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ERdept 11-15-2012 5:45 PM

Camp food sucks, suggestion for ultralight food?
I brought mountain house pro, the ones that are dehydrated and compressed, and they were terrible.

But Idaho dehydrated taters were good.

Any other suggestion for a hot meal that tastes good?

Im doing just boiling water hydration for food and dry snacks.

TML 11-15-2012 5:51 PM

Curious why you wouldn't just bring burgers and dogs like most everyone else?

d33pt 11-15-2012 5:56 PM

he's probably backpacking, not car camping.

TML 11-15-2012 5:58 PM


Originally Posted by d33pt (Post 9731132)
he's probably backpacking, not car camping.

Touché. I would stay away from anything "meaty" if you're talking about long lasting food for camping.

jyo 11-15-2012 6:04 PM

Shoot something and eat it...

ERdept 11-15-2012 7:30 PM


Originally Posted by TML (Post 9731107)
Curious why you wouldn't just bring burgers and dogs like most everyone else?

Well, they taste terrible when you eat them 12 hours into your camp. Aren't they cold for you?

I usually like piping hot food when it's 50 degrees outside, as it was last night in the national forest. But I prefer off season camping as the cold discourages crowds.

ERdept 11-15-2012 7:32 PM


Originally Posted by d33pt (Post 9731132)
he's probably backpacking, not car camping.

Exactly, back packed in, back pack out. Can only carry water and light food, as well as light gear.

I thought I mentioned "ultralight" in the title.

Usually when I car camp, I have twin burner butane and other comforts. Im just using a Whitebox stove (alcohol).

scootergmc 11-15-2012 8:06 PM

Ultralight and good food don't usually go hand in hand. For hot breakfasts try instant oatmeal packets, dinners try the Knorr sides???

NotEnufGarage 11-15-2012 8:14 PM

Take along a can of Dinty Moore Stew or Campbell Chunky Soup. If you're going to carry water anyway, one can isn't going to be that much more weight. Cook it and add it to rice to add some more calories and carbs to it.

The stew is available available in a vacuum sealed plastic tray under the Hormel Compleats product line, if you don't want to pack the can in and out. There are some other really tasty meals in the Compleats line. If you've been hiking all day, you'll probably want more than one as a meal. They're not that big.

NotEnufGarage 11-15-2012 8:16 PM


Originally Posted by scootergmc (Post 9732127)
Ultralight and good food don't usually go hand in hand. For hot breakfasts try instant oatmeal packets, dinners try the Knorr sides???

You can get chicken and tuna in vacuum sealed foil packs. Either would be good added to some kind of noodle dish, like the Knorr sides.

82fb 11-15-2012 8:39 PM

bean burritos. lightweight and you can just heat them in your pan until they are golden crispy on the outside and hot inside. good backpacking food.

Oshiat 11-15-2012 8:50 PM

Most prepackaged food is very bland. With just a little seasoning, Mountain House meals can be pretty tasty.

buffalkill 11-15-2012 9:26 PM

I've had good luck with "pack-it gourmet" backpacker meals. they cook in the bag are made with quality ingredients.

Whiterabbit 11-15-2012 9:37 PM

I go no-cook these days. WAY better. I cut 10 pounds off my pack. dry milk and whey protein powders for shakes and as much junk food as I care to carry. cheese is the best, and salami, nuts, dried fruits, 100% cocao chocolate, crushed crackers, etc. 2 lb per day of food cause I don't carry food on my waist. I don't have enough meat on me to go John Muir style (no food at all for a week at a time). 2 lb per day is plenty. I also carry food for the last day even though they say that's a no-no too. Just in case.

Try no-cook. You'll never go back to a camp stove and white gas again.

ERdept 11-15-2012 10:40 PM

OK, good suggestions guys.

No cook, I understand getting enough calories to stay warm and have energy, but a warm meal is so inviting.

Maybe I'll sub out some meals for some GNC protein powder and the other suggestions.

Cheese, sounds good, doesn't it start to go bad in temps at 70's? Like the National forest can be mild in the day and cold at night. Thanks Whiterabbit.

ExtremeX 11-16-2012 12:01 AM


Originally Posted by Oshiat (Post 9732541)
Most prepackaged food is very bland. With just a little seasoning, Mountain House meals can be pretty tasty.

+1 , I always carry tabasco, salt and crushed black pepper with my mountain house meals.

I like them a lot, very convenient too with something like a Jetboil. Which flavor did you try OP? I thought the beef stew was pretty good.

