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Food backpacking

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Food backpacking

Postby zoeyemars » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:36 am

Hi all,
What do you guys do for food and snacks while backpacking?
A small butane stove like the jetboil line of products and some non-perishable prepared things to cook?
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:25 am

Things that fit in bear canisters easily. https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/ar ... r-canister

Also, the only way I use a Jetboil is if someone else carries it. My stove weighs a couple ounces and has no complex junk to bend or break. Also did not cost more than $40. You don't need fancy to boil water.
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby balzaccom » Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:27 am

Instant oatmeal for breakfast, crackers and salami and cheese for lunch. Freeze dried dinners. Energy bars, GORP, and snacks to taste.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby Phil » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:19 am

Depends on what you like to eat. For most people, pre-prepared freeze dried meals that just require adding water and heating are easiest. Unless space in your bear can is an issue, starting out, just keep them in their original package. You can find them online at good outdoor stores, at an REI, sometimes Walmart even, but on a limited basis. It's always best if you can try them out first to see if you like them, but if shopping blind, at least read the reviews. It can be really hit and miss. For soups, a tour of the grocery store can usually yield some good discoveries. And if something isn't quite right to your tastes, salt, pepper, a few spices like paprika, chili powder, oregano, etc, or even small bottles of hot or fish sauce can do wonders. GSI makes a small salt and pepper shaker that fits into a bear can nicely (we always have one of these with us), but they also make what amounts to a small spice rack in the same style.

For snacks, lunches, additions to main courses, always some dried fruit (oatmeal supplement extraordinaire). Some of it weighs a ton and is bulky, so take that into consideration. Our exception to that rule is dates, always dates in one form or another. Carbs and protein. Some energy bars, trail mix that we put together ourselves that has things we like, maybe some jerky, sausage, tuna packets, hard cheeses. Avoid things that'll be crushed into powder or unrecognizable mush when compressed like flakey crackers and breads, or that'll take up a lot of room. If you need starches, do it in the form of pita bread or tortillas. Some people have a sweet tooth, so if it won't melt or you don't care if it does and can keep it sealed, take what satisfies the craving.

Always instant coffee packets! Sometimes teas. Also, we like to have something to drink besides water at the end of the day and sometimes at lunch, so the little packets of flavored drink mix really work for us. Our preference is diet Snapple, but you can find just about everything you like at home in powdered form.

For the stove and cooking kit, it varies based on how many I need to cook for, altitude, temperature. Never a Jetboil, not enough volume for my needs. I prefer to put together my own set, but the one thing I always shoot for is nesting: stove goes into cup, cup goes into pot. Most manufacturers make some form of this type of system (Jetboil being one of them), but look at MSR, Snow Peak, Optimus, Primus, Soto. In my world, and one of the main reasons I never use a Jetboil, I find that boiling more water for my overall needs during the course of a meal, all at once, is easier and uses less fuel overall than multiple boilings. For this reason, the two pots that go out the most are my Snow Peak Trek 900 and the Trek 1400. But for someone new to backcountry cooking, let the company that makes the product design the system for you. If you stay with it, you'll quickly figure out what works and what doesn't in everything from what you eat to how you prepare it. Just remember that it doesn't have to be hard work and disgusting, just because it's done on a rock and served out of a bag, and not in your kitchen.
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby dan » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:36 am

I use a JetBoil. Works great even in windy areas. A lighter/cheaper option is a pocket rocket or other small butane stove. It needs shielding from the wind and be careful not to dump your meal.

I usually just take freeze-dried, but stay away from the Chicken and rice--it's too bland. Instant rice and canned meat is a cheaper option. Pasta often takes too long.
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby Phil » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:09 am

dan wrote:I use a JetBoil. Works great even in windy areas. A lighter/cheaper option is a pocket rocket or other small butane stove. It needs shielding from the wind and be careful not to dump your meal.

I usually just take freeze-dried, but stay away from the Chicken and rice--it's too bland. Instant rice and canned meat is a cheaper option. Pasta often takes too long.


A lot of people do swear by their Jetboils, but Dan makes a good point that applies to just about every piggybacked stove and fuel cartridge setup; they do tend to be top-heavy and either need to be locked in with rocks or supported by a wider base with a canister footrest to avoid dumping them over.

The chicken and rice is bland, but if I'm not hungry at all and I need to take in calories, bland is what I'm looking for. Also not too bad cold if I'm out of fuel or just plain lazy. One of the few Mountain House meals that doesn't already have so much sodium that adding more salt would result in overdose.
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:56 am

I never "dump my meal" because it doesn't go in the cookpot. The weight savings I gain from not using a jetboil is still there in spite of having added a windscreen that encloses the top burner (not the fuel canister) and a small set of legs to attach to the fuel canister. My Snowpeak and I have saved many a jetboil user from cold coffee, when the zillion dollar system fails to work for love or money.

Frankly, you can easily use an alcohol stove made from a cat food can, and be lighter and cheaper than any of them. Never dumped that over either. Tho not all jurisdictions allow them during the height of fire bans, Yosemite does.
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby Justin-T » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:08 am

MSR whisperlite stove to boil water, food the same as balzaccom, except that I swear by the home-made meal recipes you can find here:

https://www.theyummylife.com/Backpacking_Food

In fact, I'm making a set of 7 of these tonight for a week-long trip starting tomorrow...! The only additional equipment I'd recommend is an insulated bowl, in which your pre-made meals sit in the boiling water for 5 or 10 mins (e.g.: GSI ultralight, costs $8). This is also described in the website. Easy to make the meals and you can customize to your taste/size. Pack smaller than the commercial meals too.
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby dgilman » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:08 am

If you like the taste of food, stay away from what you can get at REI and go here -

https://www.packitgourmet.com/home.php

Really nice packaging, includes little condiments, and it's all just add water (except the eggs, which require a fry pan and are well worth it).

I'm enough of a cook that I lugged-in the requisite gear to steam cook little chocolate cakes at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Pack It Gourmet are your friends.

As for gear, I'm a fan of the Whisperlite and titanium cookware.

David

PS - and as others have mentioned, a bear canister. You can rent one here - https://www.wild-ideas.net/
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Re: Food backpacking

Postby Grzldvt » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:56 pm

Gotta dive in here....
Breakfast is what everyone else has said, although I will take cereal that I like, put it in a Zip-Loc with dried milk, toss in some water, mix it up and have a breakfast with a very tiny footprint when finished. Instant Oatmeal and Cream of Wheat are part of the deal

Lunch - I do peanut Butter and Honey with Tortilla's, incuded are Tuna/cracker lunches, along with crackers, and GORP

Dinner - where I excel - On a 5 day trip, we do Burritos - dried hamburger, revitalized by boiling, (1lb dries to 1oz), dried salsa reconstituted, cheese(generally a first or second night meal)
Pizza - Boboli small pizza's fit in a canister perfect, along with their tomato sauce, and pepperoni, along with Parmesan Cheese
Chili - dried hamburger, and the usual spices, basil, onion, chili powder, oregano, in a tiny zip-loc. Plus the same deal reconstituted tomato sauce, bring it to a boil add in some Minute rice and it is awesome.
Stroganoff - dried hamburger, and an off the shelf Lipton stroganoff mix. simple, quick tastes great.
Beans and Rice - Off the grocery shelf package, sometimes I will BBQ chicken and then dry it. The chicken is much tougher to reconstitute, so we add some water in the bag and let it come up while we are hiking.

The meals are only slightly heavier than the packaged meals, but at the end of the day are worth it. I have tried all sorts of "pre-packaged" meals and they simply don't compare to the dinners, we make.
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