Best food for backpacking?

2:16 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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Just wanting to know opinions on the best food to bring on a 3 day?

2:26 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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I'm curious to read replies to this. I would go with light and cheap, but I'm a miser, too. A few protein/energy bars, some ramen, chocolate(!), nuts, a couple pieces of fruit, and tea/coffee do me fine for short treks. In general, I go for protein, carbs, and fat first, with vitamin content coming in second...again, this for short trips.

Oh, and bring more than you think you will need.

2:51 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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I Didnt realize there was already a post about this topic.But please feel free to respond anyways.

7:13 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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Hi Charlies Bunion,

Are you interested in info on meeting your nutritional needs for a three day trip, or maybe, do you want to know where to get backpacking food?

There are knowledgeable people on this site who definitely can give you the advise you seek, but you may wish to clarify your inquiry.

Glad you found the site.

7:18 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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I was curious to know what the majority of posters took. Nutritional value is what I am concerned about,(calorie to weight ratio).

9:13 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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Well, just speaking for myself, and as someone who ventures out for a few days to a couple weeks at a time I take a mix of commercially prepared freeze dried backpackers food, dry goods from my local grocer, and various nut and fruit snacks.
To me, anything in the grocery store that says "just add water" merits some consideration.
A lot of people do this, most repackage the food shedding any unnecessary cardboard, paper, styrofoam ect. (Keep the directions!)
I like to take powdered drink mixes, coffee, and tea.
Oh yeah, and some dark chocolate!
Why not? You'll work it off, and it has nutritional as well as mental benefits according to most of what I read.

I have begun lately to dehydrate some foods at home and vacuum package them, kind of a hobby really. A lot of other backpackers do this and its fairly new to me.

I also supplement my diet with fresh fish when the opportunity presents itself, crayfish, fresh water clams on occasion as well.
I personally like at least one hot meal a day, as close to home cooking as possible. I often take a frozen ribeye, rice & beans, and potato for my first supper at camp, great after a day of backpacking!
Others prefer to keep everything simple and only do "heat and eat" freeze dried meals, this is easier and quicker with minimal fuel expenditure and clean up. You simply heat the water and pour the water in the food pouch, let stand a few minutes and enjoy.
Still a few others eat all "cold meals" requiring no cooking or even boiling water. I personally would rather poke myself in the eye.

Some of the popular brands of freeze dried backpacking food are:
Natural High
Richmoor
Backpackers Pantry
Mountain House
AlpineAire

Most of this stuff is pretty good. You can even get pizza and ice cream! How do they do it? It's a mystery.

I am not a nutritionist so I better leave the specifics to someone else, but freeze dried should meet the needs of the average hiker just fine, if you are working your body really hard or in hot weather you would want to add some electrolytes and stuff.

Hope that helps, I'm sure more info is on the way.

4:40 a.m. on January 16, 2009 (EST)
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Well the kind you eat lol.

Here is a list of food's that I have and do bring on trips and don't forget about the Dehydrated Food’s you can get at your local sporting goods stores like Gander Mountain or over the internet there is a large selection of that stuff too.

Gatorade Drink Mix
Orange Tang
Coffee (course grind)
Tea Bags
Hot Chocolate
Ritz Crackers (snack size)
Peanut Better (Jiff To Go snack size)
Oatmeal
Mac & Cheese (eazymac singles)
Span Singles (in pouch’s)
Tuna Fish (in pouch’s)
Crack Head Soup
Trail Mix
Cup-A-Soup
Granola / Power Bars
Powered Milk
Pancake Mix
Bouillon
Dried Beef
Jam
Powered Eggs
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Pancake Syrup

8:44 a.m. on January 16, 2009 (EST)
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Thanx for the replies it was a big help.

2:58 p.m. on January 16, 2009 (EST)
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Well, it really all depends on the size of the cooler you're dragging along with you. (You ARE taking a cooler along, right? If not, how do you keep the chablis chilled?)

Seriously, I try to find a happy medium between no-cook and "real meal". Can't stand even the thought of powdered eggs, so no-go with those, but I actually like some of the simpler rice-based dishes that requires minimal cooking. And if my weight allowance has room, one "nice" meal is a wonderful luxury, too.

