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Trail Food Taste-Off is Coming!

Tired of eating the same ol’ thing on trail? Next week, we’re kicking off our second Trail Food Taste-Off. This is our monthlong feature series where we bite the bullet for you by sampling a variety of new and under-the-radar trail foods (the good, and the not-so-good) in order to find some great new trail foods to help change up your backpacking menu.

It’s not just about freeze-dried noodles and the latest beef jerky flavors—though it’s possible for one of two of those in our selections. We like variety. And this year, we’re taking a specific look at food selections for organic, gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan diets. Our team sampled more than 60 meals and food items from more than 30 brands—many you’ve likely never heard of.

The challenge: choosing the the best and most flavorful items for improving and adding some flavor to your trail menus. We’ll be narrowing our selection to the top five items in a variety of categories, including no-cook meals, energy snacks, treats and more. Tune in each week through the month of May for our selections.

Before we get to the good stuff, we’d like to introduce our team of tasters. We’ve got thru-hikers, section-hikers and weekenders, and all are experts in the art of packing a food bag.

asars spotTami “Doo-Dah” Asars is a freelance writer and photographer based in Washington’s Cascades foothills, and is a regular contributor to a variety of outdoor and travel publications and websites. She has also worked as a professional outdoor guide in helping others learn the skills of backcountry travel. Tami is the author of Hiking the Wonderland TrailDay Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks and Hiking the PCT: Washington. To drop her a line, visit

brandon spotBrandon Fralic is a freelance writer and photographer based in Bellingham, WA, and is half of the Beers at the Bottom team. A native of Washington, he spends his time hiking between the North Cascades and San Juan Islands. Brandon writes extensively about trails, travel and beer for Northwest Travel & Life, Washington Trails and REI Coop Journal. He is also the co-author of the new guide Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest. Check out his work at

lisa spotLisa “Deep Dive” Holmes is a graphic designer and hiking guide author based in Portland, OR. When she’s not designing websites and marketing materials for clients, she’s diving deep into the details of backpacking all over the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Check out her guidebooks, I Heart Oregon and I Heart Oregon’s Seven Wonders. You can follow Lisa’s adventures, including the development of her next book, I Heart Backpacking, at

kramer spotPhilip “Sweet Tooth” Kramer is an outdoor photographer and writer who lives on Orcas Island, WA. He holds an AFA in photography and assisted under travel and nature photographer, Art Wolfe. His imagery has been published internationally and is represented by Getty Images. In 2013, Philip thru-hiked the PCT, then revisited the trail a couple years later to write Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California. Learn more, and check out Philip’s imagery at

mitzi spotMitzi Sugar is an avid hiker and backpacker who accompanies guidebook author and husband Eli Boschetto on trail as often as she can. She has section-hiked more than 250 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon, and has hiked long-distance trails in California’s Sierra Nevada, Canada’s Coast Range and Rockies, and Scotland’s West Highland Way. Mitzi has a sharp eye behind a camera and has several photos featured in the guidebook Hiking the PCT: Oregon.

wood spotRachel Wood is the other half of the Beers at the Bottom duo. Her love of the outdoors stems from camping trips to Washington’s coastline, which also kick-started a love affair with animal and plant identification. Rachel has worked in the craft beer industry for four years, and has written for Washington Trails, REI coop Journal, and is the co-author of Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest. She prefers her hikes scenic and her beers hoppy. Learn more at

eli spotEli Boschetto is a long-time trail writer, photographer and outdoor gear reviewer. He has performed as a trail correspondent for Backpacker and is a former editor and art director for Washington Trails. Following the publication of his guidebook, Hiking the PCT: Oregon, Eli launched PCT: Oregon to offer even more resources for Oregon’s PCT hikers. His next guidebook, Urban Trails: Portland is coming in fall 2018. Eli lives with his wife, Mitzi, in Portland, OR.

We’re tallying the results and calculating the scores, and will be kicking off this year’s Trails Food Taste-Off next week with hot breakfasts—just what you need to fuel up for great day on trail!  #TrailFoodFriday

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