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backpacking food
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Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: @ Kat on 09/23/2012 22:55:48 MDT Print View

Savory oats can be tasty!! They are good!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: @ Kat on 09/24/2012 16:35:41 MDT Print View

"That's like eating a peanut butter and sardine sandwich."

Now that is truly yucky. Why ruin a perfectly good sardine sandwich with peanut butter when you could spread some nice, runny Limburger and a slice of sweet onion on it, and elevate it to the sublime? As for oatmeal with olive oil, salt and pepper, oooooh yeah! Maybe cooked in broth with a dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano. Sigh. Forgive us, Katharina. We are still a young culture.

Michael Cockrell

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Penut butter & Wasabe powder on 09/25/2012 08:53:44 MDT Print View

A new twist is to mix some wasabe into your penut butter.

There's wasabe green peas. almonds, chips, etc.

I use lbs. of wasabe powder a month.

Here bear, here bear, try some nice penut butter?

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
"reality" homemade meals on 09/25/2012 10:40:43 MDT Print View

I too like the idea of cooking and dehydrating entire meals at home. But usually, reality intervenes: There is plenty else to do to get ready for a given backpacking trip, without adding a bunch of pre-trip cooking projects to the mix.

There is a happy medium, whereby you can pack a homemade meal without spending a lot of time on it. Here are some staples for me, each of which requires no pre-cooking and little or no dehydrating:

1. Couscous and lentils, with sundried tomatoes and some flavoring for the couscous (often bullion cubes and/or a dried soup packet). I take 1.5 hours to soak the lentils in camp before cooking them though. Lentils have protein and some amazing minerals that are otherwise hard to get while in the backcountry.

2. Instant rice and tempeh with a few tamari-flavored almonds and Asian flavoring. Tempeh is excellent protein. (You do have to dehydrate the tempeh.) The Asian flavoring can come in a supermarket flavor packet. If you are ambitious, you can pick a sauce and dehydrate it; I sometimes do that but then you are talking about more work.

3. Pasta. This seems to be the easiest to prepare at home; its downside is that there is no obvious lightweight protein source to add. (Sometimes I will add a salmon or tuna packet, but per-calorie they weigh a lot.) Angel hair pasta seems to cook fastest. For flavor, add supermarket pasta flavor packet such as four-cheese, or a tube of pesto sauce. Lazy alternative is to bring ramen, or mac-n-cheese straight out of the box (bring some fresh cheese to add in the field). Pasta does require more fuel in the field.

4. Instant potatoes. I have moved away from this one because I've had trouble settling on a protein and a flavoring that goes well with potatoes.

What I do consistently dehydrate ahead of time are veggies. Onions, green garlic, broccoli are the most consistently used, they go with any meal. Also kale, red peppers, asparagus. I buy the veggies here and there in the spring and summer when they are in season (e.g. asparagus in April; green garlic in May; red peppers in August), dehydrate them, and stick them in the freezer in very good freezer bags. Selections of veggies then come with me on every trip and are added to every meal. I pre-soak them in camp so that they rehydrate better.

I find that dehydrating veggies and tempeh only (not entire meals) is more realistic for me because I can sneak in a dehydrating session for in-season veggies on a slow Saturday now and then. Without having to do any complex meal planning.

- Elizabeth

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Sunrise Bars on 09/25/2012 11:36:10 MDT Print View

EDIT: I can no longer recommend Sunrise bars after finding out that the "whole sustagrain barley flour" in them is a ConAgra genetically modified plant species.

I don't know how many people know about these, but they are FANTASTIC trail food. I usually have a morning drink of some sort with these, some dried mangos and maybe a few chunks of dried capola sausage. They are a little fragile, but will store for a very long time. They are very tasty despite the sound of their ingredient list...hard to eat only one.

Sunrise Bars

The Amazon price is a ripoff, but they are sold in the same big tub at Costco for $8 I believe it is.

