Trekking through Patagonia as a vegan
Trekking as a vegan, let alone in Patagonia, the penultimate of all treks, is surprisingly not as difficult nor as expensive as it might sound. When I first decided to travel to Patagonia and the beautiful, yet daunting Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, I was more than a bit hesitant. What would I eat? Would I forge off the land? What would I do about my camping buddies? Make all my own food?
Even with an endless number of questions bouncing around in my head, I knew this was a trip I would not miss. Luckily, with a strong base knowledge in Chilean grocery markets (gotta stop spending so much time in grocery stores….) and in general vegan cooking, I knew I could easily carry enough food concoctions and trail snacks to make it through the four night, five day trek.
The night before the trek after a hastily planned last minute bus ride from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, we arrived in Puerto Natales, found a sketchy cheap hostel and proceeded to start cooking our main food for the trek at 11 pm at night. While I may recommend the food, I do not recommend the last minute aspect of this. We were out of our mind tired having travelled straight from Santiago, our stove was complete shit, and all we wanted to do was sleep. Luckily, I loved my friendsand we just laughed about the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
Our bus to the park left at 7 the next morning and we were no where near ready. Yet, somehow we threw it all together.
Our Jambalaya as I liked to market it as (though on the trail quickly became known as the mush was a bag of brown rice, cooked with two packages of a bean soup mixture that was vegan, a bag and a half of carne de soya (TVP), two onions diced, and 2 bell peppers diced. We let it cool over night and split it into thirds and divvied it up into Ziploc bags. It wasn’t half bad and was super filling. We ate that for dinner and at times for snacks or to go with our lunches for three days, when at that point, we had practically finished it, and it was starting to go bad.
Outside of the main mush, we each carried 5 apples. One for each day. Heavy, but man was it crisp and delicious.
-A few packets of almonds, though any nut would be sufficient, just not a big peanut person.
-Oatmeal for the mornings.
-The girls ate PBJ’s for lunch (bringing a loaf of bread and the necessary goods). I ate extra mush, TVP, and more oatmeal.
-A half a bag of rice, a half a bag of TVP, and a package of tomato pasta sauce to make another cooked meal all mixed together on the last night.
-A few bars of dark vegan chocolate and two packets of cookies.
If you’re coming from the US, or your home country, and not weighed down by the fact that I had been already living in Chile for 5 months, I highly recommend hitting up your local REI or backpacking store and grabbing a few protein bars, and even a few of those camping meals. I know that there are two brands that make vegan options to bring on the trail with you. Having those easily readily foods would probably make your trek a lot easier.
So if you’re thinking of trekking through the park, I 100% support you and back you up. Hike it, stay vegan, and be amazed. It was easily done, and amazingly beautiful experience. See my post on the actual hike to hear the route we took, my thoughts on the difficulty, and the just beautiful stunning tranquility. I’ll also be doing a post on the amenities, food (and alcohol) situations at each campsite, and a general breakdown of what I spent, so make sure to check that out.
Obviously, this is a quick look at vegan trekking that could be applied to many different treks and food situations.