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    • robbin68
      Member
      Post count: 49

      I am excited to say I am going on my first mountain hunt this fall! I will be going to central Colorado for the opening week of elk archery season. I am looking for pointers on lightweight meals for my trip. We will be packing our camp in a few miles from the truck so cooking gear is going to limited. I see that the freeze dried meals are popular but they are expensive/not very good 😯 Does anyone make their own lightweight meals for at camp and in the daypack? With any luck, we will have some natural groceries at some point during the week πŸ˜†

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2359

      I’ve only done a couple hunts that required freeze dried food. But I have to say that I thought it was pretty tasty.

      I expect that when you are in the process of toting that heavy back pack through the thin air and starting to get hungry, you might not have the same opinion of the freeze dried food that you have now. My opinion is that they are easy, safe, light, simple to prepare, and FULL of calories. Yea baby. I’ll pay for that 😯

      The real challenge is water.

      Get one of those filter water bottles that you can fill up with muck from an elk wallow and suck out cool clear water. Best thing ever. And you need a pump style filter too for cooking and whatnot.

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      Good advice from Steve. It’s amazing what tastes good when you’re really hungry. Those water filters are amazing technology. Good luck on your hunt! dwc

    • Cameron UnruhCameron Unruh
      Member
      Post count: 240

      Most of my multi day hunts require that I pack into the back country and carry my food. I have lived off the freeze dried just fine, however I definetly have some meals I prefer over others. One thing I have done to stretch the food is to pick up some min rice that comes in single packets which you drop in boiling water for a minute. Doing that can stretch the meals and save on overall cost.

      More recently I purchased a dehydrator and have made my own meals. I can make a nice pasta dish and dehydrate it then bring it back to life with some hot water. These taste better and don’t have all the salt that the store bought meals have. I make my meals just prior to the hunt and they last fine for the number of days I am out.

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      Rice is always a good idea even if you take freeze dried meals it alows you to make them go further.Use the total absorption method it’s more fuel efficient.

      I like chorizo sausage on it’s own or as part of meal.

      Hard candy as a treat or to keep sugar levels up.

      Tabasco cos I am a poor cook.

      Two water filters will save filtering and boiling if you’re only one fails.

      Good tea, coffee and rich dark chocolate for when you’re chores are done, but only one square a night.

      Flour if you make bread or to use for thickening, salt pepper and some mixed dry herbs.

      Pack dried goods in small quantities in zip lock bags.

      I have a week in November in the Pyraness so must also give this more thought.

      Looking forward to hearing how your preparation go.

      Mark

    • David Becker
      Member
      Post count: 112

      Hey Man,

      When backpacking, my wife and I have used freeze dried food from Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, and Mary Janes Organics, along with a few I’ve probably forgotten.

      Each company makes entrees I like, and some I had to choke down and swore I would never touch again. I’d suggest buying a few sample meals and trying them before you stuff your pack and head out on your adventure.

      What they all have in common is a tremendous amount of salt. Your blood pressure will go up just by looking at the nutrition labels on them. That’s been a real issue for me, because I don’t eat very much salt in my day to day diet, because we don’t eat much processed food, and add very little salt when we cook. When I consume a big bolus of salt, I usually feel pretty gross.

      We’ve also used Zatarains beans and rice meals, oatmeal and instant macaroni and cheese, as “Just add water” meals.

      We’ve also had good luck with summer sausages from Trader Joes keeping well, along with harder cheeses. We also like to pack tortillas, peanut better and pretty much anything from the Trader Joes aisle that has all the freeze dried fruit, chocolate covered pretzels and similar goodies.

    • robbin68
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 49

      Thanks for the input. I agree with you about feeling gross. I can choke down most anything that can be passed as food, but how I feel after I eat it is another story. And that was the experience I had when I sampled a few freeze dried meals. I will work up a few of the ideas everybody shared and give them a try. Ironically my co-worker mentioned something that I eat at work all the time, but it slipped my mind as good pack food, is tuna fish in thin foil packages. Anyway, I plan on putting a few of these ideas together and trying them out on my close to home camping trips throughout the summer. Thanks again for everyone’s input.:D

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      Regarding salt, I know exactly what you mean and its not something I had considered but an interesting point made by Les Stroud, cant quote exactly but it went something like:

      Increased salt intake can replace salts lost thru exercise and perspiration and diluted by increased water intake.

