Help with light weight compact food

9:23 a.m. on May 30, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

I'm looking for recomendations for light weight compact food. I was thinking of carring crushed and compacted ramon noodles to save room and reduce cook time i.e save fuel. I am going with 3 other people for 4 or 5 days on Mt Rainier and hope to summit via one or 2 different routes. Since we have a lot of gear to carry, any ideas on how to cut down on food and fuel weight and space would be appriecieated. ALso, how do you determine how much fuel to carry since we need to melt snow for water as well as cook. We will be using white gas in Whisper lite stoves. Thanks for the help. This is the best site for getting "real world" advice! Darryl

12:00 p.m. on May 30, 2001 (EDT)
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My typical camping food....

Breakfast: instant oatmeal or instant grits. Coffee bags (just like tea bags).

Lunch (no cooking): sandwiches. first day, beef stick and cheese on hoagie roll. 2nd day, tuna in an envelope and packaged mayo on a hogie roll. 3rd & 4th days peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I carry the peanut butter and jelly in "squeesy tubes".

Dinner: 1st night combine hard boiled eggs and packaged mayo and put on hoagie roll, cup o soup. Remaining nights- Mountain House (requires two cups of boiling water each).

1:38 p.m. on May 30, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

a.k.a. G.L., Greased Lightning, Irv

Darryl -
I think that Ramen isn't going to give you anywehere near the caloric "density" that you'll absolutely require for multi-day high altitude mountaineering. You need to concentrate on a steady hi-carb and high protein preparatory diet for about one week prior to the climb (assuming that you're in excellent physical condition to begin with). I generally consume between 4,000 - 5,000 calories per day when I'm back-packing for several days in the Appalachians - but each person is different regarding their caloric requirements. I agree with the other post that peanut butter and jelly are no-sweat nutrious and energy-rich foods and I also agree that a Mountain-House type of dried dinner - as long as you're getting enough calories - are good ideas. I suggest that you get in touch with the American Alpine Institute and the guide service at Ranier - you'll have to search for their web sites - and ask them what their recommendations are. they each have many years experience in the Ranier environment and will be very helpful. regards and have a great climb - GL

2:37 p.m. on May 30, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

Hi Darryl,
Just an observation, nothing personal and I may be taking a wrong guess, however, this may apply to other lurkers. I'm glad you post your questions. Most mountaineering trips are really camping your way up a mountain... in addition to some technical skills. You are asking some basic question about cold weather/winter camping. Ideally, one should work this experience out in some winter backpacking trips. The prerequisite for mountaineering is impeccable camping skill, in addition to wilderness first aid/safety awareness, navigation, and rope skills. "Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills" is a good start.

Your idea of ramon noodles will work. I pour my crushed noodles in a insulated mug, + boiling water, and just scoop it down a few minutes later. Some ramon brands are tougher than other, test them out yourself. Add some home dehydrated scallion, bean, bacon bits, coucous,...etc for personal taste.

I pack my own dinner: instant rice/potato/coucous, home dehydrated tuna/veg/beans, butter/spices/cheese...etc. in a heavy duty ziplock. I'll reconstitute 1 or 2 packs of Lipton soup and then pour it into the bag. Let it sit in an OR waterbottle parka until it is soft enough to eat. You can test this out using your freezer. Don't boil the bag, the seal will melt if you do. This is cheaper than the dehydrated meal in the market. No cooking, no cleaning. However, most of the dehydrated meals on the market are pretty good.

PB in a squeeze tube will work in your trip, however, it may not be squeezable in winter. The same applies to some candy bars. Do a freezer test, if you can freeze it and chew it, then it works. But you won't need this test for a summer climb. To make things simple, I generally just use energy bars.

Fuel: it takes about the same amount of heat (hence, fuel) to turn ice into water, and to boil this water from 0C to 100C. A general rule is to double the fuel. A short cut is to simply warm up the water and pop some iodine into it. I luv this taste. What me to say... but an odd ball.

You may want to spread-sheet all of your items and weight and see if you can cut the weight without compromising safety.

Bring a cellphone. Last year, one of my friend have to borrow one on the Mtn to call for a chopper-- broken ankle.

Have a fun and safe climb. ;-))

6:49 p.m. on May 30, 2001 (EDT)
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Fuel - general rule of thumb - in 3-season camping (liquid water available, only "boil water" meals like Ramen, angelhair pasta, couscous, oatmeal, hot drinks, or, if rich, freezedry meals), 2 ounces of white gas per person per day. If you are melting water from snow, then the fuel goes way up, depending on how cold it is. Since you are doing Rainier during the normal climbing season, it won't be too cold. However, one of the other posters forgot one very important thing. You aren't just melting snow for cooking water. You are also melting all your drinking water. Therefore, allow 6 to 8 ounces per person per day. You need to drink a total of 6 to 8 liters of fluid (some can be in your food) per day to stay hydrated. Staying properly hydrated goes a long way toward staving off all sorts of mountaineering ailments, including AMS (and its more severe relatives), frostbite, fatigue, etc. Staying hydrated isn't the only thing to stave off problems, but it plays a very important role.

