Food???

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by MNFury, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. MNFury

    MNFury Tracker

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    so for a week long trip what kind of food should i pack? I want my pack much lighter than my last trip which i very uh *cough* very thoroughly packed for *cough cough*. I was thinking Ramen dried fruits peanuts and such, but i thought that i would ask you guys for some advice.
     
  2. Atkins72

    Atkins72 Scout

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    I try to avoid ramen because of the high sodium content.
    The foil packs of spam are good, tuna, pita bread and condiment packets from a gas station don't weigh much.

    I like to take bis quick with me as well. You can do a lot with it and different ingredients to add like rasins, brown sugar, or nuts and other dried fruit.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    Freeze dried foods are good, lightweight, and expensive. They do offer a more normal menu though.

    I tend to like dried beef jerky, pinole ( ground parched corn) , some bannock mix, and some dried vegetables ( my dehydrator).
    Add a jar of peanut butter, some oil and spices, and a large bag of trail mix (raisins, nuts, M&M's for me) , and you can eat pretty well.
    Catch a few fish, shoot a rabbit or squirrel in season, you can have some fine meals. Jerky and dried vegetables can make a pretty good
    hot beef stew.

    Eating well on the trail is important, but it does not mean bringing the whole kitchen. :)
     
  4. jimmyt

    jimmyt Supporter Supporter

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    I have had good luck with Lipton sides, dried fruit, oatmeal and box pastas.
     
  5. statikpunk

    statikpunk Guide

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    Bullets! haha couldnt resist :)

    but seriously the instant mashed potatoes are always a staple of my camping trips.
     
  6. JPAZ357

    JPAZ357 Scout

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    Ramen is good if you like it. Mountain house meals cost a bit less per meal than eating out at a fast food joint, usually - and are pretty tasty and lightweight. You may even be able to make two meals per 1 packet.

    One thing I like to do is take ramen noodles and beef jerky. Do not use all of the seasoning that comes with the ramen, just a bit for flavor, and add the jerkey to it in small chunks. It'll rehydrate a bit and makes for a quick tasty noodle dish. You might try your own seasoning mix too from the spice cabinet instead of the supplied seasonings with the ramen. OR -- if you like a lot of salt, use the whole packet with your jerky.

    I've also added spam to ramen before. Frying it over the fire or in a pan before adding it to the noodles.

    Spam has just as much sodium in it, I think, unless you get the low sodium kind. :3:
     
  7. JOttum

    JOttum Scout

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    one thing I have had success with is premaking Zatarains box dinners into individual sized servings. Brown your meat and season it to taste,then dehydrate it. divy the box contents into containers and add the dried meat. dump into a cup of boiling water and enjoy.

    I would say take a long slow walk through your grocer and brainstorm. I would love to use bisquick and such but personally having never done so I would reccomend using it at home first before you get out in the bush and decide it's not for you. Good tips though all around here!
     
  8. Bearpaw

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    I would bring a few freeze-dried dinners for the last 2-3 nights and go with simpler dehydrated dinners the rest of the time, like instant potatoes, stuffing mixes, macaroni with cheese, or liptons. I offer add foil packed chicken or some bacon bits and Parmesan cheese.

    For lunches I will often bring pita bread (less of an issue with flattening) and stuff it with peanut butter, cheese, spam singles, foil pack tuna or chicken or pre-cooked bacon.

    Breakfasts could be grits or oatmeal in cooler weather or snickers or pop tarts or breakfast bars in warmer conditions.

    For snacks, I go with little packs of cheese and crackers, mixed nuts, M & Ms, and fig newtons in hotter weather. In cooler weather (where chocolate won't melt), I bring Reese's Cups or Snickers. In cold weather, I bring a Little Debbie fried pie for each evening. The big bump in saturated fat is quickly burned keeping me warm through the cold night.
     
