food efficiency and meal ideas

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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Wandering Daisy
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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:42 am

If I drank that much water I would spend all my time behind a bush! LOL. I too am a low volume water drinker and do not sweat much and find no positive impacts of increasing water consumption. Everyone is different. I feel lucky in this matter because I do not have to carry all that water. I can rarely drink a 12-oz beverage at home either. I am a "sipper" not a "gulper". If however you drink a lot and pee a lot you need to replace electrolytes. There is such a thing as drinking too much.








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paul
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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by paul » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:09 am

longri wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:50 am
I used to drink a lot of water every day. I didn't keep track but it wouldn't have surprised me if it were 8 liters/day when in the backcountry. One time a friend commented on this habit that he'd noticed in others, that they would "drink and pee, drink and pee". He thought it was ridiculous. At the time I was a drinker-and-pee-er and so I didn't comment. I thought that all that water passing through was doing me good.

More recently I've gotten lazy about drinking water to the point that I let myself get dehydrated from time to time. And here's the thing: It has had absolutely zero noticeable effect on my appetite or lack thereof, my endurance, or anything really. When I'm severely dehydrated it is an issue. But at a lower level the effect, which I'm sure is still measurable, is too small for me to notice.

I don't worry about it anymore.
I used to not worry about either. Then I had a kidney stone. Ouch. Then the doc had me do a test where you pee into a jug and save your urine for an entire day. Doc sez "You don't drink enough so you don't pee enough so your urine is too concentrated so you got a stone. Drink more or you'll get another." Now I drink more.

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by freestone » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:19 am

I have been experimenting with just putting water in a small flask-like container that fits in my hip belt pocket instead of the full smart liter style bottle that is impossible for me to reach without taking my pack off or a hydration bag hose/tube setup. It works well when water sources are plentiful and reduces pack weight by carrying only small quantities at a time.
Fram...

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by wsp_scott » Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:50 am

I posted this in your going lighter thread and then saw this thread, so I'll post again.

For Peanut Butter, I use Justin's individual packets https://www.amazon.com/Butter-Justins-I ... 00E1XPY3A/
I also have individual jelly packets https://www.amazon.com/Bonne-Maman-Stra ... 0055E1L5Y/

Tortillas and PB&J makes a yummy lunch

Tuna in olive oil has a decent amount of calories especially compared to the water packed https://www.amazon.com/StarKist-Selects ... 019JNHAJ2/

One pack of ramen noodles has 400 calories and doesn't weigh that much.
Coconut milk powder has a lot of calories for the weight and makes a great base sauce with ramen https://www.amazon.com/Native-Forest-Co ... 00QIVB19Y/

Harmony House Veg Soup goes in all of my meals except for oatmeal and PB&J https://www.amazon.com/Harmony-House-Fo ... 0039QXWPM/

Just remembered bean flakes https://www.amazon.com/Santa-Fe-Bean-So ... 000FI701Y/

and cheese powder https://www.amazon.com/Cheddar-Cheese-H ... 008GG9ZS8/

Favorite dinners are
Thai Curry https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Thai-Panan ... B01BEVRR5O with coconut powder, veggies, and ramen. If I really hungry I'll add tuna.

Tex-Mex bean flakes, cheese powder, veggies, a little olive oil and hot sauce with either couscous, rice or ramen depending on what is in my food bucket in the basement.

Ramen with tomato sauce uses Tomato powder https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Thai-Panan ... B01BEVRR5O veggies, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil and tuna if I'm hungry

I'm happy eating these three dinners for a week or so. I can give you more details if you are interested
My trip reports: backpackandbeer.blogspot.com

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by Ashery » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:42 pm

freestone wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:19 am
I have been experimenting with just putting water in a small flask-like container that fits in my hip belt pocket instead of the full smart liter style bottle that is impossible for me to reach without taking my pack off or a hydration bag hose/tube setup. It works well when water sources are plentiful and reduces pack weight by carrying only small quantities at a time.
I just slip a .7L plastic bottle in my front right pocket. It's by no means a perfect solution (Hampers mobility as you lift your right leg up further and the weight can drag your pants down if you're not using a more traditional/secure belt), but those issues can be worked around. Even with the issues, though, I still find the bottle in my pocket better than dealing with a hydration bag with a hose/tube.

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by neil d » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:30 pm

Thank wsp_scott, excellent suggestions!

