Bringing real meat on the trail

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by 2Stroke, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. 2Stroke

    2Stroke Supporter Supporter

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    So I cannot seem to find a simple solution for bringing steaks out on the trail outside of bringing a cooler, but when you're hiking 50+ miles, the weight of a cooler and ice would just be way too much. Are there any ways I could safely bring meat out on the trails without risk of it spoiling? I would just prefer a good solid piece of meat for dinner when out on a long multi day hike.

    Thanks Everyone!
     
  2. kelpie13

    kelpie13 Scout

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    You could always use one of those blue ice packs they make and a small insulated lunch type bag but depending on the ambient air temp and where it sits in your pack may not work. One thing I can say is if you could jam said meat into a Yeti tumbler and throw in some ice it will keep the cold in for a good 12+ hours. I've left ice cubes in one and forgot about it in my truck and came back the next day and they were still pretty solid. Amazing insulation on those cans.
     
  3. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Freeze it before you go. It will take days to spoil unless it is very hot.
     
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  4. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    Your best bet is to season it, vacuum seal each portion, freeze solid. Keep it all together in the pack where it's somewhat insulated. Not right on top, or against your body.
    In order of spoilage after thaw...fish, chicken, pork, beef, cured and smoked sausages, ham, or bacon.
    If you eat in order of spoilage, keep it in the shade when not hiking, etc you can go for a few days with a little variety and not take a cooler.
     
  5. clanmaki

    clanmaki Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    This. I have done this numerous times.
     
  6. 2Stroke

    2Stroke Supporter Supporter

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    Thank you guys. I'm doing about 60 or so miles come the start of summer and I was worried about spoilage. I'm just curious how it will hold up about 3 days out in probably (just assuming here) 80° temps during the day. Maybe I'll run a test and see how long a chunk of meat will remain frozen wrapped in plastic and a bandana at room temp.
     
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  7. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    The thing that's good about vacuum sealing each piece, is it buys a little time after the thaw before spoilage.
    It will all be thawed by the second day. Especially beef though, will keep quite a while after that.
     
  8. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Scout

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  9. TheRambler

    TheRambler Scout

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    This is what i do. I have made it four days. Vaccu seal is a slightly salty marinade , freeze, wrap in foil, add ziploc of ice cubes, wrap in reflectix and tape.Then put it inside my sleeping bag and clothes in my pack. I keep like a 3x4 piece if rwflectix for making a makeshift cooler, works very well. Is still frozen solid on day 2, completely thawed by night of day 4
     
  10. Leshy_apprentice

    Leshy_apprentice Scout

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    I don't usually carry fresh meat out, but I freeze it as others have suggested when I do.

    I suppose everyone's digestive system is a little stronger or weaker than others. For myself, I will say that I don't consider meat "spoiled" as soon as it's been unthawed for a few hours without cooking. The spoiling process takes time depending on several factors like temperature, humidity, exposure or non-exposure to air/organisms/contaminants, etc. I think our modern food sourcing system biases us to call food "spoiled" if it is simply not "sterile" or "fridge fresh." When in fact it might still be perfectly safe and edible with proper preparation. I think our culture is very paranoid and wasteful when it comes to food. I also understand some people like to be extra cautious with food on the trail because 50 miles out is a bad time and place to get severe diarrhea or food poisoning. I get it.

    Don't take my method as official food safety advice, and I'm not saying eat rotten meat. Just my opinion, but I'd have no problem cooking and eating meat that I froze, backpacked out, and thawed for days (ultimate timeframe depending on factors discussed above). Make your own judgement call, and the freezer gel packs, vacuum seal, and diy mini-cooler ideas others have put forth on this thread are good ideas. I might try some variation of that myself next time.

    All of that said, I greatly prefer to make jerky or other preserved meats for the trail. More compact nutrition, light, more packable. That's why I don't often bring out fresh meat.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  11. dirt7

    dirt7 Supporter Supporter

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    I always go with the vacuum sealed steaks you can buy at the grocery store and freeze them. If you get another ice pack with one of those small insulated lunch bag type containers they should last a couple of days.
     
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  12. YetiJack

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    I haven't tried this for a backpack trip but we used to get dry ice to pack in our coolers when we would go on long camping trips. The dry ice outlasted regular ice and kept our meat frozen for a longer period. I wonder if dry ice could be used with a vacuum sealed steak to keep it frozen longer? Just a thought, not tested out.
     
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  13. UAHiker

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    I was just thinking of freezing it in individual vacuum sealed bags, make a reflextic package and put some dry ice in it. dry ice would just evaporate and keep longer
     
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  14. Zunga

    Zunga Supporter Supporter

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    If your in big predator territory. Do keep smell proofing in mind.
    Cheers Jim
     
  15. Spiffyguy

    Spiffyguy Guide Bushclass I

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    If you are in Bushcrafter territory, keep smell proofing in mind. They might try to steal your steak :)
     
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  16. Zunga

    Zunga Supporter Supporter

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    LOL to true! Biggest problem with wild animals (other that two legged) is raccoons and stellar jays. The jays especially grrr! Savage and illmannered little wanna be peacocks ROFL!!