  9. PineMartyn

    PineMartyn Scout

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    MNFury,
    The key to lightweight and good, satisfying meals for longer outings is to dehydrate your own meals. It's much easier than people imagine. The commercial freeze-dried meals are sometimes good (sometimes not), tend to be on the small size when it comes to serving sizes, are packed full of air, and they are expensive.

    If you're planning on making camping a regular thing, a food dehydrator is a wise investment. You just make your own foods (like what you'd eat at home) dehydrate it, and rehydrate it when you're at camp. It's easy, it's fast, it's clean, it won't spoil, and it's blessedly light and compact, so you can bring satisfying meals without having to buy a huge pack. My wife and I have made a couple of instructional videos for people who are just getting started out at camping and want to know how to eat better and pack lighter and smaller.
    [video=youtube_share;hu1-9DkmUKI]http://youtu.be/hu1-9DkmUKI[/video]

    [video=youtube_share;J3iYj025fcg]http://youtu.be/J3iYj025fcg[/video]

    Here are some examples of the sorts of foods we pack for our outings.
    For day trips: we usually just bring water, instant coffee, pepperette meat sticks, gorp, granola bars, some dehydrated fruits or fruit leather. It's all light, except for the meat sticks and doesn't need cooking. When wild edibles are available, we gather what we feel like eating if we've not eaten already.

    For backpacking and canoe camping trips we bring all of the above plus an assortment of homemade dehydrated meals such as:
    pasta and meat sauces,
    beef chile with lentils,
    beef stroganoff,
    couscous and veggies,
    shepherd's pie,
    jerky,
    chicken fajitas,
    etc.
    We also bring premixed ingredients to bake bannock, bread, cakes, and panzerotti.

    For fresh food we bring steak (for the first night or two) and eggs and partially cooked bacon to prepare the first morning or two.

    I can't eat fish because I'm allergic, but my wife eats what we catch and we fish only for food, not for sport, so one small fish per day is plenty.

    Hope this helps,
    - Martin
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  10. rdec

    rdec Guide

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    Look up Freezer Bag Cooking. Sarah has lots of recipes on the site and sells very nice cozies. The idea is to make up meals carried dry in strong freezer bags. Push the bag into a cozy, open the bag, pour in requisite amount of hot water, stir, let sit for a few minutes to rehydrate and eat. Clean up involves stuffing empty bag into garbage bag.

    The recipes involve instant noodles, rice, potatoes; dry vegetables and/or meats some type of sauce/gravy, and seasonings.

    My kit for this type of meal prep is:

    Ultralight Solo cook set: sil-nylon stuff sack (8" x 4" dia. - 10.6 oz.
    Ultra-light solo water heating for beverage and freezer bag meals
    Heiniken keg can with silicone lip protector, fiberglass wick wrapping, pot stand, lid,
    6” aluminum windscreen, FBC Minimalist cozy, BPL titanium long spoon, Sea to Summit X-Cup
    Sil-nylon inner bag: MBD Mini-Atomic stove fitted with knurled head filler screw, tea/coffee steeper,
    Nalgene 1 oz. dropper bottle, 1 oz. measure cup, GSI UL-salt&pepper shaker,
    strike-anywhere pocket matches, sponge-cloth, Mini-pot lifter.

    Added gear: fuel bottle of a size appropriate to the trip.
     
  11. Roamer

    Roamer Guide

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    +1 on the dehydrated potatoes, my personal favorite. I throw in some dehydrated vegetables and bacon bits or beef jerky sometimes. Find a local health food store with a bulk foods aisle, and buy these ingredients that way to save money (only buy what you need for each trip). PineMartyn's advice is sound. But if you can't dehydrate your own or don't want to, this is the way to go.

    Another good bet is dehydrated black beans, which are very nutritious and can also be mixed with other stuff to your liking.
     
