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Mountain House – backpacking food


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Home Forums General Forums Food, Hydration, and Nutrition Mountain House – backpacking food

Viewing 20 posts - 51 through 70 (of 70 total)
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  • #3773267
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I’m not so worried about salt.  On a backpacking trip you need more.  A small percentage of my total days are backpacking – it’s more important to reduce salt the rest of the time.

    I am more worried about fiber.  Fruits and vegetables are heavy because they’re mostly water.  Packaged meals tend to be light on fruits and vegetables.

    So, I’ll get dehydrated vegetables and construct my own meals.  I dehydrate my own legumes, because I can put in all the flavors I want.  Then, 1.6 ounces of dehydrated legumes, and 0.25 ounces each of carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions.  Put into 1 cup of boiling water and let it hydrate for maybe 5 minutes.

    #3773269
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Great discussion. I think we are all different in terms of what our bodies need. Extra sugar, salt, or preservatives really have no affect on my health in the short term. Even in the long term, I don’t worry about salt. My blood pressure is so low that when I donate blood, I often have to do some jumping jacks to get it high enough that they won’t turn me away. Sugar is only a concern for me because I do like my sweets… bad deal when I’m not hiking 15 miles a day!

    Fiber is definitely needed when hiking, but a few dried fruits – not too many! – and I’m good to go, so to speak. Daily oatmeal and coffee complete that deal. I have yet to eat dehydrated veggies that are digestible. Some of them just stay as little hard rocks forever, ugh, no matter how long you soak them. Shredding works sometimes; I do that with carrots, cabbage and beets to make a little “salad.”

    Most of the time the 2 person MH or Peak packs are really 2 persons for me. I divide them in half and repackage into 2 ziplocks and it’s plenty of food. A 500 calorie dinner would be a big meal for me. I watched in amazement on our JMT hike as a much younger hiking companion ate 2p MH meals every night! That would be binging for me and on the JMT completely out of the question with the altitude issues. This old bod just doesn’t need that much intake.

    Cost-wise, I do like to mix up prepared meals with some things I throw together. But even then, the meals tend to be processed foods; I just don’t have the space in my tiny kitchen, and time to make massive quantities of backpacking food. Simple recipes though, are great.

    #3773276
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    there’s no question that Jerry’s recipes will taste better than MH meals out on the trail. But. like Ms, Granola, I have a tiny kitchen and no experience with dehydrating food. So MH it is! I don’t go out backpacking for the food. Still, a few times I’ve hooked up with trail crew or private groups using horses to really feast on actual fresh food, well prepared, while out backpacking. Nice!

    Otherwise, I’m always hungry enough to find MH meal just fine on a trip. Nuts and dried fruits and oatmeal tend to my fiber needs. Salmon jerky, or beef, works well enough for some protein. And protein bars. Cheese as well. Needless to say, I wouldn’t touch MH in everyday life.

    #3776478
    BlackHatGuy
    Spectator

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    Today I stumbled across Pinnacle Foods Co. FD backpacking meals. Has anyone tried these? If so, how’d you like them?

    #3777441
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    I have a tiny kitchen and no experience with dehydrating food

    In this day you don’t need to dehydrate food at all. And a tiny kitchen wouldn’t stop you if you did want to. You can dry food in an oven! Or just buy base ingredients already dehydrated or freeze-dried and make your own meals. Which, if you have a small kitchen, dried ingredients are handy for at home cooking as well – and take up little space compared to fresh ingredients.

    #3777442
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    yeah – what Sarah said

    although if you like MH that’s a good solution too

    I was watching one of the gear skeptic videos and he pointed out that if you’re exercising, like on a backpack, you sweat out lots of salt so you need to eat more.  The amount of salt in the MH meals helps, but you probably need even more than that

    #3777443
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I’ve experimented with using the microwave to dehydrate.  That works up to a point.

    If you put it on full power, and leave it on until most of the water is gone, it will burn it.  There was a layer on top that looked fine, but a little underneath there was a huge black layer.  And it smelled terrible.  I suspect if I had let it keep going it would have caught fire and burned the house down.

    So I just use it initially when there’s still lots of water.  Although I try to cook my beans with only a little excess water so I don’t have to then evaporate it – easier to just not put the water in in the first place.

    Then, when there isn’t too much water, put it in the oven at 170F – the lowest setting.  After it dries some more I put it into food processor to powder it, to make it dehydrate better, and when I’m ready to use it, rehydrate better.

    #3777449
    Mark Wetherington
    BPL Member

    @markweth

    Locale: Western Montana

    Today I stumbled across Pinnacle Foods Co. FD backpacking meals. Has anyone tried these? If so, how’d you like them?

    I’m a huge fan of Pinnacle Foods Co. I’d say about 2/3 of the backpacking dinners I eat are from Pinnacle. They’re a bit pricey, but the taste is better than almost any other freeze-dried foods I’ve had and they just generally seem to sit in my stomach better.

    #3777520
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Some of my backpacking club acquaintances swore by Mountain House, but they were older.  Still it’ll do the job.  Their chili mac has beef and beans, but I could never get the melted cheese from their lasagna off my spoon/fork after stirring.    I’d buy them retail at a SuperWalmart in the U.S. for savings, but pretty sure the price has dropped.