The best way to find the answer to this question that best satisfies you is, I think, to go out there a lot and experiment with things you think might work well, especially on shorter trips, where being hungry or dissatisfied is at most an inconvenience. (I progressively severely limit my "experimentation" on trips of more than about three days.)

Oh, and unless you're simply not a fan, chocolate is a must.

4:59 p.m. on January 19, 2009 (EST)
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I always like to "reward" myself with at least one real meal that I cook at home and dehydrate. Something like chili can be made and then dried on cookie sheets in a regular oven. Pack it in and just add some water (hot or not) a few hours before you plan on eating it and then heat and finish re-hydrating on your stove.

With a little pre-planning and time investment its really worth it to break up those prepackaged meals with real food. Also...yes chocolate is excellent!

5:40 p.m. on January 19, 2009 (EST)
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Jimbo--

You actually dry chili on cookie sheets in the oven? Sounds, well, kinda messy. And does it turn back into chili, or something kinda vaguely chili-like?

9:00 p.m. on January 19, 2009 (EST)
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Coffee, green beans, roast in the morning, grind, and brew.(a must for me)
instant oatmeal (last me till noon easy)
Apples Oranges (bulky but better than any candy or bar. and a real treat)
Zatarains dirty rice or jambalaya (if you need meat with that, summer sausage)
Pinto beans, flour Tortillas, cheese
A fishing pole
And wine
Around here there are alot of berries and mushrooms.
I worked on this all last year. Tried alot of stuff that I didnt like. Plus it realy helps that I love to cook. And Trouthunter is right. For that first night go ahead and pack frozen meat and veg.
Icook over an open fire when I can, and hardly use my stove.

9:45 p.m. on January 19, 2009 (EST)
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Yeah...Zatarains rice meals are great, I use summer sausage for that too.

Easy cooking over some coals, or on a gas stove but you will use a little gas, 20 min. cook time I believe it is.

Takes me about 4 refills on an alcohol stove, I got awful close to getting into the Wild Turkey for fuel once. So now I take the Whisperlite. HaHa

11:24 p.m. on January 19, 2009 (EST)
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For most 2-3 day trips I bring "heavy" food. If I can have a wood fire, maybe a steak or chicken breast for dinner. If not I'll prep spagetti, or stew, or a meaty soup at home and just freeze a portion in a ziploc bag. Frozen, these will keep for a couple days. Ziploc in boiling water for a hot meal.

For breakfast I'll use a bakepacker and cook up an omelet with powdered eggs. Lunch, almost always p-nut butter and bagel; though on occasion the pouch chicken, tuna or salmon.

8:34 p.m. on January 20, 2009 (EST)
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Guess what I'm eating right now!

Dirty rice.

When we was young and poor, we ate it on bread like a sandwich. On real special days, we would melt a slice of Swiss or Monterrey on it.
It sure beat a ketchup sandwich. I wouldn't even eat one of those on a camping trip.

Well,....yeah I probably would.

12:23 p.m. on January 21, 2009 (EST)
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Hahah I sure do Perry (once at least!). As long as you spread it out as much as possible (on the cookie sheets) and keep the oven door cracked to maintain the airflow then leaving the oven at its lowest setting (under 200 F if you can) it works just fine! It will be at least over night in there but once all the moisture is gone then its ready to bag up (and store in the freezer until you leave). Though I must admit it took our finest metal flipper to scrape everything off. :)

Taste wise it's perfect if I do say so. Though it did take a while to get those kidney beans rehydrated (it may be better to rough chop them before adding to the chili). I did the same with a spaghetti sauce, curry, and a parmesan cream sauce. I love to cook and I found cooking for the trail to be that much funner knowing I would enjoy the home meals that much more.

I would have to say that food cooked at home and dehydrated is the best food for backpacking, at least for those end of the day camp meals and assuming one has the time for some of the prep.

