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4/11/2019 10:38 am  #1


Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

What kind of meals do folks do for mid-length trips in the back country (i.e. 5 or 6 nights)?  We're trying to look at ways to cut down on the weight and bulk of stuff that we bring.  We've gotten away from the types of trips we used to do because the portaging has gotten too exhausting with the amount of gear we bring (this is my 73 year old dad and I) so over the last few years we've just done trips with either no portages or very minimal ones.  We want to get back to our old ways but that means cutting some weight (i.e. no more cooler and big comfy directors chairs .

Any ideas for meals that are filling but wouldn't weigh as much as a steak, potato, salad and garlic bread?  I do have a dehydrator that I've never really used so I'm open to suggestions for that as well.

Thanks!

 

4/11/2019 11:54 am  #2


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

My "go to" brand for dehydrated meals is AlpineAire. I've yet to find a single kind from them that wasn't at least decent, and most are quite tasty. MEC sells them. 

https://www.mec.ca/en/brand/alpineaire/products/camping-and-hiking/kitchen-and-hydration/food-and-drink/camping-meals/c/1180

 

4/11/2019 1:17 pm  #3


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

great topic,,
 knorr noodles & sauce,,, k.d. deluxe, 
  this year i am taking mini wheats or muffets,, for breakfast,, just add hot water and drain, add brown suga and cinnamon, dried fruit,, the pre- cooked bacon is a neat option,, just warm and serve, 
   i have a sweet tooth and i really enjoy the alpine aire strawberry granola with milk,, the best of all is the alpine aire cinnamon apple crisp,,  mug up with some hot chocolate  around the fire

Last edited by swedish pimple (4/11/2019 1:18 pm)

 

4/11/2019 1:42 pm  #4


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

Uppa wrote:

My "go to" brand for dehydrated meals is AlpineAire. I've yet to find a single kind from them that wasn't at least decent, and most are quite tasty. MEC sells them. 

https://www.mec.ca/en/brand/alpineaire/products/camping-and-hiking/kitchen-and-hydration/food-and-drink/camping-meals/c/1180

Here’s another vote for Alpinaire. I’m a big fan of both the weight and the taste.

 

4/11/2019 1:58 pm  #5


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

Do you guys find that the pre-made dehydrated meals (i.e. Alpinare) are accurate in their serving suggestions?  They look so small it really looks as though a hungry adult could eat a 2 serving meal of those?

     Thread Starter
 

4/11/2019 2:01 pm  #6


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

I do pack the occasional 2-serving meal, generally eaten after a particularly long travel day. But most people aren't going to still feel hungry after eating the regular 1-serving portions. They're pretty filling. 

 

4/11/2019 2:09 pm  #7


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

Check the calorie counts on the packages. From what I have heard, and checked directly in the stores, many of the commercial offerings are about half of a normal dinner size. 

Just picking the 'first' Alpinaire offering I click to on their website, the Spicy Chicken Curry is only 600 calories. That's only about half of what an 'average' adult would want to consume for a dinner without necessarily spending a full day paddling and portaging. 

 

4/11/2019 2:21 pm  #8


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

what a rush being in a consent state of dehydration and mal nourishment while canoe tripping,, i do loose weight while tripping.
    someone mentioned here awhile ago (peek?) about adding olive oil to food to bump up the calorie count in meals?   you can get carb and protein gels from m e c , individual size, for snacking pre/post portage.

 

4/11/2019 2:31 pm  #9


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

AlgonquinLakes wrote:

Uppa wrote:

My "go to" brand for dehydrated meals is AlpineAire. I've yet to find a single kind from them that wasn't at least decent, and most are quite tasty. MEC sells them. 

https://www.mec.ca/en/brand/alpineaire/products/camping-and-hiking/kitchen-and-hydration/food-and-drink/camping-meals/c/1180

Here’s another vote for Alpinaire. I’m a big fan of both the weight and the taste.

Another vote over here. I tried it for the first time last season and I'm hooked. Sure they're expensive, but they're not that expensive. And not only are they actually tasty, but the ease of cleanup is a major convenience factor.

The Black Bart Chili with Beef & Beans is a great option because it's high in protein relative to the other options (50g), it has a very simple ingredient list, and it actually tastes really good.



RobW wrote:

Check the calorie counts on the packages. From what I have heard, and checked directly in the stores, many of the commercial offerings are about half of a normal dinner size. 

Just picking the 'first' Alpinaire offering I click to on their website, the Spicy Chicken Curry is only 600 calories. That's only about half of what an 'average' adult would want to consume for a dinner without necessarily spending a full day paddling and portaging. 

It's definitely not a high calorie meal considering the physical exertion of canoe tripping, but 600 calories is definitely an appropriate 'dinner' size for the average adult. The average adult needs 2,000-2,500 calories and will have an average of 3 meals plus some snacks each day... so 500-800 calories per meal is pretty spot on.

