On A Mission, Can You Help?

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Rafiki
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On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Rafiki » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:41 pm

I've tried a lot of different backpacking foods, but am still eager to try more for an upcoming trip I am taking at the end of August. Here are the categories of items I am interested in doing further research on: bars, dried fruits, trail mix/granola, energy chews and gels, jerky, and breakfast , lunch , dinner, and dessert freeze dried items. Here our the companies I tired so far in their respective categories:


Bars:

Odwalla Bars
ProBars
Tanka Bars
Organic Food Bars
Clif Bars
Luna Bars
PowerBars
LaraBars
Zing Bars
Bonk Breaker Bars
Hammer Nutrition Bars
Cytosports Bars
Bear Valley Bars
NutriBars
Kind Bars
Mrs. May Bars
Stinger Energy Bars

Dried Fruits:

None that come off the top of my head

Trail Mix/ Granola:

Sahale Snacks
Northwest Delight Mixes

Energy Chews and Gels:

Sharkies Energy Chews
Gu Chomps and Gels
Peter Rabbit Organic Fruit and Veggie Blends
Hammer Nutrition Gels
Stinger Energy Chews and Gels

Jerky:

Tanka Beef Jerky
Obedelo Beef Jerky
Jack's Beef Jerky

Freeze Dried Foods:

Alpine Aire
Richmoor
Backpacker's Pantry
Natural High
Mountain House
PackIt Gourmet
CruchiesFreeze Dried Foods
Mary Janes Farm


Well that about covers what I've tried so far. If you could write suggestions under each of the categories that I've listed so far, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Vandy » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:44 pm

http://www.pureprotein.net/category/BARS/

Chewy Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Deluxe are the best, IMO.
But, I have not tried them all....

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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Tom » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:17 pm

Dried Fruits:
I like dehydrated pineapple, oranges, and similar citrus fruits. No brand, just the bulk stuff available at the grocery.
Coconut flakes also add some sweetness.

Jerky:
I prefer to go to a local butcher shop and get 'real' jerky from them. Always seems to taste better...

Freeze Dried Foods:
Not necessarily all freeze dried but still in the 'designed for camping' category, I've become a big fan of Cache Lake.
http://www.cachelake.com
Their five-minute fry breads, wild-rice salad, pudding, and Outfitter's wrap fillings are all good, as is pretty much everything they make. Some of the items take a bit more prep, whereas some are just-add-water types of things. They carry them local for me, so I just read the package... However, the folks seem really friendly, too, (I've met them at the Outdoor Expo in town) and I'm sure would be happy to answer questions on the phone.

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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by IncaRoads » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:28 pm

Tom - what is the name of the butcher shop where you procure your jerky?

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Tom
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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Tom » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:38 am

IncaRoads - I'll send you a PM.

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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Keweenaw » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:56 am

Trail Mix - Nut Harvest Nut & Fruit Mix. Contains peanuts, raisins, sunflower seed kernels, almonds, cranberries, walnuts, cashews, sunflower oil, and sea salt.

The nuts are crisp and the individual components retain their flavor, unlike the trail mix you get from the bulk bin.

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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by photosean » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:40 pm

Larabars and mixed nuts are my snacks of choice. The Larabars taste better than any other I've tried, maybe because I love dates. Plus most of them are over 200 calories and only weigh in at 1.7oz.

For dinners I take Hawk Vittles (www.hawkvittles.com). Prices are good and the food is even better. He's a retired chef who likes to paddle and hike. It takes less than a week to get to your doorstep after ordering. If you're counting calories, a few of his meals are 900+ calories and weigh between 5-6 ounces (dry weight). Don't think about ordering a double meal unless you're really feeding two people.

For my first dinner, I plan on packing 5 Arby's Jr. Roast Beef sandwiches (over 1000 calories, 290 from fat, and 61 grams of protein). There's an Arby's about 2 miles away from the harbor in Houghton, so says Google Maps. I will pack them in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag that will be used for garbage for the rest of the trip.

I know they'll keep for the day - they're just super-processed roast beef and super-processed bread. Back in my college days, they would sit around my dorm room for days ... I never got sick.

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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by fonixmunkee » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:57 pm

For freeze-dried, Backpacker's Pantry gets my vote. Just watch out...some of the recipes get very involved and can become quite a hassle in the backcountry. That's my two cents.
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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by hooky » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:01 am

We'll do clif bars, but other than that, I don't really buy anything other than ingredients. I dehydrate meals ahead of time. I think they taste as good or better than freeze dried meals and are definitely less expensive.

