RMNP - food assistance

tschertz

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Mar 26, 2017
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We have a trip booked to RMNP July 11-16 for some backcountry camping. On our smaller trips, it’s always been instant noodles and ramen but I’d like to look into more of the homemade meals this time around.

I found quite a few online recipes for various dinner meals and need some assistance to wrap my head around it.

We do have a dehydrator but most of these recipes call for freeze dried chicken, and various vegetables.
Does it pay to buy everything separate ( FD chicken, mushrooms, peas etc) or just bite the bullet and get mountain house meals?

Looking for others experience with DIY and the hassle.


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LarryBoy

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I'm a huge downer, personally, on Mountain House meals. They're heavy and don't really pack that much of a punch. And yes, they're very pricey. Talking 7 bucks for 600 calories - you can buy a lot of 'real' ingredients for that price. If you've got the dehydrator already you're probably best off, price-wise, doing it yourself. Course, only you can determine how much money your extra time is worth.
 

tschertz

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Mar 26, 2017
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I'm a huge downer, personally, on Mountain House meals. They're heavy and don't really pack that much of a punch. And yes, they're very pricey. Talking 7 bucks for 600 calories - you can buy a lot of 'real' ingredients for that price. If you've got the dehydrator already you're probably best off, price-wise, doing it yourself. Course, only you can determine how much money your extra time is worth.

Even with the dehydrator, I would still have to buy the Freeze dried chicken and vegetables, right? Or am I co fused to think you can put cut up chicken breast in the dehydrator and good to go?


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LarryBoy

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You can also get chicken (non-dehydrated) in foil bags at Wally World; those are the most delicious things ever.
 

Wanderlust073

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This guy dehydrates all his own stuff (including meats), and he eats like a king on the trail. Here's a video he did as a how-to, and he has others:

 

Wanderlust073

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Ugly

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I agree with @Wanderlust073 . Alpineaire is great, so is packitgourmet.com, even though they are a little pricey. I try to end up with freeze dried only after day 3 or 4... which means never on an overnight or short trip. I have started loving mix and match of Knorr, Ramens (go to an asian market), etc paired with pastrami or summer sausage or the bagged chicken or tuna, or a good Not-freeze dried protein when I can. I use my homemade cozy as a mini cooler, pack it with a frozen 8oz water bottle (usually some flavored water or sparkling water) and with some care I have the equivalent of a little refrigerator in my pack and could drop it in a stream at camp to keep it longer.
No meal ends up being better than a night dinner of pho with roast beef on top, or a pastrami wrap at the top of Texas Pass with pickles and dijon mustard.
The few ounces are worth it to me, and my stomach feels better in the long run.

However I have done some of my own dehydrated in the past and when it is right, it is RIGHT. It is just the hassle...
There are lots of guides and things to try if you want to try your hand at it.
 

wsp_scott

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Check out freezer bag cooking (here is a very detailed site with lots of recipes http://www.trailcooking.com/trail-cooking-101/freezer-bag-cooking-101/)

I have a mix of dehydrated vegetables from Harmony House that I use in a couple different combinations. One of my favorite backpacking meals is Thai curry.

At home I mix some coconut milk powder and dehydrated veggies (tom, onion, peppers,...)in a quart size freezer bag (zip lock) then at dinner time I boil water, break up a pack of ramen into the freezer bag and add some thai curry paste. If it has been a long day, I add a foil pack of oil packed tuna. Let it sit for 5 minutes and eat like a king. I can post more details if you are interested.
 

tschertz

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Mar 26, 2017
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Check out freezer bag cooking (here is a very detailed site with lots of recipes http://www.trailcooking.com/trail-cooking-101/freezer-bag-cooking-101/)

I have a mix of dehydrated vegetables from Harmony House that I use in a couple different combinations. One of my favorite backpacking meals is Thai curry.