  12. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

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    Lots of good suggestions above. One thing I tend to "underestimate" when expending large amounts of calories is the need for some high fat/protein content. For me, even though it's heavy, I have a small jar of peanut butter as well as things like cashews/almonds/M & M's with peanuts, Cliff bars Again this does not really help your "getting down the pack weight", but don't go so "slim" that you are constantly hungry because you are not getting enough fat/protein. Also, I know it is somewhat "controversial", but I find many freeze dried/box foods to be way to high in sodium content when consumed as "whole meals" while in the woods.
    Personally I find that dehydrating my own meals is the most satisfying.
    Chili, spaghetti, black beans are all favorites.
    If I want to avoid the hassle of making bannock, I take soft shelled tortillas.

    Also, if you are changing your diet by adding a high amount of things like beans and whole grains and dried fruit, be aware that your digestional system can start to "not cooperate". I may be weird, but a couple of weeks before going on a trip, I will take 3 days and eat the same menu as my trip menu (including cooking it all on my camp stove in the kitchen) to see how I feel, and how tasty it is and how my digestive system works. Believe me it is a great learning experience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  13. PineMartyn

    PineMartyn Scout

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    Freezer bag cooking is something I'm planning on trying this winter. I'm an igloo cold-camper and one of the more annoying chores of winter camping is doing dishes. I'll be testing this out at home first by making my own ziplock cozies from Reflectex (thermal ducting insulation) to see how well it works. It's one of those tried and tested methods, so I'm very confident it will work, but I never try a new recipe or cooking technique in the bush until I've tried it at home first. The big advantage of this will be that it will eliminate the hassle of melting snow and heating water up for dishes. In sub-freezing winter temperatures, cleaning pots and dishes leads to iced up dishes afterward.

    Good suggestion rdec.

    - Martin
     
  14. PineMartyn

    PineMartyn Scout

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    I too find the commercial freeze-dried meals too loaded with sodium. And +1 on the soft-shelled tortillas. They are not light but we make some killer fajitas with salami slices, dehydrated salsa & peppers, or alternately, with dehydrated chicken, hummus, and tabouli. The soft-shelled tortillas are also great with peanut butter and jam for breakfast or lunch, so you avoid the problem of packing bulky bread.

    Hope this helps,
    - Martin
     
  15. gunner65

    gunner65 Scout

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    I really like the Knorr packets. They are usually rice or noodle and I add spam or chicken when cooking. Most of them cook in 7 minutes or less.
     
  16. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

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    PineMartin, I whole-heartedly agree with you about the sodium thing. Many people have this "thought/philosophy" that you need to add salt when doing a lot of perspiring/exercising. I personally don't think this is true. Maybe some Gatorade type of drink in electrolyte replacement in extreme heat/extreme cold. Again just my opinion/experience. Mostly sodium is added for taste and food preservation and because it is a "CHEAP" way for the company to make their food taste better without using other spices/seasonings.
    I like using garlic pepper and red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning.
     
  17. Pablo

    Pablo Guide Vendor

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    A more important question is how MUCH food should you pack. A "ballpark" way to estimate needed food weight is to consider anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 lbs/person/day. The types of food that fit into this weight measure. would be things like rice, beans, jerky, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Fresh food is much heavier, while freeze-dried food is lighter.

    Within these weights should be a balanced mix of fats, carbs and proteins and a variety of foods for meals and snacks. The actual weight of food you need depends a great deal on the physical stresses you expect to encounter. for example, a moderately difficult backpacking trip might need around 1.5 lbs./day while an intense mountaineering trip with very heavy packs in extreme cold might need 2.5 lbs/day or more per person. For a week it's not a critical issue, but for longer trips too much or too little food can create unnecessary stress.

    For a week though, once you've figured out what you want, check your food weights and see where you fall. For most of my trips I've found 1.5 lbs/day to be about right. Any more usually means I'll be carrying the extra food back.

    The National Outdoor Leadership School has some useful books that'll help you figure all this out.
     
