Gear Guy

How can I stop eggs spoiling on the trail?

I have a weakness for eggs. Love 'em. Don't care what they'll do to me, I have to have them. In the Navy, eggs are coated with a thin wax layer that will keep them fresh for about a month. Can I get these eggs somewhere, or can I do this myself? Also how long will a raw egg stay good when unrefrigerated? I would love to enjoy my eggs no matter how long I may be on the trail. Jes Russellville, Arkansas

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I like eggs, too, and often take them backpacking. Eggs are extremely long lasting, and I am hard put to imagine a scenario in which they would not stay good for as long as you care to lug them. Two weeks, easy. Fresh eggs, in fact, have natural bacteria-killing agents and actually will last longer than unrefrigerated hard-boiled eggs. In short, you can pack in as many eggs as you think you’ll want to eat (or carry—eggs are pretty heavy) and not worry much about spoilage. And, well, if one does go bad, you’ll know about it when you crack it open. Does the phrase “smells like a rotten egg” mean anything to you? That’s hydrogen sulfide you smell, and it’s potent stuff. No mistaking it.

Anyway, the wax bit was an attempt to “seal” the shell, which is porous, and prevent bacteria from getting inside. You can do this at home—just dip the eggs in warm paraffin wax. But I don’t think it’ll make much difference for you.

Try this next time you carry eggs into the woods:

Outback Frittata:

4 eggs
1 cup milk (made from powdered)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm a non-stick skillet over your camp stove. Add oil, then mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms until browned. Add all other ingredients and stir to mix. Turn heat to low, cover skillet with a sheet of aluminum foil, and cook until center is set—ten minutes at the most. Then, prepare to fight off neighboring campersB

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