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Thread: Backpacking Meal Ideas

  1. #16
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    If you're not into dehydrating your own (I don't have time for it) you can give companies like Harmony House and Packit Gourmet a look to assemble your own things. I've been on a shepherds pie kick with potatoes and different meats and veggies. Something to add into the Knorr's rotation. For wraps I like to make burgers. Dried ground beef, bacon, cheese, and onion and all those extra condiments from Wendy's. Breakfasts lately have been these prepacked Liege waffles with a little syrup, cream of wheat (more use for the syrup), or rarely I'll dehydrate some corned beef hash because it's hard to mess up what's already mush.
    I'll check out those companies. I never thought to bring maple syrup. Love it in oatmeal and the thought of pancakes or waffles for breakfast sounds pretty damn tempting. Thanks for the ideas.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  2. #17
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Are they big? I can do some serious eating. I mean serious. Do you know if they just make dehydrated sauces and stuff that could be added to your own pasta/rice/noodles? I'll check out their website.
    I got the cans from amazon I think. Most flavors comes in a variety of sizes. Check the unit price, as sometimes they are wonky/not what you'd expect:
    https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Hous.../dp/B00HVAWB54
    https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Hous...596881011&th=1
    https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Hous...web_2596881011


    If you buy a can, then you can get bags. I used some from Packit Gourmet (They also sell food): https://www.packitgourmet.com/Cook-in-Bag.html

    Hope that helps!
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  3. #18
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    One of my favorite breakfast meals is dehydrated hash browns with gravy. I get frozen hash browns in packages of 20 from Aldis or Walmart. Kind of like the HB you get from McDonalds, but less greasy. Break them up frozen, dehydrate then break into dry crumbs and package. A small amount rehydrates quickly in hot water. I mix up and cook a package of McCormacks country gravy (plain or sausage flavor). Rehydrated home dehydrated ground beef (or store bought dry chipped beef) adds some more protein and flavor. The dehydrated hash browns also make a nice base to absorb eggs and chopped veggies for a home baked casserole that dehydrates well and tastes great when rehydrated at camp.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  4. #19
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessmuk View Post
    One of my favorite breakfast meals is dehydrated hash browns with gravy. I get frozen hash browns in packages of 20 from Aldis or Walmart. Kind of like the HB you get from McDonalds, but less greasy. Break them up frozen, dehydrate then break into dry crumbs and package. A small amount rehydrates quickly in hot water. I mix up and cook a package of McCormacks country gravy (plain or sausage flavor). Rehydrated home dehydrated ground beef (or store bought dry chipped beef) adds some more protein and flavor. The dehydrated hash browns also make a nice base to absorb eggs and chopped veggies for a home baked casserole that dehydrates well and tastes great when rehydrated at camp.
    I like it. Gonna give that a try. Do you literally dehydrate them while frozen too or wait until they thaw? I know, probably a stupid question but my dehydrator goes up to 160 deg F I think so I'd imagine they would thaw as they are dehydrating too but didn't know if this would impact quality of the process.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  5. #20
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    No need to pre-thaw. But I do tend to freeze my fingers by breaking them into smaller pieces before placing on the dehydrator tray.

    A caution, be careful when setting a high temperature on a dehydrator. A thermostat is handy to have but you do not want to cook some food more than it is already cooked, and some things (like fruits) you do not want to cook at all. For most foods I usually do not set it above 125F.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  6. #21
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    This has always been a great resource for us going back 25-30 years. "Cooking the One Burner Way"
    by Melissa Gray, Buck Tilton
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  7. #22
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    This has always been a great resource for us going back 25-30 years. "Cooking the One Burner Way"
    by Melissa Gray, Buck Tilton
    I'll check that out too. I guess what I'm hoping to do is carry universal "base" ingredients like rice/pasta/beans and have various sauces and add ons for them to provide some versatility as opposed to being locked into a dehydrated meal flavor I may not be in the mood for. It would also allow for modifying portion size depending on hunger levels as opposed to being locked into the set size of a pouch. Figured that would be more practical from a weight point of view as well on longer hikes.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  8. #23
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    My family and I love pasta with meat sauce when we're backpacking. Dehydrate your favorite sauce - get the good stuff. It dehydrates into something similar to fruit leather. You need sauce trays - these. Lay out your favorite sauce so it's about 1/4" thick, dehydrate until it's sauce-leather; we usually do it overnight. Break it up into strips so it's easier to pack and rehydrate. If you dehydrate 12 oz sauce, assume you'll need 10 oz water to rehydrate it. An hour before you want to have dinner, add water to a freezer bag containing your sauce leather. Massage periodically. Cook your pasta, drain water, add rehydrated sauce (ok if it still has some chunks) and sausage crumbles like these, enjoy. A large, tasty and nutritious meal that weighs very little.
    Sure. Why not.

