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Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals
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David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals on 04/17/2011 19:47:24 MDT Print View

I have been considering carrying bulk ingredients rather than pre-packing my meals.

I'm familiar with the benefits of pre-packing each meal and usually FBC. But I'm thinking of cooking in my pot and in that case it seems like it might be easier to carry food in bulk and dole out portions at each meal.

For instance, I would have one bag of quick oats, a bag of couscous and maybe a bag of rice. Add some individual foil packs of tuna and some flavorings and I'm good to go.

I don't want to revisit the relative merits of freezer bag cooking vs cooking in a pot, just curious if anyone carries their food this way and how it works out.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals on 04/17/2011 20:37:51 MDT Print View

Actually, I do. All my food is carried individually, except for some mixed veggies and some nut bars. All is selected for calorie dense and fiber dense...usually two items at odds with each other. Generally, I can get my food weight down to around 1.25-1.5lb per day without sacrificing a lot in the line of nutrition. Foraging often provides more, but this is strictly on a "when you can" basis. Apples, even green ones, tast pretty good when mixed in with oatmeal. Fish and parified butter makes a good sauce for spigetti. Berries are always welcome. Cattail sprouts, dried onion and pepperoni are good fried up together. And so on...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals on 04/17/2011 23:03:44 MDT Print View


It would depend on the length of the trip. Might get boring!! One 6 month trip I pretty much ate trout, rice, and instant oatmeal. Also was hard to keep my weight up...

It was several years before I ate any of those 3 items again.

For short trips... yes, it is a good idea.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals on 04/18/2011 05:58:01 MDT Print View

"It was several years before I ate any of those 3 items again."

Ouch! Yeah, prepackaged, predesicated, premasticated foods are that way for me. Pepperoni, salami, jerky, rice, red lentils, beans, dried tomatoes, olive oil, parified butter, peas, carrots, corn, peppers, barley, wild rice, sphigetti, nutbars, oatmeal, bisquick, bulion, coffee, cocoa and spices. These make up the most of a 15# food supply(10 days) for me. Foraging only supliments, stuff.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
we carry ingredients - works fine on 04/28/2011 00:05:31 MDT Print View

Got into the habit of doing it that way buying ingredients in towns along the way on a long trip (didn't have a kitchen or time to pre-prepare meals). And we've stuck to that. I find that taking a couple minutes to decide what to eat as the water's boiling is easier than trying to measure everything beforehand, and requires fewer ziplocs. Usually have bags of staples (rice, spaghetti, oats, instant dried beans, instant mashed potatoes, etc...), some fat (cheese, butter, oil or all of the above), and a bag containing various little bags of flavoring stuff (spices, tomato powder, dried veggies, sugar, etc), plus dried fish or meat if you've got it. Mixing and matching provides plenty of meal variety, which is even better if there are greens or berries to forage.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals on 04/28/2011 15:01:09 MDT Print View

I prefer to have everything pre-measured and pre-prepared so I spend less time in meal preparation (and zero time dishwashing) out on the trail. There are so many things I'd rather do out there--observe wildlife, watch the sunset, explore, play with my dog, get on the trail earlier in the morning. I'd rather do the prep in my kitchen--a far more efficient working place than outdoors, especially in the rain.

IMHO, this is purely a matter of personal preference. My mother packed everything in bulk (in paraffined muslin bags, this being before the days of widespread plastic) and spent at least two hours each evening preparing a gourmet dinner. Yeast rolls, pie, cake, you name it, she cooked it on the campfire (this was pre-stove days) and loved the whole process! Obviously, I've gone 180* in the opposite direction.

Now that my local stores carry pint freezer bags, I can take less plastic and fill up most of the used pints with daily trash (more than I'd like due to a couple of medical conditions) than when only quarts were available, so I don't consider that I'm wasting the bags. Anything not requiring hot water (such as cold cereal) is in sandwich bags, even less plastic.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals on 04/28/2011 15:06:00 MDT Print View

Mary, I think what is odd for me is I live to cook at home - cooking is a multi hour a day event at home. On trail not for me. I want everything ready to go, no thinking needed. I grab a meal and prepare it.

Part of my love of cooking is that at home I can grab whatever I need - but on trail I know it had better be right before I even start :-)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Carrying ingredients vs. pre-packed meals on 04/28/2011 15:17:44 MDT Print View

"On trail not for me. I want everything ready to go, no thinking needed."

My idea of a camp meal is to spend a minute getting the stove out and a few minutes waiting for the pot to boil. The boiling water is mixed over the bag of ingredients in my plastic bowl, and then I can stand there at the edge of camp as I stare out at the scenery. After five minutes, the food is ready and it is devoured instantly. No fuss. No muss.


Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: we carry ingredients - works fine on 04/28/2011 20:33:31 MDT Print View

Erin -- can you elaborate on the dried fish? Details are appreciated. Thank you.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
meals on 04/30/2011 07:51:16 MDT Print View

While I do a little of both, I do prefer meals that are cooked/assembled at home and then rehydrated at camp. One pot meals like soups, stews and chilli are perfect for this. Why? Well I find it minimizes work at camp, and it ensures that I always have the right amount of food for our trips... that, and I don't have to think too hard about dinner. Cooking is such a personal thing and you have to find the combination that works best for you. I'm not thru-hiking/resupplying so I find that this way works best for me.