How To: A Better Way To Carry Eggs While Backpacking
Some people are afraid to pack eggs on a camping or backpacking trip, due to lack of refrigeration. Truth be told, people have been keeping eggs since LONG before refrigeration was invented, and you can too. First of all, eggs can keep at room temperature for long periods of time. In European countries, most people don’t even refrigerate eggs at all! So rest assured, eggs are totally safe, even for prolonged trips, but because of salmonella concerns, due to factory farming in Canada and the US, please thoroughly cook your eggs before use in the backcountry.
The question then becomes, how do I take eggs into the woods without any mess? Many people immediately flock to those plastic Coleman egg containers. I’ve used them myself, but I find they are too large for most eggs. If you’re going to use them, I think you’re going to need some padding in there. Generally we end up with cracked eggs. They are also bulky, inconveniently shaped, and once they are empty, they just take up pack space, which I don’t really like.
Enter the wide-mouth Nalgene bottle. Turns out, they are the ideal egg-carrier.
Now, we usually carry this green Nalgene on every trip. Our pump filter screws onto it, it’s the perfect vessel for pre-hydrating meals (meaning we throw lunch into it after breakfast, and then some hot water, and the meal has time to reclaim water for several hours, saving us a lot on fuel) and it’s a great water bottle, holder of everything small and easily misplaced, and generally light-weight for it’s usefulness.
When it comes to carrying eggs, I very carefully slipped half a dozen eggs into the bottle, taking care not to crack any. Then I started to pour dehydrated rice on top, gently shaking the bottle to distribute the rice all the way down. You can use instant rice, couscous, or any small-grain food that will fill in the space between the eggs. I also found rolling the bottle slowly and then shaking a bit really helped the rice get all the way to the bottom. Pack the rice in pretty tight, filling it right to the rim before closing it up.
The eggs didn’t move at all, and after being none too gentle with our packs over a period of several days, not a single egg was cracked at all. It was brilliant. The extra rice had been designated for meals that didn’t already include it. Just make sure you have an extra ziplock bag on hand for pouring the rice/couscous into.
Small and medium sized eggs tend to have thicker shells, and you can fit more of them into a bottle.