  9. #24
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    I found a great calorie and flavor enhancement recipe to tomato sauce. Puree a large jar or two of sauce with a can of kidney beans and onions and peppers. You can either dehydrate it separately, or go ahead and pour it over cooked pasta snd dehydrate the whole business together. Tasty and filling.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  10. #25
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    Check out the book Freezer Bag Cooking: Trail Food Made Simple by Sarah Kirkconnell. I think she has several books in the series. For long distance hiking, I make a good majority of my dinners, and then buy a few of the large cans of Mountain House like mentioned above, split them up (into larger thru-hiker portions) and add them to the mix for variety.

    Ramen noodles, instant potatoes, stuffing mix all can be used to make various meals. I have had some success with instant rice, but I'm usually too hungry and not patient enough to let it rehydrate enough. None of these take boiling of the products, just boiling water and you don't have to use the ramen flavor packets that come with the ramen. I usually toss the packets away, and just use the noodles for things like chicken noodle casserole, chicken noodle alfredo, etc. The freezer bag cooking book has good recipes and ideas.

    Here is one of my favorites and it is a hearty portion, I usually saved it for a big mileage day and was happy to have the larger meals months into an adventure when I was really hungry.

    Thanksgiving Dinner

    Place in a 1 quart freezer bag:

    1 1/2 cups stuffing mix (like Stove Top)
    1 packet of gravy mix (turkey, chicken, low sodium, whatever)
    1/4 c. dried cranberries
    1/2c. freeze dried chicken*

    Add 1 to 1 1/2 c. (maybe more, depends) of boiling water, let sit for 10 minutes, enjoy. Be careful with how much water you add - start with the lower amount and add enough so that everything is hydrated, but not so much that you don't get soup. Either way, it still is tasty and calories.

    *If you do not have or want to buy a large can of freeze dried chicken (Mountain House on Amazon), you can use a pouch of chicken. Do not put in freezer bag, carry it separately; add the chicken to the freezer bag ingredients after the boiling water, then wait and enjoy.
    NH48x11; WNH48; NE67; LT NB 2013; AT NOBO 2015, MSGT 2016, PCT 2017/2018
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  11. #26
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    My family and I love pasta with meat sauce when we're backpacking. Dehydrate your favorite sauce - get the good stuff. It dehydrates into something similar to fruit leather. You need sauce trays - these. Lay out your favorite sauce so it's about 1/4" thick, dehydrate until it's sauce-leather; we usually do it overnight. Break it up into strips so it's easier to pack and rehydrate. If you dehydrate 12 oz sauce, assume you'll need 10 oz water to rehydrate it. An hour before you want to have dinner, add water to a freezer bag containing your sauce leather. Massage periodically. Cook your pasta, drain water, add rehydrated sauce (ok if it still has some chunks) and sausage crumbles like these, enjoy. A large, tasty and nutritious meal that weighs very little.
    Excellent! How long do these "sauce leathers" last before they spoil? Is this strictly an overnight idea?
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  12. #27
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Lot of great ideas here. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  13. #28
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Burritos.

    Fresh tortillas, dehydrated salsa, dehydrated refried beans (very easy to dehydrate from cans and will rehydrate perfectly to original condition), dehydrated cooked ground beef (cooked with taco seasoning), A freshly chopped onion and grated cheese (both easy to carry fresh). Rehydrate the dehydrated items separately in freezer bags and combine all in the tortilla.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  14. #29
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Does anyone use any kind of "meal powder" like Huel or any of these other new fangled powders on the market? Figured for the weight they could be a good way to get some dense nutrition in here and there to supplement calories and particularly vitamins and minerals that might be lacking in other foods. Lot of them are pricey though.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  15. #30
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Excellent! How long do these "sauce leathers" last before they spoil? Is this strictly an overnight idea?
    The sauce leathers are quite stable. We've made them weeks in advance. In those cases, I store them in the freezer, just because, but we've also kept them in the car at ambient temp for several weeks when we've gone on extended road trips. I like to dehydrate the sauce some days or weeks in advance, well before I'm in last-minute packing/panicking mode. Last summer I made a few of these meals prior to a Wyoming trip. They were at ambient temp from the time we left MA, through the week we were in Yellowstone, and for the first half of the week we were in Grand Teton until we pulled one out in Alaska Basin. My goodness did it taste good. The sausage crumbles brought it to a new level. My kids still talk about that meal.

    Rehydrating a dehydrated meal has a small learning curve - be aware. But the sauce-leathers are pretty easy. Just keep track of how much sauce you started with, because you'll be amazed at how little sauce-leather results after dehydrating. Use your original quantity to estimate how much water to add.
    Sure. Why not.

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