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Backpacking food
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Dillon Beadle
(dbeadle24) - F

Locale: South Louisiana
Backpacking food on 05/07/2012 13:47:19 MDT Print View

Im going in a 5 day hike in the smoky mountians. What are some different foods that I could bring with me. My friend is a military junkie and is determined MREs is the way to go but 10 MREs to me is an over kill. They also weigh 12-14 lbs give or take. Looking forward to the input. Thanks! -dillon

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
PIG on 05/07/2012 14:06:54 MDT Print View

Packit gormet. I think the web site is

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
BPL food forum on 05/07/2012 14:08:00 MDT Print View

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: Backpacking food on 05/07/2012 16:21:25 MDT Print View

Free yourself of the expensive, bulky, and (sometimes) terrible pre-made meals:

1. Get a Nesco or Excallibur dehydrator (all the others are crap).
2. Every time you cook a meal at home, make extra and throw the leftovers in the dehydrator
3. Bag your dehydrated meals in Ziploc Freezer storage bags into a serving size you prefer. If it has meat, store it in the freezer (will last about 2 weeks out of the freezer).
4. When you get to camp, boil a little water and pour in enough just to cover the meal. Let it set in a cozy (Quick Mick Cozies are the best *shameless plug*) for about 10 minutes and voila - you're set.

My meals end up costing me about $1 to $4 each, depending on fancyness. For my next trip, I have some pasta, some Spaghetti-O's (son demanded them lol), chili, and Chicken Tikka Masalla.

Quick tip: don't want to do the extra cooking? You can buy things like canned chili and just dump it in the dehydrator and let it run for 8 hours and you're set.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Backpacking food on 05/07/2012 16:33:25 MDT Print View

I loosely base many of my meals off of a few recipes at

matthew rangel
(MRangel) - F
cooking in freezer bags?? on 05/07/2012 16:45:52 MDT Print View

For those of you who cook in freezer bags using boiling water to re-hydrate your food:

Are there any concerns to be had regarding chemicals from the plastic leaching into the food?

I know if you leave an Aquafina bottle in your car for a while, the water is no longer safe to drink due to the effect that heat has on the plastic.

So, is it really safe - or do we just not know yet and take a chance that it is okay...


Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Hawk Vittles on 05/07/2012 17:01:54 MDT Print View

I have really enjoyed the Hawk Vittles Meals. And the good thing is, these are made fresh by a retired professional chef with fresh ingredients. He then dehydrates them, seals them up and ships them to your door. So, there are no additives and preservatives used in these meals.

Or, here is an inexpensive and easy meal that I just stumbled onto recently that is quite good.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Backpacking food on 05/07/2012 17:08:25 MDT Print View

You should be able to put together just-add-water meals from the supermarket, for close to half the weight you quote for MREs. A lot cheaper too, I bet.

Here's a recent thread with ideas:

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: cooking in freezer bags?? on 05/07/2012 17:45:40 MDT Print View

"So, is it really safe - or do we just not know yet and take a chance that it is okay...


These type of questions always elicit the same predictable type of answers: "you have nothing to worry about" or "a little bit of that won't harm you" or "it wouldn't be on the store shelves if it weren't safe". Bottom line is this: No one knows **for certain** what these different things are or are not capable of when it comes to our health. Are they going to kill you? Almost certainly least directly. But we just don't know all the ramifications. Wanna be as safe as possible when it comes to food and plastics? Avoid plastic as often as you can.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: cooking in freezer bags?? on 05/07/2012 17:53:10 MDT Print View

"Avoid plastic as often as you can."

That's good advice for a few reasons, one of which is that it most likely is NOT safe to put boiling water in a plastic bag or something and then eat out of it. I generally use my small titanium pot for that, and just clean it out when I'm done.

It's not difficult to make your own backpacking food, and it can be quite inexpensive. Hungry Hammock Hanger has some recipes posted in the form of Youtube videos that are worth a try. They're quite good.

