Bacon for Backpackers, Boondockers and Bugger-Outers

Looks like a regular package of bacon. But, when you pick it up, you’ll think they forgot to put the bacon in there.

Looks like a regular package of bacon. But, when you pick it up, you’ll think they forgot to put the bacon in there.

On average, you can survive about three minutes without oxygen, three to five days without water and eight weeks without food. But, for many of us, surviving without bacon is a whole nuther thing. Deprived of bacon, some people I know are convinced they would die within a matter of hours.

This can be problematic if you’re a backpacker, boondocker or bugger-outer and lack the means to refrigerate your bacon.

Before I go any further, I’d better explain these terms.

Backpackers — A familiar term for most of us. Basically masochistic people who hoist their worldly possessions onto their backs and trudge off into the wilderness to live for a few days – or longer if they can swing it.

Boondockers — Also known as vandwellers or by other terms. Folks who live out of their vehicles, camping in various locations, from Walmart parking lots to public lands. Or occasionally in relatives’ back yards, where they’re tethered to the house by an extension cord.

Bugger-outers — My term for survivalists, folks who are convinced that someday, somehow, civilization is going to come crumbling down and it will be necessary to bug out. The chief difference between them and the other two categories is that backpackers and boondockers have gotten a head start. Bugging out will require stockpiling staple items, mastering bushcraft skills and – the hardest part of all – surviving without YouTube videos on how to do all this stuff.

Fortunately, for those of us who fit one or more of those categories, there is an alternative to refrigerated bacon. It isn’t cheap, but it is tasty and travels extremely well. I’m talking about fully cooked bacon. It comes in packages like regular bacon, except there’s a whole lot less of it. I recently paid about $2.50 for a 2.52-ounce package of Hormel fully cooked bacon, which was recently featured on Bacon Today – Daily News of the World of Sweet Sweet Bacon.

That was Kroger’s sale price. The sign in the store read something like: “Sale! Regular price: Your firstborn. This week only: An arm and a leg.”

Pre-cooked bacon requires no refrigeration and is packed flat on parchment paper inside resealable plastic pouches. So it packs well. As for shelf-life, the package I bought in early February had an expiration date of August 15.

I experimented with pre-cooked bacon last summer on canoe trips. It passed with flying colors. Most of my campmates gave it a thumbs-up, although some displayed a different digit.

It’s meatier than regular bacon. All you have to do is warm it up, so it’s quicker and not as messy.

The downside? You don’t have all that bacon grease to throw on the campfire to make it flare up and singe your campmates’ eyebrows.





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