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Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas...
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Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas... on 03/27/2012 13:45:01 MDT Print View

So most of my trips are weekend 1 or 2 nights in warmer weather. I don't like cooking, boiling water, cleaning pots, cleaning a spork, using a knife, or assembling or cutting food. I do it but I keep thinking why bother? I eat good food when I'm at home, when I am on the trail I just kind of want to fuel my body with as little trouble as possible. I already do super simple meals for breakfast and so-so at lunch but then to get any variety I will do a stove meal for dinner, usually ramen and spam or something easy.

Problem is I don't have a lot of ideas for super simple food, stuff you just take out and eat with your hands. If I could find more of this stuff I would just leave the pot, pot lid, stove, windscreen, fuel, mug, spork and all the associated fuss at home.

For breakfast I will eat Pop Tarts, gorp, granola bars.

For lunches I am thinking about Smuckers Uncrustables (pre-made PB&J sandwiches) and a bag of fritos or something.

For dinners I don't have a lot of ideas besides more PB&J sandwiches and snacky foods.

For snacks I carry bananas, apples, more gorp or nuts, power bars, pre-wrapped cheese, raisins in a box, chocolate, that's about the extent of my creativity there.

Any ideas? If I could just add a little more variety I would be happy.

Edited by TylerD on 03/27/2012 13:46:36 MDT.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Skurka's choice on 03/27/2012 16:54:53 MDT Print View

Have you read Andrew Skurka's book yet? In it he tells of his transition to just eating candy bars (or mostly candy bars) on his long treks. Certainly no cooking needed there, and if it's only for one or two nights, not likely that any long term ill effects will be seen!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas... on 03/27/2012 17:26:17 MDT Print View

"Any ideas? If I could just add a little more variety I would be happy."

A combination of 2 oz of Ensure and 1 oz of Nido makes an excellent shake/recovery drink after you have stopped hiking for the day. Perpetuem is excellent during the day when you want to keep moving without stressing your digestive system by eating foods that contain lots of fat and protein. Coconut oil goes down easy in the evening and is loaded with calories. Chocolate is also an excellent source of calories, and comes in countless flavors. Jerky is a good source of protein and comes in a variety of flavors. Sesame sticks are calorie dense, tasty, and come in a variety of flavors as well.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas... on 03/27/2012 17:31:59 MDT Print View

I make my own energy bars out of high-protein breakfast cereal and peanut butter, with a few things added.


David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas... on 03/27/2012 18:22:59 MDT Print View

You're using a lot of prepared food there, so the cost is high per calorie (not finding fault, just saying), so let me suggest another prepared food (or make them yourself):

Deli sandwhichs. Or wraps (e.g. turkey, bacon, cream cheese, spinach in tortilla, wrapped tightly).

You say "in warm weather" but any sandwhich, certainly one without mayo, is fine for a few hours. Any meat (except seafood) actually doesn't need refrigeration for a day or more at moderate temps. Hard cheese (very aged cheddars, parmesan, etc) is good for a few days. Bread is fine over that time. Some greens and veggies are okay, too.

I use things like that on 16-hour day hikes and 2-day roads trips. Easy, no prep, no mess, and I can eat it as I hike/drive. And it is more "real" food than some of your choices, and I have the best luck if my trip food isn't that different than my around town food.

And, for more variety in a non-cook trip, here's a huge tip: Take something that can be frozen (or even prepared food that is meant to be sold frozen and then thawed). Put it in a plastic bag in the center of your sleeping bag. 12 hours later, it will still be frozen. I transport a few pounds of frozen salmon that way all the time in my luggage by wrapping it in a sweater or two.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Good suggestions... on 03/27/2012 18:49:01 MDT Print View

Lot of good ideas thank you. I never thought about a lot of this. Protein shakes, good idea. Sesame sticks...never heard of them but surely will find and try. Candy bar diet...nice. I could add some candy bars not sure I could go mostly candy bars but man how easy to shop and eat? You can shop for your food at any old gas station with a decent candy isle! Jerky I should add some of that. I guess also summer sausage just those small ones could be eaten like a candy bar. Frozen is interesting. Hmmmm. Never thought about that at all.

Great ideas here.

