5 Great Line Gear Snacks

Leave the Twinkies at home if you want to recover faster on the fireline

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..

Here's the criteria that we used:

  • 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:

  1. Nuts, Nuts, and More Nuts. Specifically walnuts, almonds, and cashews. If you buy them from Planter's they're going to have a ton of salt, which under normal circumstances, isn't that great. But when the straps from your line gear are outlined in salt on your yellow...a little extra salt isn't a bad thing. They pack good monosaturated fats, and protein. All things you're body needs when its laboring in the summer sun.
  2. Dried fruit. Apricots, apples, prunes, and raisins. Go crazy and get a Sun Maid plenty pack of all of them. They're packed with simple sugars and some much needed vitamins. They keep well in the heat, and since they're already smushed up to begin with, well, you won't notice much of a difference when you dig them out of your pack.
  3. Campbell's Pork and Beans. $.50 a can at the grocery store. Tastes downright heavenly when tossed into a stumphole of white ash and warmed up. Best reason for carrying this around: 7g of dietary fiber per serving. Also, it's a great source of protein. But seriously...after you've eaten a few days' worth of MREs..a little fiber goes along way.
  4. Clifshot. Another one of those mysterious gel concoctions. High marks for calorie-density (200 calories per pack) plus you get a little caffeine boost too. We like the Clif Bar company also because they donate a ton of money to wilderness conservation causes.
  5. Gatorade powder. Recommended backup for after you drink your 32oz Gatorade that you stashed in your pack already. You did do that right? Your body craves electrolytes when it sweats - so feed it what it wants. Be sure to keep a metal camp cup in your pack to mix it up in - don't use your plastic canteens. The residual sugars will foul up your canteens, and turn your once pristine water bottles into a breeding ground of gruesome bacteria.
  6. Multivitamin. Not really a snack, but you really should think about taking one a day to help replace the vitamins and minerals that you're body is sweating out during the day. You'll feel better the next morning.