      I appreciate where he’s coming from but it must be very difficult to judge.

      It may be interesting to see how much salt is contained in a freeze dried meal, measure out the equivalent amount of table salt dissolve it in the volume of water recommended in the instructions to see just how ‘salty’ it is, even then not sure how helpful that is as an experiment as in the meal it does two jobs seasoning and preserving.

      Mark.

    • TMS
      Member
      Post count: 39

      Having been on a long trip with National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), I can attest to the usefulness of their cookbook, “NOLS Cookery”. You can usually find a copy at a used bookstore. Has chapters on preparing your meals ahead and packing multi-use food items for some menu variety. A sample can be seen here:

      http://www.nols.edu/alumni/leader/07summer/recipe_box.shtml

      as well as their You-Tube channel:

      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8805D4A15F0C4B2C

      If you are creative, there’s alot of relatively inexpensive dried/quick prepare food available in large grocery stores. Pasta with sauce from canned concentrate, all kinds of noodle-and-sauce dishes, dried mashed potatoes (add real bacon bits – yumm!), dried soups, commercial bagels, tortillas, cheese, sausages, etc, etc.

      If you go to a large backpacking store, they should have plastic squeeze tubes (like toothpaste tubes) that you can fill with peanut butter, honey (great food value and first aid uses, too), and other semi-liquid items.

      One of my colder weather favorites is hot Jello. Mix it up as directed using all hot water and drink it in the evening before bed. Sugar and protein to help keep you warmer throughout the night via digestion. Not recommended for the “tiny bladder club” since it makes about a quart of liquid.

      I am in the woods a ton and haven’t eaten commercial freeze dried in years. Too expensive, too much salt (as already pointed out), and not much variety. Usually for my first two days I’ll freeze some meat and tuck it inside extra clothes or sleeping bag. Fresh veggies lets you make a stew the first or second night and fresh fruit (apples or oranges) makes a nice dessert. Eat it up in the first two nights, then get into the more lightweight stuff.

      Also, as recommended above, take two water filters. Never know when “Mr. Murphy” will make an appearance. I would also recommend taking some variety of commercial water treatment (iodine, chlorine, or UV). If you bring a metal cook pot, you have a fourth way to prep water as well.

    • John Cholin
      Post count: 24

      All of these posts have been very informative.

      I’ve been doing the historical trekking thing for over 20 years. I carry a sack of pearled barley, a slab of triple smoked bacon, dried apples and raisins which are the makings for the evening stew meal. I just cut a thick slice of bacon into cubes and put it in with the barley and fruits and then boil the whole thing as a one-pot meal. The fat in the bacon is a great energy source, the barley gives you twice as much food value for the same volume as rice and cooks in about 1/2 hour. The apples and raisins go in for flavor.

      In the morning we make “journey cakes” from a mixture of corn meal, flour, sugar, wood ash and water, cooked in a tiny 6″ fry-pan, 2 for breakfast and one stashed for lunch.

      Salt and water are an important issue. When I was doing a lot of backpacking I often had to take salt tablets to deal with muscle cramps at night from getting dehydrated and then salt depleted when I finally got enough to drink. During hunting trips I have to do the same.

      Have a great hunt! I envy you.

      JMC

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      TMS wrote: Having been on a long trip with National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), I can attest to the usefulness of their cookbook, “NOLS Cookery”. You can usually find a copy at a used bookstore. Has chapters on preparing your meals ahead and packing multi-use food items for some menu variety. A sample can be seen here:

      http://www.nols.edu/alumni/leader/07summer/recipe_box.shtml

      as well as their You-Tube channel:

      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8805D4A15F0C4B2C

      If you are creative, there’s alot of relatively inexpensive dried/quick prepare food available in large grocery stores. Pasta with sauce from canned concentrate, all kinds of noodle-and-sauce dishes, dried mashed potatoes (add real bacon bits – yumm!), dried soups, commercial bagels, tortillas, cheese, sausages, etc, etc.

      If you go to a large backpacking store, they should have plastic squeeze tubes (like toothpaste tubes) that you can fill with peanut butter, honey (great food value and first aid uses, too), and other semi-liquid items.

