Backpacking meals

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JackBurns

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Joined
May 14, 2013
Messages
122
I have been making a meal plan for a 3 day hike. My son is gluten intolerant so off the shelf backpacking food generally doesn't fit the bill. I usually take canned chicken and roast beef and then add a starch etc. The cans are heavy. So I have been doing some day dreaming about it.
Canned meat is usually cooked just prior to canning or during canning. The heat kills any potential pathogens (hopefully). Maybe it just decreases the bacterial load to a tolerable level.
When the product (lets say costco canned chicken) comes out of the can it is exposed to the outside world which can inoculate it with germs. So we refrigerate it in an attempt to slow down bacterial growth.

Now here is where I would like some input.
What would happen if I opened the can in a "clean" environment and immediately placed it into a food saver bag and sealed it? I have moved the chicken from one container to another with a minimum exposure to the outside.
Would this have any shelf life?
Could I take this on a hike and not poison myself?
What if I dropped the chicken that is now in a food saver bag into boiling water or a pressure cooker to pasteurize it?
I kind of did an internet search with no results.
Thank you
Jack
P.S. I looked on a can of spam and nowhere does it say to refrigerate after opening.
 

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JackBurns

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May 14, 2013
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I am in no way advocating doing this. Food borne illness can be fatal.
I hope to find a safe way to take the food I want without the cans.
Dehydration may be the ticket.
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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Jun 7, 2012
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I have seen people pack bagged chicken. I've seen it at many local grocery stores.

That said, there are all kinds of gluten free backpacking meals. I often take rice sides, or mashed potatoes, and add a salmon or tuna packet.
 

Venchka

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Aug 6, 2015
Messages
321
Walmart sells a Tyson brand 7 ounce foil package of white meat chicken.
Tuna and salmon come in individual serving foil packages.
Google will find gluten free backpacking meals, instant oatmeal, etc.
Good To-Go has gluten free meals. REI sells them or order direct.
http://goodto-go.com
Wayne


Old. Slow. "Smarter than the average bear."
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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I'd be super careful with the food handling, I hate to think of severe food poisoning a three day hike from the road.
I often take dry sausages on camping trips, it tastes very good and doesn't need refrigeration, and it's basically all protein and fat and salt, unlike a can there's almost no moisture content and almost no waste.
 

JackBurns

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May 14, 2013
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122
"I'd be super careful with the food handling, I hate to think of severe food poisoning a three day hike from the road.
I often take dry sausages on camping trips, it tastes very good and doesn't need refrigeration, and it's basically all protein and fat and salt, unlike a can there's almost no moisture content and almost no waste."

Oh I agree. I had to stand watch Christmas eve and missed the party while docked in the Philippines. They had a party for the rest of us the next day.
What I didn't know was the roasted pig that they served us had sat out since the party the day before. I lost about 20# in two weeks.
 

Opi

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Oct 31, 2014
Messages
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My last 6 days in the wilderness the food we enjoyed/craved the most were the foiled packages of tuna, salmon, chicken. Lots of different flavors . Packs of Pepperoni and jerky really hit the spot too.
Foil pouch of chicken mixed in with a pouch of Idahoan Red Potatoes -freezer bag style- is delicious
No refrigeration needed on foiled pouches they last years
 

Wyatt Carson

Desert Vagabond
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Apr 15, 2015
Messages
259
Now here is where I would like some input.
What would happen if I opened the can in a "clean" environment and immediately placed it into a food saver bag and sealed it? I have moved the chicken from one container to another with a minimum exposure to the outside.
Would this have any shelf life?
Could I take this on a hike and not poison myself?
What if I dropped the chicken that is now in a food saver bag into boiling water or a pressure cooker to pasteurize it?
P.S. I looked on a can of spam and nowhere does it say to refrigerate after opening.
I don't know but it sounds kind of like Russian Roulette. Bacteria can go from a few to taking over completely in a couple hours and it does not take much in the heat. I have not seen any kind of shelf stable foods recommendations like that. Go with care friend.

I agree with the foil packets of chicken, tuna and salmon. We have taken those backpacking many times and have dried many meats and dishes and taken them as well.

One good thing you can take is shelf stable salami. I have taken Trader Joe's Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami many times. They just leave that laying out on a non refrigerated shelf in the store. That is one of the original kinds of shelf stable, fermented foods. With a good cheese, it can make a very satisfying meal in the wilderness.
 

Duke

Mountain Carver
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
382
When the product (lets say costco canned chicken) comes out of the can it is exposed to the outside world which can inoculate it with germs. So we refrigerate it in an attempt to slow down bacterial growth.

Now here is where I would like some input.
What would happen if I opened the can in a "clean" environment and immediately placed it into a food saver bag and sealed it? I have moved the chicken from one container to another with a minimum exposure to the outside.
Would this have any shelf life?
Could I take this on a hike and not poison myself?
What if I dropped the chicken that is now in a food saver bag into boiling water or a pressure cooker to pasteurize it?
I kind of did an internet search with no results.
Thank you
Jack
P.S. I looked on a can of spam and nowhere does it say to refrigerate after opening.

