I'll be up front and let you know that this is my first time being a part of a forum for anything. So I'm not positive how this all works, but I am excited to find out! So here goes. Please, if I'm not using this correctly or breaking any etiquette rules, let me know.
I'll be heading to Isle Royale at the end of August/beginning of summer. It will be my first week long backpacking trip and I am most concerned about what to pack for our meals. If anyone has an excel document or something of that nature with a list of their past trips meal plan along with recipes, that would be amazing! But also most likely too much to ask for. So really, any tips or maybe just sharing your favorite meals, that would be wonderful! I am aware of the prepared meals you can purchase, however I am hoping to save a bit and make my own or at least make 1/2 and buy 1/2.
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Camp dining (backpack) need not be overly complex; you're looking for nutrient rich foods that pack well. Suffice it to say if you don't like an item during the normal week, you're probably not going to start liking it when on the trail, so keep to things you know you'll eat. (Although, as all backpackers can attest, there is a certain mysterious component that makes any food taste quite good after a long day on the trail.)
My typical go-to plan to start a trip is as such:
Breakfasts: Instant oatmeal (packets), Via instant coffee. Sometimes I'll use a Clif Bar as a fast-start breakfast, too, depending on what the day is looking like weather wise, and my timeline.
Lunches: Recently it's been fry breads (I prepack them from basic ingredients) and then tuna packets. You can mix and match both fry bread flavors, as well as the tuna packet styles.
Dinners: This is when I incorporate pre-fab meals the most; usually an entrée and perhaps a side dish for variety. I personally like Mountain House brand (beef stroganoff is the BEST), mainly because it's a true "directly add hot water, mix, wait" meal that's easy to prep in all type of weather. As you are purchasing such meals, be sure to be reading the instructions as to the preparatory requirements, and make sure it's something you're willing to do, or if you need to bring other products. (For instance, some meals require multiple steps in separate containers - Are you prepared and willing to do that after a long day? Also, it may require additional food not included - Mountain House "wraps" come to mind.)
Good luck in your planning! We're a good group (if I do say so myself) so don't feel any question is too simple. Ask away!
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8 Pure Protein Bars
3 Cereal/Instant Milk
14 Instant Coffee
2 Tortilla Soup
2 Chx Dumplings
6 Pop Tarts
The tortilla soup, chicken dumplings and gumbo were purchased from http://www.packitgourmet.com/ and only require hot water.
A few examples.
Oatmeal, Mh Bisquits and gravy, granola bars, shelf stable bacon & Mh eggs, cream o wheat. Coffee of course....started making my own dip packets using coffee filter and tying shut.
Usually a sandwich !
I find a good sturdy type of bread...it has to be! I don't like the bread smooshed. I stock up on packets of condiments. For meat We do spam , chicken, tuna, salmon, shelf stable bacon, pepperoni, a good summer sausage, canadian bacon....to name a few.
We also carry cheese. I carry pepper jack, my daughter carrys cheddar. I also have carried tortillas and made dehydrated refried beans and rice. This required some prep though ...rehydrating was required.
We also carry some soup mixes...goood on a cold wet day!
We do ramen, instant potatoes, knorr pasta sides, mac & cheese, spagetti with dehydrated jar sauce works well...add some burger crumbles mmmmmm gooood! Pancakes ...yes for supper these meals are usually complimented with a meat if sorts ....covered in lunch.
Snacks: beef sticks, bars, cookies...homemade ...of course chocolate in various forms! Dehydrated fruits or veggies, jerky, did I mention chocolate?
Mio, cofffee, emergenC, gatoraid powder, milk powder, hot chocolate
Well that is a few things we have carried be creative ...have fun ....eat well
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For breakfast, I usually do instant oatmeal with some dried fruit and Starbuck's Via. On some days, I will do an egg dish on a tortilla. You have lots of freeze-dried options.
For lunch, tortilla and PB&J or salmon (foil packet).
For dinner, Mountain House, or something similar. I usually include a dessert too.
A couple of other thoughts: When you are on the island, you should be able to easily get thimbleberries, blueberries and raspberries, almost anywhere. Do some quick research so you know what to pick. They are all great in oatmeal and as a snack. You may want to start out simply, with add-boiling-water meals. That is certainly my mainstay of food on trips. If you feel more adventurous, consider pancakes in the morning (you will need to pack a small fry pan and, I suggest, a heat diffuser to prevent burning).