      One of my colder weather favorites is hot Jello. Mix it up as directed using all hot water and drink it in the evening before bed. Sugar and protein to help keep you warmer throughout the night via digestion. Not recommended for the “tiny bladder club” since it makes about a quart of liquid.

      I am in the woods a ton and haven’t eaten commercial freeze dried in years. Too expensive, too much salt (as already pointed out), and not much variety. Usually for my first two days I’ll freeze some meat and tuck it inside extra clothes or sleeping bag. Fresh veggies lets you make a stew the first or second night and fresh fruit (apples or oranges) makes a nice dessert. Eat it up in the first two nights, then get into the more lightweight stuff.

      Also, as recommended above, take two water filters. Never know when “Mr. Murphy” will make an appearance. I would also recommend taking some variety of commercial water treatment (iodine, chlorine, or UV). If you bring a metal cook pot, you have a fourth way to prep water as well.

      And here I thought I was going to have write up all this. Instead, just a big:

      +1

    • Stadig
      Post count: 13

      All real great advice. I will throw in my two cents.

      I like to plan for the region I am in. While in the desert like here in Israel my food tends to be higher in salt,olives hold real well and are really high in easy to digest fat,as well as canned or dried fish like Tuna or Sardines I like Sardines more now due to the lower mercury levels. Dried fruit hearts of palm and nuts can keep you going for days. I try and stay away from meat in the very hot climates because I personally feel it keeps me a bit lighter on the feet, and I don’t feel the need to feel as full.

      While back home in the pacific northwest I turn to more stew based camp meals that are rice or buckwheat based I found buckwheat cooks allot faster then rice, Onions and dried mushrooms keep real well for longer treks and taste great in a stew or to be added to some game on the skillet.

      as always supply of snickers peanut butter and jerkey is always good to have stashed Just in case.

      Hope that gives you some more ideas !

      enjoy

    • robbin68
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 49

      Jerky is definitely on the list. They make tuna fish in a thin foil pouch now instead of cans, which is on my list. In the past, the guy I am going with has vacuum packed some wraps made with tortilla shells, peanut butter, bacon and honey. I might also try making a meal or two in the dehydrator. I am also optimistic about harvesting a few of our own meals while we are there, be it grouse or an elk steak:lol:

      I appreciate all of the great ideas and suggestions from everybody.

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      Lots of good ideas,

      Canned fish may also double as bear bait in certain locations:shock:

      There is a definite link between location and diet emerging perhaps looking to previous generations and there diets might give us ideas

      Mark.

    • Stadig
      Post count: 13

      I will add a little trick I learned while serving in the IDF if you get canned fish in oil you can ad a layer of TP to the top and light it. The oil will burn giving you a make shift light source and a tasty poor mans smoked fish meal.

      I’m guessing the smell of cooking Tuna would make great bear bait also πŸ˜‰

      Another trick I learned from the bedouin trackers I worked with was the consumption of warm tea on hot days, they said its easier on your body to save energy as it doesn’t need to spend more energy warming up the liquid to your body’s temperature.

      I’m not sure if there is any science based behind this but I found it useful at the very least fun and interesting from a anthropological stand point. πŸ˜€

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      [personal experience]

      There’s a saying I used to hear in Alaska: If there are fish, there are bears.

      Stay away from canned fish in the backcountry. I love canned fish. However, my brother-in-law and I once had canned kippers and sardines for dinner in a tent on a ski camping trip along the MN/ON border. It was February during a warm winter, and I broke my “no food in the tent” rule just this once.

      A bear showed up at around 9:30 that night. I spent the next several hours holding back my Newfoundland dog while the bear tried repeatedly to find a way around the dog and into the tent.

      [/personal experience]

    • wTk
      Member
      Post count: 103

      Here’s a link to Freezer bag cooking. There are a lot of very good info on dehydrating foods that can be rehydrated in freezer bags. You can even dehydrate many of your favorite meals and take them hunting. I love home made spaghetti with dehydrated hamburger. You can make better meals than freeze dried that are cheaper.

