Leaving gets more and more familiar. In the beginning it’s a scary mess, and we try to pack our car with everything we own. Of all the things we pack, we only use a little. Even when it’s an extended trip, there is no need for more than a couple of pairs of clothes, a few pairs of climbing shoes, a pair of sandals, and some kind of cross trainer. The rest is technical gear, water, and food. Pretty simple.

I guess I approach dirt bagging out of a car the same way I do dirt bagging out of a pack. I don’t have refrigeration, so throw that option out. Carrying milk products that can be stored dry are cool if you have a van and storage, but that’s a lot of investment just to use a little milk in the morning with cereal. Using water in cereal is pretty bunk, but hot water and oats is bomb. There we go, breakfast is done. Hot water and some kind of quick oat.

Alright, now for lunch. Sorry, no lunch today. Or maybe there’s a lunch, but just re-imagine lunch. Snack on an apple. When the hunger begins to trouble the brain and tickle the stomach throw in a piece of gum. The sugar will alleviate the symptoms for a little while. After noon throw down a Payday. Carrying a jar of peanut butter will work just fine too if you have the room for it–but just plain peanut butter, no additions. If you wanna cut the weight off the spoon, just scoop it out of the jar with your fingers or a nut tool. Bam! Lunch is done. A bag of apples, a box of Payday candy bars (they don’t melt), and a jar of peanut butter. When you run out of apples just up the dose of peanut butter or supplement a piece of gum.

Dinner. Ramen. Don’t get the shit ramen though, get a good ramen that’s a little pricier with more protein and less sodium. Ramen does have an absurd amount of sodium, and you must remember that the serving size is actually 1/2 a pack, so there’s actually double the sodium then what’s listed. However, after a long day exposed to the elements, it’s a good way to retain fluid overnight and re hydrate.

If exerting a lot of energy, like in climbing or hard hiking, include meal replacement powder to mix with water, or a premixed drink like Slimfast or Soylent. I’ve recently switched to Slimfast Advanced because they are super cheap, and the values included rival most protein shakes. I also keep protein powder on me and make a water shake at night before bed. It helps me recover and the sodium from my dinner allows me to hold that water so I sleep without having to piss every 45 minutes.

No, this is not roasting marshmallows over a campfire, but this way you don’t have to go home. If you really seek bargains with a diet like the above, you can eat for an entire month on the road for around $50.

It’s something that takes some time to get used to, but I think almost all of us who’ve adopted a version of this dirtbag dream have also adapted their standards to simple living. We don’t need that much. When you factor out all the shit that occupies the mind in daily societal living, we are only left caring for the essentials.

Oh, and don’t forget the coffee.

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