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Test Kitchen: Cheese

From Gouda to good old string cheese, we tested 20 types to find the trail-worthiest.

Hard cheese
Best for Extended trips, hot weather, snacking, and meal topping
Trail worthiness Low moisture in aged hard cheeses concentrates flavor and extends shelf life. Our test hunks stayed edible for more than two weeks in temps in the low 80s. All hard cheeses sweat oil and whey, but opt for bricks over pre-sliced or shredded; moisture is easier to manage and the shelf-life is longer.
Storage Wrap in waxed paper then loose plastic wrap–not a zip-top bag. Store in a food-specific stuffsack to prevent an oily mess.

Top picks
>> Cheddar This fatty choice (9.5 g/ounce) is good fuel for cold or hard hikes. Pair with apples or drizzle with honey on crackers.
>> Mozzarella The low-moisture, semi-dry variety is trail-worthy (the water-packed stuff is not). Haul smoked hunks and string singles, which last two weeks without refrigeration. Both melt well on pizza and get gooier and more flavorful as oils sweat.
>> Parmesan Protein-dense and salty (450 mgs/ounce), this meal-topper is a recovery superfood. Pack solid pieces (trim the rind) and shave onto meals after cooking for easy cleanup.

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