What Food Is Best?

Discuss food & groceries, share recipes, and other backcountry cooking & food-related topics here!

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mmueller575
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What Food Is Best?

Post by mmueller575 »

Hello Everyone!

I'm planning my first trip to Isle Royal in June 2020. I have been doing tons of research and I wanted some insights into what kinds of food people are typically bringing? First, I do have a Jetboil that will be coming to the island with my husband and I. This is the first time my husband and I have ever backpacked, but we have hiked extensively.

I don't want to pack too much food and I also don't want to run out. We are planning on being on the island for 4-5 days. I was thinking of getting some sort of meal pack that can be reconstituted with water for dinner and for breakfast. I figure it's probably good to start and end with a hot meal. Are there brands that are better, taste-wise? If so, which ones do you think are the best? Are there any I should really avoid?

Then for lunch, I have typically used Cliff bars, but I don't know if there are better options. I'm not opposed to having other food for lunch, but what have you all used that has worked for you? I just really want to be prepared on our first backpacking trip! :)

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Ingo
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by Ingo »

Everyone has there own tastes and opinions, but my basic menu is this:
Breakfast: oatmeal and coffee (VIA).
Lunch: trail mix, summer sausage & cheese the first couple days, granola bars or similar. I don't care for Clif bars, but if they work for you, great. It's important to snack on the trail and the trail mix is good for that.
Supper: Mt House meals are my go to. I've done Packit Gourmet meals which are really great, however you have to order ahead of time and they have a more limited shelf life (around a year, I think). I like the Backpackers Pantry desserts (but not their main dishes).

Here's my spreadsheet rating mostly Mt House foods: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing. I haven't added the Packit Gourmet meals, but the couple I had were excellent.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF

mmueller575
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by mmueller575 »

Awesome! I appreciate the recommendations and I’ll take a look into the Mt House meals for sure then! I also love the idea of a dessert as well! Thank you for your help! So pumped to get everything together!

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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by bobcat »

On the other hand, I seldom use pre-packaged food and most of my backpacking food is made at home and dehydrated at home. Your trip is going to be somewhere between four and seven days. Can you come up with three dinners, and have each one once or twice? And can you have the same breakfast each day? And can you have lunch be a grab-bag of different snack items (like your cliff bars) that you eat when you want throughout the day?

Those answers should help guide your planning.

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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by Vandy »

+1 Pack-it Gourmet

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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by kolo »

I use Mountain House for my evening meals. On the lighter side, I like Mary Janes Farm (dehydrated) for lunch. I found out about Mary Janes Farm when I was subscribed to Backpacker Magazine. It is pretty tasty food! During the day I snack on Cliff Bars and bagels.

https://shop.maryjanesfarm.org/

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dcclark
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by dcclark »

I used to bring lots more freeze-dried meals to use for lunch, but the time and effort to prepare them in the middle of a hike isn't worth it to me. Snacking my way along works better and gives more variety.

Breakfasts - I usually use instant oatmeal supplemented with whatever berries are in season (or dried fruit if it's the wrong time of year).

Lunch is an "on the move" thing, usually involves rice cakes with peanut butter and hunter's sausage (don't require refrigeration). Plus, lots of snacking, gorp, clif bars, etc. throughout the day. The rice cakes with peanut butter are my favorite hiking food ever.

Dinner - freeze-dried meals, often Mountain House, but it's best to experiment. Everyone finds a few "I'd only eat it if I were starving" freeze-dried options, but it varies a lot from person to person.
Last edited by dcclark on Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by torpified »

I'm ashamed to say that I build my backpacking menus around instant coffee, poptarts, and ramen. I'm not ashamed to own up to starting each dinner with a cup of instant soup -- there's especially good miso soups you can often find in the supermarket. They're not high in calories, but they help with hydration. And if you are reconstituting a freeze-dried meal, they keep you occupied while it's turning back into food!

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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by kolo »

I'm ashamed to say that I build my backpacking menus around instant coffee, poptarts, and ramen.
Torpified, don't be ashamed! It seems to work well for you as you certainly cruise across the island at a quick pace!

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Base654
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by Base654 »

When I started hiking I ate oatmeal, ramen and Lipton side dish packs. I still have some of that in my pack, but I really like the taste of Mountain House chicken and beef stews so those are typically dinner. I carry extra tea, some "squirt in water" drinks and a hand full of the herb-ox instant broth packets for flavoring water. lunch is a a block of cheese and a stick of summer sausage on tortillas. One block and one stick get me four lunches. I carry medicinal martinis with olives in the bottle.