And as steve t pointed out "heavy" food is okay too especially for the first day when you can bring things fresh. We took some frozen steaks and fresh veggies for Day 1 of the West Coast Trail and hands down it was worth the extra weight, though I'm sure some won't agree haha.

3:17 p.m. on January 21, 2009 (EST)
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I actually prefer the commercially produced freeze dried food when I go backpacking. They are lightweight and compact, they only require water to make, and you can eat right out of the bag which reduces the dishes you have to do. For drinks I bring along Maxwell house coffee bags which look and work a lot like tea bags. You just leave the pouch in water and let it sit for a couple of minutes and then you have a nice cup of coffee. If you want to make your coffee a little fancier then just bring along a packet of hot chocolate and add that to your coffee for a little backcountry mocha.

6:01 p.m. on January 21, 2009 (EST)
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Has anyone tried these meals from "Enertia". I prefer meals with some meat in them but between the price, being compact, and the calories count they sound worth a try. I read some very good reviews on another site.
Gary C.

http://www.trailfoods.com/aboutus.html
http://www.trailfoods.com/meals1.html

8:17 p.m. on January 21, 2009 (EST)
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For a backpacker's cookbook of light, easy recipes using ingredients from the supermarket, I strongly recommend June Fleming's *The Well-Fed Backpacker*.

Her recipe for "Cheesy Baco-Spuds" is my favorite ultra-lightweight, ultra-quick recipe. On long trips, I'll have it for my hot dinner every day, figuring one recipe makes 3 1-cup dry-ingredient portions that weigh about an ounce each. Boil a cup of water, stir in the dry ingredients, cover, let sit a minute, and then fluff and eat.

Another of my favorites is her "Cashew Rice Curry." Make it with instant brown rice for extra nutrition.

Her "Granola" makes a wonderful breakfast. I never tire of it, and you can vary the ingredients to suit whatever you can find on the supermarket shelves.

A home food dryer is a great investment. I dry my own beef jerky and also make dried fruits and vegetables. (Warning: avoid drying beans. They dry to little rocks and hardly rehydrate. For edible beans, other than green beans, you really need the freeze-dried ones.) You can dry chili and spaghetti sauce at home like you'd dry a fruit puree for fruit leather. You can even dry browned ground round. About drying vegetables: I find it's easier to cook frozen vegetables and then dry them rather than to hassle with fresh vegetables. Home-dried veggies do take longer than freeze-dried ones to rehydrate.

9:11 p.m. on January 21, 2009 (EST)
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Mike068 crack head soup????

I am in the military stationed in Alaska. We have a Cold Weather meal ready to eat. Which is basically a freeze dried main meal. I carry these when I can get my hands on em. They have lots of calaries and are very good.
Also like to carry lots of jerky, just like the taste and it's good for you.

1:11 a.m. on January 22, 2009 (EST)
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I was a wilderness ranger in the Marble Mt Wilderness for 12 years. I was always amused at how important 'gourmet' meals are for many city folks. If you are in the mountains for three days, you will do fine with instant oatmeal and raisins in cold water for breakfast and, like John Muir, good heavy bread (I added peanut butter for protein) for lunch/supper. No need to start a fire unless you want hot tea, and even that is not necessary if you drop a couple of tea bags in a bottle of cold water at the beginning of the hiking day. Being a little hunger in the evening may remind you that you are in the wilderness. When you finally return to 'civilization', you will feel like a wolf amongst lapdogs

2:20 a.m. on January 22, 2009 (EST)
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Durga-Chaitanya you have a valid point but when I go camping I am usually going for the enjoyment of it all. Yes you can live on bird food and oatmeal for along time but I like to live a bit not to mention that I like to cook. I don't do gourmet while camping and I wouldn't recommend that for anybody and verity is good. But then again everyone has different methods.

10:51 a.m. on January 22, 2009 (EST)
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I have posted to this subject. But I would like to add that going out on your own gives one plenty of time. And it is worth while to invest in some good books. There is much to eat out there, roots and plants. I do go out and gather, and cook up the food that I find. I find this fun. Plus you learn how you can live out there. You never know what can happen. Allways be ready for the worst. But for a 2-3 day camping trip, camp for fun. Just be ready for things to become bad in a hurry.
BTW I'm buying my first backpack today!
So, you may ask "just what do I know about backpacking at this point?"
I have been packing in with canvas bags! I put off on a backpack untill I knew something. Its been along time acomin! But I think that myself training will pay off. And a backpack will make it soooo much easier.

