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I am planning to hardboil some eggs and immediately, while hot, wrap them in cling-film before stowing in my pack. How long will they last before going off? (I am in NZ so eggs are not washed like in the Us. Not sure if that makes a difference once boiled anyway.) Any other suggestions for storing boiled eggs unrefrigerated? I do not want to cook them on the trail.

Update 08 Apr 2015: Just to report on 2 pieces of empirical data.

1) Experiment. I hardboiled an egg and immediately wrapped it in clingfilm. Kept indoors for 5 days. Unwrapped and ate. Delicious.

2) Hiking buddy and I hardboiled and clingfilmed 8 eggs. Refrigerated for 2 days before hike. 4 were eaten 5 hours into the hike. 4 were good 30 hours into the hike.

  • Are you keeping them in the shells or are you peeling them before packing them? – ShemSeger Mar 29 '15 at 19:28
  • Keeping them in their shells – quetzalito Mar 29 '15 at 20:33
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    Your eggs will last longer if you hold off on boiling them. Hard boiling eggs is considered to be one method of extending their shelf life (but only for another week, refrigerated). So if you plan on boiling them at the trail head, or even on your first night, you can expect them to last a bit longer. The issue with eggs is with bacteria, hard boiled eggs may taste good even a week or more after boiling them, but bacteria can start growing after only a couple hours. Not guaranteeing it will, but it's possible. – ShemSeger Mar 30 '15 at 17:44
  • For what it's worth, I carry them hiking in the Southeastern US during August. I eat them on Day 2 without any issues. That doesn't mean it's "safe", just that it's worked for me so far. – Russell Steen Apr 8 '15 at 23:13
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I am going to answer this question now, even though its been a long time since this question has been posted. Where I come from (Germany) we eat precooked Easter Eggs that have a (non-refridgerated!) shelf life of 6 weeks and more. These eggs are coated with a kind of finish that won't let bacteria etc through and keeps them fresh. But you can preserve them by yourself as well and here is how:

- Use eggs that are between 7-14 days old. (Fresh does not mean better in this case. It has something to do with the air that is inside the egg and the pressure exchange during the cooking process.)

-Fully cook them, at least 10 minutes! Do not shock-cool them, but let them cool slowly. Otherwise you might cause damage in the egg sack, which in turn causes the egg to spoil quicker.

Without any cracks, they should last you for about 3 weeks now. Eggs with a smooth surface last longer than those with a coarse shell. Rubbing the cool eggs with a bacon rind adds another protective layer and keeps in the moisture longer. (Dry eggs can still be eaten, though they are not as delicious!)

This is how your great-grandparents used to eat them, probably. Please don't be discouraged to bring eggs on your hike, as they are an excellent source of protein and oh, so delicious! :D

For those of you who can read german and would like an official study and assurance of safety, here is a link to a publication of the food safety board of Switzerland: http://www.bag.admin.ch/dokumentation/publikationen/01435/01800/index.html?lang=de&download=NHzLpZig7t,lnp6I0NTU042l2Z6ln1acy4Zn4Z2qZpnO2Yuq2Z6gpJCEdX1_fWym162dpYbUzd,Gpd6emK2Oz9aGodetmqaN19XI2IdvoaCUZ,s-

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The pioneers of the old west used to trek across the prairies with jars of pickled hard boiled eggs. So pickling your eggs is one option of preserving them.

How long they'll last plain depends a lot on the temperature and conditions of where you're going. Keeping them hot isn't going to preserve them, keeping them cold will. I don't know how many eggs you're planning on bringing with you, but I would recommend you plan on eating them within the first 24 hrs. I wouldn't want to carry them around any longer than that myself, first of all, eggs aren't exactly light in your bag, and second–you don't want to mess around with salmonella while you're out in the backcountry, bacteria can start to grow in unrefridgerated eggs in as little as two hours, and food-poisoning can literally be a killer if you're stuck a days hike or more away from civilization.

If you want to keep them for longer, pack them in a small insulated lunch cooler with a frozen water bottle to keep them cool as long as you can. You could try freezing them first and keep them cool even longer, but freezing hardboiled eggs changes their texture when they thaw, so they may not be as appetizing after.

If for some reason you want to put off eating your eggs for a couple of days, you can actually construct an evaporative refrigerator in the backcountry that is powered by the sun. Basically you use the same principle as sweating to keep your food cold. The easiest way to do this is to dig a hole in the sand next to a creek, put your food in it, and stretch a damp towel or t-shirt over the top of the hole. If you can devise a way to keep the material wet (water bottle with a small hole in it, or divert a small trickle of water from the creek) then the sun will evaporate the water off of the material and significantly cool the inside of the hole.

There are many other ways to make an evaporative fridge, you can search the internet for more ideas, or use you own imagination to come up with something else on your own.


Evaporative fridge examples:

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    What the heck .... back in the pre-internet days, we thought un-cracked hard boiled eggs were good for weeks. Now the internet says 2 hours. Is this just more USDA BS? Anybody ever heard of anybody dying from Easter eggs? – Pepi Mar 29 '15 at 9:53
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    They probably can keep for longer, but they always lean the recommendations further on the safer side. In the shell would be different than peeled, but keeping an egg uncracked while backpacking might be tricky. – ShemSeger Mar 29 '15 at 17:18
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As many people have pointed out here and in other online forums, the concern is of course bacteria. If you can keep the bacteria away from the eggs they will not spoil. Some countries prohibit washing and refrigerating prior to selling the eggs and they can sit on the counter at home uncooked for a few weeks. Washing, refrigerating, and cooking degrade the natural barrier of the shell and membrane and thus shorten storage time.Some cultures pickle hard boiled eggs, some people smoke them, you could salt pack them, rub them with oil, etc and probably achieve decent room temperature shelf life. I live in the US and have camped with unbroken hard boiled eggs and eaten them on the third day without any spoilage. I have had salmonella poisoning twice from raw home raised eggs in Maine (I was a kid and other people served them). I am cautious but not reactionary about food. I consider three things when bringing food: source, handling, storage conditions. With eggs, I want them to be locally raised, I boil them and then oil them, and only bring enough for the first few days if they will be subject to temperatures above 75 (F- I'm American 😜). You can't necessarily taste all bacterial spoilage so I like to be cautious. However there is scientific research about how well eggs keep cooked at room temperature. Please read the post in this thread by Lisa from Germany. She cites a Swiss study showing that they store fairly well especially when commercially died for Easter - the dies help seal put bacteria. Here's the study http://www.bag.admin.ch/dokumentation/publikationen/01435/01800/index.html?lang=de&download=NHzLpZig7t,lnp6I0NTU042l2Z6ln1acy4Zn4Z2qZpnO2Yuq2Z6gpJCEdX1_fWym162dpYbUzd,Gpd6emK2Oz9aGodetmqaN19XI2IdvoaCUZ,s-

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