Achieving this kind of sterility takes great effort and high tech equipment.....and even then bacteria sometimes sneaks in. Unless you have your own UV sterilizer, a $10k laminar flow hood, and more tech than I would think you would have :) ....I would not dare try this. The reason canning was invented was because Napoleon offered a prize for anyone coming up with a means to preserve food for his troops.....because the "package very carefully" method just wasn't working. :)

On a side note....I have been dreaming of getting a food freezedrier. So expensive that it isn't worth it but think how nice it would be to just FD anything you wanted and then just pack that in. But....so much $$ that last I went (two weeks ago) it was the same mix of expensive FD meals, soups, and cup o noodles :)
 

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andyjaggy

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Dec 2, 2013
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I would love a home freeze drying machine, but yeah they are quite expensive.

I second the suggestions on the salmon packages. I think they are very good. I don't care for the tuna ones and the flavors seemed off, but the salmon ones were really good.

I keep my food pretty simple. Instant oatmeal for breakfast. Orchard bars (gluten free), dried coconut, kipper snacks or salmon packet for lunch. And then Mountain House for dinner. It works well because it's all simple and requires no prep time. I can literally just throw all my food for a trip together in about 5 minutes.

If you haven't tried the orchard bars I highly recommend them. Absolutely delicious. A lot of sugar and good amount of protein, but that's exactly what you want as a pick me up in the middle of the day to boost your energy. Very good calorie to weight ratio.

http://www.orchardbar.com/
 

SKLund

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Aug 19, 2016
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Max calories for the weight you are carrying. Some suggestions:
Pay Day bars. A large one is 440 calories. That's a lot for the weight.
Sunflower seeds. The ones you get at Trader Joe's They are a superfood and packed with good fat and calories. More than most nuts.
Pay Day is gluten free.
http://theglutenfreebar.com/gluten-free-blog/gluten-free-food-list/candy/are-pay-day-bars-gluten-free/
Take a look at Backpackers Pantry. They have some gluten free foods. I use entrees for both breakfast and dinner.
 
Last edited:

Venchka

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Aug 6, 2015
Messages
321
Good To-Go meals are gluten free. Available from REI, Little River Trading Co. in Maryville, TN and the Mast Stores in Boone, NC.
http://goodto-go.com/
Wayne


Old. Slow. "Smarter than the average bear."
 
Last edited:

andyjaggy

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Dec 2, 2013
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Another good one is pine nuts. One of the fattiest and most calorie dense nuts there is. Also super yummy. Very pricey though.
 

Venchka

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321
Have you tried this brand? Calorie count is good for double serving.
I have several singles and 1 double. I will be eating them in Colorado the first 2 weeks of September. I'll be back with my impressions.
Wayne


Old. Slow. "Smarter than the average bear."
 

Hurakan

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Jun 18, 2013
Messages
134
If were doing a 3 day trip we often bring some frozen food for the first night. Burritos, steak, etc. I avoid cans as its heavy, bulky, you cant really burn them, and I hate packing bulky stuff out. Im sure there is gluten free rice and stuff you can cook once up there and add trout or some meat in a pouch. YOu really don't eat all that much so nuts, trail bars and such do it for snacks and lunch. Just need to plan for breakfast and dinner. Good luck = )
 

JackBurns

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May 14, 2013
Messages
122
I found some gluten free maple brown sugar oatmeal by Quaker at smiths. Ate that with a instant breakfast drink and gluten free protein bar.
This worked well for us hiking in canyonlands.
Totally filling and lasting.
 

JackBurns

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Joined
May 14, 2013
Messages
122
I don't know but it sounds kind of like Russian Roulette. Bacteria can go from a few to taking over completely in a couple hours and it does not take much in the heat. I have not seen any kind of shelf stable foods recommendations like that. Go with care friend.

I agree with the foil packets of chicken, tuna and salmon. We have taken those backpacking many times and have dried many meats and dishes and taken them as well.

One good thing you can take is shelf stable salami. I have taken Trader Joe's Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami many times. They just leave that laying out on a non refrigerated shelf in the store. That is one of the original kinds of shelf stable, fermented foods. With a good cheese, it can make a very satisfying meal in the wilderness.
I took the salami you suggested and really enjoyed it. No problems with it in canyonlands in Aug.
Had that with some hard white cheddar GF crackers, raisins, and peanuts.
Best lunches we have had backpacking in a long time.
 

BryanG

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Jul 22, 2016
Messages
67
For future trips I think you would be ok with re-packaging the canned chicken as long as you did it right before your trip.

Right before canning the contents, the food is relatively sterile from the cooking process. Once the food is canned it is in an anaerobic environment (no oxygen) and aerobic bacteria cannot survive. What you worry about with canned food is the presence of anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that thrive in low oxygen environments). But its worth a test at home. Repackage it, mimic the environment it would be stored in on the trail and then open the bag to see if it spoiled. Your nose is the best way to detect for high levels of bacteria (outside of the polymerase chain reaction). I agree that it would be best to bring chicken in those pre-packaged foil packets but temperature willing, I think the repackaged chicken would be good for upwards of a week.

My time working with antibiotic resistant E. coli in the lab really decreased my fear of acquiring food bore illnesses (shockingly). I just think the convince of the pre-packed chicken/tuna in foil is too much to pass up.
 

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