130 calories

6 grams fat 1.5 polyunsaturated and 1.5 monounsaturated

17 grams carbs with 3 grams fiber and 10 grams sugar

2 grams protein

Ingredients are:
rolled oats,whole sustagrain barley flour, cranberries,raisins, dried apples, apricots,almonds,walnuts,flax seeds,sunflower seeds,whole grain flour,cashews,sesame seeds,shredded coconut,nonhydrogenated canola oil, unsalted butter,brown sugar,honey,salt,baking soda,tapioca syrup,natural flavor,cinnamon.

Edited by f8less on 10/13/2012 12:41:27 MDT.

Kelly Gigliotti
(KellyG) - F
Salmon packets on 09/25/2012 12:58:34 MDT Print View

This conversation brings to mind a concern I have. I love the tuna or salmon packets. But after a day or two, even sealed in a plastic baggie, the fishy odor from the foil packet is sometimes noticeable. Here bear bear.... How does one control the smell? I keep in it's own baggie, then in a freezer-bag garbage bag, then in OP sack. But who knows if a bear can smell through all that plastic?

William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: "reality" homemade meals on 09/25/2012 17:47:52 MDT Print View

"Instant potatoes. I have moved away from this one because I've had trouble settling on a protein and a flavoring that goes well with potatoes."

Have you tried grated parmesan/romano cheese and dried chives? I'm not a big potato fan in non-trail life, but with copious amounts of parmesan/romano and some dried chives, they're goooood. :) (For omnivores, a little bit of jerky mixed in is nice, too. Some vegetarians may go for soy-based artificial bacon bits, but I'm not fond enough of them to add them to the mix.)


Bill S.

PS on another sub-topic: How do people carry olive oil and butter? I tried a few ways of carrying olive oil, but packets leaked and a well-sealed bottle had a hard time handling pressure differentials associated with 4000 ft altitude changes and 80 degree temp changes. Is butter really possible with high daytime temps, or more of a shoulder season/winter food? After some not-so-good experiences, I've been sticking mostly with nuts, Nido, parmesan/romano, and coconut milk as main fat sources. Would be happy to get hints for containing olive oil and/or butter well. Usually in grizzly country, so like to keep everything as clean as I can. Thanks!

Kelly Gigliotti
(KellyG) - F
How do people carry olive oil and butter? on 09/25/2012 19:34:02 MDT Print View

"How do people carry olive oil and butter?"

Subway sandwich restaurants - they have olive oil packets. I've tried to buy them alone but usually they tell me I have to make a purchase. Or, sells them.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
re: how to carry olive oil on 09/25/2012 19:47:17 MDT Print View

1/2 ounce packets of extra virgin olive oil $.36
I bring one for every dinner, easy way to add calories.

These guys also carry mini sized packets of other food items such as lemon juice, spicy salsa, soy, mayo, marmalade, and lots more.

Cosmic Osmo
(cosmicosmo) - F
Re: How do people carry olive oil and butter? on 09/25/2012 20:02:36 MDT Print View

What's wrong with filling a 1/2/4 oz plastic bottle with olive oil, to match how much you expect to need? It's like a fuel bottle for your body! You'll live without measuring out each serving precisely, and it's less trash and cost compared to 1/2 oz packets.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
backpacking food on 09/25/2012 20:35:54 MDT Print View

I think the statement was "a well-sealed bottle had a hard time handling pressure differentials associated with 4000 ft altitude changes and 80 degree temp changes."

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: backpacking food on 09/25/2012 21:42:21 MDT Print View

I have yet to find a bottle that didn't leak at some point, meaning you have to double bag it to keep the oil from wrecking gear. Hoenstly, the packets work well.

Butter? Make or buy ghee from butter. It is shelf stable and is super easy to make.

Duane Hall
(PKH) - M

Locale: Nova Scotia
Olive oil bottles on 09/26/2012 03:57:09 MDT Print View

I'm with Sarah on this one. Even the best of bottles seem to seep at some time, and it doesn't take much to make a mess of your kit. I've got some nice little "leak proof" bottles that I often use for olive oil, but I always bag them, just in case.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Olive oil bottles on 09/26/2012 04:58:13 MDT Print View

I have found that a real good bottle (4oz nalgene I think,) works well. It doesn't leak. But, as Duane says, a bag of spices, olive Oil and/or parified butter does tend to minimize any mess if they do leak. Take an empty bottle and tighten the cap on it. Then squeeze it real hard for a few seconds. If it stands up to this kind of pressure without leaking air, you should be good with the oil. I bought two packets of little bottles (10 per pack?) and only three were acceptable. So, 15% success isn't real good.

Parafied butter or ghee is just pan fried butter till it stops bubbling. This drives the excess water out leaving (mostly) the fats and oils. It is a bit salty, but that's OK. I usually look for a bit of salt when I cook, especially hiking. When cold, it is nearly solid.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Olive oil bottles on 09/26/2012 08:50:04 MDT Print View

On Ghee - you can use unsalted butter. Use organic for best taste as well. Then it isn't all salty.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Olive oil bottles on 09/26/2012 11:10:25 MDT Print View

Sarah, Yeah, tried that. But, the cost of "organic" foods was about three times that for processed food.

For the parified butter, mostly, the salt will not collect in the oils. Some will of course. But it usually just drops out into the brown stuff in the bottom of the fry pan (along with any water soluable stuff.) Generally, salt does not disolve all that much into oils/fats. Just be a bit carefull about pouring it off to avoid getting it into the bottles. My daughter says to just put a pound in a small pan and warm it till it melts...then pour off the oil. I prefer to cook it down to sterilize it before packaging...probably not necessary, but...

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
bottles on 09/26/2012 16:48:25 MDT Print View

"How do people carry olive oil and butter?"

Because olive oil leaking is a true mess, and uncleanable on the trail, if the oil is inside my pack, I put it in a plastic bag, the bottle in a bag, that is. But I stopped carrying it inside my pack.

But now that I made a myog pack with nice big side pockets, I keep the olive oil in a regular 18 oz or so water bottle (like calistoga or trader joes bubbly water), you can get a rubber o-ring at the hardware store to make the seal at the cap even better if you are so inclined, o-ring goes around the bottle's top screw part, to make a rubber seal. Maybe not always best method, have to test it to make sure on your bottle.

I used to use nalgene 8oz bottles, maybe also 16oz, those have excellent closures, much better than regular water bottles, because they have an inside and outside lip/edge on the cap.

Or did, I don't know, but I always put the bottle in a plastic bag when packing it inside pack with food bag to be on the safe side, no issues.

Having the bottle outside I like better though, that way it's always pointed up, and you can easily see if it's dripped or leaking.

Butter, no thanks, olive oil is denser, and easier to pack, but if you must, then ghee type clarified butter is the way to go.

I doubt you can get any decent olive oil in a plastic mini pouch, that sounds not very appetizing, plus the taste of that plastic it's been stored in since packaging, no thanks.

So outside pack side pockets have water bottles, two, and one alcohol bottle and one olive oil bottle, that works well.

Lawson also sells some 8oz bottles, but those weigh about the same or more as the regular water bottle from the store, which is 18oz, ie, more than 2x bigger.

If reusing a water bottle, like calistoga, just make sure it's made out of thick / dense plastic, some are very thin, and will crease and crack over not too much time in a pack.

By the way, at trader joe's or whole foods you can buy 33 oz water bottles, called 'electrolyte enhanced water' that make great quart water bottles, they use thick plastic, and have round bottoms, and cost 99 cents each.

Edited by hhope on 09/26/2012 16:53:41 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Olive oil bottles on 09/26/2012 16:57:44 MDT Print View

James, you just need to learn to shop better ;-) You don't have to pay a ton more. I don't. There is a huge taste difference in butter brands and when making ghee it becomes very noticeable when using cheap butter.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Olive oil bottles on 09/28/2012 05:05:43 MDT Print View

"James, you just need to learn to shop better ;-)"
Sarah, I hear that! The main problem is that I live in a smaller town. Well, they like to think Ithaca is a city, but the permanent population is only about 15,000. Cornell U, Ithaca college, the music school and some others swell the population, soo packaged foods are big, not so much food items.

Anyway, I don't mind the slightly salty tast. Hiking means work, work means sweating. Soo, I am always looking for salt, it seems. After a couple days on the trail, food is just fuel...

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Olive oil bottles on 09/28/2012 09:49:16 MDT Print View

True on that......