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Can your best food beat this?

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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Can your best food beat this?

Postby balzaccom » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:39 pm

So my wife and I have been doing some experiments over the winter, trying different combinations to create our own menus for this summer's backpacking trips. The goal is to create meals that taste good, are very lightweight, and have a ton of calories. And ideally, they should be cheap, too!

Our average freeze dried dinner weighs in at about 6-8 ounces, and usually has about 350 calories or so per serving. It costs about $6-8, and is a bit big and clunky--we always repackage in baggies. That means they are about 100 Calories per ounce. And about a penny per calorie.

We want to beat those ratios.

Sound impossible? Maybe. But in working through the options, we found something that does a pretty good job of meeting all those criteria.

So check out the Slim Jim beef stick: 170 calories, and less than a buck.

That's 170 calories per ounce...and about 1.7 calories per penny.

Now we are curious. Can any of the foods in your backpack beat that?
Balzaccom

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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:21 pm

That just sounds like research, a day or two of Slim Jims would be enough for me. I like Link's meat products.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby rlown » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:28 pm

hmm. Trout are for the most part, free (other than license, equip, fuel, pan, etc.) And you don't have to carry them in. I always liked the Pepperoni sticks, but i can't find them usually. I've resolved myself to slim-jims for short trips, and a good ol' Hickory Farms 1lb Summer Sausage for longer trips.

Again, not doing the math here; It's more about what is palatable over the length of the trip.
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:18 pm

Trout ARE free--but also pretty darn low in calories....

And I am not a huge fan of SLim Jims, just looking for alternatives that really pack a punch.

We're pretty happy with our Gallo Salami for lunch, too...and often add that to dinner mixes.
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby markskor » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:33 pm

I have been known to carry a block/wedge of hard Parmesan Cheese...just to add to anything that's bubbling away in a pot. I do not know what the calories are, but it definitely adds so much to almost any hot meal.
Keeps well for up to 2 weeks too.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby JWreno » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:19 pm

My family rebelled against freeze dried food in 2002 after about 9 years of trips.
The ate everything else but the freeze dried dinners. Since then we have just
dried our own jerky, burger gravel and canned chicken breast. We just find
our favorite grocery store soup mixes and add the dried chicken and brown
rice that was overcooked at home and dehydrated. Its much cheaper and
tastier. The last 3 years we have just eating home dried fruits, jerky, nuts
and bars and left the pot, bowl, spoon, stove and fuel at home. I only
go stoveless in the summer when it is warm.
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby BSquared » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:54 pm

markskor wrote:I have been known to carry a block/wedge of hard Parmesan Cheese...just to add to anything that's bubbling away in a pot. I do not know what the calories are, but it definitely adds so much to almost any hot meal.
Keeps well for up to 2 weeks too.

Me too. Parmesan (or Romano or any of the other Parmesan-like hard Italian cheeses) is always a staple of my backpacking pantry.
—B²
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby markskor » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:09 pm


Asiago is my current go-to hard cheese...hard to beat shaved over garlic & pasta...
Add trout of course.
Mark
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby dave54 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:26 am

Ideally most of your calories should come from carbs, not fats or protein. But as noted above, it is impractical to carry enough high carb foods to meet the caloric targets. Since fat has 2x the calories per gram than carbs, that is what is easiest to carry.

Alas... so many of our daily good nutrition habits must be put aside when traveling the backcountry.
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby East Side Hiker » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:14 am

No food I can make beats this. You would not want to be with me because I don't cook any more.
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby Flux » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:13 am

Lay's sour cream and Cheddar potato chips are 160 cal/oz. Some of the other flavors might be close to that. About the best I have found for cal/oz

Goldfish are 140 cal/oz.

My buddies looked at me funny when they saw the lay's bag in my bear can, but they certainly devoured them on a lunch break.

If you want high cal/oz stuff, start with junk food. Granted, these may not be the healthiest snacks, but they sure do taste good!! I guess having kids has made me eat a bit more junk food these days.
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Re: Can your best food beat this?

Postby tim » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:41 pm

Nut brittle is my favorite (I prefer cashews or almonds to peanuts). Keeps forever, very compact, has both fat and carbs, usually about 170 cals/oz. Probably not the most healthy thing to live on though. We also like taking flavored almonds (salt & vinegar or BBQ) to make lunches more interesting. Nuts are apparently the healthiest high calorie food you can get:
http://www.healthaliciousness.com/artic ... -foods.php
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