4:46 p.m. on January 31, 2009 (EST)
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No doubt take advantage of the first day and eat like a king.
Remember the more you eat the less you weigh. I bring a small soft cooler as well.Loaded up on ice it will keep cheese,eggs,a sausage stick ect.. for a few days,especially if you camp near a cold creek at night.
One really great,easy meal I've found is as follows:

Homestyle instant potatoes(any brand will do) usually I get a 4oz. package that only needs boiling water.

StoveTop stuffing (pre measured and bagged) needs a little margarine.

One packet of instant turkey or chicken gravy. Only needs boiling water.

Finally one or two 5oz. cans of turkey or chicken.

You need one pot for the potatoes. I use my camping cup to mix the gravy and turkey. The stuffing you can just pour boiling water in the bag, let sit and fluff.
A good, relatively light weight meal that can keep until the last night of your trip.

5:31 p.m. on February 3, 2009 (EST)
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Dobber said "Remember the more you eat the less you weigh."

Man oh man if were like that in real life! I eat a chip I gain 10 lbs. Ha! Very nice recipe, going to have to try that one!

7:08 p.m. on February 3, 2009 (EST)
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Dobber said "Remember the more you eat the less you weigh."

Man oh man if were like that in real life! I eat a chip I gain 10 lbs. Ha! Very nice recipe, going to have to try that one!

I think it depends on whether you are in an area that demands you pack everything, including human waste, out. Recall the post in the human waste thread about ending up with more weight than when he started?

5:55 a.m. on February 4, 2009 (EST)
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Hey guys,

If I remember what I was told correctly, the military MRE's are designed to be high in nutritional content but low yield in terms of human waste production.

Do you think the same is true of say...Backpackers pantry?

I have not found it to be true of the chili mac, at least the follow up time is quite short for me if you know what I mean.

5:14 a.m. on February 6, 2009 (EST)
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I think I'm taking JIMBO on my next hike.... my friends and I are lazy.

We've been buying the Hamburger Helper singles, throw in a lil bit more water than usual, and cook'em on the Whisperlight. Takes a lil bit of time, but its a lot better than the dehydrated crap for $8 a bag.

 

Regarding the MRE's, my pals and I keep an eye out for when the military sells their surplus, and they are GREAT for hiking... I wish I could get my paws on more.

9:14 a.m. on February 6, 2009 (EST)
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The MRE's are pretty good. I'll usually take them if I'm going on a short trip as they can get pretty bulky/heavy.

10:07 a.m. on February 6, 2009 (EST)
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I use foods from the standard grocery store like Top Ramen, Mac and Chs,lipton noodle mixes, instant rice dishes, dry milk, gatoraid, granola,etc. I repackage everything into Ziploc bags, which I re-use many times. I use a i quart cook pot with a bail handle and lid. And when I cook I bring the water to a boil stir in the pasta,rice or whatever and turn off the heat, cover and sit the cook pot on a shirt wrapped around to insulate and let sit for however long it takes to cook. I can use my Pocket rocket stoves 4 oz canister for about two weeks. Sometimes I rehydrate the rice.pasta or oat meal in cold water first then just bring to a boil. As a chef I have discovered many fuel and water saving methods for camp cooking.

