Tasty trail food and thoughts on trail food

Enertia Trail Foods
isn’t like most things that come out of my hometown. Not a lot of things come from where I come from. Marietta, Ohio is a town tucked away alongside the border of West Virginia. Downtown is centered around a convergence of the Ohio River and Muskingum River. Because of this, Marietta is a bona fide river town. Boats meander casually up and down the waters on weekends and the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival draws in thousands of visitors each year. And that makes a big economical and cultural impact on a small town like Marietta. According to the 2010 census, 14,085 people call Marietta home. I still do. But for all of the reasons I look fondly upon my hometown, booming, promising business isn’t usually at the top of the list. There are businesses in Marietta–there are some great ones. But not many. So when an old high school friend and fellow vagrant let me know that he is now working for a trail foods company based out of Marietta, he immediately had me interested.Familiar with my roughing-it-much-of-the-time travel style, he asked if I wanted to try the stuff. And of course I did want to try it. But I was, admittedly, half expecting plastic baggies filled with nuts and dried fruit, sealed shut with a bread tie. I would have loved that too, but what showed up at my front door was definitely trail food; not trail mix.

He sent me:

  • New River Granola with Milk
  • Veggie Pizza Pasta
  • Pinnacle Pasta
  • El Captain 3 Bean Chili
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding
  • Grand Canyon Cheesecake

“… and I was all like, whaaaaaa? I can take this kind of stuff into the woods with me? On the road with me? How come I didn’t know about this stuff back when I was spending the night in Wal-Mart parking lots and graciously accepting free hot water from gas stations for my OATMEAL PACKETS???…”

The answer is, it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t have afforded it back then anyway. Not that it is exorbitantly expensive (most of them cost $4-$5), but I couldn’t have afforded it back then. But these days? I’d be hard-pressed to not splurge for the sake of having something other than peanut butter and bread while out in the wilderness. And by splurge, I mean, at least have some of this stuff packed away for the extra tough days. I’ve done just fine on peanut butter for a few days at a time, mind you, but after a few days, I find that I lose focus and start dreaming about things like… macaroni and cheese.

As it turns out, Enertia Trail Foods has now teamed up with Coleman and their packets of food are becoming increasingly popular and therefore available. And I know why: they’re actually really good. I’m not just getting behind them because they’re based in my hometown. I know about them because they’re based in my hometown. But, with that said, if you visited my hometown, you’d be impressed that a company with products this tasty is coming out of a town so small. It just doesn’t usually work that way. But it’s so very nice when it does.

In addition to Enertia’s curious home base, Enertia has a another attention-grabbing quality: ingredients. Whole wheat couscous, whole wheat bulgur, organic maple granules, sunflower seeds, organic rolled oats, organic pumpkin seeds, West Virginia honey, toasted almonds, organic peanut butter, ginger, fresh ground basil leaves… there’s some good stuff in these packets.

But here are some questions I leave you with:

How much does trail food like this actually enhance the overall experience? Do you find that varying your food like this provides more mental clarity, better morale, stronger determination, or an increase in satisfaction throughout and after the trip regarding the adventure? Since trail food isn’t usually cheap, at least not compared to it’s trail-friendly competitors (peanut butter, bread, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, etc.), how worth it is trail food like this for you? Are you getting more bang for your buck? Alternatively, do you find that you focus and perform better without the distraction of varying food options?