Most hikers will not go anywhere without an extra energy source in their pack. This usually comes in the form of something easy to carry and quick acting. Some of these products suggest that they be taken with water and others are intended to be added to water. In either case the water acts to allow the product to be absorbed quickly. These supplements are intended to get you through the normal daily adventure.
All well and good, and recommended, but NOT what the Ten Essentials are suggesting. Again, the key word is “Extra”. The extra food is for what might be needed if things are not normal. This essential goes in the bottom of your pack and is not intended to be used unless you are on mile 98 of an Ultramarathon and have run out of energy and everything else.
Think about what you might like in an emergency situation. It’s a good thought because emergency responders are likely to look in your pack for something to sustain you. How about something that can be heated and provide warmth to your core in cold environments? What about something that will provide sustained energy to get you out of an unexpected situation? How about something that you will not snack on and be gone when you need it most? What other criteria can you think about that will direct your choice of “extra food”?
Start out at the grocery store and walk the aisles. Most of what you focus on will be too heavy or too inviting or too fragile or will spoil before you need it. If you are going to carry a stove, try the soup section and find dried soup. It can be rehydrated, heated and provide warmth in cold temperatures. It has no “use by date” and can be sealed in a plastic baggie.