  18. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The nice thing about the food bag is its weight only goes one way…down. I like to eat really well the first night out and will bring fresh fruit, usually a steak, a potato, and a couple of eggs and bacon for breakfast.
    After that it is a mixture of dried fruits and nuts, and MREs. They are good for the boys and girls in the military; they are more than good enough for me. Admittedly I do purchase the individual menu items I like, and split up complete meals leaving some of the items and a lot of the packaging behind. I also fish and in season hunt and do depend on that for fresh protien.
    Wolf
     
  19. gamer

    gamer Tracker

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    I use "Food Saver" bags and sealer. For breakfasts I just mix eggs and assorted vegetables or meat in the bag at home and seal. Once in camp I drop the sealed bag into boiling water until egg is cooked. Open bag and eat right from bag. Instant omelette.
    Before I leave on a trip we will cook a roast or turkey dinner. I just seal individual portions(potatoes, veggies and meat) in a bag and heat in boiling water.
    Works great for pizza left overs. When heated in the bag in boiling water comes out hot like fresh and not dried out like when reheated in the microwave.

    If I am backpacking in I will bring one meal a day like this to keep weight down. Sure is nice to have one really nice meal a day. Makes it easier to eat dried food the rest of the time if you have one real meal to look forward to.
     
  20. VinoNoir

    VinoNoir Guide

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    I made my own "MRE's" a while back. This is just a small sample of what I make and bring. I've refined my methodology and menu a bit since then, but it gives you the basic idea.

    Here's the thread from it: http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php/47355-Quick-easy-and-cheap-sustinence

    I'm a cheap bastard, but I like to eat well. So I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to pay for the expensive, salt laden Mountain House etc brands, and instead I was going to make my own.
     
  21. steene

    steene Scout

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    Good Stuff!

    These are quick and tasty. +1
     
  22. Shnick

    Shnick Bushwhacker Bushclass II

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    This has become my "go to" meal due to its taste and easy prep.
    Lightweight and easy to add meat to.

    +3
     
  23. fire65

    fire65 Supporter Supporter

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    A week long trip doing what? Long hike, pickup camping, water source? I dehydrate most of my meals, but when I am close to the truck, which I do a lot of these days, I carry different stuff.
     
  24. Zzerru

    Zzerru Scout

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    +1 on Zatarains with a foil pack of chicken, it's pretty good in a pinch. It's not light, but whenever I go with one group of friends, we always bring a can of corned beef hash. It's more of a tradition than reasonable packing. That stuff is pure sodium/fat.
     
  25. cloudraker

    cloudraker Guide

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    Dehydrate if you want to save money. Eating freeze dried is the same cost of eating at a restaurant every day. You can do less than 5.00/day is you plan a menu.
    I start my dinners menu with a starch base of pasta, or minute rice, or instant potatoes. Then add dehydrated veggies, then a protein - freeze dried meats or cut up hard sausage, or foil/tin of chicken/fish. Add a dehydrated sauce or packaged gravy to round it out. Condiments on the side -usually tabasco.

    Dinner Favorites - shepherds pie, mac and cheese with curry and tuna, rice with knorr hunter sauce and chopped up chorizo/landjaeger sausage.

    Lunches - pita, salami and cheese or nut butter and jam

    Breakfast - instant oatmeal and coffee. Makes for a regular hiker:25:
     
  26. MNFury

    MNFury Tracker

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    Thank you very much Martyn. This helps immensely, you may have convinced me to drop 100 bucks on a food dehydrator.
     
  27. MNFury

    MNFury Tracker

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    sound advice i know what you mean by not cooperating. My buddy was not prepared for the shift in food on my last trip. We will simply put as, he dug a lot of holes and did a lot of "paper work"
     
  28. mjf

    mjf Scout

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    I dehydrate my own meals. The sodium in the freeze dried food was just way to excessive for me. Freezer Bag Cooking has tons of good recipes and I rehydrate my meals in one of Sara's cozies.
     
  29. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

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  30. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

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    Great videos. Solid advice backed by experience.
    Thanks. :dblthumb:
     
  31. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    You need a high sodium content when doing activities like backpacking because you lose it when you sweat.
     