11:16 a.m. on February 6, 2009 (EST)
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For something as short as the 3-day trip the OP, Charlies Bunion, was asking about, nutrition is not very important. Your nutritional needs are not going to get out of whack in that short time. A week-long trek is where nutrition (in terms of vitamins, minerals, balance of carbo/protein/fat) starts to matter, and as you get longer, then the whole question of saturated fats, etc gets more an more important. I had some discussions with my PCP (that's Primary Care Physician in medical insurance terminology), a couple of friends who are nutritionists, a friend who is an expedition doctor, and a couple others who have experience in the field when I started going on month-long expeditions in places where all the food you have is what you can carry with you. I was inspired by having just re-read Endurance and an account of Scott's final expedition. Questions like "how long until scurvy sets in?" and other nutritional diseases, and "how can I avoid these debilitating, possibly with other long term effects, possibly fatal nutritional problems?" The short answer is what I said above - for 2-3 days, nutrition in terms of detailed balance of everything is not important, if you have been eating properly at home; for a week or two, pay some attention to the details; scurvy and the like shows up in 3 weeks or so if you have been really negligent in your nutrition; and "if you read the ingredients and nutrition content on the freeze-dry packages, Ramen cups, Hamburger Helper, and such with a knowledge of nutrition, you will be horrified!"

In short, for the 3-day trek, eat whatever tastes good and keeps your energy level up. Unless you are speed-hiking, don't worry about the weight, since part of the goal is to get in shape for the month-long trek. But pay careful attention to your diet BEFORE you get out there, with lots of fruit and vegetables (preferably fresh), lots of fresh fish, low on mammal meats, and did I say lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

For the short trips, I often do stir-fry in my GSI wok, using fresh ingredients. So, they are a bit on the heavy side. It's only a 3-day trip, and at my age, I can use all the conditioning I can get.

At the extreme end, there was an article in one of the outdoor magazines (might have been Rock&Ice) who did a climb of one of the major routes on El Capitan whose entire food supply consisted of Gu packets. By the time he reached the top, he said he had sworn off Gu forever. But hey, it was light, full of energy, and he got to the top.

1:53 p.m. on February 7, 2009 (EST)
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Bill S brings up a VERY good point. One step further; What about weight?

Which foods offer the best nutrition-to-weight ratio?

Does anyone know if any literature exists on the subject?

P.S. Ramen is not food. It's filler. And my most scincere admirations for any who can keep down Backpacker Pantry Chilli Mac (trouthunter) .

7:18 p.m. on February 7, 2009 (EST)
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dobber--

Since "nutrition" isn't a uniform thing--it encompasses everything from arachidonic acid to zinc, energy to enzyme co-factors--it's hard to deliver a useful answer about "nutrition-to-weight ratio" queries. Are you looking for calories? In that case, the answer's easy: fats. More than twice as many calories/gram as carbohydrates & proteins. But as soon as you start thinking of other things, the equation becomes non-linear at best.

But one also needs to consider palatability, ease of transport and preparation, gut tolerance, and so forth.

After one starts thinking about this, it becomes easy to see why nuts, with their high fat contents + protein, easy portability, ready-to-eat nature, and variety, are a backcountry staple. (Peanut butter is, of course, nothing but peanuts made spreadable.) Chocolate, with its high fat content, etc., is of course another one. Dried fruit (from raisins to mangoes) is of course popular for the fiber, taste, and variety. Trail mix (or "gorp" for some of us) combines all three of these in a ziploc bag. Convenient, eh? Combine that with spicy Slim Jims and some cheese, a mug of cold water, and a good creekside view, and I'm happy with my lunch.

11:13 p.m. on February 7, 2009 (EST)
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Bill S brings up a VERY good point. One step further; What about weight?

Which foods offer the best nutrition-to-weight ratio?

Does anyone know if any literature exists on the subject?

P.S. Ramen is not food. It's filler. And my most scincere admirations for any who can keep down Backpacker Pantry Chilli Mac (trouthunter) .

HaHa, Chili Mac looks so good in the picture!

Of course I feel compelled to make the point, although not entirely applicable, that fresh caught fish offer the highest nutrition to weight ratio, since you don't have to pack them in.

Then again I have expended a good bit of energy in the pursuit of fresh supper, possibly more that that used to carry the food in your backpack.

My solution is to let my dog carry the food, or at least part of it. He also carries my tent fly, poles, and stakes.

I'm sure some good info on actual nutrition to weight ratio could easily be had.

Oh yeah, I agree, Ramen is not food. But it does make for an okay pick me up as a quick lunch or something if you can add something to it, like a ribeye or some bacon.