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thesneakymonkey
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by thesneakymonkey »

We like packit gourmet as well. Good stuff for sure. Freshest dehydrated food on the market in my opinion. We did a little video series on what we packed for food on our last trip to the island. Here's a link to the first one if you're interested: https://youtu.be/wZQEpC8oP60
Trip #1East side loop: https://youtu.be/xejNOfYWpIQ
Trip#2 Minong End to End : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 9ZJVgtfgga
Husband_Wife_OutdoorLife on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/HusbandWifeOutdoorLife

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Base654
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by Base654 »

To lighten the load: I usually plan my trip so that I get back to Rock Harbor mid day the day before I leave. I am able to lighten my load by 3 meals because I eat a burger for lunch at the bar, have dinner and breakfast at the restaurant. The store has chips, dip, meat bread, ice cream, beer, wine and freeze dried and other stuff. Not terribly cheap, but it is there.

You will be burning quite a few more calories than hiking. The extra energy a real meal gives you might not be a bad idea. You may find cold temps and some snow in early June. I don't suggest shorting yourself calories if you are going around that time.

I have been buying the cans of mountain house food and repackaging to double ziplocks to save weight and space. Don' t forget to bring a measuring cup.

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Kelly
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by Kelly »

For breakfast, I like to eat granola supplemented with nuts and dried fruit, and using full-fat powdered milk. Or I might do overnight steel-cut oats with the same additions.

Lunch is usually Kind bars and a piece hard cheese and jerky.

Supper is anything that can be purchased at the supermarket and reconstituted on the trail. Super Targets sell a line of parboiled black lentils and wild rice and brown rice and I forget what else, to which can be added butter or oil and seasonings. Dried vegetables can be added as well.

And those miso soups torpified mentioned are lovely. And salty.

I carry a small jar of almond or peanut butter in case I need extra calories.
Personal rule #1: Once you arrive, the only important thing is to show up for the boat or plane on time.

2012 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 in the planning stages

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booyah
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by booyah »

So I went for six days with my 15 yo daughter in Kayaks. My daughter is a very picky eater, and I am one who doesnt care for the standard backpacking prepared meals.
She referred to our trip as the "Pasta and Paddling tour" for our food options (Picky eating kid right?). We were very heavily pasta fed. Some of my favorite options below though

Ramen noodles without the flavor pack is a good option, for a basic noodle to build off your meals. Add some dehydrated/freezedried veggies!
Foil pack chicken adds protein and flavor! https://www.amazon.com/Tyson-Premium-Ch ... B00AU8UTYO
Tortilla shells, single serve peanut butter cups (Jif) and Mcdonalds jelly packets make great trail PB&Js
Same idea tortilla shells and prepared tuna mix https://www.amazon.com/StarKist-Ready-S ... B00374UIM6
Pancake mix is "just add water", and goes great with the islands blueberries
Kraft Mack and Cheese repackaged and a few spoonfuls of dry milk works well
Beef jerky steeped in boiling water (discard the water or its still too salty), then added to instant mashed potatoes makes a great steak and potato dinner
Zatarans dirty rice and a foil pack of chicken is an awesome dinner for two hungry hikers
Foil pack chicken and taco bell hot sauce with tortilla shells for trail fajitas
Starbucks vias for coffee so you dont murder anyone
Swiss miss hot chocolate and bourbon for the evening to unwind!

Snacks are usually jerkey, fruit roll ups, granola bars, dehydrated fruit, or trail mix.

I hate the starvation diet a lot of campers believe in, but then again, thats why I am in the shape I am right? (pear can be a shape I swear!)

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booyah
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Re: What Food Is Best?

Post by booyah »

mmueller575 wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:31 pm
Then for lunch, I have typically used Cliff bars, but I don't know if there are better options. I'm not opposed to having other food for lunch, but what have you all used that has worked for you? I just really want to be prepared on our first backpacking trip! :)
I just saw this, the infamous cliff bar. I did a nine day trip, where cliff bars where supposed to be my snacks. Day 4, I was staring down the barrel of YET ANOTHER cliff bar, and I decided I would never eat another one again. I ended up carrying around about 12 cliff bars the rest of the trip, and refused to eat them, just carrying the dead weight until we got back to RH

You can tell who on the island is making that same mistake as they try to pawn off cliff bars to everyone at the camp sites.

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