View Full Version : Backpacking Food

08-01-2007, 11:13 PM
Just purchased a JetBoil and will be hitting the trail over the weekend with my 17 yr old son. Does anybody have any good meal-in-a-bag food recommendations from Mountain House, Backpackers Pantry or others?

How about other kinds of foods that are easy to prepare and worth carrying (Oatmeal is one obvious meal)?

08-01-2007, 11:57 PM
M.R.E.'s....there easy enought to find and they will certainly provide u with the energy needed to slay fish all day long.....ARMY NAVY SURPLUS stores carry them......there's one in Knox on Kingston pike and one right here in Alcoa on the motor mile just up the road from the flea mkt! Not all are tasty but there alot better than they used to be! I hear the sketti is pretty good!

08-02-2007, 12:18 AM
Ramon Noodles, Fig Newtons, crackers, cookies, Pop-Tarts, Chex Mix, Apple Cider mix for around the campfire...No need to buy the "gourmet" backpacker food, it usually doesn't taste that good anyways.

08-02-2007, 02:10 AM
I got to "enjoy" the first-generation MREs back in the 80s in the Air Force...they weren't great, but from what I heard, they were a great improvement over C rations. In the aftermath of Katrina, we all got boxes of MREs, the next generation. Overall, they are pretty good, with some better than others - the jambalaya was particularly good. The problem is, at least with the ones we got, you couldn't pick and choose - you got a big box with about 20 in them, a variety pack. Perhaps you can order the ones you like. They are more than filling, and very convenient.

08-02-2007, 08:10 AM
Get some Lipton Sides from Krogers and dump them into a zip-lock freezer bag. You can add your boiling water straight to this and its a whole lot cheaper than Mountain House. Bring along some of the salmon or tuna in a pouch and it makes a great meal. Don't use regular zip-locks, or you'll have a mess when you add the boiling water.

Byron Begley
08-02-2007, 11:18 AM
Here's something interesting. Companies who make and sell backpacking food had the best sales year ever by a huge amount in 1999. Why? Because a lot of people felt that at midnight on December 31st, computers all over the world would shut down and we would all be without essentials such as food and water.

I'm glad people buy backpacking food now because they are going camping.


08-02-2007, 11:55 AM
LOL...I actually did quite a bit of work on the Y2K issue; I frankly thought we would have more problems than we did, but I never subscribed to the "find a cave, stockpile ammo and freeze-dried food" crowd. It was the biggest non-event in history, but it gainfully employed a lot of old COBOL programmers for a while.

08-02-2007, 02:51 PM
I personally like to dehydrate my meals. It takes a little extra time, but the planning is part of the fun. It also allows me to customize the meals and is about as cheap as it comes. There are several good books that have recipes and instructions.

08-02-2007, 08:18 PM
Second the Ramen noodles.. Alot of pastas are good and dont weigh much.. Rice meals are pretty good also... Dont forget the trail mix and jerky...


08-02-2007, 10:34 PM
A pack of butter noodles (50 cents) and a pouch of bite-sized chicken pieces ($2) mixed in that jetboil is awesome with some pepper. Add A few Clif bars, an orange, a block of cheddar, some crackers, and some pepperoni slices easily gets me through any one night of back packing. If 2 nights, add a ziplock of frozen eggs to scramble (it's fine if they thaw out, just cook em good, and eat them the first morning), another orange or 2, more Clif bars, another pack of flavored noodles and a pouch of tuna or salmon. Maybe some oatmeal with raisins in there somewhere. If 3 nights or more, you are getting serious and it is hard to beat MRE's for nutrition and weight.

08-04-2007, 01:55 PM
I like the Mountain House meals. The spaghetti and chicken and rice are my favorites. The mexican chicken and rice and chicken stew are also good. I like taking dried fruit to eat for a snack while on the stream. Dried cranberries, pineapple, etc.