One of the other posters noted that while climbing, you burn 5000 or more calories per day. True enough, but on a short (3 or 4 day climb), you don't need to consume that much during the climb. But you do need to boost your intake even for short trips. On something like Rainier, I generally only go up to about 3000 calories per day. Partly this is to cut weight (both carried and my ever-expanding middle) and partly to reduce prep time. The highest concentration of calories is in fats and oils. However, a lot of people have problems digesting fats at altitude, so don't go overboard (Chouinard once drank a half-cup of olive oil on a climb to boost his energy level - if you want to try this, I would like to hear whether it works for mere mortals or just the Chouinards of the world). Cheese is pretty concentrated in calories, as is chocolate and nuts. Gorp is a favorite energy snack for climbers - raisins, nuts, M&Ms. Some people add other dried fruits, but except for things like coconut, those can be less concentrated in calories. The bars sold as "pemmican" bars in climbing shops are also pretty concentrated (it isn't real Eskimo pemmican, which is mostly whale or seal blubber, but a mostly veggie, nut, and fruit mix). Try them before getting on the hill, though, since they can be hard to choke down without a lot of water.

A cheap way of getting a fast-cooking meal is to use a "soak in boiling water" starch (ramen, soba, other oriental noodles, angelhair pasta, couscous) with some sun-dried tomatoes and spices and tuna (get it in the foil envelopes - a little heavy since it isn't dehydrated, but you trade fuel for melting snow for the weight of the hydrated tuna). For climbing, get the tuna in oil rather than the tuna in water. Oatmeal is a good breakfast, especially combined with jerky or meat sticks (these are fairly high fat content). Lunch will have to be non-cook, so things like the pemmican bars, other energy bars (PowerBars are inedible when it gets below freezing), and cheese, work well, along with gorp and other candy type of things and nuts (I prefer cashews). Bread is useful only to hold your peanut butter and Nutella. It doesn't have much calorie content itself. Oh, yeah, Nutella is required! Some people use Gu along the way, at about 1 packet per half hour or so. I find it rather messy myself, but it does give a nice boost when you need energy.

You can cut fuel to some extent with cold meals. But you may find you have to melt more snow for water for drinking.

Bottom line is you can't cut the food weight much except by trading for fuel weight to melt water or by cutting the amount you eat during the trip. You don't have to worry about vitamins and minerals on a 3 or 4 day trip, but you shouldn't cut calories by too much - you don't need 5000+ calories on the short trip, but don't cut below about 3000 per day. Don't skimp on the water.

1:57 p.m. on June 1, 2001 (EDT)
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Excellant, as per usual Bill...

Quote:

Fuel - general rule of thumb - in 3-season camping (liquid water available, only "boil water" meals like Ramen, angelhair pasta, couscous, oatmeal, hot drinks, or, if rich, freezedry meals), 2 ounces of white gas per person per day.

My rule of thumb for planning is .2L per person per day. I, of course, bring an extra day and possibly a day and a half, for insurance against a poorly functioning stove or inclimate weather.

Quote:

One of the other posters noted that while climbing, you burn 5000 or more calories per day. True enough, but on a short (3 or 4 day climb), you don't need to consume that much during the climb.

I keep hearin' those excessive calories amounts being thrown out there too. Its not like an arctic expedition. Eat a normal amount and listen to the ol' bod!

>>(Chouinard once drank a half-cup of olive oil on a climb to boost his energy level - if you want to try this, I would like to hear whether it works for mere mortals or just the Chouinards of the world).

Eat a half stick of butter...yummy!

>>Cheese

Quote:

A cheap way of getting a fast-cooking meal is to use a "soak in boiling water" starch (ramen, soba, other oriental noodles, angelhair pasta, couscous)

Yepper, a chunk of mozerella cheese in the ol' ramon...works for me!

Quote:

Bottom line is you can't cut the food weight much except by trading for fuel weight to melt water or by cutting the amount you eat during the trip. You don't have to worry about vitamins and minerals on a 3 or 4 day trip, but you shouldn't cut calories by too much - you don't need 5000+ calories on the short trip, but don't cut below about 3000 per day. Don't skimp on the water.