Besides, if you make it yourself, you know how much sodium you're dosing it up with, and you can spice it to taste.

I've had good experiences with a mixture of couscous, sprouted quinoa, a chopped onion, and a chopped serrano pepper, topped with smoked salmon and Beecher's Flagship cheese for a backpacking meal. Plus, it was easy to prepare and to cook.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Mary Janes! on 05/07/2012 18:09:26 MDT Print View

I agree with Rakesh and the others when it comes to making your own. If you don't have the time though, my favorite purchased meals come from Mary Janes Farm....the meals you buy in 3 pound increments. IMHO, they are amongst the best tasting and when bought in bulk, are perhaps the least expensive (as little as $2/serving). As a plus, they are "organic" and Mary Jane has put forth a lot of environmental efforts. Check out the "meals" here:

Edited by rustyb on 05/07/2012 18:13:33 MDT.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: Re: cooking in freezer bags?? on 05/07/2012 18:23:25 MDT Print View

"Bottom line is this: No one knows **for certain** what these different things are or are not capable of when it comes to our health"

Mostly true. Ziploc bags don't contain BPA, which is one of the currently known high risk chemicals that get leached.

But, the bags are made from polythylene, which is not *known* to leach any chemicals.

So, you know you're safe from BPA with ziploc. But you don't know about anything else. As with anything HYOH. Me? I feel reasonably safe that the few dozen meals a year are probably OK, in the mix of other toxins I'm bombarded with.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Safe? on 05/07/2012 18:35:05 MDT Print View

Personally I don't put boiling water in a freezer bag, I use hot water. Since I treat my water, boiling it is a waste of fuel. I'm not worried about the safety myself but everyone should do what they feel is best. I certainly don't think anything about throwing leftovers in a tupperware type container into the microwave which generates a lot more heat than hot water. If that also sounds bad to you, then you probably don't want to do FBC.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Hawk Vittles? on 05/07/2012 23:37:45 MDT Print View

I was looking at that Hawk Vittles. Everything sounds great, I love the fact that there's more backpacking food suppliers entering the market. I am however concerned with the iron content of the food. The clam vermicelli looks like it comes at almost 300% the daily recommended allowance. Is that safe?

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Packit Gourmet on 05/08/2012 04:16:52 MDT Print View

Another option is Packit Gourmet if you're looking for really good food that is easily prepared on the trail. They keep everything in stock and I've never been disappointed with anything. Also - their serving sizes are large so there's not much chance you'll finish a meal hungry. Some of my personal favorites are:

- Jump Start Fruit Smoothies - Great for a quick cold breakfast
- Creamy Italian Polenta - Fancy grits if you want a hot breakfast
- Big'un Burrito
- Austintacious Tortilla Soup - Really warms you on a cold/damp evening
- Dottie's Chicken & Dumplings - Great for palates that don't eat a lot of spice
- Tuscan Beef Stew
- Zydeco Red Beans and Rice

The last two are my absolute favorites and it's been a couple of years since I've been on a trip without at least one of them. These are all prepared with just water in the bag (even the Smoothies), but you'll want to have a Coozie if you like your food really hot because some of the re-hydrate times are more than 10 minutes.

Edited by KBabione on 05/08/2012 06:44:34 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Backpacking food on 05/08/2012 05:48:35 MDT Print View

I just buy food in the grocery store. Knorr pasta or rice side dishes are good, especially with a small bag of chicken or salmon added. Mac and Cheese is good, or anything that can be cooked in a small pot. For cold food, a bag of flour tortillas is your friend: fill it with PB&J, or a packet of tuna with some mayo and a cheese stick, or anything else you can wrap up and eat.