Brian Griffing
08-05-2007, 11:07 AM
I see a lot of people sounding off about MRE's and other expensive pre-pakaged meals. MRE's are great for guys without the time or ability to make a fire (like Marines in the field). If you are walking back into the mountains you can pack a few things that will taste better, provide you with more chow in less space, and cost a whole lot less. Get a small tub of butter flavored Crisco to gease you skillet or pan, a gallon zip lock bag of flour or corn meal to bread the fish, a gallon zip lock of de-hydrated mashed potatoes, a gallon zip lock of de-hydrated milk, a bag of big sticks of beef jerky, a bag of M&Ms, two boxes of granola or breakfast bars, two boxes of oatmeal broken down and placed in a zip lock bag, and a box of cocoa powder broken down. Stash a bottle of blackberry schnapps into a buddy's pack and you and two other guys can eat two meals a day for very little cash (as long as you're catching fish). Breakfast is oatmeal (throw some M&Ms in there). Midday snacks are bars, candy, and jerky. Dinner is fried fish with mashed taters (maybe with some jerky thrown in). Bring a skillet, a pot for the oatmeal and the potatoes, a spatula and a wooden spoon. All the chow and the required cooking gear can fit in the bottom of one man's pack. If you do this right, you should be hungry enough at every meal (from fishing or walking all day) that you don't care that you are eating the same thing every night.
Save the MRE's for the next time you are bouncing around in the back of an AAV and you need to just pull some chow out of your cargo pocket.

08-05-2007, 04:56 PM
Wow. If I ever go on a long backpacking trip, I'm taking Brian.

A general comment, Brian, is that us non-Marines don't have 1/100th the survival training you do, and it's a lot easier to shell out money for trips we may only take once a year. We'll be doing good to just get our tent up before dark without a strained ankle.

I was wondering, and this is getting a little off topic, what kind of knife do you bring on such a trip? For example, the fish. Do you just gut 'em and eat 'em, or would you fillet and skin them? Also, with the supplies you described, how long could you comfortably go (in other words, no eating bugs)?

And I like your signature. Must be why my life has been harder than it had to be.

08-05-2007, 07:12 PM
Awesome post,BrianGriffing.I always carry,oil,flour,skillet,salt,pepper.

Brian Griffing
08-05-2007, 07:51 PM
Thanks, Snaildarter. I always carry my K-Bar back in the mountains, but I rarely use it. I guess I carry it just b/c I've gotten used to it and I think it makes me look cool. I only ever use it cut a green branches to carry fish and I sometimes use the hilt to pound on tent stakes. I always have a Leatherman but I use that only slightly more often than the big knife. The knife I find myslf using all the time fishing is a small folding box cutter that fits comfortably in my front pocket. It takes replaceable and reversible razor blades and is great for cutting line, cleaning fish, or cutting rope. If I use one of the other two, it is usually a result of having done something stupid immediately prior.
As far as length of stay in the mountains: how much do you want to carry and how long are you willing to eat instant mashed potatoes? You'd be suprised at how many days of food you can carry if you don't change your clothes and just carry rice. If you want to put a little more time in on the front end, you can measure out how much instant potatoes and how much dehydrated milk you need for each meal and put that in its own zip lock. Every baggy is a meal and depending on how many you carry is how long you can stay. Every meal, bring a pot of stream water to a boil, dump in a baggy, and a spoonful of butter flavored Crisco and dinner is served. If you have fish, so much the better.
To cook the fish, clean them leaving the head and fins on. Melt some of the Crisco on your skillet over low coals and place the fish in an empty trash bag with a little bit of the flour. Shake. Place the fish on the skillet and wait till it curls or is brown and then flip it. It is done when the flesh flakes off the ribs in chunks. Eat the fins, eat the skin. When you're done only the back bone, ribs, and head remain. Fresh trout and mashed taters eaten out of a pot with a wooden spoon, all passed around the fire on a summer evening after a full day on the water: there's nothin' better. Only thing left is to look for your buddy's pack where you stashed the booze...

08-07-2007, 07:23 PM
aluminum foil, salt, pepper, and limon juice (if you wish) and bake a few trout. Alot lighter than flower, and skillet but I would eat the hound out of some fried fish if someone else carried that skillet. Spruce tree tea, ain't bad to drink if you been drinking water for days. Nip off the bright green tips and boil it in your water. I learned that at the Tremont Inst. as a kid. Also if you want a good read on survival look into Tom Browns' Survival books. Very interesting (and tough nut) guy to say the least. As for a tent, carry a tarp, some parachute cord and a bivy sac. Lighter than a tent, but if (and something I never understood) feel "safer" in a tent carry one.