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Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages

Single serving packages can simplify shopping, packaging, and preparation of meals.

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by Ryan Jordan | 2013-11-19 00:00:00-07


This article will highlight, in part, how I simplify the shopping, packaging, and preparation of expedition foods by heavily relying upon single serving sized packages - especially for snacks that I eat throughout the day while on the trail (as opposed to in camp). Take note, however: I will not be discussing pre-packaged freeze dried meals. My preference is for foods that have a higher nutritional quality, a higher caloric density, and/or a lower cost than what is available in the food aisle at a local outfitter.

What I’m offering are my personal favorites in a few different categories. They are summarized in the following table.

CategoryFoodPackage SizeCaloriesCaloric DensityFatCarbProtein
High Caloric DensitySahale Snacks Glazed Nuts43 g210138 Cal/oz14 g18 g6 g
MoraleAnnie’s Bunny Snacks23 g7086 Cal/oz0 g18 g0 g
High ProteinSeaBear Wild Salmon100 g13037 Cal/oz2.5 g0 g26 g
High Caloric DensityWalker’s Shortbread Fingers32 g159141 Cal/oz7.9 g20.6 g1.6 g
High Caloric DensityJustin’s Almond Butter32 g200177 Cal/oz18 g6 g7 g
Fiber/Low-Sugar CarbTerra Sweet Potato Chips34 g170142 Cal/oz11 g22 g1.4 g
MoralePanda Black Licorice32 g10089 Cal/oz0 g25 g1 g

Perhaps some of these ingredients will find their way into your backcountry diet, or spark some interest in related foods.

#7. Sahale Snacks Glazed Nuts

I first discovered these at a Starbucks shop in Butte, Montana. I’m a fan of sweetened nuts and fruit/nut mixes more than just plain old nuts. Plain nuts (even salted and roasted) get old really fast on even short duration trips. I’ve probably returned from more trips with more weight of uneaten plain nuts than any other food.

expedition_food_single_serving_jordan - 1
Sahale Snacks Glazed Nuts.

#6. Annie’s Bunny Snacks

The kids know what’s up with these. I like to trick myself into thinking they are healthy since they are organic, made with real fruit juice, etc. Some days, I may even believe that they’re fruit. I used to eat fruit snacks purchased in bulk from the likes of Costco (e.g., Kellogg’s), but I’ve been trying to avoid foods where the first ingredient is corn syrup.

expedition_food_single_serving_jordan - 2
Annie’s Bunny Snacks

#5. SeaBear Wild Salmon

Single serving foil packets containing pre-cooked ground beef, chicken, tuna, and salmon are now common items found on the aisles of most grocery stores but many of them have strange additives and thus, taste a bit like, well, something else than what’s advertised. Such is the nature of most processed foods, I suppose. But the SeaBear Wild Salmon packets really are something special. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, the son of a salmon fisherman, so I’m a little picky about my ocean fishes. SeaBear does not disappoint, and the only two ingredients are salmon and sea salt. I spread this on fried bagels for breakfasts, seed crackers for lunches, or fold it into noodle dishes or chowder for dinner.

expedition_food_single_serving_jordan - 3
SeaBear Wild Salmon

#4. Walker’s Shortbread Fingers

I’ve been eating this glorious butter stick-disguised-as-a-cookie for as long as I can remember, and I’ve never grown tired of it. This is another really simple food - four ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and salt. My favorite lunch snack includes two fingers slathered in almond butter - a 350+ Calorie snack that you can continue licking from your gums for miles!

expedition_food_single_serving_jordan - 4
Walker’s Shortbread Fingers

#3. Justin’s Almond Butter

Another tasty food, considering that it contains only two ingredients: almonds and palm oil. An outrageously high caloric density (177 Cal/oz) and convenient single-serving squeeze packet make this a food that I buy by the case - often.