      http://www.trailcooking.com/trail-cooking-101/freezer-bag-cooking-101/

      Here’s another site that has great food and good dehydrating info

      http://www.backpackingchef.com/

    • Don Thomas
      Member
      Post count: 334

      Good discussion. These considerations really become important on long backpack hunts of ten days or more. I’ve learned a lot about the subject over the years. It really helps to live off the land as much as possible. In Alaska, chances are that at least your base camp will be near a stream with fish. A few ounces worth of line and fish hooks can easily turn into pounds of protein every day. Same principle applies to grouse, ptarmigan, berries etc. However, I never count on anything but what I carry in. Today’s freeze dried meals are pretty good, but they just don’t pack the calories you need for hunting sheep, goats, and the like. A little hard salami, cheese, or hard chocolate will add a few pounds going in, but will make a huge difference in your ability to hunt hard. Ration it carefully, and no cheating! Don

    • Alexandre Bugnon
      Member
      Post count: 681

      The lightest I’ve backpacked is when I hiked the rugged, extremely steep 100 mile wilderness part of the Appalachian trail in Maine for 9 grueling days: Carrying 10 days worth of food. My pack was only 45Lbs. My food was: 10 Mountain House meals for dinner, 10 portions of oatmeal for breakfast, 20 energy bars, one big bag of trail mix, one big bag of uncured beef jerky, 10 packets of instant coffee from Starbucks, a light stove, titanium pot and spoon, water purifying tablets, and one water bottle/filter.

    • David Becker
      Member
      Post count: 112

      alexbugnon wrote: The lightest I’ve backpacked is when I hiked the rugged, extremely steep 100 mile wilderness part of the Appalachian trail in Maine for 9 grueling days: Carrying 10 days worth of food. My pack was only 45Lbs. My food was: 10 Mountain House meals for dinner, 10 portions of oatmeal for breakfast, 20 energy bars, one big bag of trail mix, one big bag of uncured beef jerky, 10 packets of instant coffee from Starbucks, a light stove, titanium pot and spoon, water purifying tablets, and one water bottle/filter.

      While reasonable minds can differ, I just don’t think it’s safe to try to go that far with so little coffee.:lol:

    • wTk
      Member
      Post count: 103

      Wose wrote: [quote=alexbugnon]The lightest I’ve backpacked is when I hiked the rugged, extremely steep 100 mile wilderness part of the Appalachian trail in Maine for 9 grueling days: Carrying 10 days worth of food. My pack was only 45Lbs. My food was: 10 Mountain House meals for dinner, 10 portions of oatmeal for breakfast, 20 energy bars, one big bag of trail mix, one big bag of uncured beef jerky, 10 packets of instant coffee from Starbucks, a light stove, titanium pot and spoon, water purifying tablets, and one water bottle/filter.

      While reasonable minds can differ, I just don’t think it’s safe to try to go that far with so little coffee.:lol:

      Man I am glad you said something,:shock: I’d have tripled or quadrupled that amount! πŸ˜†

    • Alexandre Bugnon
      Member
      Post count: 681

      wTk wrote: [quote=Wose][quote=alexbugnon]The lightest I’ve backpacked is when I hiked the rugged, extremely steep 100 mile wilderness part of the Appalachian trail in Maine for 9 grueling days: Carrying 10 days worth of food. My pack was only 45Lbs. My food was: 10 Mountain House meals for dinner, 10 portions of oatmeal for breakfast, 20 energy bars, one big bag of trail mix, one big bag of uncured beef jerky, 10 packets of instant coffee from Starbucks, a light stove, titanium pot and spoon, water purifying tablets, and one water bottle/filter.

      While reasonable minds can differ, I just don’t think it’s safe to try to go that far with so little coffee.:lol:

      Man I am glad you said something,:shock: I’d have tripled or quadrupled that amount! πŸ˜†

      πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Well I really wanted to bring this:

    • wTk
      Member
      Post count: 103

      LOL My granddaughter gave me an AeroPress which almost does the same thing and weighs way less. I carry it car camping and on short trips. Then I have a place that roasts their beans every morning πŸ˜€ Just can’t carry a grinder with me for fresh ground coffee. But man its good! Anybody know of a battery powered coffee grinder for car camping base camp?

    • David Becker
      Member
      Post count: 112

      alexbugnon wrote:

      πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Well I really wanted to bring this:

      That’s a good start…

    • David Becker
      Member
      Post count: 112

      wTk wrote: LOL My granddaughter gave me an AeroPress which almost does the same thing and weighs way less. I carry it car camping and on short trips. Then I have a place that roasts their beans every morning πŸ˜€ Just can’t carry a grinder with me for fresh ground coffee. But man its good! Anybody know of a battery powered coffee grinder for car camping base camp?

