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Suzzz
07-19-2017, 20:21
Well...

Less than 48 hours before my big toe hits the trail and I've yet to find dehydrated food that I like. I've spent a fortune buying and tasting different kinds and brands over the last few months, still, every time I prepare one, my taste buds are like, Seriously??? And how many days worth of this stuff are we supposed to eat??? I've even tried adding spices, mushrooms and a little bit of cheese, to no avail. And is it just me, or do they all sort of taste the same? Maybe it's a common ingredient they have to put in them for the dehydration process. In all fairness, some of them are ok. Not great, not good, only ok.

I know myself. A weekend of so-so food and I'd be stopping by my favorite drive-thru on the way home, no big deal, but this time I'll be out there for 8 days, that's too long not to enjoy what I'm eating. Food is meant to be enjoyed, otherwise what's the point of having taste buds?

So my food bag and cooking kit just got heavier. I haven't weighed everything yet but I think it will be around 2 or 3 pounds more than originally planned. It's not ideal but it's a sacrifice I'll gladly make.

MuddyWaters
07-19-2017, 20:28
My opinion.....
All crap.

All I tried.

Even packit gourmet

Try to get too fancy

How hard is it to dry meat crumbles, precooked pasta, and simple tomatoe sauce?

Must be pretty hard. Dehydrated spaghetti-os would be superior to most.
Whats all the nasty crunchy vegetable matter in some?
Corn in things that shouldnt have corn.
Ive buried dinners they were so bad, or scattered away from camping areas.
Eadiest GOOD trail meal....thick potatoe soup.

Trail meals need to be SIMPLE, quick, one pot or step, and GOOD. And not mske 4 oz of packaging garbage.

cmoulder
07-19-2017, 20:38
Hunger makes things taste better.

KDogg
07-19-2017, 20:51
Yep, gotta season it with a little hunger. Makes it taste amazing!

Suzzz
07-19-2017, 21:12
Glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't like them. And yes I'm sure hunger does put things in perspective.

imscotty
07-19-2017, 21:23
It might be you Suzzz :)

I do like some of the PackIt Gourmet offerings, I think the 'Big Easy Gumbo' is especially good. Yes, hunger will make everything taste better. Bring some of your favorite seasoning, I like tabasco to add some zing and flavor. There are plenty of everyday food options from the grocery store that are worth taking too. Cheese, bring lots of cheese.

Puddlefish
07-19-2017, 21:30
Yeah, after some time on the trail a whole lot of dehydrated food ended up having... not exactly the same taste, but the same texture. Potato mush, rice mush, mush mush. At that point I started adding Frito's to most meals, and all other kinds of weird combinations of tuna, pepperoni, curry, dried jalapenos, etc. to add some variety. Certain flavors of Knorr rice sides tasted as if they flat out left the spices out.

Trail towns become a culinary experience. Restaurants that you might have scorned in your former life suddenly appear before you like a glowing beacons of wonder.

KDogg
07-19-2017, 21:45
My hiking partners and I bought mountain house meals when we got to the 100 mile on our thru. Those things were so good. We gobbled them up. Yes, we had been hiking for over five months. However, even on short hikes I think ramen and oatmeal taste awesome. Not so when I'm at home. Hike until you're hungry....really hungry!

10-K
07-19-2017, 22:01
Put a Mountain House in a hiker box and see if it stays there 30 seconds.

MuddyWaters
07-19-2017, 22:06
Put a Mountain House in a hiker box and see if it stays there 30 seconds.

Its all relative to whatever youve been choking down
Doesnt make it good necessarilly...

10-K
07-19-2017, 22:07
Trail food is like trail sleep. Never as good as at home but I don't hike to eat like a king or sleep like a baby.

nsherry61
07-19-2017, 22:12
If you don't like the ready-made, make your own. Start with a base that works for you, couscous, instant rice, top roman, instant mashed potatoes, or whatever, then add your vegetables of choice - dried veggies, freezdried veggies, semi-fresh veggies or whatever, then add your protein of choice - foil packed tuna, foil packed chicken, summer sausage, jerky or whatever, then add your flavor packet of choice - spaghetti sauce, teriyaki sauce, turkey gravy, peanut butter and red pepper or whatever, then add some olive oil and any other spices you like. It's all stuff that you can get from most grocery stores and can add up to some pretty acceptable - yeah not always great - meals.

Have fun and be creative. Then let the rest of us know what discoveries you've made that are extra good. I love peanut butter and red peppers in combination with lots of the foods listed above.

MuddyWaters
07-19-2017, 22:27
It might be you Suzzz :)

I do like some of the PackIt Gourmet offerings, I think the 'Big Easy Gumbo' is especially good.

Bears no resembelence to gumbo.
Another example of a fool marketing something too fancy, with crap in it that dont belong. It is however, almost edible. Too much herbs, vegetable stuff , corn ????

Stuff needs to be cooked and dried, not mixed together

Too many lil packets and packaging.
Might be the best of their stuff

ScareBear
07-20-2017, 05:50
Each to their own. I can tolerate almost all of the Backpacker Pantry products. Almost none of the Mountain House products. Absolutely none of the Alpineaire, WiseCompany or GoodToGo products.

Have you tried Ramen, in all it's various forms? Udon?

How about a packet of Knorr's noodles of some kind and add a pack of cooked chicken or tuna or some other protein?

Google "freezer bag backpacking meals"...

egilbe
07-20-2017, 06:29
I found knorrs Mexican rice to be very tasty. Add some shredded parmesan cheese and its absolute heaven.

illabelle
07-20-2017, 06:53
We took some dehydrated corn and peas on a trip. Soaked 'em. Simmered 'em. Boiled 'em. Never softened up. Finally dumped 'em.

Anybody want some dehydrated corn and peas? Harmony House, about 14+ ounces of each. I'll never use them up.

PennyPincher
07-20-2017, 07:03
This is why I make all my own meals and then freeze dry them. Although years ago I used to 'enjoy' the mountain house meals. But all the commercial meals have lots of sodium, a rice or pasta base, and chemicals to make them stay 'good' longer. And personally, I don't season my food with chemicals. Plenty of seasonings I use but not those chemicals the commercial companies use.

And you can make dehydrated food in your oven. Unfortunately when you are hiking most all your meals are going to end up with a similar consistency if all you are doing is adding hot water to your meal. It's not like you will be picking up a burger after a day of hiking unless you are in town for the night.


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egilbe
07-20-2017, 07:11
We took some dehydrated corn and peas on a trip. Soaked 'em. Simmered 'em. Boiled 'em. Never softened up. Finally dumped 'em.

Anybody want some dehydrated corn and peas? Harmony House, about 14+ ounces of each. I'll never use them up.
I use mine in soup. