I’m getting too old and soft to carry 2 coolers and a boatload of burgers/dogs and other eatables.
Does anyone have suggestions for how to downsize? I know there is stuff out there, but i dont know what it is, or where to get it.
Can anyone help?
I’m getting too old and soft to carry 2 coolers and a boatload of burgers/dogs and other eatables.
Dehyrdated foods, just add water and fire.
The new meals that heat by chemical reaction.
Foods already prepared at home and only require keeping a little bit cool or keeping hot. Chili
hot with hotdogs mixed in and placed in a thermos will keep well and cook the dogs along the way. Hot spaghetti or cold spaghetti, canned goods just add heat, canned stew, canned corned beef, canned lasagnas, sure they aren’t great but doctor them up a little with your own spices.
More food for thought
Dried grains and cereals, pastas, rices just add water.
Brian That’s Great! Thanks so much!
I’d like to ask more about the Dehydrated foods… flavors, places to buy, are they any good, how “healthy” are they?
Grains & Cereals?
I tried pastas… and burnt them. lol My dog wouldnt even eat it.
Rice we use.
Grains & Cereals that just need water… you lost me on that one. I’m not sure what you mean.
Just add boiling water?
A couple of years ago I was planning a paddling trip to Fontana Lake and I decided to purchase one of those “just mix contents with boiling water packages” from Mountain House. I wasn’t really planning my menu around those packages but I thought maybe one night we wouldn’t have time for cooking.
My trip never happened and the package sat with my camping gear for 2 years.
When I go camping cooking is a part of the enjoyment and I try to eat “real food”.
Last month I decided that package was getting old enough to be eatable and decided to try it before tossing it and …………. man, I’m glad I never had to use it!!!
By my standards that was disgusting!!! But please note I’m a real PITA about food, I’m Italian and a decent cook too.
That package was something with chicken and rice and it was not expired.
We bring the following stuff, ultralight, non-perishable, ok flavor:
powdered whole eggs, ham flavored TVP, dehydrated vegetables, whole wheat wraps, coffee, powdered creamer & sugar substitue. Just add water and voila! scrambled eggs.
instant hummus mix (add water) & pita bread
various varieties of Zatarains boxed rice mix, flavored TVP, dehydrated vegetables, wine instead of beer (tastes fine warm) or Crystal Light.
Okay, so it's not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination but we eat well and this stuff is incredibly small, light and needs no refrigerations and bears appear to have no interest in this stuff (no smell?). You'd be surprised what you can get used to when you want to go ultralight!
That’s very helpful, thank you!
…but what’s “flavored TVP”?
Ok, now i’m a little scared. LOL
My husband is a huge PITA about what he eats too. your post was very helpful, thanks. I’ll know not to expect much and test it before I go.
Texturized Vegetable Protein, a meat substitute (we’re vegetarians). It’s soy protein textured to resemble meat. Flavors available are: beef, taco, chicken, ham, bacon, sausage and pepperoni. Comes in various chunk sizes and needs to be reconstituted. An excellent protein source for ultralight camping! Available online or at your local health food / vegetarian food supply. Non-vegetarians will scoff, but this stuff is actually okay. hope this helps, but if you’re used to camping with hamburger/chicken/meat this might be a far stretch!
Texurized Vegetable Protein…I think. It kind of has the consistency of ground beef, but has no animal product. My wife, when she was a vegetarian, used it in many recipies as a replacement for ground beef. It’s not bad in recepies, but I didn’t like it by itself.
Are you looking for general dehydrated items found in the local market or prepared dehydrated meals? Either way there are many choices.
tuna in foil pouches. buy them
at your local grocer.
Milk boxes can be found in the juice box section.
Haul one cooler instead of two. Unless you’re portaging. We use a Coleman Extreme and it fits in a solo.
Lots of soup mixes. Bread and biscuit mixes. Skillet potatoes in a pouch. None of these need refrig.
Cache Lake makes good dehydrated stuff.
Pie irons are a bit heavy (especially the double one that can operate as a small dutch oven) but you can use them for more stuff than you’ll have time for.
Check the archives for several long threads with recipes and great ideas.
dry your own. you’ll never go back.
I backpacked for years with pre-dried foods. They’re not bad, they’re easy to buy and prepare but they all start tasting the same after a while. Plus, I’m a biggish guy (6’2", 215lbs) and I eat a lot. It was costing me $10+ per dinner to fill myself up from a long day of hiking or paddling.
