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Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages
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Shawn Bearden
(ShawnB) - F - MLife

Locale: SE Idaho
Smoothie on 11/21/2013 12:22:45 MST Print View

We package most of our food from the bulk (nuts, chocolates, etc.). However, for a bought/pre-packaged single serving, the PackIt Gourmet fruit smoothies are super delicious at roughly 4.7 kcal/g. Their Cheddar Jack Spread is also good and ~6.9 kcal/g.

I have no affiliation with PackIt Gourmet

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/21/2013 14:49:18 MST Print View

Snickers bar eaten like George Costanza did, except I use a spork and Swiss Army knife. Professional backpacker Andrew Skurka likes them too.

John Hillyer
(TrNameLucky) - MLife
Premier ProteinĀ® Bar on 11/21/2013 20:31:20 MST Print View

$1.18 per bar at Wal-Mart with 30 grams of protein per bar; 110 cal per oz

Premier ProteinĀ® Bar Protein Blend (Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate), Glycerin, Sugar, Hydrolyzed Gelain, Palm Kernel Oil, Water, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Cocoa (processed with alkali), Cocoa Powder, Inulin, Contains 2% or less of the following: Whey Powder, Soy Lecithin (an emulsifier), Tapioca Starch, Nonfat Dry Milk, Malt Powder, Corn Syrup, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Salt, Sucralose. CONTAINS: SOY, MILK.

Robin McKay
(rlmckay) - M

Locale: Auckland NZ
EMs Power Cookies on 11/22/2013 04:32:07 MST Print View

I've tried a lot of "on the go" foods over the years, but nothing, I say nothing beats Ems Power Bars and Cookies. Em is a nutritionalist and famous NZ ultra distance multi sport adventurer. Check these out at

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: Epic Bars on 11/22/2013 05:04:29 MST Print View

Those look awesome!

As someone who tries to avoid sugary, over-processed foods, I usually make all my own stuff, but I'll throw out Larabars, particularly the cherry ones, as one of my snacking staples.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/22/2013 09:37:17 MST Print View

how could you skip Poptarts? I actually like the Hannafords store brand better

200cal at 52grams breakfast on the go :) on long trips you can mix up the flavors so you don't get bored. if you pack them right they don't get broken too much and the packaging is very minimal.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Packaging Food on 11/22/2013 16:47:40 MST Print View

Yikes, no wonder folks here only talk in 'base' weights.

Since this is backpacking light, attention must be paid to how much the food weighs. What point is there to pruning down the weight of the gear, often at great expense, if a ton of munchies are carried.

Not that I'd begrudge younger folk their munchies. There is another way, however.
It involves three meals a day, and even when much younger, there was no problem with energy levels while backpacking 6-10 hours a day, and that was before the pack weight was cut in half. All packaging is done using a U-Line packaging tool, looks like a giant stapler, that seals polyethylene envelopes and cuts off any excess, to create the lightest possible package.

For breakfast, a mix of instant breakfast, powdered milk and instant coffee is packaged in an envelope, and dissolved before use in cold water, and warmed if desired. A strip of 'fruit leather' is also consumed. That and a drink mix like cocoa or Alpine spiced cider are enough to provide energy and not feel hungry all day.

For lunch, just one energy food of choice. Tiger's Milk bars are small and light, nutritious, and provide me more energy than the bulkier hyped products. No need to repackage the bars, as no weight would be saved.

For dinner, a starch (rice, potato, pasta) is mixed with freeze dried meat, usually turkey or chicken, and seasoning, and packaged in the same size U-Line envelope as breakfast. Except the seasoning and thickening powders are packaged in a much smaller U-line sealed envelope that is sealed inside the larger envelope. This way, the starch and meat can be simmered till soft, and the seasoning with thickeners and sometimes veggies, can be thrown in later so less time simmering is needed - saves fuel and assures the food is fully rehydrated. The mix is designed to take always the same amount of water, the amount chosen depending on how much food it takes to fill the individual tummy and provide enough energy for the next day.

No longer use the sugary drink mixes. The berryish odors attrack wildlife. But another envelope of hot Alpine cider is nice with dinner.

All of the used envelopes and wrappers for a week fit into a ZipLock one pint freezer bag with room to spare, and weigh almost nothing kept inside the food bag.

With this system, food for a day, including packaging, is well under a pound, and I can go for a month like this, but stop occasionally to enjoy a good home-cooked meal.

A cut down Ursack, resewn with Kevlar thread, is used to hold a light zip-open food bag, and is hung at night. Not recommended for going to Grizz country, but while I don't go there anymore, I may add an odor barrier sack next year for black bears if tests next spring are positive.

Since the dinners are prepared from separately purchased ingredients, they are much more tasty than any prepackaged ones ever tried.

With the lighter food weight, a lighter TOTAL pack weight can be achieved, with more, not less energy and nutrition than derived from the meals bought prepackaged at retailers.