expedition_food_single_serving_jordan - 5
Justin’s Almond Butter

#2. Terra Sweet Potato Chips

I’ll admit it. I love chips. I used to pack snack bags of Fritos, Cheetos, and Doritos on most of my trips, crushing them into little bits so they wouldn’t take up space in my pack. Then, when it came time to eat them, I’d tear off a corner and pour them into my mouth. More recently, as I’ve tried to incorporate more nutritious options into my backcountry trips, I discovered other types of chips that have higher levels of fiber and non-sugar carbohydrates, with Terra Sweet Potato Chips being my favorite.

expedition_food_single_serving_jordan - 6
Terra Sweet Potato Chips

#1. Panda Black Licorice

For a candy, this one is very simply made: it contains only molasses, flour, licorice, and aniseed oil. I consider myself somewhat of a licorice connoisseur, which means that if it isn’t fresh, heavily salted, and delightfully chewy, then it isn’t licorice. Panda Black comes close. It’s my favorite food for the three o’clock blues when I’m tired from a long day with several miles still to go. There’s something to be said for morale food.

expedition_food_single_serving_jordan - 7
Panda Black Licorice

Your Picks?

Help others by making the forum attached to this article a repository for packaged snack ideas. What are your favorites?


"Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages," by Ryan Jordan. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2013-11-19 00:00:00-07.


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Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/19/2013 22:46:50 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages

Jeffrey List
(jlist) - M

Locale: Cape Cod
Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/20/2013 06:49:30 MST Print View

150 cal/oz

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: expedition snacks on 11/20/2013 09:05:33 MST Print View

Now that winter is coming, a staple is Reese's Peanut Butter bars and Cadbury Roasted almond bars. Both in the 140 cal/oz range, as well as the 400 cal/$ range.

adam blanton
(adamallstar) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Sesame Snaps on 11/20/2013 09:15:01 MST Print View

Loucks Sesame Snaps, regular or chocolate

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Sesame Snaps on 11/20/2013 09:21:19 MST Print View

sesame snaps are good and Halvah is 130 calories an ounce 150 an ounce for chocolate Halvah.

Edited by annapurna on 11/20/2013 09:25:32 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/20/2013 09:57:02 MST Print View

I make my own packages of oatmeal, powdered milk, brown sugar - in thin plastic. I use "Old Fashioned" oats rather than instant.

Same thing with soup packages. I repackage in thin plastic, add dehydrated green/red bell peppers, tomatoes, onions from packitgourmet.

For both - boil water, turn down to low so it doesn't burn, add food packet, bring back to low boil maybe 30 seconds, then let it sit for 5 minutes.

Chris Rife
pocket fuel on 11/20/2013 10:25:29 MST Print View


I originally tried this stuff for trail running, where I found it a bit hard to swallow without copious amounts of water. For backpacking trips, however, it's great! Works great either plain or spread onto a homemade bar.

Edited by vitaminc on 11/20/2013 10:26:28 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: pocket fuel on 11/20/2013 10:42:50 MST Print View


Roughly, depending on flavor -

170 calories per 32 gram serving, 1.6 "servings" per packet, 270 calories total
190 calories per ounce
70% fat from nuts
30% carbs from sugar

$1.35/ounce in bulk
$1.50/ ounce in packets

Edited by greg23 on 11/20/2013 10:50:18 MST.

Craig Nadeau
(TacticalMountain) - MLife
Eatmore on 11/20/2013 10:42:52 MST Print View

Eatmore's - probably the most common backpack snack food amongst the people I hang with

Short story, I was on the West Coast Trail and stopped at the famous Chez Moniques. I bought a bag of gummie bears for $3.50 there were 32 in the bag. Nothing ever tasted so good.

Vance Russell
OK Solution but... on 11/20/2013 11:01:30 MST Print View

Interesting idea Ryan but has a couple of downsides: single servings never really the right size for the hunger you have at the moment; more trash to deal with; and more expensive than buying bulk.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Package on 11/20/2013 11:43:09 MST Print View

I buy most items in bulk and repackage them in snack or sandwich size bags. Lots cheaper and no problems with leftover snacks since they can be resealed in the snack bags for later use.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Package on 11/20/2013 12:02:04 MST Print View

yikes :

for one, i can eat a 16oz bag of cashews while drinking a cheap bottle of wine (both avail at Trader Joe's) at one sitting. no problems what so ever.
so "extra uneaten nuts" ??? what's with that program ....
like, you CAN't have too many cashews. you just can't.
you probably could not have too many macadamia nuts as well, but lordy, they cost a Ton more money.

