making only beef jerky, but since I have successfully made multiple batches of dried fruit and even dehydrated ground beef. Dried ground beef, or hamburger can be rehydrated and added to sauces or cooked into a shepherds pie.

Ground beef rehydrates well, and if you’re like me, then you know that even ground beef can be considered a luxury on the trail. Dehydrated ground beef, also known as gravel, can take anywhere from 2-8 hours depending on how much you start with. It dries to a crumble and 5 lbs of meat can reduce to less than 1 lb of gravel. It is important that you dry meats with the least amount of fat as possible, as the fat tends to make the meat go rancid.

Tip: A quick solution to this is to fry your meat first, until most of the fat melts away, and then using some hot water, you soak the beef letting all the fat rise to the surface. These steps repeated before dehydrating can result in very lean beef, which is not only good for preservation but a healthier choice as well.

Yet another option is to dehydrate your favorite sauces. You can dehydrate tomato sauce and combine this with a serving of gravel and a few spices. Even kilometers away from civilization you can enjoy homemade spaghetti.

There are many great recipes that can be enjoyed with dehydrated foods, but always make sure you follow your dehydrators instructions on proper drying times and methods.

The important thing is that you bring the foods you like, which will make your time in the backcountry the most pleasurable.

If you have any great camp food ideas and would like to share with readers here at TwoCanoe, or if you’re looking for suggestions on what to take on your next trip, then leave a comment on this post.

Bon appetit!

You Canoe, Too?

There is one question that I hear the most from people who are not familiar with canoe tripping in Canada’s backcountry. It’s a one worded question: Why?

Why do we spend hours paddling to a remote location just to pitch a tent, sleep and leave the next morning? Why do we carry all of our gear and canoes through the woods? Why do we need to be so far from civilization, technology, restaurants, showers or even a bathroom?

Canoe camping can be a challenge, but who doesn’t like a challenge? One of the most rewarding aspects is overcoming the potential obstacles. Traversing a horrible uphill portage, finding immediate shelter in inclement weather, forgetting your spork back home on the kitchen counter. While these may seem like game breaking situations, understanding that they can happen and keeping your cool about it make for great campfire stories later on.

Aside from overcoming these obstacles, there is also great enjoyment that comes from the silence. During our last camping trip, I noticed something that I would never have heard living in the city. In the middle of the night, I could hear the sound of the pulse in my neck as it hit my sleeping bag. Yes, it was beating rather loudly due to the onslaught of Wolf howls we heard just north of our campsite, but I could hear it nonetheless. When the Wolf howls stopped, and my pulse slowed, all I could hear was, nothing. Silence.

While I am largely referring to the lack of noise pollution – sirens, cell phones, construction – what I also mean is the mental clarity and peace of mind that you can achieve, just by getting away from the everyday. When camping, I am somehow able to block all the regular thoughts that intrude in life; work, deadlines, bills, appointments, etc. I am able to focus solely on what I am doing. This is another great reward for those that are easily distracted at home.

I know many people agree with me on this next reason. Plain and simple, camp food tastes amazing. Food that I would never eat, or barely enjoy when at home is incredible when prepared and eaten in the wild. When you exert any amount of physical activity in the outdoors, food becomes the reward of all rewards. If you’ve chosen to bring some of your favourite delicacies from your home cooked recipes, it’s like you’ve won the lottery. I couldn’t explain to you why it tastes so good, it just does. My theory is that it’s similar to eating pistachios; They taste great when you have a bowl full of un-shelled nuts. You work so hard, eagerly eyeing the next shell to pry open, but, when the bowl is presented to you with all of the shells missing, they are quite underwhelming. When camping, cooking can be more arduous. Setting up a fire, filtering clean water, and a lack of the kitchen’s full utensil drawer are all things that make it more difficult. However, when that meal is complete, and your stomach is full…..life is good.

I could go on and on about what makes canoe tripping so great. These are just a few reasons to get out there, grab a canoe and hit the water. If you have any to share, post them in the comments section, perhaps you will intrigue someone to get out there too!