At home I mix some coconut milk powder and dehydrated veggies (tom, onion, peppers,...)in a quart size freezer bag (zip lock) then at dinner time I boil water, break up a pack of ramen into the freezer bag and add some thai curry paste. If it has been a long day, I add a foil pack of oil packed tuna. Let it sit for 5 minutes and eat like a king. I can post more details if you are interested.

I am a huge fan of curry.could you please provide some more details on that dish?

Sounds like it’s as easy as dehydrated veggies and add coconut milk powder, curry paste or curry powder, then noodles? Add boiling water and enjoy??

This will be a 4 night trip so I’d like to mix it up a bit so I am not spending so much on store bought dehydrated meals.


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Noun Sequitur

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Oct 24, 2012
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I use my homemade cozy as a mini cooler, pack it with a frozen 8oz water bottle (usually some flavored water or sparkling water) and with some care I have the equivalent of a little refrigerator in my pack

This setup intrigues me. Could you provide details of your homemade cozy?
 

pstm13

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Dec 27, 2012
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I agree with @Wanderlust073 . Alpineaire is great, so is packitgourmet.com, even though they are a little pricey. I try to end up with freeze dried only after day 3 or 4... which means never on an overnight or short trip. I have started loving mix and match of Knorr, Ramens (go to an asian market), etc paired with pastrami or summer sausage or the bagged chicken or tuna, or a good Not-freeze dried protein when I can. I use my homemade cozy as a mini cooler, pack it with a frozen 8oz water bottle (usually some flavored water or sparkling water) and with some care I have the equivalent of a little refrigerator in my pack and could drop it in a stream at camp to keep it longer.
No meal ends up being better than a night dinner of pho with roast beef on top, or a pastrami wrap at the top of Texas Pass with pickles and dijon mustard.
The few ounces are worth it to me, and my stomach feels better in the long run.

However I have done some of my own dehydrated in the past and when it is right, it is RIGHT. It is just the hassle...
There are lots of guides and things to try if you want to try your hand at it.
What is your secret with Knorr meals? I have tried a few but they never seem to turn out very well and take for ever to cook. I got frustrated and gave up.

I have had really good luck with the Asian noodles with a small can of chicken. They always seem to turn out really well and taste really good no matter which one I pick.
 

wsp_scott

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I am a huge fan of curry.could you please provide some more details on that dish?

Sounds like it’s as easy as dehydrated veggies and add coconut milk powder, curry paste or curry powder, then noodles? Add boiling water and enjoy??

This will be a 4 night trip so I’d like to mix it up a bit so I am not spending so much on store bought dehydrated meals.
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Thai Curry - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BEVRL28/?tag=backcountrypo-20 The box has 6 individual packets, I use 1/2 a packet for one meal and then use the remainder the next night
Coconut Milk powder - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QIVB19Y/?tag=backcountrypo-20
Harmony House veg soup - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0039QXWPM/?tag=backcountrypo-20

For one meal, at home mix together in a zip lock freezer bag
~2oz of coconut milk powder
~2oz of veggies
you could break up and add the ramen at home, but I never bother

In camp, add 1/2 pack of curry paste to freezer bag and boil 1-1.5 cups of water and add to the freezer bag, let sit for about 5 mins and eat. Don't add the ramen seasoning since the curry has salt in it.

Along with the curry paste, I sometimes add oil packed tuna, chicken would work but that is usually packed in water so not a lot of calories for the weight. You can get freeze dried chicken if you like, but I've never tried it. You could also add some peanut butter instead of tuna if you wanted vegetarian or just don't like tuna.
 

tschertz

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Mar 26, 2017
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Thanks all for he suggestions.
I think I am going to buy some freeze dried vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, etc) from harmony house, REI has a kit.
Then find a decently priced container of freeze dried chicken.

From there all I will need is powdered coconut milk, curry paste, and a few bases (rice, beans) and I should be all set.

Sound right?