Yeah I find a lot of the time I really don't hardly feel like eating on the trail when I am hiking hard. For me that is unusual because I rarely don't feel like eating any other time. I guess the exercise. This past weekend I did 16 miles, 15 on Saturday and I was almost forcing myself to eat. Certainly the thought of anything hot wasn't even the least bit appealing the only thing that I didn't have to force down was an apple. Even in the morning firing up a stove to make tea I was just tapping my toe ready to get going. I was wishing I just had an energy shot to get my caffeine fix and get going for the day. Might do that next time.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: stoveless, etc on 03/27/2012 19:01:26 MDT Print View

Man, I love a good hot meal on the trail. Lighting up my stove at the end of a 30 mile day stands out in my mind as one of the most satisfying moments of the day. Even though 80% of my trips are SUL, giving up my stove is low priority, though I do go with just a trapper's mug and some esbit on occasion.


to answer your question, bean burritos are my all time favorite cold food. Ingredients: tortillas, fantastic foods refried beans, and some taco bell sauce packets. Bonus points for fresh or wild onions/leeks. Just mix some water with the beans a couple of hours before ready to eat. Once stopped, assemble cold burritos. I do this for at least 2 lunches per trip.

Bean burritos with ramps- yum!

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas... on 03/27/2012 19:06:11 MDT Print View

For such short trips in warm weather I may not bring a stove either. But in addition to the standard Cliff Bar fare, I always bring some meal replacement or protein sports recovery dring that mixes well in water.

I'm always a sucker for PBJ. I may also add a carton of tofu or hummus in a bag with frozen juice boxes or other frozen product to keep things chill for a day or so until I eat it first.

I have to confess to bringing more spirits or apertif with me on short trips for night caps.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Good suggestions... on 03/27/2012 20:15:45 MDT Print View

"Sesame sticks...never heard of them but surely will find and try." If you happen to have a Whole foods nearby, they have several varieties in the open bin section. A lot of food coops and "health food" stores carry them as well.

As for caffeine, several options: 1) No Doze tablets, about as UL as you can get; 2) Take a bottle of water to bed with you. It will be body temp by morning and all you have to do is add SB Via or instant coffee of your choice; 3) Hammer espresso carbohydrate gel, which is their version of GU, contains 50 mg of caffeine/packet. Down a couple of those in the morning and you've got your jolt plus 180 calories of quickly absorbed energy.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: stoveless etc. on 03/27/2012 22:43:41 MDT Print View

Flour tortilla filled with spicy tuna mixes in the foil pouches, sharp chedder those french fried onion rings that now come in resealable zip locks This so far is no prep just dump from packets onto tortilla. Now if you dont mind a little slicing you can add some baby carrots and slice length wise and some red and or green bell pepper,fresh onions,radiches all keep well. Pita bread packs well in a pack as do english muffins. Crushed fritos can help liven up a sandwich or tortilla and ive used those laughing cow cheese spreads on them also. You can start a tuna pack at lunch with crackers and finish it off at dinner on the tortillas. Rich Osthoff, author of fly fishing the rocky mountain back country, actually does no cook and uses canned meats, beans and unsliced loaves of whole wheat bread the small cans really dont weigh that much and are easily offset by the weight savings of not carrying a stove, pot and fuel. The little G.I. can openers work great. The canned smoked ham is very tasty used by itself or with the tortilla or pita, the brand that walmart carries has very little gelitan. The precooked bacon works with anything above. Some times cheese, sausage and crackers can make a meal. Hope this all helps

Edited by mtmnmark on 03/27/2012 22:49:21 MDT.

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Re: Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas... on 03/28/2012 08:49:43 MDT Print View

Caffeine in the morning: there are several more options. Chocolate-covered espresso beans are a perennial favorite.

Personally, when it gets into summer down here in FL (80+ F for the lows, at 100% humidity), I can't stomach hot coffee and chocolate melts instantly on my fingers. So, instead, I make peanut butter espresso fudge. Follow the standard Fluff peanut butter fudge directions, but add six to ten (depending on how strong you want it) tablespoons of very finely ground espresso beans at the same time as the peanut butter. The final product has a little over four calories per gram and enough caffeine to wake you up in the morning. The espresso helps to cut the sugary taste of the fudge, as well. It is, however, a little gritty (though this is lessened by grinding the coffee beans as finely as possible).

