Foodless Odyssey (video)

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Ever consider what it would take to travel by bike and live off the land? In this new short film by Anthill Films, Matt Hunter and crew go on a weeklong bikepacking trip without food to find out. Follow along as they hunt, fish, and forage their way around Haida Gwaii…

Pro mountain biker Matt Hunter sets out with Charlie McLellan, Anthill director Darcy Wittenburg, and photographer Nicolas Teichrob to bikepack around the remote island of Haida Gwaii, a rainforest archipelago off British Columbia’s west coast. Sounds nice enough, right? To make things interesting, they chose to undertake this expedition without packing a single morsel of food. Instead, they foraged, fished, and hunted for every calorie they needed to power this seven day, 129-mile (207 km) bikepacking trip, living off the land much like the local Haida have done for centuries.

  • Foodless Odyssey Video
  • Foodless Odyssey Video
  • Foodless Odyssey Video
  • Foodless Odyssey Video
  • Foodless Odyssey Video
Video courtesy of OutsideTV.

“When you’re really hungry and you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you feel desperate. I’ve never felt like that in my life.” – Matt Hunter

Foodless Odyssey Video

While hunting and gathering on a bike trip seems like an enchanting idea, it’s obviously quite challenging, and such a journey requires skill and fortitude. After bikepacking through Haida Gwaii’s rainforests with nothing but their bikes, camping gear, and equipment, it’s clear that this hungry group of travelers developed a first-hand appreciation for where their meals come from, and the ease with which they’re used to getting them.

  • Foodless Odyssey Video
  • Foodless Odyssey Video

“Humanity has fallen away from that connection with food. This was the ultimate… Going out and being fully connected in that you had to collect the food in order to eat.” – Charlie McLellan

Photographs by Nicolas Teichrob

  • johnelwood

    Awesome. Makes me appreciate our agrarian society… Actually makes me want to do what they did (despite zero skill or knowledge), while simultaneously starting a hydroponic window farm in my apartment. But mostly it makes me want to ride my bike, which I am going to do now.

  • We’re thinking along the same lines. I really want to go on a trip with someone who knows a lot about edible wild plants and mushrooms.

  • Mike

    If you can go to Australia or NZ, they have so many invasive species you can essentially hunt year round without seasons. A rifle or bow, some fishing equipment etc and you could spend months out there. There’s a few guys in Australia (who are on social media, many many more who aren’t) that spend months in bush at a time. Having a bike would be a huge assest as your able to move between water sources much faster. One of the big hunts in Australia is invasive water buffalo. One buffalo would provide protein in the form of jerky, for six months or more.

  • Wow. That’s big gun territory. I am personally more of a plant/fish person, although I did some quail and dove hunting in my youth. That said, I think it could be rewarding to learn the skills to hunt/process larger game.

  • Nathan Gregory

    This is incredibly inspirational! I’ve always wanted the experience of being able to forage and use this land that we call home. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Same here – I’m useless when it comes to this.

  • Doug Reilly

    I often think about this when I am camping, lugging a cooler of food to a lakeside tent site or a backpack of dehydrated noodles down a trail, how funny it is to treat the environment so alien, like Mars, and schlep outside food right through an area overflowing with it, if I only had the eyes to see it and the will to hunt, fish or collect it. Even at home, I go buy greens at the grocery store even though dandelion (which I can recognize) and purslane (which I can’t) grows everywhere and is free. This story is inspiring, and challenging.

  • Anco Hissink

    Hunting for meat is not an option in Western – Europe! In many countries weapon – laws forbid you to run around with guns or bow and arrow. So therefor a “hybrid” solution would be more realistic. Bring or buy the basics and complement your meals with what you can find along the way.

  • Schlamm

    Bows are not always forbidden, “bow hunting” often is. as it is possibly not that deadly with one shot like a hunting rifle and the animal will flee and suffer till death even longer than with a rifle wound.
    also, hunting rules are very strict because the forest is often (at least in germany) divided into private hunting areas (“Jagdpächter”) and they dislike it when you encroach in their territory.

    sorry for my spelling.

  • Schlamm

    You could start by choosing the right time of the year and the right (suggested) place to find just one thing to forage. Buckwheed (nuts?) for example is easy to pick up, although it takes some time for a good amount ;).

  • Mr Sun

    really great adventure !! that give them another point of view on consumacy society hu ??

  • Geoff Albert

    I’m currently reading “The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine”. This fits in well.

  • Seedub

    My wife and I tried this on a sailing trip up in Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness in SE AK a few decades ago. Foraging for food became a full time occupation, we were hungry all the time, fish weren’t where we expected them to be (based on prior trips) and beach foraging took a lot of time to make a meals worth (that seemed to shrink 2/3 as it cooked). It was more challenging than we imagined for all the reasons expressed in this film. We did fall back on whole canned chickens stashed in the boat – it was vacation after all.

  • Doug Nielsen

    This was terrific! Thanks for sharing. That was a great video.

  • Doug Nielsen

    What I can’t figure out is when I need a fish while bike packing… I never catch one. Fishing with my kids with a cooler and chips on hand… the are biting like crazy.

  • StaySaneSleepOutside

    This is really cool and something I have also thought of doing for years. Question – I know the black-tailed deer there are small, but they said the deer only provided 3 meals for them, 4 people… between the two shoulders, four hind quarters, ribs, backstraps, tenderloins, heart, and neck meat, I have a dual question – how freaking small was that deer and/or did they not harvest all of this meat I mention??? If the former, I get it, as some of those deer are really small and the four guys were hungry! If the latter, it’s terribly irresponsible. Thanks.