While the pandemic mercifully winds down I’m left thinking of the changes that were foisted upon many people. People who were figuratively punched in the mouth then shook it off and kept coming. People like Shaun and Emily Durkee; founders and owners of Alpen Fuel based in Bozeman, Montana.
Alpen Fuel had been a side gig for Shaun, a lifelong outdoorsman, since the fall of 2018 when he began marketing hard-to-find quality backpacking food and selling it through his online store. A brief two years later, the pandemic came knocking and Shaun found himself laid off from his full-time job of nine years.
With Emily’s blessing and help, the Durkees leaned into Alpen Fuel, adding their own recipes a short time later. “We knew that if we were going to go full time with it, we really had to scale it beyond just carrying other peoples’ products,” he said. “So we decided that we would give it a go and go all in on our own products and on the brand.”
Creating Alpen Fuel’s line of offerings was no small task, though. Shaun, the avid backpacker, had a laundry list of things he wanted to improve on before signing off. Nutrient-rich ingredients, balanced macros, quicker cook times, and higher caloric count were incorporated into AF’s trademark small pouch (saving room in a pack or bear canister, Alpen Fuel notes). With Shaun’s list satisfied, Emily developed flavors by tweaking ingredients and taste combinations. Their finished products hit the mark in a big way: Just pour in hot or cold water, stir, wait five minutes and enjoy a taste-packed breakfast or snack.
As a hunting guide, I appreciate the option of a cold breakfast as it allows me an extra cup of hot coffee from my backpacking stove before the hunting day starts with clients. The attention to detail bears itself out as well through the entirety of the product, from the small packaging to gourmet ingredients. After several mornings on the mountain, it’s a welcome sensation to look forward to breakfast knowing you’ve got some enticing options left to choose from AND a bonus coffee.
The Alpen Fuel crew is used to pain but now it’s of the growing variety. Having started working off-hours in a rented commercial kitchen to get their dream off of the ground, the Durkees have just signed a lease on their very own kitchen space near Bozeman, Montana.
From the Alpen Fuel website:
“Our mission is simple – to be the best food resource for your backcountry adventures. By stocking high quality backcountry fuel products from a wide variety of small companies, as well as creating our own top tier products – we are a one stop shop for all of your adventure food!”
The demand continues to grow for quality, affordable backpacking food and Alpen Fuel is more than happy to accommodate. Check them out at AlpenFuel.com
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