You’ve been slamming line through hell’s half-acre all day, and you’re finally shading up for a break. Your back’s sore, your hands are gnarled up in a perma-grip like a GI Joe figure action figure, and there isn’t enough Goldbond this side of the Mississippi to soothe all the chaffing you’ve got going on.
You’re dehydrated. You’re tired. You’re hungry. And all you’ve got is an MRE. It’s time like these when you wish you’d spent a little bit more time at the station thinking about what sort of goodies you could have stashed in your line gear.
We decided to do your homework for you, and put together a quick shopping list of fireline snacks. Keep these stashed in your line gear and you’ll be a much happier hotshot. And you can always barter your surplus for toilet paper if the need arises.
When thinking about what to pack, we decided to write down some criteria, in an attempt to give the recommendations a bit of scientific credibility, and make it seem less like a random run to the grocery store..
- Must be reasonably healthy
- Must have a high calorie density
- Must not melt when exposed to triple digit heat
- Must not turn to dust after a week in a pack
- Must taste reasonably better than cow dung
And this is what we came up:
Dried fruit & Nuts. I’m a big fan of almonds and dried cranberries (aka craisins). I usually buy a monster bag of almonds and some craisins and mix-up my own trail mix. I usually add one handful of craisins for every two handfuls of almonds. But adjust the ratio to suit your taste. Toss it in your pack and you have some delicious trail mix that will withstand the heat well (unlike trail mix with M&Ms and chocolate chips which turn into a goopy mess).
Jelly Belly Sport Beans. Basically, they’re just jelly beans re-branded as “sports beans” but that doesn’t mean they’re not a perfect addition to your linegear. When you’re exhausted, your taste buds change, but I have never been in a situation where I couldn’t gut a few sport beans.
Clif Blok Shot. Another one of those mysterious gummy concoctions. High marks for calorie-density (200 calories per pack). They’re chewy, delicious and pure sugar. Also, we like the Clif Bar company also because they donate a ton of money to wilderness conservation causes.
GU Energy Gel. A bit like slurping down an oyster lathered in delicious sugar. These packets are great for a much-needed shot of energy and don’t require chewing. Just squeeze, swallow, and get back to swinging your tool.
Beef Jerky. Your body needs more than just sugar and testosterone to keep it going. Feed it protein. Grab some individually-wrapped beef jerky to keep stashed in your gear. It’s already dehydrated, so no need to worry about it drying out. And it can withstand the abuse of living at the bottom of your pack for a few months.
Clif Bar Organic Energy Food. Sometimes, you want something that tastes like food. You can only stomach so much gummy sugar products. Which is why Clif Bar’s new Energy Food is awesome. We highly recommend the Sweet Potato and Salt. But the Banana mango and coconut is killer as well. Packs small, tastes big. Great pick.
Pringles Grab N Go. Salty? Check. Protected case? Check. Delectable? Absolutely. There’s just something about Pringles and smoke that makes for the perfect combination. Some folks don’t like’em because even the grab n go can is a little bulky, but if you have some room, come 3am on an Initial Attack assignment…you’ll be the most popular guy on the line.
Tuna Packets. You either love Tuna or hate it. But you can’t argue that by weight, they pack great nutritional value. Omega-3 fats, anti-oxidants and loads of protein and a low profile make this a good addition to the pack. One word of advice. – keep it wrapped in an Zip-Lock bag….just in case.
Peanut Butter Packets. Protein and sugar – check. There’s something about peanut butter that makes it appetizing in all situations. Which is why they’re a nice addition to your line gear. Warning – make sure you’re doing good on water. Scarfing down a packet of peanut butter sans water is a fate worse than death.