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#129074 - 04/02/08 04:15 PM Food for on the Trail
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
I was wondering what you guys carry for light weight hiking food? I'm looking to try some new things, but it's tough to find foods that have good nutritional value, can stand up to abuse of the outdoors, and don't weigh a ton. I was thinking it would be good to get some kind of big list made up, as I know I'm not the only one who might die if they eat another handful of GORP. tired

#129079 - 04/02/08 04:34 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Paul810]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
I just went hiking this weekend with four college buddies. Nothing like four guys walking into the woods, with two of them totally unprepared (no water, no food, no golves, not bupkiss, although each was dressed warm enough and had knives of some type). Then you bite off much more than you can chew, picking a path that requires you to climb and descend small mountains and cliffs, and walk over more fist-sized rocks than you could imagine, so your legs and ankles are just beat. One of the unprepared individuals found his way to a parking lot and called for a cab, and that is a story in itself. DW made a chocolate chip cookie recipe and baked it like a batch of brownies. I had no choice but to take them. They were not light, could not really stand much abuse, they were not very nutritious, but someone loves me. Enough of my digression.

Provided you have sufficient water, I like dried fruits; sugar; some nutrition, very little weight. For packing in some calories and not weighing much, I like dried fruits (raisins, berries and bananas work for me, but not banana chips). Make sure they don't wreck your digetive system or anything else. My system tolerates them well. I will take a couple bars too, and I'll admit they help, but they also seem to by the thing I dread eating.

Taking enough water is one of my bigger issues. After all, the more you take, the more you carry.

#129081 - 04/02/08 04:41 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Paul810]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Lots of threads in the past about trail food, not just survival rations either.

When I am backpack camping, I usually bring along a quickbread mix where I can just add water and make pancakes, biscuits, etc. Trail mix containing nuts, raisins, coconut, and chocolate are a real pick-me-up for on the trail. I also have a recipe for a bif bar that tastes great and is packed full of goodness.

Rice (either instant or parboiled) goes a long way toward filling the hollow after a good hike, mixed with some seasonings like boullion or onion soup. I don't worry about the higher salt consumption because I am usually working hard enough on the trail that I need it. Noodles will work good too, as does instant mashed potatoes. Chipped beef, jerky, or even a good salami or pepperoni roll can make a huge difference. Baby bel gouda snacks also seem to pack nicely, so long as it doesn't get too hot.

Occasionally I will grab a dehydrated or freeze dried food pack, though they aren't all that economical. They are pretty darned convenient.

Of course my constant fall back is to make pemmican balls and coon balls. They hold up quite well on the trail, pack a whole lot of calories and taste, and are convenient as well.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#129082 - 04/02/08 04:42 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Paul810]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
Breakfast: instant grits or oatmeal, pre-boiled eggs, granola bars, coffee or tea,

Lunch: Picnic style (beef jerky, crackers, cheese, MRE's, water, )

Supper: 1 C-Rat (canned-> beef stew, chicken & dumplings, chili, ravioli's, tamales, spaghettios, water or tea, )

If traveling light, I want a minimum mess to clean up after breakfast, no mess to clean up after lunch, and minimum mess to clean up after supper.

I do want breakfast and supper to be "hot".

I want to minimize the amount of trash I have to walk out with.
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#129083 - 04/02/08 04:47 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Paul810]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2023
Loc: NE Illinois
I'm not sure how well this link will work, but I like reading the Backpacker "Backcountry Cooking" Forum:


For the little bit of backpacking I've done we just go through the store and search out any & all dry - just add water - stuff. We eat pretty simply.


#129095 - 04/02/08 05:49 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Paul810]
Loganenator Offline
Bike guy

Registered: 05/04/07
Posts: 151
Loc: Sacramento, CA, USA
Moose Goo! smile

Just ask Hacksaw wink ...he converted me.

You may check out that web site for other philosophies on ultralight gear and food as well.

Good luck!