also, that nut butter and salmon packaging is like, an neutron bomb of problems about to blow in a pack. that be just my op, but just one of those salmon ied's going off would seriously compromise a trip. and you'd never get the stench out. worse than diesel fuel even. which, i guess it's not really that bad once you decide to appreciate the aroma.

the cookies are not going to live long unless in a bear can, and that can is not packed very tight.

all in all, an interesting article, if only to see how other folks deal in various ways with the issues of eating fun on a trip.

as far as dogma goes. it's all good. you can go faster and easier with single servings of foods, that deal with opening multiple bags and doling out this and such amounts of whatever at every meal break gets old.
for snacks, i figure out in the morning what is the day's ration, and dump that in my front bag. when it's gone .. it's gone.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Walkers Shortbread on 11/20/2013 14:49:18 MST Print View

Yeah, we go through a few packets of this ourselves.


spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
ok? on 11/20/2013 15:36:29 MST Print View

I'm not seeing the utility of this article. There's nothing here about simplifying meal planning or eating except the convenience of buying pre-packaged. That's a weak justification, easily countered by the extra expense and packaging waste.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: ok? on 11/20/2013 15:50:55 MST Print View

"... the convenience of buying pre-packaged."

Pre-packaged Snacks, at that.

Hardly "...the shopping, packaging, and preparation of expedition foods...".

But then, could it be that this Is all that Ryan eats? On one trip all he took were macadamia nuts and chocolate.

I guess it falls under HYOH and YMMV.

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re on 11/20/2013 15:56:17 MST Print View

I thought I was looking at ads for snacks, but it was the article :)

I would rather package my own.

Edited by Kat_P on 11/20/2013 15:58:28 MST.

Sharon J.
(squark) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
Re: Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Package on 11/20/2013 18:43:55 MST Print View

"...also, that nut butter and salmon packaging is like, an neutron bomb of problems about to blow in a pack. that be just my op, but just one of those salmon ied's going off would seriously compromise a trip. and you'd never get the stench out..."

I don't know about that - bear saliva is a great solvent!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Why not both? on 11/20/2013 20:16:08 MST Print View

I think single serving packets have a place in a backpackers diet. I use single serving packets of Artisana nut butters and coconut oil. They sell Walnut, Pecan, Almond, Macadamia, and Cashew nut butters that I know of, and a wonderful blend called Cacao Bliss that Doug Ide turned me on to. It is a wonnnnnderful mix of coconut butter and chocolate that is, as The Colonel says, "finger lickin' good". I
also carry Justins Dark Chocolate Almond and Peanut Butter bars. All are calorie dense, and the Justins bars contain anywhere from 25-29 grams of carbs in a 2 oz bars, along with 2-3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 14-16 grams of fat.
The nut butters are up close to 200 calories in a 30-32 gram packet, with good amounts of protein and fiber, but not much in the way of carbs. Other than these items, I prefer to buy in bulk and repackage in zip locks. Cheaper, healthier, and more options for variety. Oh, and individual packets of Via coffee substitute. Sorry, Roger. ;0)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Prepackaging in Grizzly Country on 11/20/2013 20:21:08 MST Print View

I'm a fan of prepackaged food in Griz country because I reason there is less chance of odors leaking out. Course the trash might smell so I don't know how much it helps.

The one thing I don't like about chips and GORP are that is hard not to get crumbs all over you and your gear. I wonder about that in Grizzly country.

Always nice to see someone else's ideas for food. I don't like gourmet style cooking on the trail but I like variety.

Most of my snacks are pre-packaged but I do like Pringles so those get repackaged. Sometimes I mix them with spicy nuts or chex mix, very tasty.

Edited by Cameron on 11/20/2013 20:24:52 MST.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/21/2013 03:56:00 MST Print View

Epic bars...comes in bison, turkey or beef jerky. I like these for breakfast or when I have eaten too many gummy bears.