Excitable Boy 11-16-2012 12:40 AM

Um, how about a couple of MRE entrees with the water activated chemical heaters? If you're going to carry some water anyway to reconstitute the freeze dried stuff, why not carry something ready to eat and easily heated?

Rockit 11-16-2012 12:46 AM

Get away from the packaged stuff and make your own. There are some books on the subject, the titles escape me.

This should get you on the right path.

TKM 11-16-2012 1:44 AM

When I was a no-good rotten kid in New Mexico, a box of 22, a trotline and a canteen would suffice for a week or so. Sitting Bull Falls had enough fish and game to keep us happy.

Probably more but vacation only lasted so long.

stix213 11-16-2012 2:28 AM

I always go with pre-cooked bacon, which you can get from Safeway in sealed packages, and lasts at least 3 months with no fridge. Just drop in a pot or a pan, add a small bit of water so they don't burn, and heat up.

Try dehydrating your own food, at least snacks. My brother's wife dehydrated maraschino cherries for him on our last trip together and they were like freaking candy. I'm sure you can come up with some meals this way.

Spam Singles taste fantastic heated up after you haven't had real food for 3 days. Flavored tuna packs are good too.

Safeway sells pre-cooked and sealed chicken packs in the same area as the tuna. You can come up with your own meal ideas with those. I did a snow backpacking trip, brought the chicken packs, some cheese, cooked it on some tortillas in a pan, and seasoned it all with a taco seasoning packet. Was absolutely fantastic after 5 days of freeze dried in below freezing temps!

The Mountain House Teriyaki Chicken and Backpacker's Pantry brand Pad Thai are both excellent freeze dried meals. The Chicken rib meat with mashed potatoes from Mountain House is another good one.

Hot and Sour Soup packets you just add to water are available at Safeway and are pretty good while weighing nothing.

I always freeze some good meat I've marinated for the first night's meal. In the winter, after the first day's hike it will be defrosting but still at least fridge cold by the time I make it.

NoHeavyHitter 11-16-2012 2:42 AM

It's hard to beat a "Cup-O-Noodles", so long as you don't try and bring too many and burn-out on them..

Tanner68 11-16-2012 6:10 AM

Most supermarkets have lots of dehy soups these days. You just gotta repackage them. They are often over-flavored, and you can bulk them up with dehy potatoes. I also carry Hormel bacon bits, Spam singles, and billtong and salami. Breakfast is usually grits and instant oatmeal, with the aforementioned meats.

taladeganite 11-16-2012 6:24 AM

Mountain House Beef stroganoff... delicious.

taladeganite 11-16-2012 6:24 AM

Mountain House Beef stroganoff... delicious.

scootergmc 11-16-2012 6:35 AM


Originally Posted by Whiterabbit (Post 9732936)
Try no-cook. You'll never go back to a camp stove and white gas again.

No cook is good for minimalist ultralight, but any one of the small penny stove/alcohol jobbers and a few ounces of dna is a lot less weight (and $) than traditional backpacker and white gas.

Of course, OP could always gather, build a small fire and heat from there.

As for the snack/junk food, Hostess twinkies and ding dongs are always good, but those will be in short supply following the liquidation. Get 'em now, they're known to last a while :p

6079Winston 11-16-2012 7:14 AM

If nobody has mentioned instant hot cocoa yet it has always been one of my staples, as well as bite size Snickers bars. For bread bagels and tortillas are pretty dense, pack well and go well with most toppings especially peanut butter. As for dehydrated meals I find most of the simpler fare more appealing, the fewer ingredients, less gourmet and simpler preparation the better. If you can't just throw all the ingredients in a pot and cook it like a soup, stew or casserole it might taste funny.

Whiterabbit 11-16-2012 7:21 AM

building fires isn't on my list either. I want no impact.

Cheese doesn't go bad. Not in 5 days, anyways. I take cheese if I'm going to 100 degree+ weather areas. NEVER underestimate the joy of eating a hunk of cheese or salami when the body is drained, 10 miles behind you and 5 in front for the day. Something filled with fat, salt, and calories. Like eating straight fuel. If you really think it's gonna go bad, then vacuum seal it. You have to pack out a wrapper anyways, vacuum bags weigh nothing.

Cheese is ALWAYS on my list for backpacking. Always dense semi-hard or semi-soft cheese. Anything from a gouda-stringcheese level up to a dubliner cheddar. No exotics on the trail, it would be wasted on my tastebuds. I save that for the dinner party when I get home. My go-to's are gouda, cheddar, and pre-packs like baby bells and the like.

