Gear for GR11: Cooking, food and water

Updated 9.6.2016

Previously, I’ve been carrying 1,75 litres of water with two Nalgene bottles but for the hot GR11, I decided to extend my capacity with two ~0,5 litre water pouches. In addition to that, I’ll take with me Sawyer Mini water filter but I might leave its cleaning syringe out as I believe the need of filtering water to be rare (passing by enough good water points). For cooking nothing has changed during the years. I still use my 0,7 litre Evernew UL titanium pot, which is just enough for one person, and Primus Express stove.

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The Sawyer Mini feels perfect for water filtering needs; no pumping, no movable (brokable) parts, light and versatile. The only drawback that I’ve found so far is the slow flow rate but hey, are we so in a hurry?

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Already on GR5 I got seriously fed up with the “adventure meals”, even if I had only few of them with me, and found cheap pasta meals (knorr, maggi.. those types) from supermarkets much better value for money. Back then, I also decided to improve my trail diet in the future by taking dehydrated veggies with me. That future is now here after my tries have been succesful.

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1kg of carrots shrinks nicely to 50 grams after pre-boiling a bit and keeping in the oven (50 celcius, lid slightly open for air-flow) for plus eight hours. Zucchinis worked out the same way but no need for pre-boiling.

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A test meal of 1 dl of couscous, couple of spoons of veggies, herbs and cashews made it quite nice trail meal. Before boiling for few minutes, I kept the veggies in water for 30 minutes to regain their shape. Unfortunately, the Kupilka bowl won’t have space in the GR11 gear list and I’ll eat directly from the titanium pot.

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I’ll take at least 3kg of carrots and zucchinis with me, dehydrated into few hundred grams. The rest of my trail diet, couscous, noodles, pasta meals, instant rice, instant porridge, muesli, nuts, chocolate bars, bread, sausages, cheese etc. I believe I can find along the trail from village stores.  Some of the stuff I’ll take already from home but in general I’ll use the same strategy as on the GR5; having all the time food for 3-5 days with me, resupplying whenever possible and eating well when overnighting near restaurants.

Updated 9.6.2016

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So, my dry food bag includes 2kg of carrots (dehydrated), 1kg mix of zucchinis, champs, peppers and tomatoes (dehydrated), 8dl of fast porridge mixed with cinnamon and two big apples (dehydrated), 6 rolls of noodles, 7dl of fast rice and 6dl of couscous. Weighing 2kg in total, these will give me a feeling of security for wild camping but I prefer not to carry more food at a time. How long these will last then depend on how often I’ll be eating in a restaurant and the stores found along the trail.

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Finnish chocolate is the best, so I have to take at least something with me. Those bags of dried soup ingredients I’ll mix with the fast rice and it’ll make a tasty portion. My chocolate bag weighs 1kg in total and unfortunately, knowing my chocolate consumption, it won’t last very long. But choko bars are easy to find along the trail.

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Still missing and bought local are fresh bread, cheese, some sausage, cashews and breakfast muesli. I don’t count the calories intake but try to listen my body and follow one principle – eat as much as possible!

6 thoughts on “Gear for GR11: Cooking, food and water

  1. Nice neat cooking set-up Antti. I am very jealous of those dehydrated veggies, Barry and I are thinking of doing this on future hikes so we might be in touch for some more tips! Food shops on the GR11 are very variable in quality, many don’t really have hikers in mind with what they stock unfortunately….so if you see Maggi noodles anywhere, buy them! You mention the slow flow rate in the Sawyer Mini- we did eventually find this too much of a pain on the GR11 (on the GR1 we don’t need to use it much at all as we get most of our water from village fuentes). We’ll look to get the faster Sawyer Squeeze for our next mountain trek I think. Happy planning🙂

  2. Anti, think about taking a soft drink bottle instead of one of the Nalgenes. They’re amazingly strong and that’s what I’ve been using.

    While I understand your dislike of freeze dried food, remember that it’s light and doesn’t require cooking. So you might want to also think about taking a small plastic bottle of olive oil to give more flavor and calories to dinners. Hey, and good luck on the GR11!

  3. Good Luck , we are setting out on the GR5 August 1st , so have got your book and about to start reading it , as well as reading up on Rebecca’s and Barry’s blog .
    also I know that you have your rucksacks and everything , but I have recently bought a AARN backpack ( feather light freedom ) and it is amazing , it looks odd I admit but the way it balances your weight and takes pressure of the shoulders is fantastic , we did a training route around the lakes ( bob graham round ) wild camped for 6 days and were carrying about 13kg ( which is too much ) but it was really comfy and I suffered no issues , but my walking partner with traditional rucksack did so might be something to bear in mind if you get new kit.
    happy walking and look forward to hearing about it🙂
    Allanah

    • Hi Allanah,
      Thanks for the tip, although I have another, brand new Exos58 waiting in plastics so migh take another decade before updating my rucksack🙂 I just finished test packing and baseweight seems to be around 10kg, then 3-4kg of food, plus the water. I prefer to have a bit of extra in the beginning, carried from home.
      Happy GR5!!
      -A

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