If you have the time and the inclination, you can get more creative. One of my favorite meals on the trail is burritos, made with equal parts refried bean powder and vegetarian taco filling. Premix them in a ziploc bag, then in camp add boiling water to the bag and put it in a bag cozy for a few minutes. Put the mixture in a flour tortilla with some cheese. (I like to warm the tortillas in the cozy with the hot bag.) Plenty of ideas at the trail cooking web site.

I ate enough MREs to last a lifetime. Wouldn't want to carry them on the trail.

Emily B
Backpacking food on 05/08/2012 14:42:12 MDT Print View

Looks like folks have given you some good ideas so far.

For breakfast (or even lunch) I love the oatmeal recipe here:

It is nothing like all the mushy oatmeal I have had the rest of my life. I like it so much I keep a big jar of it on hand at home.

It only needs a very little bit of water added, enough to come to just below the top of the oatmeal. So, it uses less fuel. You can even use cold water.

Several of my local stores with a bulk section carry these nuts already-chopped -- easy! -- and of course there you can also get just the amount you need.

If eating on multiple days, it can be nice to switch up the cranberries with other things for different days-- freeze-dried strawberries, dried apples, blueberries (if you can find good dried ones) etc.

The little splash of almond extract is what gives it that extra something. I also like to add a healthy dose of cinnamon.

Not sure if you can cook over a fire or wood stove where you are going, but I have heard folks tell of taking a frozen steak for the first dinner, which thaws just enough by dinner time. If you care for a little wine with your steak, you can put it in the soft bottle that Platypus makes for wine, then use that bottle for water the rest of the trip.

Other breakfast items:

If you want to continue to impress your buddy even after the steak dinner, you can get the pre-cooked bacon that does not need to be refrigerated. It can be heated up even in the bottom of a little cookpot. Get the kind that has multiple packets inside the box, that way you need not take the whole box. Not the healthiest, but sure is tasty a couple days into the trip. I find it at regular grocery stores.

If you are carrying a suitable stove and big enough cooking surface, you can make french toast! Just make a little mix of powdered milk, cinnamon, and powdered eggs (or even carry one real egg, if you have this the first morning). Take a little oil or powdered oil, a couple slices of toasted hearty bread (toasting takes out moisture so reduces weight), and some maple syrup repackaged in a little plastic bottle. Probably would not hurt to practice this at home first to see how manageable it is with your own cookpot and utensil.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
BP foods on 05/08/2012 21:10:50 MDT Print View

Where are some of the best deals for basic foods, like egg powder and cubes of different freeze dried meats. Campmor is $5.50 for small bags of Alpen Aire, plus hefty shipping. Is there anything better out there?

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Tvp on 05/08/2012 21:38:49 MDT Print View

Textured vegatable protein is a great meat replacement. Add spices and you can make any ground beef based meal. My three favorites are burritoes, curry and tomatoe sauce.

Whisker Biscuit
(WhiskerBiscuit) - F

Locale: Really close Rainier
MREs on 05/08/2012 21:42:09 MDT Print View

as an Army guy, i use MREs strictly becuz of it being free and readily available. i dont take the entire package however. I dont need all those spoons, or all the extra wrapping they come in. i strip my MREs down to the main entree. they weigh approximately 8oz per entree. i rarely eat lunch while hiking, and my breakfasts are usually Oatmeal. so you could try to cut down on weight that way. Some of the sides they come with are quite nice. Im a big fan of the cobblers, spiced apples, and mostly anything with fruit. My favorite entrees are Beef Stew, Beef Enchilada, Cheese Tortillini, and Manicotti. If you can find an older case you might be able to find the Beef Teriyaki, which is my altime favorite with the chow mein noodles they provide, and the tootsie rolls. I havent tried many of the mountain house stuff or item of that type, much becuz it is hard for me to justify the cost when i get MREs free. If you ever get lucky enough to get the white MREs, they are freeze dried, and most of them are freaking awesome. i particularly love the Seafood Chowder and the Ice Cream Sandwich that comes in the Spicy Chicken entree. well, just thought i would share this, hope it helped somehow.