    Peak meals are fantastic though.  Ate mine (an egg-based “skillet”) for breakfast, then a woman carrying her eggs as a “cold soak”  made me a burrito from her leftovers (she was too full in the hot sun) a few hours later .. still good.

    Actually try to eat better on trail nowadays though fwiw .. (organic rolled oats w/chia seeds  “cold soak” w/dried fruits, coconut milk powder, etc..) then using the same “Bot” for hot beans, rice, and, yes, cheddar with some small corn tortillas.

    #3777527
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    “but I could never get the melted cheese from their lasagna off my spoon/fork after stirring.”

    same here.  It put me off so much they were unappetizing to me from then on.  I threw a couple away.

    “Some of my backpacking club acquaintances swore by Mountain House, but they were older”

    Yeah, us old people grew up with MH and we’re so ingrained into that pattern that we can’t stop

    I wonder what other patterns I’m mindlessly into, many I’m sure : )

    #3777531
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    Thankfully I am not THAT old ;-) Lol……

    Anyhoo, the reason it sticks is it’s cheese. Freeze-dried cheese just does that.

    I use MH meals as my lowest common denominator in meal reviews on TrailCooking. Base all meals on “How much better they are than MH”. MH has coasted for a long time on Boomers good memories. The younger generations (I am talking Mil and Gen Z) are not so into it. They want fusion food, fresher flavors, less sodium, etc. That’s why so many small companies have come into play in the past decade.

    When I first started backpacking all I could find was MH and Backpacker’s Pantry – and I don’t have good memories of most of those meals. MH is literally why I started writing and developing outdoor recipes back in 2004……

    #3777532
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW
    #3777583
    LARRY W
    Spectator

    @larry-w

    Awesome story Sarah. Sunday I was trying a Peak meal (stroganoff) and as I dipped into the bag with my spoon I swear I had that exact same cringe feeling (Oh gawd how bad will this be). But thankfully it wasn’t that bad. It was even “OK”. That’s what eating Mountain house meals did to me. I haven’t forgiven them. And I think of myself as easy to please.

    Can’t imagine how tough smelling steak at that moment was.

    #3777585
    Mart
    BPL Member

    @1goodpacker

    Locale: Central Texas

    I, too dehydrate my own backpacking meals. Sarah is the one that got me started. I just returned from an overnighter with 3 friends to a central Texas lake. Dinner last night was Carolina Shrimp and Grits. I dehydrated steamed green bell pepper, mushrooms, a can of Rotel Tomatoes (mild), and small cooked shrimp. Then added instant grits,  cheddar cheese powder, Nido, butter powder, some red pepper flakes, and bacon. It turned out well. I’m retired and have the time to experiment creating my own meals. It’s fun and I know what’s in my food.

    And everyone commenting on the high sodium in MH–and most other–freeze dried meals? That extra salt might not be all that bad when hiking long mile days. I heavily salt my Freezer Bag meals.

    Sarah: do you know a good source for the PINT sized freezer bags. They are a better size for me than the quarts, but are getting hard to find.

    #3777741
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    Mart, I will keep an eye out. Supply chains have been so bad. I mean…when is the last time we saw Spam Singles these days? Sigh!

    #3777749
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Sarah

    Your experience with that MH meal sounds pretty awful.
    But I am left to wonder: could the package have been breached, water got in, and the food ‘spoiled’?
    You see, such a recoil from the smell is often a good indication that the food was seriously off so that you should not eat it. A left-over from a few tens of thousands of years ago.

    Cheers

    #3778023
    Mart
    BPL Member

    @1goodpacker

    Locale: Central Texas

    “I am more worried about fiber. Fruits and vegetables are heavy because they’re mostly water. Packaged meals tend to be light on fruits and vegetables.”

    Jerry: Try dehydrating a jar of Mott’s unsweetened applesauce spread thinly on a fruit roll-up tray. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon. Great way to get a little trail fiber.

    #3778904
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    Roger, it was a different smell. I’ve smelled bad freeze-dried and the meal was dry, etc. I think it was personally the vinegar used in it, super concentrated. My husband would say I smell things a lot of people cannot. So possibly to others this meal would have smelled fine.

    Last month I had this meal served to me, that seemed accepted by others, but I couldn’t get past the smell. I ended up just pushing it away and going to bed (I was an inclusive cruise so it didn’t cost me anything). I couldn’t get past the smell – and I will try almost all foods. I am still not sure what I didn’t like about it, but again…it had vinegar in it.

    #3778909
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    good idea mart, thanks

    #3778930
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi Sarah

    Well, if it was dry it should have been OK. If it was an excess (for you) of vinegar, there is not much you can do about that – except maybe find some biscuits?

    I remember one time in France (walking0 we had bought some cheese to have with dinner. Well, we ended up burying it some distance from the tent! In the hope it would not climb back up out of the ground and go wandering. Only time that ever happened, but oh yuk!

    Cheers

Viewing 20 posts - 51 through 70 (of 70 total)
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