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May 7, 2007 12:29 PM

Onigiri, good for long hikes?

How long do these things stay fresh and yummy unrefrigerated? Going to an all-day hike to Half-Dome in two weeks and am looking for something to bring along other than sandwiches.

Any thoughts?

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    1. For the Half-Dome, it might depend on whch half you are ascending... if sleeping in a piton-suspended hammock from the granite face, I'd bring something else for that third-day push to the top.

      But more seriously, onigiri are the absolute classic picnic food and hiking food in Japan. There is no way to estimate the biomass of savoored then discarded umeboshi pits that are scattered amongst the rock scree on the upper slopes of Mt. Fuji.

      1. Based on my "climbing" Half Dome in 1984, and currently doing long distance cycling I would bring Gu and Balance Bars or Cliff Bars, and trail mix, and lots of water.

        I would not bring a "picnic lunch".

        I would also bring my own pair of leather gloves.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Alan408

          The back climb up Half Dome is not that strenuous. Plenty of water + the picnic lunch would be fine.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Any ideas for the picnic lunch? I was hoping for something substantial since we'll be out all day long.

            1. re: Tkn

              Classic with musubi (onigiri) are teriyaki chicken and quick Japanese cucumber pickles.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                How about Spam musubi? They keep well, and you've got protein, grain, and veggie (nori) all in one? The only thing to bring back down is the wax paper or plastic wrap...

          2. re: Alan408

            ditto on the leather gloves (bring your stickiest-sole shoes too, you might even consider wearing loose climbing shoes for the cables section). i'm fond of bringing the tiny cans of V8 juice (for a quick recharge of sodium/potassium etc) and for a special treat, a Dole plastic jar of Mandarin oranges (do'nt forget spoon)

            1. re: barleywino

              V8 sounds interesting. Will have to try that. Ditto on fruit cups though. I love those things on hiking trips and Mandarin oranges sound even better!

          3. It'll do even better if you pack the nori and rice separately. Don't wrap the rice in nori until you eat so the nori stays nice and crisp.

            6 Replies
            1. re: cimui

              Here's my favorite onigiri cartoon.
              I'm sure it will keep just fine. Enjoy!

              1. re: cimui

                I was hoping to buy these things (haven't a clue how to make 'em . . . or anything for that matter). I heard that they sell them with a plastic wrapping in between the nori and the rice and that there was some intricate way of unwrapping it all.

                1. re: Tkn

                  I just carry the rice in tupperware or saran wrap and the nori in its original package, flat against my back so it doesn't fold and crumble. When it's time to eat, break off a chunk of seasoned rice, put it to one side of the nori, and fold it into triangles. You can wrap fillings into the rice, too. Traditional fillings include ume plum paste. If you need something more filling, you could try taking one of those tuna packets with you and folding it in along with the rice.

                  1. re: cimui

                    We don't make musubi with seasoned rice, just slightly salted (from the salted water on the hands when formed).

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Clearly I don't make mine the right way, then. =) I really enjoy mine with seasoned rice (and sesame seeds), though I'm sure yours is a much healthier and more traditional option.

                  2. re: Tkn

                    You can buy onigiri with seaweed between the rice and nori at a convenience store like Famima, I believe. I'd be willing to bet you'd find them at a Marukai or Mitsuwa as well. The way you unwrap them isn't that complicated, but you may screw up your first one. There's instructions, and usually a number on each part of the triangular wrapper that denotes the order in which to remove it. We used to eat onigiri when hiking in Japan, though I was just as likely to bring along a bag of mikan or some random bread from a bakery. Have fun!

                2. Have you tried Korean Seasoned Seaweed. I have been bringing that with rice to baseball games. The seaweed is sold in pillow packs, ~10 sheets to a pack, enough for generous serving for one person. Bring some cold steamed rice and "roll your own".

                  I pay less than $2 for a three pack. Green (color) packaging.

                  Either we are thinking about a different route up Half Dome, or in my mind the hike/climb has gotten harder over the years.

                  In high school/college I climbed the Matterhorn (Sierras), Whitney and Half Dome. HD was my last climb/hike, Whitney was my last backpacking trip. I got tired of being tired.

                  Good luck to you !

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Alan408

                    The food gets better and the hikes get harder as the years go by.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Amen to that! When my friends and I went on our first backpacking trip, we'd eat saltine crackers, cheesesticks, and beef jerky thinking we were "roughing it." =)

                    2. re: Alan408

                      I like the teriyaki chicken idea (but seal it up extra tight if you don't want bears to start following you). At 16.4 miles round trip and 4800' elevation gain (topping out at 8800'), it's harder than your average weekender's dayhike, for sure...bring bananas too.