You must be the change you wish to see in the world - MK Gandhi

#129096 - 04/02/08 05:52 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Paul810]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Breakfasts: Packets of instant oatmeal, instant hot chocolate (often added to oatmeal), poptarts, "Mountain House Dehydrated Eggs & Bacon" (which is barely edible).

Lunch: jerky, pepperoni, tortias or pita bread, an avacado the first day or two, dried fruit after that.

Supper: Uncle Ben's heat-n-serve bagged rice dishes mixed with chicken breast chunks (pouch, not canned) or vienna sausages. The rice meals can be heated in their original packaging in boiling water.

Snacks: GORP, granola bars, fig newtons, "Payday" candybars

I've tried a bunch of Mountain House and Backpacker's Pantry dehydrated/freeze-dried foods and I think they all suck. The eggs/bacon one is barely edible with the addition of Tobasco sauce. I don't like doing dishes in the woods so I stick to things that can either be heated in hot water then ate from their packaging, cooked in a freezer bag, or don't require any dishes at all.

I reccomend wandering through the prepared foods aisle of your grocery store and seeing what they have in pouches/bags. Buy a bunch of different types then try them out at home. Figure out which are good/bad or edible with extra seasonings.

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#129098 - 04/02/08 06:01 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Blast]

Ultralight Joe's Moose goo is awesome. I've taken to eating it with watercrackers because they're tough as crackers go and have a 6 month shelf life. I've had a tube of the stuff sitting for 4 months (just to see) and it didn't go bad. There's something about the corn flour/corn starch and honey that just won't let anything grow. I must say that it did dry out and is now unsqueezable...it's almost like crumbly fudge now.

I love freeze dried for the convenience but hate all the salt. I'm just not active enough when I hike/camp/etc. The taste isn't bad depending on brand but I'm not picky when it comes to stuff I didn't prepare myself. Home made jerky is the best snack ever and less salty than the store bought stuff.

I've started experimenting with dehydrating all sorts of stuff. Last week I dehydrated back bacon, shrimp, and chicken lunch meat like jerky (It's the only meat I had on hand). The Back bacon was awesome and way less fatty than beef would have been...the shrimp and chicken would have needed to be rehydrated to be usable as they didn't make very good snacks (though I ate it all so it couldn't have been that bad).

Trail mix is another favorite of mine. Lately I've started to suppliment mine with milled flax seed and any breakfast cereal which has cylium (sp?) fiber. The All Bran Buds have worked the best so far. The Fiber on overnight trips really helps...if you know what I mean.

The best food by far quality wise is fresh food. Best hiking meal I ever had was venison. It was near freezing when we went so my friend tossed a couple of venison steaks in his pack. They (and the beer he brought) stayed fresh until we got there. We dipped it all in the lake in zip top bags until we were ready to eat (and to seperate us from the bear bait) and then cooked them straight over the fire...if I ever eat like that again I'll be a lucky man.

#129100 - 04/02/08 06:11 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: Blast]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Not counting all the food made for camping like Mountain House and other freeze dried food. The local grocery store has so much good easily prepared and even already cooked or no need to cook food, I canít see how a person can not find an almost unlimited choice of light weight food to take camping or backpacking.

Grocery store food is very low cost compared to freeze dried food. You can feed yourself for 3-days on what Mountain House meals would cost for 1-day.

Also donít forget can food, yea itís a little heaver but a few cans of pre-cooked food that has to only be heated is nice after a day of hiking. To me itís worth the weight to have a quick meal that I did not have to work to cook. You can even warm it up in the can to save cleaning up cookware after the meal.

You can run, but you'll only die tired.

#129101 - 04/02/08 06:19 PM Re: Food for on the Trail [Re: BobS]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Hacksaw, you said you dehydrated ďBack BaconĒ whatís back bacon?

And how did it work dehydrating it and how was the taste?

I love bacon, (it comes from this magical place, a gift from GOD) but itís a pain to make camping and the pre-cooked stuff I have tried was not real good. It was OK at best.

I use to buy Celebrity brand of caned bacon, but they quit making it several years ago.


You can run, but you'll only die tired.

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