Perrrfect advice! Most folks take way too much stuff. For breaky, I likes them Mountain House freeze dried eggs and bacon...yeah baby! Also, the MH granola is good cold or hot, and the raspberry crumble dessert is simply divine and way calorie packed as a breakfast meal. Just dump in a cup and add hot water. I repackage most my meals to save space. With freeze dried, I use a vacuum packer but also just use a small zip lock. Ramons are small enough for me but friends smash them up and put in a small baggie too. Tater buds are nice, especially with a powdered gravy or mushroom soup added (and with cheese too!). Plenty o' options....

No way I'm leavin' the French Press and Peets French roast coffee home...I'd just as soon leave my sleepin' bag out...

Brian in SLC

8:10 a.m. on June 2, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

can't add much more to the aready excellant suggestions except: whenever possible melt ICE instead of snow. takes less fuel and the water content is signifficantly higher.
have a great trip!!!!

10:18 a.m. on June 2, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

Couple of Suggestions . . .

Quote:

I'm looking for recomendations for light weight compact food. I was thinking of carring crushed and compacted ramon noodles to save room and reduce cook time i.e save fuel. I am going with 3 other people for 4 or 5 days on Mt Rainier and hope to summit via one or 2 different routes. Since we have a lot of gear to carry, any ideas on how to cut down on food and fuel weight and space would be appriecieated. ALso, how do you determine how much fuel to carry since we need to melt snow for water as well as cook. We will be using white gas in Whisper lite stoves. Thanks for the help. This is the best site for getting "real world" advice! Darryl


You have some excellent responses already, so I'l merely add a few comments to reinforce, and to add some missing stuff.

Don't overlook the weight to benefit savings of a small, black garbage bag. Fill it with snow and let the sun melt it - that will save a huge amount of fuel needed otherwise to make water from snow.

Make diff trailmixes, like two or more for lunch/dinner of typical, but make one for breakfast. Include sweetened granola, raisins, dried fruit, etc. Personally I get sick of just one flavor of gorp over a 4 to 5 day trip. Make it interesting for yer tastebuds. Other suggestions - dried eggs and bacon, jerky, etc. are great for breakfast.

Best for lunch - sandwiches. Various meats and cheeses on rolls make for quick, easy tough-trail fare while providing nec energy. PB&J's great as well. Have sammies ready to go - don't bring makings and put together at lunchtime. Best, esp in high alt with poss of bad trail or bad weather, to be able to just reach into pack or pocket for a sammie or two, followed by gorp and excessive q's of water.

Dinners - Lipton and such make rice and pastas with sauce in one packet that makes two cups of finished, hot, tasty dinner. WHen I'm climbing and living in cold weather, a two-cup dinner is good (too much when I'm just at home). Otherwise, cup o noodles, ramen, variety of nice international foods avail in foam cup - just add water!!! Nice for heat sensation and taste enjoyment - and light to carry up. I often have a sammie and a cup of soup or chili for dinner since, A)gets cold quick in mtns, B)not back to camp before very dark to max use of daylight for climbing, so no elaborate dinner to save time, temp and batteries of headlamp.

Sandwiches - remember that mayo and soft cheeses won't make it past a day or so of warmth. No oil&vinegar or mayo past first day. Make sammies dry - just meat and cheese. PB&J as suggested, use tube and make on the spot or in morning before climbing. Prov and swiss can go a long time before becoming a bio experiment so fine. I'm convinced that salami, sopressato and pepperoni are immune to degradation . . . so what is it doing to your stomach???!!! Just kidding.

Lots of fat per pound in meats and cheeses and gorp so bring 'em. Lots of dried foods to add hot water in camp - saves weight in carry. Bring black plastic bag to melt snow to save fuel. Just smile, pray for good weather, and have a blast.

Happy and Safe Climbing _-*-_
GvL

3:29 p.m. on June 14, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

Quote:

I'm looking for recomendations for light weight compact food. I was thinking of carring crushed and compacted ramon noodles to save room and reduce cook time i.e save fuel. I am going with 3 other people for 4 or 5 days on Mt Rainier and hope to summit via one or 2 different routes. Since we have a lot of gear to carry, any ideas on how to cut down on food and fuel weight and space would be appriecieated. ALso, how do you determine how much fuel to carry since we need to melt snow for water as well as cook. We will be using white gas in Whisper lite stoves. Thanks for the help. This is the best site for getting "real world" advice! Darryl

You've received a lot of great suggestions. Anything that cooks quick is better for saving on fuel consumption. I love the idea of using angel hair pasta and melting the snow in a black garbage bag (if you're returning to the same spot that night). For breakfast, don't forget to add the gorp to your oatmeal. For "sammies" bagels work great because they're nice and tough. I'd like to actually ask a question myself...with all these great lightweight suggestions for hot meals that only require boiling water and thus keeping you pot clean, does anyone have any ideas for low sodium meals?

BaldieC

October 1, 2014
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