I dont like the mess, but snickers makes awesome no-cook food also.

ExAcHog 11-16-2012 7:40 AM

My absolute favorite....Bear Creek Soup mix and a can of cooked chicken. Bear creek makes delicious dehydrated soups.

Damn True 11-16-2012 8:53 AM

There are some that are lousy, but I generally like Mountain House stuff. That said, my favorite freeze dried meals are the Jamacian Chicken & Rice and Indian recipes like vindaloo from Backpackers Pantry.

None of the Mountain House meals that have rice in them are particularly good. The Backpackers Pantry meals with rice are much better.

Squid 11-16-2012 9:35 AM

Ramen noodles. Spurge and get the $1 package instead of the 24 pack/$2.89.

Add in your favorite dried vegetables, meat and seafood. Dried shrimp and stretched squid are good. I knew some guys who would buy the cheap ramen and bring their own dried 'bulk' vegetables from some guys drier.

Try Picante Lime Shrimp with a couple tablespoons of jarred "Patek's Hot Lime Relish"(get the 'hot', not reg) sold in Indian food stores. Not dried but I don't think it will go bad in a small gladware mini-tub. SO good.

Beantown 11-16-2012 9:55 AM

invest in a food dehydrator. the best meal ive made so far for backpacking is dehydrated chili.

40 oz ground turkey
16 oz can tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can chili beans
1 can corn
1 pepper
1 onion
3 jalapenos
6 garlic cloves
chili spice
cayenne pepper
salt pepper

cook turkey then cook everything in a crock pot, then dehydrate.

this if for my 4 night backpacking trip coming up this week. i also add dehydrated pasta. on the trail put in freezer zip lock bag and add boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes insulated in something. or get a pot and simmer. its all crusty, doesn't go bad and its lightweight. there are so many things you can dehydrate for backpacking its great. i rarely ever but freeze dried foods unless i don't have time to prepare everything.

Foulball 11-16-2012 10:26 AM


Originally Posted by scootergmc (Post 9732127)
For hot breakfasts try instant oatmeal packets, dinners try the Knorr sides???


I've been taking the Knorr sides for years. Cheap, lightweight and quick.


rero360 11-16-2012 10:41 AM

I haven't tried them myself but have heard nothing but good reviews of them, price is comparable to Mountain House

Goop 11-16-2012 2:18 PM

I've tried a few of the mountain house ones and liked most of them. The only one i didn't care for was the chili mac one.

Brujo 11-16-2012 2:52 PM

buy a dehydrator and read a book
I would suggest "lip smacking back packing"

No prepackaged camp food compares to the stuff you make your self. The dehydrator is also good for saving the good stuff you grow or find as well.

I originally bought mine when I got into mushroom collecting. Now it is used all year particularly for drying food from the garden.


Crom 11-16-2012 3:08 PM


Originally Posted by Goop (Post 9736571)
I've tried a few of the mountain house ones and liked most of them. The only one i didn't care for was the chili mac one.

x2 I like the Mountain House. :) There are a few I don't like, but overall, their dinners are very good. Freeze dried food has come a long way in the last 20+ years.

Supertac916 11-16-2012 3:13 PM

I bring salami, different cheeses, pepperoni, packaged rice, packets of tuna, nuts, dry fruit, tortilla's (quesadilla's or fish tacos if I'm fishing), ramen, asian ramen(Spicy), crackers, smoked salmon, jerky, candy bars, granolla bars, and I will bring a few Mountain House's. I will also bring powdered gravy, garlic, salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc. for seasoning.

I also like bringing Crystal Light packets of Fruit Punch, Pink Lemonade, etc. Nothing like having ice cold lemonade in the morning, along with a cup of coffee. Also, if your forced to drink interesting water the Crystal Light makes it more bearable.

Sunday 11-16-2012 5:31 PM

After a long day backpacking freeze dried food is like a 4 star meal!.

Oshiat 11-16-2012 9:01 PM

I do Ramen noodels also. Simmer them instead of boiling, add 1 diced onion and 1 can of mushrooms. Damn tasty.

kemasa 11-17-2012 8:19 AM

One option is to go to the store and buy dried food and put things together, such as instant rice, soups, sun dried tomatoes, etc. to make a nice meal. This type of food is typically much cheaper than backpacking foods.

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