The larger supermarkets have plenty to experiment with, but organic ingredients are available at specialty stores if preferred. The freeze dried meat is mail-ordered.

Edited by scfhome on 11/22/2013 16:52:29 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Packaging Food on 11/22/2013 17:18:30 MST Print View

"With this system, food for a day, including packaging, is well under a pound, and I can go for a month like this"

Hi Samuel,


I share your philosophy regarding food being an easy place to drop substantial weight. So far, I've whittled my food down to 19 oz/day, packaging included for trips up to 11 days, and would love to know more about how you got it down 4 or more ounces from there for even longer trips. Would you be willing to post a sample menu of a typical day's worth of food? It would be of great interest to at least me and, I suspect, a lot of other folks here.

Many thanks,


Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/22/2013 21:08:50 MST Print View

that is some high cost food. No question SeaBear Wild Salmon is way better than bumble be, but the price is beyond reasonable. Where is the dirt bag hiker food list for the same cals and protein? Justins is such a rip. It is just peanut butter. You won't remember eating that stuff the next day. I am in for buying high priced gear, but the food you just rent.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/23/2013 07:02:59 MST Print View

yea Tim. Thru hiker style ;) Pringles, tuna pouches, Pasta side, PB in a plastic jar, PB filled pretzels, powdered potatoes, French fried onions, peanut M&Ms, PB crackers, cereal + nido

Jeffrey List
(jlist) - M

Locale: Cape Cod
Re: Packaging Food on 11/23/2013 07:44:29 MST Print View


that sounds good, but can you say how many calories are in your "well under a pound" of food per day, and what the average cal/oz is? To me those are the key figures saying if it's enough food (for a particular person; obviously it works for you!), and how weight efficient the food is.

Also second the request for some of your menus/recipes.


K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages on 11/23/2013 08:01:52 MST Print View

I agree with Tim Zen on this. The cost isn't really worth it to me. We are not even talking about "expeditions" here or real high density food if taking along a bag of chips....

(odarcy) - F - M

Locale: SW
WALKERS SHORTBREAD on 11/23/2013 16:51:13 MST Print View

Costco has 4.5 pound tins of Walker's Shortbread as part of their holiday selection this year . Don't remember the price but am sure
it's cheaper than buying the individual packets .

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: WALKERS SHORTBREAD on 11/23/2013 17:03:01 MST Print View

Years ago, backpackers were getting all worked up over how to pack more calories into a bear canister. Finally it was concluded that the method involves taking five or ten pounds of Walker's Shortbread Cookies and crumbling them up with a rolling pin. Then pour the crumbs into one big plastic bag inside the bear canister. You can just eat with your fingers for the whole trip, and you will probably not run out of food. That's because you will be sick of Walker's Shortbread before you finish all of it.


Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Bear can food packed full of.... on 11/24/2013 09:43:50 MST Print View

1/3 Mary Jane's Farm Nick's Organic Couch Potatoes with powdered butter added,
1/3 Mary Jane's Farm Bare Burrito,
1/3 Walker's Shortbread (crushed),
Lined with tortillas....
how's THAT? :-)

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
U-Line bag sealer on 11/24/2013 12:02:09 MST Print View

Received a PM re ID of U-Line bag sealer.
BPL no longer lets me reply to PMs, but logs me out automatically instead.
Tired of contacting BPL about issues at this point.

The ULINE product is named "8" Impulse Sealer with Cutter," Product # H-161, purchased ca. 2004
The bags are #S-951, 6x6" 2 mil poly bags, 1000 to a box
S-5387, 2x3", 1 mil poly bag, 1000 to a box - used to hold anything that would thicken the food mix and impede simmering/rehydration. The little bags are sealed and go into the big ones. Could be a tad bigger, so long as would fit into the larger bags.

Kevin Flynn
(kmflynn_01) - MLife
Expedition Foods on 11/24/2013 15:41:59 MST Print View


and something new and very local to the Minneapolis/St Paul area is a paleo-centric bar and snack company called Whole Me.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Fritos Corn Chips on 11/25/2013 10:53:23 MST Print View

My 'morale' food for a long time has been Fritos Corn Chips. Ingredients: corn, corn oil, salt. Buy the single-serving bags, put a pinhole in the bag to get the air out then cover the pinhole with scotch tape. I found them vital in the Grand Canyon, when I really needed the salt.

Bonus- dual use as a firestarter! They burn almost as well as Vaseline on cotton balls! :)

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Packaging Food on 11/26/2013 11:56:49 MST Print View

Samuel - I'd like to second Tom's request for menus and/or weights of food you take. Either you are achieving higher caloric density than I get from my usual foods/packaging, or you're just carrying fewer calories (or a little of both) Either way, I may learn something. I'm usually around 24 oz/day, and I'll lose some weight on a trip.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Minibiz on 11/26/2013 12:31:26 MST Print View

Unless I missed it, I'm surprised no one has mentioned these guys.