Gear and Food

Rock. In. Shoe. Hurts!


After a week of walking, walking, and more walking in the heat, cold, rain, snow, desert, and mountains I was able to give some gear and food a good test.  I have newly updated my boards on Pinterest featuring this year’s gear, food, and clothing for the Pacific Crest Trail. Here is the scoop:


Jetboil Sol Ti – I am so so sold on this powerful little surprise.
Pros: It is super lightweight. I left the cup and stand at home and it weighed in at 7 ounces (1 ounce less than my alcohol stove set-up). The boil time is even faster than my regular Jetboil that I have owned for 5 years. I calculate that one small canister, cooking dinners only will last a solo hiker 14 to 20 days.
Cons: The handle is loose and dangerous. I am planning on cutting it off.

Cook-N-Coozy Solo – If you like to cook using the freezer bag method, you need to get one of these. They are lightweight and have excellent insulating qualities. 

FlexAir Ultralight Pillow (Large) – .85 ounces of comfy sleeping night after night.
Pros: They are inexpensive, durable, and easy to inflate and deflate. Just $6.99 for a pack of 3!
Cons: The pillow does sound a bit like sleeping on a bag of potato chips during the first night of use. I nestled mine in a Thermarest Ultralight Pillow Case wrapped in my Nano Puff. Shear heaven.


Dirty Girl GaitersThis was my first time using these lightweight, colorful, and comfortable gaiters.
Pros: Keeps dirt and small rocks out of the shoes, shoe laces stay tied and protected, socks are cleaner equaling less abrasion (socks will last longer), so comfortable you forget you are even wearing them.
Cons: One Velcro tab fell off my shoe, I am going to bring a small section of extra Velcro in my repair kit from now on.

Patagonia Houdini Wind Shirt– This is the perfect 3 ounce second layer. Pros: Loved the hood, color, warmth, fit, and it nests neatly in a little pocket. I am hoping that mosquitoes will not be able to penetrate the material.
Cons: None

Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover – This was a replacement for my down Montbell jacket. I wanted a synthetic jacket that I did not have to worry about getting wet. I even hiked in it a few times.
Pros: Lightweight, warm, soft, fun color, and loose fit.
Cons: Pockets would be nice.


Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator
Homemade Dehydrated Meals
–  I am smitten. With the help from the contributions of many readers’ suggestions, tips, links, and recipes I went to work cooking and drying. I almost feel possessed. Every box, meal, or recipe I seem to be trying to figure out how the food can be dehydrated. I actually like cooking now. I am changed. Thank you everyone!!!!!!!

All the following recipes are packed with organic vegetables, carbs, protein,
and low-sodium to boot. Thank you everyone!!!!!!!

Here are a few of the recipes tested on the trail that are Bomb:

Tuna Salad
This recipe compliments of Hungry Hammock Hanger is a real keeper. I added celery, cranberries, pepper flakes, and walnuts to the recipe. It is very filling, quick to rehydrate with cold water for lunch, delicious, and super lightweight.
Spaghetti with Meat and Mushrooms (I could eat this every other day)
I had my inspiration from Our Hiking Blog and Food to Go eBook.
Moroccan Chicken Tagging
A Hungry Hammock Hanger recipe packed with eggplant, absolutely sumptuous.
Turkey Teriyaki
This was an inspiration from the back of an Uncle Ben’s Instant Rice box.
Beef Stroganoff
Modifications: doubled the peas, did not add brown gravy packet  just 1 packet of mushroom gravy, doubled the noodles and substituted for organic wheat, no additional salt. I ordered the powdered sour cream from Packit Gourmet.

Biggest Tip: I loved using lining the trays with parchment paper instead of placing food directly on the trays. The food seemed to cook more evenly and a very easy to clean up!

Breakfast power packed protein drink:
Mix in ziploc, 1/4 cup each:  Better than Milk Powered Soymilk, Vanilla Spirutein Protein Shake Mix, McCann’s quick cooking rolled oats (I ground the rolled oats in a small electric grinder) and 1 rounded tablespoon Medaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso Coffee. I use a small Ziploc Twist ‘N Loc Container with 1 1/2 cups of cold water and shake.

Afternoon Drink:
Same as above minus the rolled oats.