I spent $50 on a food-dryer, and I eat like a king now. The food tastes 1,000 times better, I can easily prepare just about anything i’d eat at home and I’m swear, if you start drying your own camp food, and you camp on a regular basis, you’ll never go back to the store-bought pre-dried stuff.
I bought my food-dryer at K-Mart, I’m sure Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. would have something like it. Mine is a “Nesco American Harvest” model and I’ve used it for 5 years now.
Here’s an example of what I typically eat when paddling.
I also like the “Moveable Feast” section of backpacker magazine, they have some really good light /low volume recipes. As the magazine has started catering more to the Yuppie crowd they have more gourmet recipes.
Granola or other cereal
freeze dried fruit
small box soy milk
The freeze dried fruit we use is called “Just [whatever]”. E.g., just strawberries, just blackberries, just raspberries, just mango. Put some in the bottom of a bowl, add cereal, and pour on a box of soy milk. Everything keeps forever and you don’t have to heat anything. It also takes up very little room and weighs comparatively little. We can eat this for a whole week or more, especially if you vary the cereal and fruit. Finally it is all organic.
There’s plenty of good food to be found at the grocery store to serve your needs. A dry cheddar soup can be turned into creamy cheddar sauce by using a can of condensed milk. Turn corn tortillas into chips and you’ve got a great snack for around the fire. Dried hash browns can be seasoned while soaking. A hard dry salami will keep for days and can be diced and used to add meat favor with very little meat being used. Dry refried beans can be found if you look for them. They used to be a staple in my backpack. With my boat I buy canned beans because of price.
A flour tortilla topped like a pizza and slow fried to a crisp makes a pretty good mountain pizza. Buy an Outback oven and you can make a small person pan pizza using pre-mixed instant dough.
Stay away from freeze-dried. The taste can’t justify the price.
An excellent resource
is the book, “Kayak Cookery”, authored by Linda Daniel.
She covers all the bases and even the experienced lightweight nature traveller will find new ideas within its covers.
At the riskof being drowned by those with taste…
I take MRE’s (Meals, Rejected by Etheopians). They are not as good as the old C-Rats but more portable and the quality has improved a lot. And a lot cheaper than what you buy in the camping store.
but then, my taste buds have been destroyed by years of military food so I can eat anything that doesn’t eat me first.
A lot depends on what you are used to
and whether you are in a canoe or kayak and how long you are going to be gone. That said, I can easily carry enough good food for four days in a 20 qt cooler. I find the secret is to plan the meals, size the meat portions before you leave and place in good quality zip-lock freezer bags and FREEZE. Freeze every food thing that you can. Instead of ice, freeze 12 0z water bottles; then you have no mess in the cooler form ice melt and each day you get a couple of really cold drinks as you drink the liquid out of the bottles. Any space that is left in the cooler, fill with dry ice broken into smaller chaunks and wrapped with a sheet of newspaper. Anything works: chicken breast, sausage, steaks, etc. If you must have milk, take powdered milk. If you need cream with your coffee, stop by any fast food restuarant and grab a handful of the Half & Half containers and throw those in the cooler. I take the eggs out of the shells, go ahead and add my seasonings and cream and put the mixture in empty water bottles in the cooler. Scrambled eggs for breakfast? No problem, no mess, just open a bottle and pour. I take a 2 gallon plastic olive bucket (Subway will usually give them to you) to keep all of my dry/non-perishables in - water-tight, racoon proof, and easy to hang. It just takes a little time to organize on the front end and you can eat very well on your trip. The secret is to get rid of the stupid packaging and just take what portions you need in a condition that is ready for cooking. I carry a #6 dutch oven and I package match-lite charcoal in plastic bags (30 pieces each); these go in the hatches and fill small spaces left after all the big stuff is packed. On my last three-day trip we had an egg/ sausage/cheese casserole in a dutch oven for breakfst each morning with tangerines. For lunch we had various sandwiches (use tortillas as a wrap instead of dealing with loaf bread) and apples. For supper we had polish sausage/potatoes/onions or chicken breast with wild rice and mushrooms in cream of mushroom soup or steaks and sweet potatoes. Each night we had a cobbler or cake. BTW, I paddle a WS T-140 and had plenty of room. Plan, pack smart, eat good. Life is too short to eat astronaut food.
another vote for Cache Lake
Good stuff, small packages, completely enjoyable. Tried a bunch of samples at Canoecopia, and they all tasted yummy.
There’s a backpacking gear review site that gave them good reviews too.