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Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

Last post 07-01-2008 11:37 AM by MarthaMFI. 14 replies.
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  • 06-27-2008 10:43 AM

    Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    Figured a new thread might be a good idea.   

    One of the boys favorite backpack meals (boundry waters trips) is Bannock - got it from the Backpackers Cookbook.  We don't have our own vacum sealer, so most foods we do are just prepared ahead of time and put into various zip baggies.  With the kids all growing, we are still working out portion sizes - don't know that that ever is solved.  This past trip we packed in too much food, but will have a better idea for next time.  I tend to enjoy whatever is packed (almost - I can eat granola, but really don't like the stuff much).  I like fajitas on the trail, though they need to be eaten one of the first 3 days.  We keep them simple right now, but I am thinking about dehydrating the peppers and onions and trying them that way. 

     Will have to try the cabbage salad.  Thanks again.

  • 06-27-2008 11:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    would love camping recipes!  we might be doing it soon  and something besides hamburgers and hotdogs would be nice. no eggs or nuts though.

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • 06-27-2008 11:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    Thanks for starting this! I'll move my book selections here so folks can find them:

     "The Well-Fed Backpacker," by June Flemming (despite the description, I'd hardly term the recipes "haute cuisine," but they are tasty).

    "The Healthy Trail Food Book," by Dorcas Miller. This is out of print, but you can sometimes find it used.

    The first one is a must-have, and it details a food packaging system that is by far the most economic, feasible, easy-to-use, and efficient I've ever found. It also has drying instructions for just about *everything*, including ground meats (which I had no idea you could home dry until I read this book). It gives you a full guide for how to develop your own great recipes, too! If I am remembering right, it also has a calorie calculator in it so you can figure how much each person on the trail actually needs; but, since I can't find my copy right now, I can't be sure if that last part is accurate.

    We eat so much better using Ms. Flemming's system than pretty much anyone we ever hike with. They tend to all buy "Mountain House," and the like. Ours is healthy, much lower in chemicals and preservatives, and certainly cheaper. One of my favorites for lunch is a Hiker's Shake, which is pudding, dried milk, and malt rehydrated with water. I know it sounds nasty, but it's GREAT. And, calorie-heavy, which is important.

    Can't wait to hear other people's ideas! 

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • 06-27-2008 11:38 AM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    Martha, are you guys camping, or backpacking? If you've got cooler access and aren't doing a lot of weighted walking, the recipes will be different (if for no other reason than most backpacking recipes are designed to pack in as many calories per ounce as possible), and you'll have more leeway in terms of foods. If you're doing a long hiking trip with no egg (powdered) or nuts, you'll really need to watch your protein intake; so, TVP would be a great way to go for recipes. 

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • 06-27-2008 11:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    no we would be camping! no backpacking especially with two kids under 5.  short hikes maybe but we are not back to basics campers. I like my showers, toilets etc.

    the new west library website is screwy so checked the bby library and put on hold the well fed backpacker, wilderness pleasures- a practical guide to camping bliss, a fork in the trail-mouth watering meals and tempting treats from the back country.

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • 06-27-2008 12:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    We don't backpack but we do tent camp. We usually save our trips for cooler weather so we do most of our cooking over the fire. I have a Coleman stove that I use for breakfast (usually eggs & french toasts or pancakes). For lunch it's usually sandwiches. Dinner is usually over the fire. I am a huge fan of foil packs for camping. Pretty much anything you cook in a foil pack comes out great, IMHO. One meal is steak cubes with potatoes and veggies, add cajun seasoning and butter, put near the hot coals and rotate as needed. I also do chicken breasts w/ mushrooms, potatoes, rosemary and butter in a foil pack. Takes a while but you never had better food (not to mention easy cleanup)! I've done soup many times because it's easy and it can just simmer all day by the fire and makes for a nice warm meal on a cold night. We also do hot dogs (easy and cheap).

