How to Eat Well on an 18 day Grand Canyon Trip
Eating well is really about food preservation , and knowing what you can and can’t get away with. A lot of the problem is keeping ice and knowing what needs to be in a cooler and what does not. The less you put in a cooler, the less ice you need to keep it cool, and the less the cooler will be opened.
This cataraft system is my favorite cargo rig for the grand because it has some great features. It has a sleeping and passenger deck that is large enough to sleep two people comfortably, and a good size basket in the back for cooler space. On this trip we had a 250 qt icycool cooler. We also had a large basket in the front for gear. On this trip we used that basket to keep produce fresh.
We used mesh bags and milk crates. The problem with milk crates is that they have a plastic edges in yhr bottom of the crate to give them structure, and that bruises your fruits and vegetables. Damaged produce will go bad prematurely. If you use milk crates, take some form of plastic film to put on the bottom so this bruising does not happen. I prefer the mesh bag system. The mesh bags allow water to wash through, and this helps keep mold from being a problem. It is also quite cool down there just above the water. At night each bag can be taken out and tied off in the river. This cools the fruit and vegies down in the river, while at the same time washing the fruit. With this system we have been able to keep produce for a whole 18 days.
In this front hatch we keep apples, carrots, potatoes, melons, or anything else that has a firm texture or a thick skin. When it starts to look sketchy eat it. You do not have to follow the menu exactly.
It is my experience that Lemons will kill your citrus. I try to avoid them at all cost. Use limes as a substitute. They keep much better, and they do not spread mold to your orange supplies.
The deck has multiple holes in it that allow it to be tied to the frame, and to have gear bags tied to it. Paco pads usually get tied on top for longing, and the passenger often has a way of packing this gear to make a very comfy lounge lizard spot by the end of the 2nd day.
This picture was taken on day 12. We did a cooler consolidation on that day. We also decided that Icy cold beer and sodas were acceptable because we had more ice than we actually needed. A big reason for this is because 2 of the other boats had 178 quart coolers. We did the Pro Pac food purchase and left or coolers with PRO in flagstaff. They froze a layer of water in the bottom of all coolers. This worked very well. In fact it was late August, and it took 7 days before I got any water to come out of the meat cooler.
All of this can be done on a smaller cat system. We sell far more Daddy cats than we do Eltigre cats, and this is because they can go more places. A Daddy cat can still take it's share of the load down the river. Pictured here is a Daddy cat with an NRS fishing frame that has mesh floors. This can easily be adapted for the same systemby removing the seats and anchor system. There is plenty of room in the front for a deck, and lots of room for a cooler in the back. By the way as the produce load gets smaller, crushed cans, and empty propane bottles are good things to put inside of the hatch.
“Man was not meant to go into the wilderness and suffer” Greg Williams
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