    P.S. if your not a member of "The liars bench" check it out in groups. The home of quick wit, B.S. , tall tails, ribbing, leg pulling and other forms of shenanigan!

    Cheers Jim
     
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  17. Swampdog

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    Keep it simple... just bring beef jerky, beef sticks, and canned roast beef... no ice needed.
     
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  18. Jayson

    Jayson Scout

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    Dont bother with the blue freezer pack. If you feel you need ice just freeze a bottle of water. You can drink it after you empty it and not carry the weight the whole trip.
     
  19. KFF

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    There is a huge difference in where you purchase the meat, butchers, shop, dry aged etc.
    I slauhter my own meat and instead of hanging, I freeze straight away. The meat holds over a week in regular fridge before it reaches the state that it is when you buy it from a shop.

    If I would need it to hold I would vacuum it, fill a food thermos with them, with parchment paper between and freeze the whole thing without the lid on.
    Before going put the lid on, wrap in clothes and pack.
     
  20. Flash

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    As others have said, freeze the meat, I wrap it up in my under-quilt in my pack. Unless its very hot summer, I can get meat to the second night no problem. Also, if you camping near water, in the spring especially even when it's warm but the water is still very cold you can store it in water, lake, stream,. etc keeps it good. I dehydrate my one food and make alot of chili and hamburger and jerky that requires no refrigeration to balance out the rest of the trip in the later days.
     
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  21. Phisikos

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    I almost always bring steak for the first night, just packed up refrigerated until time to hit the trail. I'll keep it in a cooler for then drive but once we get there it just sits in the pack until dinner time. Never had any problems.

    Have also brought along cheese and bacon for breakfast which survived the night without trouble.

    If you are going to camp near water (particularly deep water) you can bring a sinkable container and secure food inside it, then sink and keep a rope attached. The temp in the deeper water will keep your food from spoiling
     
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  22. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Guide

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    Yeah, I don't know... If I was hiking miles (never mind 50 miles) I think I'd just stick with my rib-eye flavored SPAM.
     
  23. WhisperInThePine

    WhisperInThePine Wubba lubba dub dub

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    Cook it before you go. When I did hardcore civil war reenacting, pre-cooked beef was a staple. Salt it, little bit of pepper, cook it thoroughly and it will keep for three days. The nice part is that it weighs less cooked, you can wrap it in cloth, and take a bite if you need it without cooking. It's not a problem to put it back in a skillet and pot and reheat, in fact it takes less time to prepare and you're not handling raw meat.

    Otherwise, summer sausage, pepperoni, or other dried sausage is my staple meat. If you can find it, Landjaeger sausage is smaller and I think better tasting.
     
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  24. hidden_lion

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    Dry ice is the ticket for longer keep time. if your meat is already frozen the dry ice will keep it that way in cooler lunch bag for a several days. But, if a guy was going to eat it within 3 days, a regular freeze job would likely be sufficient unless the temps are going to be outrageous.
     
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  25. TRYKER

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    slice then jerk it, then soak it in water till it reconsitutes and cook.
     
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  26. Paul Caruso

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    I read about soaking raw beef in vinegar, wrapping it in cheese cloth and dipping it in wax, is supposed to keep it for a long time. I have never tried it, so I have no experience with it.
     
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  27. BlackBush

    BlackBush Tinder Gatherer

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    Was going to suggest the same. OP have you tried making your own jerky? recipes are super easy (use Worcester /soy as a base and add your flavor/spice .. marinade over night and cook on the lowest heat your oven will go, several hours later you'll have stacks of beef and at solid cost savings over commercial prices.. ya it's not a steak, but you gain some flexibility .. meat won't spoil, you can carry more, you can eat without prepping as a snack or part of a meal
     
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  28. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Heed the call. Supporter

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    Freeze it and take it. If it thaws too early cook it all and it will keep for a day or so longer in its cooked form.
     
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  29. Jim L.

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    Has anyone ever added jerky to ramen? Or peanuts? Both? Add the jerky to the mix when you add the flavor packet and the peanuts to the water when you put it on for boil.
     
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  30. MJGEGB

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    I've done frozen bratwurst and bacon along with eggs in a water bottle. Freezing the meat works well, but it can melt quickly if you have your bear bag hanging out in the sun. I tend to cook stuff like that on the first morning or second day at most. Another trick is to do a reflectex bag and then ice cubes in double ziplocks. That way once the ice melts you can just dump the water and ditch the weight. It's much lighter than a cooler and fits in a bear bag better. If your planning to eat it on the first night then it's really not a big deal at all.

    My last trip I just stuck with slim jims and jalapeno tuna packs. My wife found these things called epic bars that she suggested for future trips. They also have packs of chicken and then there is spam. All of which are good options for longer trips.
     

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