6:42 p.m. on February 8, 2009 (EST)
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If you are just looking for energy - and who isn't after a few days, figure out how you are going to make up the deficit of carrying a heavy pack for up to perhaps 10 hours, at altitude, up hill. You could expend, if you are fit, about 8,000Kcal a day. So most of us are good for a bit more than 1/2 of that.

Look at the foods you plan to bring and try to figure out how you would carry all that freeze dried (2 man pack is only around 600-750 Kcal).

There is a LOT to be said about eating things you like. It makes looking forward to supper or a snack later in the day a lot easier than if you are planning on downing a good portion of Mazolla oil for the calories.

Higher fat, higher carbohydrates, higher protein that includes the big nuts like cashew and brazil, and oil packed tuna are a good start. Just make sure your tummy can take on the 'rich' foods that you will be changing to.

10:48 p.m. on February 8, 2009 (EST)
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12:03 a.m. on February 9, 2009 (EST)
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I agree with speacock:

"There is a LOT to be said about eating things you like. It makes looking forward to supper or a snack later in the day a lot easier than if you are planning on downing a good portion of Mazolla oil for the calories."

I agree!

We must pick foods that meet our nutritional needs, but it is also important, I think, to be able to look forward to and enjoy that food. Part of your needs on the trail are mental, maintaining a positive mental attitude will go a long way towards making your trip enjoyable, or at worst,... bearable. Enjoying a good meal after hiking in the rain, or whatever befalls you on the trail, can really lift your spirits. At least that has been my experience.

Cheese crackers or Ramen don't make me feel better after a bad day.

 

TravHale, thats enough chicken of the sea for a month man!

Have you tried that package yet? It's 30.00 right?

My dog loves tuna, we could share.

12:18 a.m. on February 9, 2009 (EST)
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Yeah, it is. But the stuff keeps forever. I'm thinking of getting the package just to try it all and possibly add a few items to my "I'll eat that" list. I'll have to start packing some breath mints to go along with!

1:20 a.m. on February 19, 2009 (EST)
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again, scanning the posts, I agree––eat what you like––especially on a three day trip. It's wet-weight but even for longer trips, I indulge in TRADER JOE's indian meals in a packet. just boil up some water, drop the packet in for five minutes and bingo . . . eat out of the packet and no clean up but your spoon AND I use the hot water for my other favorite, MISO SOUP, which can also be bought in packets at TJ's.

3:52 p.m. on March 13, 2009 (EDT)
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"If I remember what I was told correctly, the military MRE's are designed to be high in nutritional content but low yield in terms of human waste production."

No wonder they are called meals refusing to exit!! I'm a big fan of Mre's if weight isn't super critical. It's a hot meal and it takes less work to prepare them then it does for freeze dried meals. And worse case scenario if you can't heat them their still edible cold.

When weight is more of an issue, I stick mountain house or similar meals, lots of trail mix some jerky and some instant oatmeal. The mountain house meals don't fill me up so I usually have a couple packets of instant oatmeal after I'm done. I use the empty bag from the main course for the oatmeal. Sure, oatmeal with traces of beef stew or mac and cheese might not sound appetizing, but if it doesn’t taste good, then you didn't work hard enough that day.

12:40 a.m. on March 14, 2009 (EDT)
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WISam says:

"Sure, oatmeal with traces of beef stew or mac and cheese might not sound appetizing, but if it doesn’t taste good, then you didn't work hard enough that day."

 

HaHa.....Yes, there is a lot of truth to that!

11:18 a.m. on March 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Mike068 crack head soup????

I am in the military stationed in Alaska. We have a Cold Weather meal ready to eat. Which is basically a freeze dried main meal. I carry these when I can get my hands on em. They have lots of calaries and are very good.
Also like to carry lots of jerky, just like the taste and it's good for you.

plentycoupe, being a service man in alaska (thanks for your service)have you run across the Long Term Ration? I think the ltr is incorporated with some cold weather rations. like bigfoot I've head about these suppliments, but never seen them. any info?

