On long trips in the wild, I really miss bread. While baking your own is one option, or taking pita bread if it remains fresh. Another is to use these shelf stable (aka does not need refrigeration) breads initially developed for the US military. Thankfully you can buy them on-line, e.g. evaQ8.
They come as either whole wheat or white bread, and the 100g ration provides an impressive 360 calories. That’s a great carb boost on a long trip, healthier than sweets and makes a meal out of a pack of soup. They have a decent shelf life of over two years as well (though these have been on the Mud and Routes review shelf for well over a year!)
That’s worth nothing if they’re inedible! So i tested these out while we were having a play with some stoves, rather than anything mission critical. Just like Christmas, I was fondling these before opening them in order to guess what was inside. The impression I got was that the bread is rock hard, probably like something like the dwarves in the Hobbit would carry. It also made a foreboding thud when dropped on my desk, which is something that bread shouldn’t normally do. I don’t know if it’s coincidence, but somewhere between these arriving and the testing, I developed an intolerance to gluten and so was unfortunately unable to eat them. Tryf of Tryfan’s Blog and Mark were thankfully willing to test and report their findings.
It’s said that we eat with our eyes, and hopefully it would look better than anticipated, which was somewhat like a squashed pastry slice. We had considered trying to toast it, but Tryf and Mark had shared it out and eaten it before I could suggest it, which is a sign in itself. Either that the bread is edible or that these two really will eat anything put in front of them.
Their verdict was that it was somewhat similar to cheap bread, but far from the foul inedible lump that we expected. The texture was a bit powdery and taste similar to any other bread that wasn’t particularly fresh but still edible. The white was preferable to the white as well.
To be fair the bread has been manufactured both for longevity and nutrition, and on those two points it succeeds. Unfortunately for the backpacker, that’s at the expense of taste.
For convenience, these get a 10/10, but considering that they’re only OK and not particularly cheap, they’ll not find their way into the usual wild camping stocks. Compare them to something like the Grower’s Cup coffee, which may be expensive but is a welcome luxury on a mountain, while these are not. However, the next time we’re on a proper wilderness trip when the only food we’ll eat for five days is what’s on our back, then we’ll certainly take a couple of these just for variety.
Available on Evaq8.