      You can buy an inverter that plugs into your cigarette lighter port in the car, and converts it to 120 AC.

      I’m trying to eschew gadgetry in my life, but this is about coffee….

    • TMS
      Member
      Post count: 39

      Here’s a link to more information on planning your backcountry meals at home. A pretty simple strategy and can be easily altered for more variety…..

      http://blog.nols.edu/2016/04/20/how-to-make-your-own-instant-backpacking-meals/

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Post count: 816

      When I lived in Alaska, and frequently made many long backpack hunts, ranging from 10 to 30 days, I made extensive use of the Apollo 17 fruit cake. For Alaska hunting, it always kept fine without any refrigeration (I never tried it in the desert climates). Eaten with a little water, tea or coffee it gave a tremendous energy boost; a big help when hunting the mountains, and it can serve as a complete food supply; nutritionally complete and 2,500 calories per six ounce serving. On top of that, it is easy to make and it taste great. Here’s the details and the recipe.

      According to AP news reports, “this fruitcake so nutritionally complete that a 6-ounce serving provides the daily nutrient and 2,500-a-day calorie requirements for each astronaut.”

      According to the Apollo 17 Press Kit, the nutritionally complete fruitcake provides all the nutrients needed by man in their correct proportions. The fruitcake contains many ingredients such as: soy flour, wheat flour, sugar, eggs, salt, cherries, pineapple, nuts, raisins, and shortening. Vitamins have been added. The product is heat sterilized in an impermeable flexible pouch and is shelf-stable until opened. This fruitcake can provide a nutritious snack or meal. This food is planned for use in the future in the Space Shuttle program as a contingency food system.

      Apollo 17 Fruitcake Recipe

      “SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) β€” December 18, 1972 β€” The Apollo 17 astronauts kept munching on their own special fruitcake during man’s last planned flight to and from the moon. You might want to put it on your Christmas surprise menu.

      At the request of The Associated Press, U.S. Army Laboratories at Natick, Mass., scaled down the recipe for “Astronaut Fruitcake” and tested it for baking in home kitchens.

      The following recipe will yield about two pounds. It may be baked in ten 3-ounce sizes or in two 1-pound coffee cans.

      Ingredients:

      2/3 cup sifted cake flour

      1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy flour

      1/2 teaspoon salt

      1 teaspoon baking powder

      1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

      1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

      1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

      3/4 cup sugar

      5 tablespoons shortening

      1 extra large egg

      1 1/2 tablespoons water

      1 cup light raisins

      1 1/2 tablespoons water

      1/2 cup halves candied cherries

      1/3 cup candied pineapple in 1/2-inch dices

      1 cup pecan pieces

      Instructions:

      Mix and sift together flours, salt, baking powder and spices. Set aside. Cream sugar and shortening together thoroughly. Add egg to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly. Blend in dry ingredients and water. Fold fruit and nuts into batter, mix until evenly distributed.

      Ten 3-ounce cakes: To form each 3-ounce cake, place 1/2 cup batter on 12-inch square of heavy duty foil, or a double thickness of regular foil. Flatten batter to depth of 3/4 inch. Fold sides around cake batter, then fold up edges of foil so batter is tightly wrapped and will not lose moisture during baking. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees F. Allow to cool thoroughly – preferably overnight – before unwrapping and serving. (I left mine sealed in the heavy duty foil and froze them until ready to go on the hunt.)

      Two 1-pound cakes: Place half the batter in each of two 1-pound coffee cans. Cover top of can with foil and crimp edges to form seal. Bake upright in a pan of water in 300 degree F oven for 3 1/2 hours. Be sure the foil does not touch the water in the pan, as it may draw up water into the cake during the baking.”

      Source: Associated Press news release, published in various papers: San Mateo Times – Saturday, December 16, 1972 – San Mateo, California, page 7.

      Ed

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      Ed, ever hear your hiking buddies say, “here comes fruitcake?” Dwc

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Post count: 816

      Only the tired and hungry ones! – Ed

    • wTk
      Member
      Post count: 103

      Thanks Ed, I’ll be trying this one. Hope all is still well with you,

      Galen

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