For lunch, there's always Pringles--it's hard to beat the calories per gram there.

Hard candy makes a decent snack, and doesn't melt in your hand in hot temperatures.

As mentioned, jerky is a perennial favorite.

Flatbread or tortillas with Spam and cheese is an easy lunch.

I like doing Buffalo chicken wraps: Tyson foil packets of chicken laid on flatbread with celery and carrots, with Frank's Red Hot Sauce squirted over the whole thing. I know that violates the "no assembly" requirement above, but it's good enough I thought that I'd mention it.

Anyway, there're a thousand-and-one ways to do food on the trail. Experiment at home and find out what you like before trying to rely on it in the field, though. Have fun!

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
okay to bring a spoon? on 03/28/2012 14:36:56 MDT Print View

Tuna right out of the foil packet. Crackers or some sort of bread item for a starch. Those two make a meal I can eat quite often.

Rehydrate powdered Idahoan brand potatos in a ziplock. Put it under your clothes if you want it brought to near body heat. Sounds bad, but works out pretty good. Chew some jerky for protein.

Last year in Montana my then-hiking partner and I would sometimes buy a package of hot dogs and buns, split them between ourselves, eat them cold over the first day or two. Any sort of sausage, at any rate.

Eat pizza in town, carry some cold pizza out with you for your first lunch or dinner.

The next step to the very logical approach you're talking about is to not only realize that you don't need perfect nutrition for a short (or even a not-so-short) trip, but that you also don't need a ton of variety either.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Night 1 on 03/28/2012 14:43:05 MDT Print View

For short trips I sometimes just make a sandwich at home and have that for dinner the first night. Not really UL, but tasty. Add your favorite chips on the side and you've got yourself a meal.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas... on 03/28/2012 15:00:44 MDT Print View

Military C-Rations.


Richard Cullip
(RichardCullip) - M

Locale: San Diego County
Check out PackitGourmet lunches on 03/28/2012 15:08:50 MDT Print View

PackitGourmet has some nice no-cook options that rehydrate with cold water. Add a tortilla or two and you've got yourself a great no-cook meal with minimal assembly required. No cooking required. I especially like their Kickin' Chicken Hot Wings Wrap.


Edited by RichardCullip on 03/28/2012 15:10:36 MDT.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Re: okay to bring a spoon? on 03/28/2012 15:35:07 MDT Print View

Brian - I have thought a little about that. Back in the day a meal might be a boiled potato or a half loaf of whole wheat bread. Might be kind of cool to sort of go olden times with a trip and not bring the variety. Make it simple like that. Could be an interesting exercise.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: okay to bring a spoon? on 03/28/2012 17:51:44 MDT Print View

mashed potato flakes don't really need to be heated. get the garlic ones add bacon bits. can be made in a repackaged ziplock.

can't beat PB on a bagel for breakfast/lunch. can be premade, thrown in a ziplock and be ready to go.

James Castleberry
"Stoveless, potless, sporkless, knifeless, assembly free, pre-packaged food ideas..." on 03/28/2012 19:01:43 MDT Print View

Onigiri aka "rice balls" wrapped in seaweed and with a big fat chunk of smoked salmon in the middle.

Donis Jeffs

Locale: PNW
Re: okay to bring a spoon? on 03/30/2012 05:48:06 MDT Print View

Brian Wrote: "Tuna right out of the foil packet. Crackers or some sort of bread item for a starch. Those two make a meal I can eat quite often."

Add condiment packets of mayo and relish and a tortilla and you have a tuna salad wrap.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
spoon? on 03/30/2012 05:57:32 MDT Print View

Most of the spoon-less ideas have been mentioned. Date bars or fig balls can be a good addition.

If you were willing to take a spoon I have a lot of recipes, like lentil and quinoa salads, that can be eaten cold right out of the bag.

PB and freeze-dried bananas (that have been rehydrated) in a wrap is always a favorite here. We sometimes throw some nuts/dried cranberries in for added crunch and to bump up the calories.