1:30 p.m. on March 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I still say Pasta, Crackers, Cheese, Nuts, Gatorade, Peanut Butter, Dry Milk, Etc

These are my tried and true foods I take. Patsa is the only cooked meal the rest are snacks. Tho sometimes I migh combine the nuts into the pasta, also the cheese, and crackers to abosrb the moisture instead of pouring out the extra water and good starch from the cooked pasta.

1:35 a.m. on March 26, 2009 (EDT)
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Hard Salami and Sharp chedar cheese, keeps for days even in fairly warm climates. Taken with some crackers or lavish bread and some dried mango.

12:50 p.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
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I say, go with something you know and like. Three days is very short, and so you can take whatever you want. Raw eggs and a fry pan? Take it. Cantaloupe and avocado? Take it. Canned beans or stew? Take it. Half head of cabbage? Take it. And don't take something untested, especially a never-eaten dehydrated meal as some of them can be terrible. Subjective opinion here.

I divide my food bags into two: cookables and snackables. For 3 days it's hardly worth dividing up the food, but for long trips it's nice to have one bag for no-cook foods and one bag for gotta-cook meals. Food is personal and comfort-related, so take a variety of stuff you like. Variety is the name of the game. Use your imagination and try out new stuff and expect a few disappointments. It's amazing how many different kinds of food can be stowed and carried.

7:20 p.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
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I say, go with something you know and like. Three days is very short, and so you can take whatever you want.... And don't take something untested, especially a never-eaten dehydrated meal as some of them can be terrible. ...

Sorry, I have to disagree with Tipi about the "never-eaten" meals for a 3-day trip. You won't starve to death on a 3-day trip, so this is the opportunity to see how one or two "test" meals work out. I would not suggest taking all untested meals, though. You can get "powerful honger" in 3 days if you can't stand any of the food you brought.

6:18 p.m. on March 30, 2009 (EDT)
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Couscous, sun dried tomatoes, and an albacore tuna pack with some seasonings.

Mix the seasonings and tomatoes in with about 2/3 cup dry couscous, place in a ziploc freezer bag. At camp add your tuna (and all liquid) to the couscous, place the bag into your ziploc cooking coozy, add 1 cup boiling water, wait about 10 minutes (good time to work on camp), then enjoy.

I made my ziploc coozy out of some insulation for my attic fan with an shiny letallic side and a soft white foam side that was about 3/8" thick and folded to the size needed for whichever ziplocs I am using. Works like a charm. You can use this method for cooking rice, couscouse, oatmeal, etc. I would stay away from regular pasta unless it has been dehydrated first. Slimy pasta is gross.

3:49 a.m. on March 31, 2009 (EDT)
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The instant just-add-potatoes, like the loaded with some precooked bacon...! Yes! Hot, tasty, caloric. I dehydrate refries. Stick em in a nalgene at lunch, and by dinner, reheat til tender. Add a couple of cheese sticks on a high fiber tortilla with some fast food salsa, and it's gourmet! I always pack high fiber tortillas. They slow down the digestion, improve calorie use, and help keep things happy to avoid the um...MRE...problem.

Want a fun first night out on a short hike...freeze a good steak, foil prewrap a potato. Build a good fire, let it ember out, toss in the spud, make camp, then with a hanger from home (LNT!) bbq the steak, pull out the spud, put cream cheese from a 1 oz squeeze packet on it, and enjoy!

Other tasty treats, especially for shorter hikes, is stuff like jambalaya with a small sausage, etc. If fuel isn't a concern, or you can build a fire, you can have a lot of fun having lightweight, filling, tasty meals on the trail. I know I have. And I have taken lots of teens with me, who have enjoyed good trail food. (well...maybe not the peanut butter and bacon wrap...)

6:30 a.m. on March 31, 2009 (EDT)
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Yes, second gear.

I often take a frozen ribeye, baked potato, and some sort of vegetable for my first nights meal. Also cooking over the coals, not the flames, is the best way to cook IMO if you use a small fire.

unabash,

Good idea with the insulation, I sometimes utilize part of an old closed cell foam pad for similar uses.