This weekend I went to Winco (best supermarket EVER) and bought up a selection of their bulk foods to try...powdered PB, powdered hummus, tex mex bean flakes, dehydrated potatoes, dry vegetable soup, dry cheese sauce...a few other things...

- I was most excited by dry veggie soup and couscouse with tuna added...the soup mix was a bust, did not like the texture. Maybe a more expensive mix from Whole Foods or somewhere.

- The dry hummus was actually pretty good, and even better with some olive oil added. Not sure if it will be worth the trouble on the trail, especially if I decide I need to bring a dose of OO.

- The dry peanut butter was only fair...had good peanut flavor, but just not rich enough. BUT, added it to quick steel cut oats with dried fruit and nuts, and that is a winner!

- I was pretty stoked on the tex mex bean flakes with couscous and salmon. With a few liberal dashed of Tapatio, it was the winner of what I was able to cook up this weekend. I'm calling it 'Tuna Beans' and will definitely be trying it in the wild.

One final note, most of the bulk foods were surprisingly low in salt, necessitating a salt addition. The powdered cheese sauce is a salt bomb, so I'm thinking a half to full teaspoon added to the meal mix will hit the spot. Could also accomplish that with a soy sauce packet.

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by oldhikerQ » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:29 pm

I recently bought some edamame spaghetti at Costco. Quick cooking (add to boiling water, simmer on low 3-5 minutes, drain). It has 180 cal per 2 oz serving; 20 g carbs and 24 g protein. Traditional pasta is about 200 cal per 2 oz serving; 42 g carbs and 7 g protein. Have only tried it at home 2 ways: first with olive oil, garlic, spices and parmesan and second with pesto. Liked it enough both ways to commit to trying it on this summer's backpack.
Quicker cooking than many pastas and more calories from protein than traditional pasta. A plus for me since i need to watch carbohydrate to fiber ratio.
YMMV
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:31 pm

Trader Joes carries black bean pasta and red lentil pasta. Very similar. Tastes good but both are curly noodles so are too bulky for longer trips where I have to fit all inside my bear can.

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by bobby49 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:15 pm

Instant rice with some dehydrated split pea soup mixed in, then covered in hot water.

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Re: food efficiency and meal ideas

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:58 am

Back to the original question. Is 1.5 pounds of food per day and between 2000 and 3000 calories per day enough? For trips under a week I do not mind being a little short on calories. I try to keep my dry food weight at 1.25 pounds per day and at least 2200 calories per day. I will probably loose a bit of weight on that, but I never feel hungry when out. I only weigh about 115 pounds, so bigger people may need more. Over the entire backpack season I loose about 10 pounds; about 5 pounds overweight to start, and then, go about 5 pounds under my ideal weight.

To get more calories per pound you need to go heavier on good (nutritional) fats. I take about one ounce of olive oil for each day and throw that in my meals and eat LOTS of nuts and seeds. I use Nido (full fat dry milk) in my cereal instead of fat-free. Read labels when you buy. My rations now consist of about 35-40% fats. I avoid empty calories (such as sugary drink powders). I prefer to get most of my calories from solid food meals, not drinks. Tea bags weigh nothing and are great for cold evenings. I will bring one hot chocolate mix which I like to have if I just had a really hard day. Of course, the best thing to do is to calculate how many calories/day you take each trip and then note when you bring food back or run out early. Each trip you get better at figuring out what to bring. I track calories, protein, fats and carbs and weight. I do not worry about vitamins- just take a good multi-vitamin pill with me.

There are web sites out there that estimate calories needed for athletic activities. Depends on your backpacking style. I really do not push it - keep to a very comfortable pace and only do about 5-6 hours of walking a day, so I do not need that much extra than what I eat at home. The thing to note is that your body burns calories all day and night. I have a Garmin GPS watch that I have been playing with the last few months and it estimates how many calories I use averaging a 2-hour, 5-6 miles of walking (without a pack) and on relatively flat ground each day at home. What surprised me is how few calories I burned for that specific exercise compared to just staying active by cleaning the house! Unless you are really hard-charging at a high aerobic output, walking just does not use that many calories.

IF you do continuous long distance hiking (think JMT or PCT) THEN you really need to up the calories after the first two weeks. When I worked at NOLS on 35 day courses I noticed that it took about 10 days for students to get their "mountain appetite". We would always have extra rations the first week, then by the end of the course, about every bit of food was consumed. Part of that is due to acclimating to altitude and part due to your appetite catching up to your calorie output.

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