A milk lovers version (big hit with the guys):
Mix 1 packet Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast, 1/4 cup Nido Instant Whole Milk, 1/4 cup McCann’s quick cooking rolled oats, and 1 rounded tablespoon Medaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso Coffee.


PCTHYOH (Pacific Crest Trail:Hike Your Own Hike) iPhone App – This app is a workhorse for accessing a ton of info in one place: Halfmiles’s maps, water reports, GPS data, trail conditions, journals, and fire reports. When you have cell service you can cashe all the updated info you need for access anytime. Works like magic.


Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail Paper Maps – If you have followed me very long you have heard me rave about Halfmile’s way points on my iPhone. Believe it or not I have not packed Halfmile’s paper maps and elevation charts… until now. Love. Love. Love. The maps are packed with tips, campsites, resupply info, and important warnings. The elevation charts are accurate and very easy to read.

Light My Fire Spork Extra Long Reach
– Love the extra length for scooping hot food out of freezer bag goodness. I bought orange, so I will never lose it.

Band-Aid Tough-Strips Adhesive Bandages, Waterproof, Extra Large –  LOVE these. They fit perfectly on a heel or knee and stick for days.

Band-Aid Tough-Strips Adhesive Bandages, Waterproof, Assorted  – LOVE these! They stick for days, wrap easily around toes and fingers.


  1. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog
    shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.

    Thanks a lot

  2. In July 2013 I found out that I had to start living GF lifestyle which as you know makes a bigger challenge with backpacking meals. Just curious if you ever tried rehydrating GF pasta noodles and if so how it worked out. Your recipes look amazing. Also, I now have a great need for purchasing a dehydrator to make my own meals. any suggestions on favorites/name brands to start looking at?

    • Yes I have with great success! I have used rice spaghetti noodles, shells, and spiral. Right now my favorite are quinoa spiral noodles I buy at a store, Trader Joes.

      Go out and buy an inexpensive dehydrator soon. It is fun. This week for our trip, we dehydrated Shrimp Gumbo with rice, quinoa spaghetti, tuna, chili, and teriyaki chicken.

  3. So, I’m looking over your gear, but mostly today, I am thinking of the stove I think I would like. I see that you went with a Jetboil. Wired used a Caldera Cone stove. I’m wondering which was better…hmmm. You say you used your Jetboil and one little canister lasted 14 to 20 days. But could you tell when it was getting low? I think I’d be concerned about running out, and carrying an extra which defeats the purpose of being lightweight. I also think of myself as a foodie, and mealtime will likely be a special time for me. lol Then, I think of the whole possibility of wood fire, with the Caldera in case I ran out of the fuel. What did you think of Wired’s stove?

    • A great question. I think there are a couple questions to ask when deciding. Where and what time of year are you going to be using the stove? If it is in California or Colorado in the summer a lot of areas have banned the use of alcohol stoves because of fire hazard. I used the following alcohol stove set-up for 2 summers with success: I changed to my Titanium Jetboil, because it is super light, boils lightening fast, less fire hazard, small in size, and the small canister boils about 22 – 2 cup boils. I just count out the days and the amount of boils I will need. That way I don

  4. Pingback: Dirty Girl Tip | Lady on a Rock

  5. The Beekeeper (aka Jan aka roaming angel in bright pink hat)

    With your inspiration, I bought a dehydrator last summer and made my first backpacking meal of pasta sauce, and you are right I could eat it every day. Do you cut your parchment paper to fit the trays or did you find some precut? I think this is a great idea as it wasn’t much fun peeling the sauce from my trays. I plan to start my meals for my 2013 trips soon. I always avoid the prepackaged options and found alternatives, but dehydrating my own is the BEST!

    • I know right? You and I have been hiking for years. The question that always comes to mind is why did I wait and what other things am I missing out on? Hmmmm

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  7. Michael Gushulak

    Hey Rockin;

    Your trip looked great!

    Glad you checked out my recommendation for Babelfish5 and his recipes. Love them, our freezer is well stocked with them for this summer.

  8. Glad you enjoy my PCTHYOH app. Thanks for the mention!

  9. Witht the Dirty Girl Gators, it is good to carry extra velcro, but you need to appy them with shoe goo to make them stay on for long trips. Works like a charm. I kept it in my resupply bounce box.

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