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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Rafiki » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:08 am

Hey guys. Thanks for reopening this topic. While I have completed my mission in trying as many foods as possible for the time being, this will be a nice list for others to keep in mind :)

Hooky, how hard or easy is it to dehydrate a pasta meal or something to that extent that you make at home? What sorts of meals work well with the dehydrator and which ones will lead to ultimate failures? Thanks.
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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by hooky » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:24 am

Rafiki wrote: Hooky, how hard or easy is it to dehydrate a pasta meal or something to that extent that you make at home? What sorts of meals work well with the dehydrator and which ones will lead to ultimate failures? Thanks.
It's really very easy. Pasta is one of the easiest too. I brown hamburger and drain it well, then pat it dry with paper towel to get as much fat off as possible. Cook your pasta as normal. Then you dehydrate everything, including the sauce. I've found that the sauce dehydration works better if you puree it first so there aren't chunks of tomato, peppers or onion. Then it's just a matter of adding boiling water to the the hamburger and pasta. The hamburger will take about 15 min to rehydrate. While that's rehydrating, add a little hot water to the dehydrated sauce. Drain the pasta and hamburger, add the sauce and scarf. If you use angel hair, you can skip the dehydrating and just boil it with the hamburger in a pot, then use the water to rehydrate the sauce.

Lip Smackin' Backpackin' is the book that got me started. We already had the dehydrator and used it for our garden and homemade jerky.

Fatty foods like sausage will go bad faster than something leaner. We just make everything a week before we go. Shelf life can be an issue. I've read that 3-6 months is about the max, although veggies from the garden have lasted a year for us.

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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Rafiki » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:05 am

And just a regular Nesco Dehydrator will work? I do not need anything industrial or anything like that?
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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Rafiki » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:08 am

And another question. Is it possible to over dehydrate something?
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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by Midwest Ed » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:09 am

hooky wrote:Fatty foods like sausage will go bad faster than something leaner. We just make everything a week before we go. Shelf life can be an issue. I've read that 3-6 months is about the max, although veggies from the garden have lasted a year for us.
You may already be taking these steps but I thought I'd list them. How are you storing your end product? Beyond getting rid of the water through dehydration, additional steps or care will greatly increase shelf life. After the moisture is removed the list of things to try to control are:

1. Bacteria contamination - A clean work space and clean hands won't keep out all bacteria but it's a good start.
2. Oxygen - The first concern at packaging phase is the enclosure itself. Standard Zip Lock bags are not air tight. Mylar ziplock bags are not expensive and come in "food grade" material. Some are even suitable for accepting boiling water or are microwavable. Before sealing, oxygen absorbers can be added remove almost all the oxygen that effectively make the product Nitrogen packed. Be sure no one eats the oxygen absorber. :oops:
3. Temperature - Keep the temperature as low as possible (refrigeration or even freezing). Also important is to keep the temperature constant, avoiding big swings.
4. Light exposure - This is more important in regards to longer term storage affecting not only spoilage but also taste and nutritional value (e.g. light will break down some vitamins).

Following these steps should allow for several years of storage. 20+ for things with no fat and approximately 5 years for low fat. Assuming the oxygen is gone, temperature the biggest factor.
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Re: On A Mission, Can You Help?

Post by hooky » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:50 pm

Rafiki wrote:And just a regular Nesco Dehydrator will work? I do not need anything industrial or anything like that?
I'm not familiar with Nesco, but I assume it's fine. We used our oven before we got our dehydrator. Once the water is gone, it's gone. Short of burning something, I don't think you can over-dehydrate something.
Midwest Ed wrote:
hooky wrote:Fatty foods like sausage will go bad faster than something leaner. We just make everything a week before we go. Shelf life can be an issue. I've read that 3-6 months is about the max, although veggies from the garden have lasted a year for us.
You may already be taking these steps but I thought I'd list them. How are you storing your end product? Beyond getting rid of the water through dehydration, additional steps or care will greatly increase shelf life. After the moisture is removed the list of things to try to control are:

1. Bacteria contamination - A clean work space and clean hands won't keep out all bacteria but it's a good start.
2. Oxygen - The first concern at packaging phase is the enclosure itself. Standard Zip Lock bags are not air tight. Mylar ziplock bags are not expensive and come in "food grade" material. Some are even suitable for accepting boiling water or are microwavable. Before sealing, oxygen absorbers can be added remove almost all the oxygen that effectively make the product Nitrogen packed. Be sure no one eats the oxygen absorber. :oops:
3. Temperature - Keep the temperature as low as possible (refrigeration or even freezing). Also important is to keep the temperature constant, avoiding big swings.
4. Light exposure - This is more important in regards to longer term storage affecting not only spoilage but also taste and nutritional value (e.g. light will break down some vitamins).

Following these steps should allow for several years of storage. 20+ for things with no fat and approximately 5 years for low fat. Assuming the oxygen is gone, temperature the biggest factor.
Thanks for the info and clarification on contamination especially. I neglected that important part. I'm a homebrewer, so sanitation has become second nature and I tend to assume as a result. We've never done mylar zip lock bags. I'll have to look into that, especially if they'll hold up to boiling water and are food grade. I vacuum pack dehydrated vegetables with our food saver and freeze them. Herbs just go into glass jars. Jerky never lasts long enough to test shelf life. For long term storage, we usually just can stuff. It's tough to keep the jars from clanking together in your pack though. :mrgreen:

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