On a trip to the island on the Minong a few years ago, I ran into a hiker at Windigo (sorry, I can't remember his name; he was a veteran) who told me about Alaska Appetites. The link is below. More work is involved in these meals but they make for a very nice change from the standard fare. Also, check out Packit Gourmet, both for meals and for condiments, etc. (Individual packets of mayo, for example, really make the tortilla and salmon lunches.) You can also get packets of freeze-dried blueberries and strawberries from them. Pick up some packets of fudge sauce, for a super easy dessert with fruit. Finally, remember some sort of powdered drink mix. Maybe tea or hot chocolate. Anything. Plain old water gets boring eventually.
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If you have the luxury to figure that out ahead of time, I'd rather eat the same 2 or 3 selections repeatedly. I'll second my appreciation of the beef stroganoff. Also the chicken & rice or noodle dishes, lasagna and chili-mac I’d recommend, but that’s just me. The biggest mistake people make (usually only once) is to not let them rehydrate long enough. A pouch advertised as dinner for two is just about right for one hungry person.
A daily menu starts with a couple of flavored instant oat meal pouches with extra sugar added (I’ve got a sweet tooth) with some added dehydrated fruit and coffee. With dinners taken care of with freeze dried pouches that leaves lunch. There many opportunities to make your own repackaged lunches that can be quite inexpensive. The grocery stores are packed with microwave “convenience” foods packed in disposable plastic and Styrofoam bowls and foil pouches. I repackage 2 (or 3) of them in zip lock bags for rehydration in my large plastic mug. You can also get the same plastic bags that stand up on their own that Mountain House uses to repackage them. They’re all mostly carbs so for added protein and flavor I’ll add some crumbled bacon.
Don't forget the salt and pepper, well, mostly pepper since most of the packaged food already has a ton of salt.
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breakfast: instant oats orange Mio drink mix or Tang, some fresh fruits carry well, oranges apples, bananas if you get the very green ones and top pack them. instant coffee, tea...
lunch is usually Knor side dishes, read the labels some want butter or other ingredients. artificial "Butter Buds" can be found at most grocery stores. add some packaged chicken ( like tuna in the flexible packs, but chicken) for extra protein. I have also taken a summer sausage and some cheese and cracker.
dinner is ramen with chicken or more Knor ( I love those things).
I usually have one can of Chunky Pot Roast and instant potatoes (my favorite quick meal) for the night I spend at my favorite campground to add some extra joy.
This is me going for a week and not caring about gourmet food, I typically am happier eating less and saving the weight.
I stopped carrying extra meals as long as the stores will be open. I figure I can buy something if I run out. My last day of meals (dinner one night and breakfast the next morn) is usually at the restaurant with a pint as most of my trips are from Rock harbor.
I am fit, but I carry a few extra pounds, so I don't really calories count. If the day before I leave the weather is expected to be cold I add extra food for dinners most of the time an extra Knor.
I'll be there the end of august, if you see a red kayak wave.
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- For breakfast, I'll often have granola and milk (using full-fat powdered milk) and a hot drink. For a hot breakfast, I might do a variation on this breakfast couscous.
- For lunch, I eat some combination of nuts, dried fruit, cheese, and a homemade granola bar or savory waffle or breakfast bar.
- Supper is always a hot meal. Pasta, or chili, or soup, or rice, or instant polenta. I might dehydrate a bag of broccoli to add to macaroni and cheese. This summer we're trying fondue for a meal early in the trip. And it's nice to have a hot drink at the end of the day.
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Lunch is either a clif bar type item or summer sausage & cheese. Really something that doesn't require any prep or cleanup is all I'm after.
Dinner is a hot meal. I've learned how to dehydrate and make freezer bag meals. Lots of options if you have a dehydrator. If you don't, Hawk Vittles is a good option. A buddy swears by them and what I've had is really pretty good. http://hawkvittles.com/
Snacks are GORP, peanut M&Ms, dried fruit, etc...
I take an extra day of meals in case the boat is weather delayed.
On occasion I'll take some sort of a recipe published in Backpacker magazine online that will require some oil to fry, cheese, or perishables. It all depends on the trip.
I usually go with 1 Mountain House & 1 Knorr side for every 2 people per dinner, per day with an occasional cheap dinner mixed in (like ramen). I ration out 2 fruit snacks and 2 granola/Cliff bars per day, too. For a 10 day trip I also got 1 box of trail mix from GFS, 1-2 packages of beef jerky, 1 bag of dried fruit (like banana chips) from Meijer, & a few random items like candy for each person. It worked out perfect the last trip as we ran out of food (except for the extra just-in-case-dinner) when we got back to Rock Harbor. Perfect excuse to get a bag of chips and some cold beverages.
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