If you've never had the pleasure of lugging a heavy drip torch around all day, lighting the ground around you on fire, I'm sorry. I wouldn't consider myself a pyromaniac, or an adrenaline junky, but fire? I LOVE IT. (Also, if you don't know, a drip torch is a tool used in prescribed burning settings to safely light fire to the ground, without catching the fuel in the tank on fire). The only problem with carrying a heavy drip torch around all day,
walking a LOT, is that you get hungry. That's fine, I get pretty hungry most days so that's not anything new to me. The difference in prescribed burning and wildland fire situations is my snack needs to be FAST and pack a punch. Here's a list of my top five essentials to keep in my fire bag at all times, in case I get a case of the hangry.
1) Peanut Butter packets
Okay, I get a LOT of weird looks for this one. Eating peanut butter straight from the packet isn't something most people normally do. BUT, when the logistics team rolled up with a bunch of bananas, guess who's peanut butter packets were a hot commodity? They are fast and have protein and healthy fats to keep you moving, and I always keep a few on hand. My favorite brands include Barney Butter and Justin's.
2) Trail Mix
This one is easy. Nuts, seeds, M&Ms. You can't really go wrong here, and the little bit of chocolate makes me a happy camper when my feet hurt. I won't lie, I buy the individual packets at Meijer or Aldi. Simple and effective.
3) Protein Bars
Again, this one is pretty self explanatory. My only problem is MOST protein bars contain high amounts of sugar, garbage ingredients, or lots of whey protein. Being allergic to milk products and wanting a cleaner alternative, I'm pretty choosy about my options. My go-to brands include RX Bars and Beachbars. Both are a bit pricier than say, a Clif Bar, but so much better for you AND keep me satisfied longer.
4) Hydration Packets
I know, not exactly food but still super important for hot summer days. Especially if you are choosing to be active in the outdoors, staying properly hydrated is a big issue for a lot of us. When I'm on the fireline, my hydration has to be fast and easy plus small enough to fit in my radio harness on my chest. My go-to hydration has been Hydrate, or in a pinch I use MIO brand from Walmart.
5) Dried Fruit
This one is super simple to pick up anywhere, but make sure that you are looking at the added sugar content. Most dried fruits have been loaded with corn syrup and sugar, when they are sweet enough on their own. Dried fruit can give you a sugar boost (as long as you don't gorge on it) that helps keep you going until you are able to eat your next full meal. Bonus, you'll probably burn off all that sugar being active outdoors anyways! Plus its a delicious treat when you're exhausted.
Working and playing outside in the hot summer months can be dangerous if you aren't prepared. Pack lots of water and extra snacks, and always let someone know where you are going to be. Life is a crazy ride, but its way to short to spend it all inside. Get out there folks!