Apr 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm #1316299
For food, I usually pack 2 of the mountain house meals, one for breakfast and then dinner. Then I pack a bunch of granola bars.
This has the following problems:
1. it's difficult to pack. Everything is square and in its own packaging. If you have a bear can, it's not going to fit in perfectly without you distorting the food.
2. It's somewhat pricey since your buying everything in dehydrated form and pre-packaged.
… so I was thinking, why not just buy straight up granola, and just have a giant bag of granola for the trip!
Granted, it's not going to bring a lot of variety. But its super easy to pack.. you can poor it into a bag and then it should fit perfectly into your bear can and pack.
It's less pricey too since you're just buying commodity ingredients.
you also don't really have to worry about packing it or putting it in tiny packages.. it's just a massive bag of granola.
For variety, maybe you could pack 2-3 kinds.Apr 30, 2014 at 8:29 pm #2098084
– -K.T.- –Participant
You won't want to ever eat that again if that is all you have. You could repackage at home before you go. Taking just granola sounds lazy and sad, to me. If it works for you, great.
Report back.Apr 30, 2014 at 8:33 pm #2098086
I was thinking of making it the base. And then packing 2 mountain house meals .. .ha.
And lazy is good :)
But I could also pack 2-3 kinds of granola. Maybe one with chocolate, another with coconut, etc. Maybe one that's more nutty. So 2-3 bags.Apr 30, 2014 at 8:48 pm #2098091
– -K.T.- –Participant
"I was thinking of making it the base. And then packing 2 mountain house meals .. .ha."
Well you did type "Packing JUST a giant bag of granola (with nuts, raisins, etc)…"Apr 30, 2014 at 8:52 pm #2098092
Because I'm a trouble maker :)
When I first posted it I was thinking of just doing ALL granola. With powered milk you can have it for breakfast too!
Then I realized I'd probably slowly go insane :)
Seems like a hybrid is the way to go.Apr 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm #2098095
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Throw in some powdered coffee if it's going to be breakfast : )Apr 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm #2098096
In general, freeze-dried meals will get you very poor packing density. If you feel that you like Mountain House anything, then open the packages on the night before leaving home and dump the contents into simple zip lock bags. If necessary, use a rolling pin before dumping into the bags. Food that fits into zip lock bags will get you much better packing density. Maybe have one bag of granola, one bag of instant rice, one bag of soup base and vegetables, one bag of air dehydrated bits of turkey or similar meats, etc.
You don't need to divide everything up by meal. Instead, just spoon a little of this and a little of that, cover it with boiling water, and call it a meal.
I carry a bag of milk-based beverage, a bag of maltodextrin, a bag of cheese, etc, and everything fits into a bear canister.
–B.G.–Apr 30, 2014 at 9:02 pm #2098097
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
You will quickly tire of even your most beloved food item if you eat it exclusively and/or constantly on the trail. It will take a bit longer before you simply refuse to eat it no matter what. Your pallet will appreciate variety.
If the cost and/or bulk of Mtn House meal packs irritates you, you can buy the same meals in bulk #10 cans and re-package the meals at home in whatever quantities you desire in small zip-lock bags. This works fine for multi-week hikes where you can use up the entire #10 can. I'd suggest bag-in-a-bag as the hard edges of the FD foods can cut through a sandwich baggie. Use the heavier freezer bags.
I'd also suggest that you carry at least one Mtn House dinner in its foil packaging. Open it carefully so as to preserve the closure strips. Eat that meal first. Clean out and re-use the packaging each night to hold the baggie while you rehydrate the meal in the baggie. Alternatively, bring an empty, clean package from home. Stick a new one in each resupply box as they have a limited life cycle, especially the closure.
I am fond of the PROBAR Meal bars (theprobar.com) for breakfasts and/or snacks. A 3 ounce bar packs 370 calories (123 cals per oz.)for $3.29@ and takes up a tiny fraction of the space of a Mtn House meal. The PROBAR Fuel bars are great snacks (blueberry and cherry are the best); 160 calories in 1.7 ounces (94 cals per oz.) for $1.59@. Most MH dinners are about 250 calories per serving (~500cals for a 2-person dinner).
