“This thing is like jet fuel.” I couldn’t agree more.

Oatmeal is a staple for many hikers, its ease and packability making it a favorite for a power-packed breakfast. However, When my Dad and I were experimenting with trail meals for our thru-hike of the John Muir Trail, we wanted something more balanced than plain oats.

Being the “foodies” that we are, we had analyzed macro and micro nutrients, seeking out ways to add protein, fats, and micronutrients, all the while keeping the functionality of the meal in mind.

After much experimenting, we came up with the “oatmeal bomb,” a nutrient packed, oatmeal base with some added goodies to start off a long day on trail right:

Oatmeal Bomb


  • 1 cup Instant Oats (make sure they are Instant or Overnight oats)
  • 2 TBSP Hemp Hearts
  • 2 TBSP Ground Flax Seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder (standard scoop that comes with bucket or bag)
  • 1 TBSP Walnuts
  • 1 TBSP Chia Seeds

Nutritional Breakdown:

  • 1057 calories
  • 8.14 oz
  • 130 calories/oz
  • 45 g protein
  • 98 g carbohydrates
  • 71 g fat

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL-teBG-2R0?rel=0]

I start by laying out the ingredients on the counter, then proceed to throw them all into a bowl. Nothing fancy, assembly line style. For some added flavor, I’ve added two different variations:

  • Add 2 TBSP of brown sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon for Brown Sugar & Cinnamon flavor
  • Add 2 TBSP of brown sugar and 1 TBSP of cocoa powder for some chocolate flavor

When it comes to packing, I’ve done two different ways:

  • When available, I use my family’s vacuum sealer with FoodSaver vacuum sealed packages. The vacuum sealing keeps the ingredients from getting stale, and makes them space conscious. It’s expensive, and could be considered “overkill,” but it’s a nice added luxury.
  • The cheaper and easier option is to use a freezer-safe, quart-sized Ziploc bag and duct tape the end to prevent spillage. These freezer-grade bags are also safe to pour boiling water into, so you can eat the oatmeal out of the bag.

Two different packaging techniques: duct tape on the left, vacuum sealed on the right.


This is the key of it all. One packet of Artisana Organics Coconut Butter adds so much flavor and another 200 calories of pure fat to the meal. If you have not had coconut butter before, you’d be amazed at how delicious it is. If the outside temperature is below 60 F or so, the coconut butter will most likely be solid, so I normally crumble it up over my dry oats before I pour in the boiling water so that the coconut butter begins to melt into the mush. YUM!

So delicious!