  32. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

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    Sorry I disagree. I don't want to argue about it. I do agree that some electrolyte replacement is necessary, but ingesting foods with high sodium content is not the best solution. Just my opinion. Please don't "spin this thread downwards".
    Mods feel free to delete this post if it causes "problems".
     
  33. Drewboy64

    Drewboy64 Scout

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    Not sure how light this would be, but I like bringing dried rice, pasta, and oatmeal and things of that sort. Just have to boil it in water to cook it. I also bring some spices and dehydrated vegetables for flavor.

    I sometimes also mix some flour, salt, curry powder, and spices together and, once i'm backpacking, mix it with some water to make dough. You can cook a nice flatbread on a pan or over a fire.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  34. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Lots of good advice here... home dehydrating, Knorr, dried potatoes, Sarah's freezer bag site, etc.

    I'll add a plug for some really good dehydrated stuff from Hawkvittles.com. The owner is a retired professional chef. He made good stuff for himself, "home-dehydrated" it, and took it camping. He made the mistake of sharing, and word spread... Today, it's his business. GREAT food and service. If you want less spice in the chili, ask. He'll do it. If you want no mushrooms in the spaghetti, ask. He'll do it. The down side is cost. His meals cost a little more than the Mountain House stuff (say, $5.50-$6.50 per meal, say $10-$12 for a two-pack), but his food tastes better (dehydrated, NOT freeze dried) and when he says "feeds two" he means two hungry teenage boys, not a picky 5 year old. I usually buy the 'feeds two' and split them in half.
     
  35. TheBurns

    TheBurns Scout

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    Great stuff

    first, i love this thread. Lots of good ideas i'm eager to try!

    i have a suggestion, maybe buying a cheap ipad sleeve or a netbook sleeve, then putting aluminum foil/mylar inside for a cozy on the cheap. the dollar tree near me almost always has an ipad sleeve around
     
  36. Paveglass

    Paveglass Scout

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    How light is a question, and for how long is another. If I was going as light as possible, and would be on the trail a while, I would take one pot, solostove (wood), and Mountainhouse freeze dried food because they are easy, taste good, and complete. Using a wood stove to boil cooking water also allows boiling drinking water at no fuel expense, allowing you to leave a filter or purification materials at home, saving weight. If I could carry a bit more weight, it might be a small gas stove and fuel, next thing I would consider is a 1 1/2 liter pressure cooker which allows you to bring dried beans, brown rice, lentils, split peas, whole grain oats, etc. That makes food taste like homemade versus out of a bag, seasoned to another person's taste. Next summer I intend to try the pressure cooker on a wood fire. It works well on a small gas stove where micro adjustments in temperature are achievable but might take a bit more attention on a wood stove.

    The advantage of a pressure cooker at altitude can't be overstated. Saves time, saves fuel, water boils hotter, allows raw food use, great way to cook potentially tough game and make it quite palatable. I use a Hawkins 1.5 liter aluminum cooker. Love it. But...all of the above is qualified by the statement that I have only used it on a flame-adjustable stove and have not yet tried it on a wood fire. Stay tuned, sports fans.

    Added: For those who have never used a pressure cooker, pinto beans that have been soaked a bit will cook in 12 minutes instead of 45-60. Brown rice is done in 12 minutes, white rice in half that time. That makes them realistic in terms of camping food. You can cook lentils, lima beans, split peas and other bulk foods in comparably reduced times.

    Many Thanks to PineMartyn for their terrific dehydration tutorials! Great stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  37. gunner65

    gunner65 Scout

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    I just recently found a minor "issue" with the Knorr packets that I mentioned earlier. If you just slide them down into your pack and take a hike they can and will open or bust due to friction. I have gone to placing several of them in 1 galon freezerbags then putting a rubber band around them to help protect their shell. I had one hell of a mess to clean up inside my pack the other day. But for $1 a piece I was not surprised that the packaging was a little weak. Cannot beat the taste and ease for a buck and nutrtionally they are not great but they are way better for you than some other options.
     