That said, even with the large variety of flavors for PROBAR meals, I can not eat them exclusively. My tummy demands more variety.Apr 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm #2098099
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
A couple years ago on a 5 days trip I had so many different kinds of food I was confused at mealtimes! I had this idea to simplify things to how I imagine an old timer like John Muir would have eaten. The idea was I would only take a bag of cereal for all breakfasts, a bag of nuts for all lunches/snacks and a bag of lentils for all dinners. Of course I haven't actually done this but I do try to simplify the packaging and complication in my food. I'd love to get to the point where I can make pizza dough or bread dough on the trail from dry ingredients.Apr 30, 2014 at 9:08 pm #2098101
@harry-nLocale: Western US
I've been out for a week with the same food. Got real old towards the end. Add: to the point of repugnant…Apr 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm #2098104
Mike In SocalParticipant
On my last 5 day trip I brought enough trail mix to have as a snack every day. By the third day, I was tired of trail mix and no matter how I tried, I could not bring myself to eat the last day's worth and ended up carrying it the whole trip.
If you end up bringing just a big bag of granola, let us know how it works out.Apr 30, 2014 at 9:22 pm #2098107
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
I think if you bring repeat food it should be something you like under normal circumstances. I have brought donuts for breakfast 5 days in a row and it worked out great. They lasted really well too – must be all the grease and sugar!Apr 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm #2098111
Depending on the severity of the trip, I try to prepare myself with a percentage of my food as something that I like enough that I can eat it under any circumstance, without any cooking. I never know when weather is terrible and everything is going to hell, and I just have to keep walking with something to nibble on as I go.
So, one small bag of Gatorade powder and a square or two of Logan Bread, and I keep going.
–B.G.–Apr 30, 2014 at 9:48 pm #2098117
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
"Then I realized I'd probably slowly go insane :)"
I don't think there would be anything "slow" about it, it would be a headfirst dive into the depths of food deprived insanity. Before you knew it you'd be clubbing cut little chipmunks and eating fish out of the streams like an ultralight Golum.
On a serious note there are different things you can mix up to make granola or GORP more tolerable. I'm more of a trail mix guy. I take a wide variety of flavored nuts, chop them up and mix them together. Then I might throw in a handful of crushed pringles. I eat this concoction with a spoon like a spicy cereal. I vary the flavors a bit so I never get tired of it. Worked great on the CT. I don't like it in grizzly country because I don't like getting greasy smelling crumbles all over myself.May 1, 2014 at 4:42 am #2098149
"You will quickly tire of even your most beloved food item if you eat it exclusively and/or constantly on the trail."
I've seen this advice many times, and I just don't buy it. At home I eat the same breakfast every day, and it carries over to the trail – the only change is olive oil rather than butter for my bread. Lunch is nearly identical every day as well. Having found things I like, I keep liking them.
Maybe I'm the complete outlier here, I dunno. But my trail food selection has a lot of repetition in it and it hasn't bothered me yet.May 1, 2014 at 5:29 am #2098152
@fubar2usLocale: MidWest USA
Talked with "Strider" the other day and he said during his NCT thru hike his daily food intake was Granola, Jerky, and one Pasta or Rice dish. 4600 miles of it and never got tired of it. Personally I could probably do this as well but I tend to enjoy cooking with my Solo stove and end up cooking all 3 meals and have granola and bars for in-betweens.May 1, 2014 at 6:04 am #2098158
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
"I've seen this advice many times, and I just don't buy it. At home I eat the same breakfast every day, and it carries over to the trail – the only change is olive oil rather than butter for my bread. Lunch is nearly identical every day as well. Having found things I like, I keep liking them."
Yeah, this is more or less what I do, too.
For long trips, it is always coffee/cocoa, vitamin pill, and oatmeal for breakfast and maybe a wrap at lunch. I rarely eat much of a lunch, just some crackers over the course of a day. Suppers change, though. Stews, soups, rice, noodles, with or without peperoni, dried beef, salami, dried sausage, jerky, fish, etc. Always cocoa and a shot of scotch after the meal. Parified butter in the oatmeal and olive oil in my supper. Still, over 10 years of packing this you might think it gets old, but at the end of a 20 mile day it ALWAYS tastes good!May 1, 2014 at 6:57 am #2098168
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I find interesting how far some will go in the name of efficiency. Hiking and camping are recreation to me. The workaday world can be tough and my time outdoors is for joy of fresh air, the flora and fauna and the views.