On a side note, I do find that one package, regardless of how many servings they claim is in the package, is a good amount to fill me up.


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

4/11/2019 2:33 pm  #10


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

Also a few other things you can consider... instant mashed potatoes (actually taste pretty good to me), Kraft Dinner with either tuna or bacon bits added in, etc.

I've never been one to care about fancy meals on canoe trips, although I know I'm in the minority here. Some Alpine Aire meals, KD, instant mashed potatoes with sausage, and I'm good to go.


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

4/11/2019 2:36 pm  #11


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

It's gonna be hard giving up the pound of bacon each morning...I'm not going to lie...

     Thread Starter
 

4/11/2019 5:52 pm  #12


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

I also like good old KD. What I do is add just a tiny bit more water than the microwave directions, eliminating the need to drain. When it's getting close to being done, I add in the cheese mix, some dried milk powder and olive oil (which is a great calorie boost). I also cut up some dried sausage if I have it. One box is just right for me.
There are a couple of Mountain House meals I like too (both MEC and Atmosphere have these), including Spaghetti and Meatballs and Chili Mac - there's also a decent rice-based dish, but I forget the name of it. The packages say '2 meals' but really it's just enough for me, although I am known to have a voracious appetite... If I'm really ambitious, I sometimes make a dried pesto mix as well.
 

Last edited by hiker72 (4/11/2019 5:55 pm)

 

4/11/2019 11:40 pm  #13


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

Steve E wrote:

It's gonna be hard giving up the pound of bacon each morning...I'm not going to lie...

I precook my bacon at home, then reheat before eating. It keeps well and takes up way less space, and doesn’t need to be kept cold.

Get that dehydrator going! Chili, curry, pasta sauce, refried beans and salsa (bring wraps to make burritos), split pea soup... no reason not to make a nice big serving of the food you want to eat, for cheap!

 

4/12/2019 6:38 am  #14


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

My fav beef stew recipe:
http://chefmichaelsmith.com/recipe/beef-stew/

Dehydrate and you will LOVE it, imo. Best to make a batch for dinner at home, get an idea for how much you'll want as a meal at a campsite, and dehydrate 1.5x as much using the leftovers from that dinner. You won't need a whole batch for a meal.

You good also do powdered eggs, dehydrated ground beef+corn, and gravy packets to make a Backcountry shepherds pie. Search Maddy the goose on YouTube. He's got a good recipe that he walks you through.

 

4/12/2019 8:21 am  #15


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

Thanks for all these suggestions folks!  I'm gonna have to try out my dehydrator for sure...I have no idea how to use the thing but that's what Youtube is for, right?

     Thread Starter
 

4/12/2019 8:42 am  #16


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

I gave up on FD foods decades ago (except for 1 emergency meal) And dehydrate all my meals. I find that the vast majority of FD portions are too small, too salty, and too high in carbs vs protein and fats, both of which are needed to fuel those muscles and to repair any damage!
Most people burn around 600- 800 calories per HOUR when working, so you'd need to eat about 8 portions of most FD meals just to replace the energy you lost in a day, far more than I'm willing to pay for or carry!
I can easily dehydrate a thousand calorie meal using leftovers from my normal home- cooked dinners that'll taste the way I want it and weigh about the same.
There are also a lot of dried side-dishes in the grocery store that can be added, a couple of favourites are; spaghetti with meat sauce (noodles, dried homemade sauce, dried mushrooms, and lots of dried ground beef),
Chili (dried without the beef, add dried ground beef at camp),
and a sort of goulash (dried ground beef, au gratin potatoes, milk powder, dried peas and corn, and spices),
And Chicken fried rice (instant rice, dried chicken, a bit of dry egg, soy sauce, dried garlic, and onion)
I add all my meat separately so I can rehydrate it longer in a nalgine, and add as much as I want, and all meals get some olive oil or ghee added to them after rehydrating. It's worked well for several hundred teens over the years, and rarely had any complaints (except for kids that complain about every meal)

 

4/12/2019 9:12 am  #17


Re: Lighter Weight Back Country Meals

trippythings wrote:

It's definitely not a high calorie meal considering the physical exertion of canoe tripping, but 600 calories is definitely an appropriate 'dinner' size for the average adult. The average adult needs 2,000-2,500 calories and will have an average of 3 meals plus some snacks each day... so 500-800 calories per meal is pretty spot on.

On a side note, I do find that one package, regardless of how many servings they claim is in the package, is a good amount to fill me up.

If it works for you great. For us dinner is the largest meal of the day, so no we don't consume roughly equal amounts of calories at each meal. Eating patterns vary a lot between people and I personally know people who will go off for a multi day trip with pretty much nothing but a bunch of granola bars and other folks who plan gourmet meals. Overall I hear far more people saying they need 2  pre-packaged dinners per person than I do people who are fine with one. 


 

 

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