6:16 p.m. on April 7, 2009 (EDT)
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I use dehydrated foods from Harmony House because they have the easily rehydratable beans for vegetarian meals, plus veggies, potatoes, onions, and the best thing ever: dehydrated tomato powder. Their backpacking kit has a sampling of everything, and I can mix up meals into 1/2 of a paper towel sheet to cut down on packaging, then put the packets into one reusable ziploc bag. I put olive oil into a small plastic bottle, seasonings in some 2x3 reusable plastic bags, and at mealtime I can boil the water, add the dehydrated mix, a little oil and seasoning, then use the paper towel for clean up. It's cheaper than pre-packaged and seasoned meals, and I can use whatever I want. When I'm not feeling vegan enough, I can also add pasta and powdered cheese.

10:14 p.m. on April 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Last night I actually spent a couple hours watching the tube. Ovation has been running a series on photographers. Last night was about Edward Weston a very famous photographer. Back in the 1930s, Weston got a Guggenheim Fellowship, first one awarded to a photographer, to photograph the National Parks. On his way through Yosemite, he contacted his young friend and upcoming photographer, Ansel Adams, to ask where he could get dehydrated vegetables in Yosemite Valley. Ansel's reply was, "Why do you want dehydrated vegetables? All you need for camping is salt, bacon, flour, whiskey, and jelly beans."

10:36 p.m. on April 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm not sure I understand how the flour fits in, but everything else I get.

Unfortunately I have to leave the salt (and bacon/sausage/commercial dehydrated food) at home thanks to a medical condition which severely limits my salt intake.

My dehydrator was a great investment, and I recovered the cost after about 8 meals (compared to MH foods).

10:55 p.m. on April 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm not sure I understand how the flour fits in, but everything else I get.

Unfortunately I have to leave the salt (and bacon/sausage/commercial dehydrated food) at home thanks to a medical condition which severely limits my salt intake.

My dehydrator was a great investment, and I recovered the cost after about 8 meals (compared to MH foods).

So, you leave the flour, bacon and salt out. That leaves jelly beans and wiskey and your dehydrater. Which of the jelly beans or whiskey are you dehydrating? :0

That diet would likely kill me now but if the whiskey is cold and the jelly beans good I'm game if you are!!

11:32 p.m. on April 18, 2009 (EDT)
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The jelly beans offset the whiskey nicely. I dehydrate other things, not whiskey or jelly beans (although if there were a way to dehydrate whiskey, I'd probably do it).

11:57 p.m. on April 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I figured you weren't just dehydrating JB's or whiskey.

Powdered whiskey, hmm? Might have to work on that. I wonder how to keep the alcohol content up?-don't need no O'doul's whiskey.

2:21 p.m. on April 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Blech! Bleh Bleh! I am NOT eating with either of you guys on the trail!!! Pooey! Blech!

 

(And silly, the salt/bacon/flour is for biscuits!)

2:30 p.m. on April 19, 2009 (EDT)
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You might change your mind after a few shots of dehydrated Crown Royale. I might even have some dehydrated lime around here...

4:24 p.m. on April 19, 2009 (EDT)
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The flour is to make bannick cooked in bacon fat, really good!

4:46 p.m. on April 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Tell me about bannick.

I often take dry goods such as flour, corn meal, beans, rice, etc and cook from scratch. My biscuits are getting pretty good I'm told, we've been using them for split shot while fishing.

11:14 a.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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Bannock is made in the pot over the stove/campfire, or wrapped around sticks. Lots of recipes for the googling. http://www.pioneerthinking.com/bannock.html

I have taken silicon muffin cups for steam baking cupcakes or biscuits - very good. Most of the time I make meals, package in ziplocs and rehydrate. The commercial meals are too large for me (yes, even the single serving ones) and the few I have tried I have opened and repackaged - I find them bland and sometimes gooey. Many have too much sodium for my liking.

Lots of great recipes, including chili, in A Fork in the Trail. Also for simpler fare Freezerbag Cooking makes it easy to use stuff from the grocery store.

July 22, 2014
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