Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Nutrition on Expedition

My friend Nick Gallop, who has written one of my guest writer columns, sent me an interesting query about nutrition on Expeditions. It is a very interesting question, what to eat on an Expedition! So I decided to use his great questions for another blog report!

1. On long, man-powered expeditions like yours what problems do you have getting enough calories and nutrition?

Well, most of the time, there´s just not enough food around! And one can´t haul enough……Therefore, one just have to eat a lot of fat, loads of caloeries and hope that one comes a cross some kind of civilisation every month to be able to fill up with the best possible foods! There´s no doubt about it, that you do take a good beating on long, man hauled Expeditions!

2. What food tips do you have for anyone planning such an expedition?

One just have to add on a few extra kilos before leaving, maybe not 26, like I did before the Siberian Expedition! But quite a few, yes! Because you will loose lots of kilos!

Most of the time, one is really, really tired, so there´s little energy to either fish or hunt or do any complicated meals, so bring lots of freeze dried food, but with some tasty food 1-2 a week. Like dried moose fillet…..I recommend REAL when it comes to freeze dried food. Tasty and filling!

3. It seems to me that people eat some real crap because it’s light to carry and find it too easy to skimp on nutritional content. How can we find the right balance?

Well, REAL is quite good, actually, but on top of that, eat everything you can get your hands on!


Nalim is probably the best fish to make stroganina out of!
Nalim is probably the best fish to make stroganina out of!

4. What’s your favorite expedition food?

Dried moose heart. Dried fish. Like straganina! Yummy!

5. The kit list for your 2004-2005 expedition along the Kolyma river in Siberia included the following items:

Fishing and hunting equipment

• 1 Rifle, Blaser R90 Off-Road with .3006-pipe [barrel]

• Telescopic sight

• Extra ammunition holders

• 1 Cleaning kit

• 2 Fishing rods

• 60 bullets, lead .3006

• A Couple of baits and wobblers

• Extra line, flys, casting balls

• Float, hooks

• Landing net

• Fishing net

Being Swedish, I’d guess that hunting and fishing is very natural to you but many people in the UK probably wouldn’t consider taking this kind of hardware – especially a firearm. How did carrying it change the expedition?

Lot´s of fresh, nutritious food!

The Siberian hares were not only big, but really tasty and nutritious!
The Siberian hares were not only big, but really tasty and nutritious!

6. What problems did carrying a firearm cause you?

In Siberia, on and off, they, the authorities, thought we were hired guns, mercenaries or/and snipers!

7. When planning the expedition did you have a rough idea how much food you could get by hunting and fishing? Were your ideas right?

No, much more difficult than I thought! A typhoon moved in the second day, we didn´t get anything for the first month!

8. Was the time for food gathering included in your plans? – how did the sometimes time-consuming task of finding food fit in with the objectives of the expedition?

We only fished and hunted before the arrival of winter. Hunting and fishing is also part of who we are, so it is a fulfilling work!

9. It’s very easy to pack some simple, lightweight fishing kit and simple hunting kit such as a slingshot. Do you think the time invested in learning to use these effectively will be worth it?

No, hunting should be efficient and the game shouldn´t be suffering unnecessarily. Always shoot to kill the easiest way, e.g the heart. Fishing, sure, but it is harder. Better to bring a net…..

You need a good knife to be able to eat stroganina!
You need a good knife to be able to eat stroganina!

10. If you could carry one packable hunting or fishing item on expedition what would it be and why?

Knife! Well, it is the most vital item. You can do pretty much everything with it!

11. You’ve done some very long cycle expeditions – how different was the food situation on these?

Well, you can carry more food and roads are most of the time close to settlements where u can fill up!

12. As you know I’m very interested in the connections we can make with indigenous people through the use of primitive skills. If we learned about wild food and hunted, fished and foraged on our expedition how would it change our relationship to the people we meet along the way?

Good question! It would make a dramatic difference, since getting to know local people, indigenous or not, you need to have some very close things to associate with to open the door to their hearts, hunting and fishing is part of their lives!

13. How do you think our expedition food choices affect the environment?

Depends where…….In Siberia, hunting and fishing in a proper way, doesn´t harm, but otherwise, if you by local food, this is of course, helping the local economy. So buy locally! If possible….

The food amongst the maasai wasn´t always easy to digest.....
The food amongst the maasai wasn´t always easy to digest…..

14. What’s the worst thing you’re ever had to eat on an expedition?

Well, drinking raw blood with the maasai wasn´t a hit, I can tell you that! Basically due to the heat and other surrounding smells…..like urin…..and also, am now fan of tree slugs in Congo! And my friend Dogan Tlilic´s iskembe soup, am not big on tripe in soups!

15. Have your food experiences while on expedition changed your thinking on how we treat food back in Europe?

Well, being brought up in the countryside and forest, hunting and fishing has been a big part of my life. So Siberia taught me to take care of every single part of the animal, including the muzzle of a moose and their brains…..yummy!


  1. Aaah, I see the picture of stroganina. I am ready to eat the whole fish right now, but it’s summer.

    The best stroganina is made out of the one-time frozen fresh fish (a whitefish or a broad whitefish). It means that the best tasty stroganina is served between November and February.

  2. This is good blog message, I will keep this in mind. If you add more video and pictures because it helps understanding 🙂

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