  38. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

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    +1 on the HawkVittles. His stuff tastes great. IMHO still more expensive than doing it yourself, but good food. In addition to the meal cost, you have to pay some shipping, I forget how much.
     
  39. JOttum

    JOttum Scout

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    Ever tried piñole (aka parched corn)? Can be added to water as an energy type drink or cooked like oatmeal or grits. I have ust started to look in to this as a foodstuff and when I get futher along look for a review.
     
  40. Chiral

    Chiral Tracker

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    Thanks for the videos. Once I get some funds in place ill be purchasing a dehydrator for sure.
     
  41. PineMartyn

    PineMartyn Scout

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    Used or secondhand dehydrators are widely available and affordable.

    I should mention, for you and anyone else who is concerned about the cost of a new dehydrator, that it is quite easy to find them secondhand online on sites such as E-Bay, Kijiji, and Craig's List. People buy them to make jerky and fruit leathers for kids, and once the novelty wears off, they seek to sell them. They are a lot like breadmakers that way. There has also recently been a raw foods craze which inspired a lot of people to buy dehydrators and when people discover that a raw food diet isn't to their liking, many of them seek to sell their dehydrators. Unless one is a camper or a prepper, most people find they get little use out of it. Consequently, you can get them for a fraction of the cost, and instruction manuals can now be found and downloaded from online sources because manufacturers of appliances make the manuals for their products (including discontinued ones) available online as PDF files.

    And a dehydrator needn't clutter up your kitchen. Ours is stored in the back of a closet all year, but gets used intensely for 4-5 days each spring, which produces all the dehydrated meals we'll need for the forthcoming year's camping trips and day trips. That saves us hundreds of dollars in commercial freeze-dried meals every year. Because the technology is simple (it's just a small heating element, a fan, and a temperature dial), they don't wear out or fail for years and years, so there's no need to worry about obtaining one secondhand.

    Hope this helps,
    - Martin
     
  42. moab

    moab Tracker

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    Might I add the most important food item in my pack?

    Metamucil. Metamucil. Metamucil.

    No matter what I eat hiking (which usually consists of alot more starch and meat than I normally intake). It seems to stop me up. And can make for a very uncomfortable trip. Metamucil lets you eat pretty much whatever you have on hand without getting bloated like a dead cow in the sun. :26:
     
  43. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    This!

    I make this and dehydrate it and I've eaten it for days on end and it is great.

    Mtn House type foods are so full of salt it's ridiculous and ramen is just empty carbs and if you use the flavor packet it has wayyyy to much salt in it.

    I got this from the Kifaru forums.


    Ingredients:


    2 lb. venison or beef cut into 1/2" chunks
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 cup chopped celery
    1 cup chopped green peppers
    1 cup chopped green onions
    1 cup broccoli florets
    1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 cup chopped spinach
    1 can sliced carrots, drained
    1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can Rotel
    8 oz. dry cous-cous
    10 shakes of Datil sauce


    I used a huge skillet.


    Brown the meat in olive oil and set aside and keep warm.


    Start stir-frying the vegetables in the order they appear above. It will look like alot when you first get in in the wok, but it cooks down. Keep adding ingredients (you may have to add a touch more olive oil in the process) until you have a batch of the casserole that has the consistency of thick oatmeal. Add the browned venison back into the wok. The cous-cous will help thicken it up. You can tweak the amounts of each ingredient as you wish. I didn't make my first batch too spicy because the wife and girls were eating it, but in the future I would spice it up some.


    This one-pot meal is great! You can dehydrate it and it'll store for a LONG time. You can eat it fresh and hot out of the wok, or take it in your backpack, dry in a ziploc. Reconstitute it in the field or eat it dry. It's good both ways. I'm taking a healthy batch with me bowhunting this fall.


    Also, this meal has great nutritional value. Patrick swears, and I'm rightly convinced, that you could live on this stuff indefinitely in the field. Thanks, Patrick, for sharing this tasty meal!
     

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