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slc_dan

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Jun 7, 2012
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What is your secret with Knorr meals? I have tried a few but they never seem to turn out very well and take for ever to cook. I got frustrated and gave up.

I like most boxed style meals at the grocery store for backpacking, and have had great success with the Knorr meals too.

Only secret is that they are more of a starting point. I almost always saute a little shallot, onion, or pepper. As it's almost done I'll throw in a packet of tuna, or salmon, and often cheese. Even with those add-ons, you are talking 3-$4 dollars tops and you get to make it exactly how you want it.

I do like cooking though, I spend a lot of time at home cooking, so cooking while backpacking is really natural for me.
 

Shirt357

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Jan 24, 2017
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I agree... unless MH is on sale (a massive sale) I do not even contemplate them as they are just not worth it. I do alot of putting my own together, though you can also just piece together things from the store. Like Mac n Cheese with some precooked bacon or one of those foil packs of chicken. Also the Lipton pasta sides or Knorr sides work well. Or you can get pasta, freeze-dried veggies (I got mine in larger sizes for a great price off of Amazon) and either of the two above meats or even jerky or summer sausage (which can keep a bit without refrigeration). It all depends on how much time and work you want to put into prepping. I do know I find it cheaper and nutritionally better for me to put together my own versus going with MH. My two cents...
 

wabenho

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Sep 18, 2017
Messages
133
This lady has some pretty good recipes. Similar to trailcooking.com. I have tried a few of them and they are pretty good. I prefer them to MH or other similar brands. It takes a little more pre-trip work, but I like to be able to control the ingredients. If prepared as directed they come out a little soupy (not necessarily a bad thing). I also find the freeze dried chicken to be expensive and it doesn't seem to add much to the meal. I plan to try these again, but use a little less water and try the foil pack chicken or tuna/salmon.

https://www.theyummylife.com/Backpacking_Food

As a coincidence, I believe she was preparing meals for a RMNP trip when she wrote the blog.
 

wabenho

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Sep 18, 2017
Messages
133
Thai Curry - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BEVRL28/?tag=backcountrypo-20 The box has 6 individual packets, I use 1/2 a packet for one meal and then use the remainder the next night
Coconut Milk powder - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QIVB19Y/?tag=backcountrypo-20
Harmony House veg soup - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0039QXWPM/?tag=backcountrypo-20

For one meal, at home mix together in a zip lock freezer bag
~2oz of coconut milk powder
~2oz of veggies
you could break up and add the ramen at home, but I never bother

In camp, add 1/2 pack of curry paste to freezer bag and boil 1-1.5 cups of water and add to the freezer bag, let sit for about 5 mins and eat. Don't add the ramen seasoning since the curry has salt in it.

Along with the curry paste, I sometimes add oil packed tuna, chicken would work but that is usually packed in water so not a lot of calories for the weight. You can get freeze dried chicken if you like, but I've never tried it. You could also add some peanut butter instead of tuna if you wanted vegetarian or just don't like tuna.

Thanks for posting this, it sounds really good.

As an alternative to the Harmony House, I have used Karen's in the past. Slightly more expensive per ounce, but you can find it at REI (near the snacks - not the pre-packaged backpacking meals). So if you live near an REI and you can't wait for amazon you have another option.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005K0NY8K/?tag=backcountrypo-20

I like the idea of adding peanut butter and/or peanuts to this. Yum!
 

Ben

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,873
Even with the dehydrator, I would still have to buy the Freeze dried chicken and vegetables, right? Or am I co fused to think you can put cut up chicken breast in the dehydrator and good to go?


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for years now i've boiled and then shredded chicken to make it dehydrate well, and i've also cooked ground beef and then dehydrated. it can take overnight to dehydrate the chicken all the way, but i've kept the stuff for more than a year without any problem.
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,509
I've been eating these lately:
https://goodto-go.com/
I'd like to do better but when push comes to shove I get busy and then lazy.
Car camping is a different story -- fun to eat well then!
 
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