    Over all, I try to do meals with few ingredients, I prep anything I can before I leave (i.e. cut up veggies ahead of time). If we will be camping more than a couple of days (usually we take short trips) then this is what I do with the meat that I'll cook later in the trip: I marinade it the day before we leave, freeze it in a ziplock bag (marinade and all) then it stays good the whole trip in the ice chest.

    When you mentioned fajiatas that sounded great! I never thought of doing those for a meal. But it makes me think of another idea: I always hate having to bring a loaf of bread and making sure it doesn't get squished. Well, flour tortillas would be a great alternative. I could use them for sandwich wraps and we could use eggs and bacon and make breakfasts wraps too. I'll have to keep that in mind next time we go camping!

    Keep the ideas coming! We don't camp in the summer (Louisiana heat too bad) but I'll print out the suggestions for the fall/winter.

    God bless,

    Julie

  • 06-27-2008 4:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    Re: bread. We use almost solely tortillas & rice wrappers as bready alterantives, though we keep even those scarce on our trips: too much weigth and space (esp. in the tortillas, and the rice wraps have very few calories). If it' a short trip, we'll take bagels.  We do trail biscuits and pancakes, of course, at site.

    The nice thing about "car camping," i.e, camping where your car is close enough to your site that you don't have to carry everything with you for hours at a time, is that you can cook almost anything there that you can at home. As Juju_mommy says, you can do a lot of prep (cutting up onions & veggies ahead of time, chunking/shredding cheese, etc.) at home to cut down on what you have to bring with you.

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • 06-27-2008 4:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    We mostly do the tortilla thing as well, when we need regular bread.  Otherwise just a bisquick like mix that you add water too is good when making biscuits and gravy on the trail (make the powdered gravy mix at home - or you can buy a packet - then add water and some jerkey - works great).  I keep powdered cream of whatever soup on hand - can substitute this for the gravy mix as well.  Throw in dried mushrooms and it is cream of mushroom, dried celery -- you get the idea.  Lightweight and can just add water.

    After starting to make most of our own mixes several years ago, have continued for daily use.  They taste better and almost every recipe can be adjusted for backpacking!  (We make up the mixes about every 6 weeks for our household).

    One (expensive, but easy with kids) quick meal for tent camping in the rain (we have camped from the time kids were 6 mo old) is the box meals that completely heat themselves.  They are fairly expensive (about $5 per person) for a family, but a few can really be conversation starters and make tent life more bearable if it is when you just can't get out immediately.  They give the kids something to be impressed about and talk about for quite a while.  Kids  may prefer the peanut butter and crackers or cherios, but they sure like watching the meals cook with no fire.

     Falconinburgandy - we Gotta try the shakes sound like they would be good - whoops lightening - gotta run

  • 06-27-2008 4:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    Just remembered - if you are doing tent camping with a fire - invest in a couple of the pie irons.  Can make mini pizzas, desserts, reubens, etc with them - custom to each person. 

     We also love foil cooking - can do on some trails.  Latest recipe is chicken with cornbread (tent camping - not backpacking - still getting perfected for that).  A great change of pace from the standard, but delicious, hobo dinners.

  • 06-27-2008 6:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Camping, Backpacking without buying all pre-packaged foods

    I love those pie irons! Reminds me of when I was a kid--we'd fill them with almost everything :-) For true decadence, these days we stuff them with broken up hershey bar, marshmellow, and crushed graham crackers (inside brea). Oh, it's a bit of heaven!

    We usually try to take at least 2 meals than can be eaten uncooked if the trip is more than 4 days long. For shorter trips, where weight and space isn't such and issue, those self-heaters are wonderful if it rains, etc. It's been a few years since I've been either not car camping or going for less than 4 days, and in the interim I see that LOTS of those self-heating meals are popping up, including soups, and they're in smaller, less wasteful packaging. I can't wait to give them a go again and see how much they've improved. Are there any you recommend?

    For tent camping, do you guys own a dutch oven? We'd do "pudding cake" in it (cake that has a layer of pudding on the bottom). You can find a ton of recipes on the net for all kinds of these, and they're something the kids can do, too! 

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
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