In the same vein, I want to enjoy my meals. With a little research and planning, a few spices and herbs, you can have great meals that are still lightweight, quick and nutritious.
Some of the meal plans I've seen would cause a mutiny and would violate human rights if served to prisoners!May 1, 2014 at 6:59 am #2098169
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
People are different. I switch up my breakfasts every two weeks or so. Just finished some cereal today. Will probably do toast and a boiled egg now for a week or two. Same with lunches. Sometimes leftovers, sometimes I'm tired of leftovers and go get sandwich fixins. When those run out it's back to leftovers.
If a person knows they can tolerate (or prefer) sameness, then they are good to go, and perhaps BPL has more of these people, either naturally or by virtue of single-minded focus on UL (was it here where I read a thread about someone proposing to do a multi-week hike on nothing but peanut butter and tortillas?). But I do not think this would be a common cautionary statement if it weren't actually a common experience.May 1, 2014 at 8:08 am #2098183
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
I'm with Dale on this.
Besides, granola isn't particularly calorie-dense. I have a dark chocolate almond variety that about as high in calories as I've found (haven't looked too hard)–it's 116 Cal/oz. I usually try to get my food to average 125 Cal/oz or a bit more.
Over a long enough trip, you'll have *more* food weight and bulk just carrying granola.May 1, 2014 at 8:25 am #2098190
If I need to carry more calories, I start with a block of cheese.
–B.G.–May 1, 2014 at 10:50 am #2098236
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
If you're actually going to do this, for the love of god, make your own granola; don't bring commercially-made stuff.
If you can SWEAR to me that you're a good person, I will share my top-secret awesome homemade high-calorie granola recipe with you. :^)
Personally, although I usually eat a similar breakfast, for some reason, when I'm backpacking, I like to bring a dizzying variety of foods that I can graze on during the day. That said, I have favourites, like ProBar Meals, exotic jerky, and Cheetos (not eaten together!).May 1, 2014 at 11:58 am #2098259
I think it really depends on the individual. In my regular day to day life, i tend to eat a lot of the same foods or rather meals because they are a combo of nutritious, quick-easy to make, filling, and tasty in about that order of importance.
However, variety IS important from a purely nutritional standpoint and so i do try to mix it up. Some of my regular meals contain a variety of vegetables for that reason, like mixing broccoli, onions, peas, collard greens, etc into the same meal, and since this is always mixed with a little brown rice, quinoa or the like, with a little goat or sheep cheese, and/or occasionally a little nutritional yeast with extra virgin olive oil or the like, it does cover a pretty wide spectrum of nutrients.
For me, i usually primarily eat from a mental and/or intuitive level. Food to me is more of a fuel, and i can and have adjusted my tastes to pretty much anything if i know it's healthy for the body i use. For example, i've grown to actually like the taste of Garden of Life's Perfect Food (green mix powder). Many on amazon think it tastes horribly disgusting.
If i/this body (rather) didn't have to eat to survive, i probably wouldn't.
Other people approach food differently, some very sensually, with a lot of attachment to taste, texture, etc, etc. Some eat more out of emotions. Some need a lot of variety, constantly changing, others much less so. I also find that we as humans tend to go in phases or cycles too, wherein sometimes we like more variety for a little while, and then other times more consistency, etc.
So, i guess what i'm really saying is, you won't know until YOU try it out, since you are a unique individual.May 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm #2098280
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I too eat the same thing everyday at home and on the trail. If you are familiar with the Premier Protein bars, I have consumed over 13,000 of these over the years and I don't like them any better or worse now than I did when I first started eating them. I haven't just limited myself to those as I eat the same Cliff bars and others as well. Come to think of it I never tire of chocolate and eat it everyday.
I prepackage the days food for each day on the trail and just pull the bag out in the morning and start working on it. I know that I am in the minority here but I am a "food is fuel" kind of guy and it works for me. I met a guy on the trail last year that had been living off of Mentos and peanuts for two weeks which seemed a bit over the top for me but he had fresh breath.
The bottom line is that everyone is different and what works for some might not work for others. I also find that some things I like at home I like less on the trail and visa versa, but I typically eat everything I bring for everyday even if I have to power it down.May 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm #2098308
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Thanks, John! That got a belly laugh.
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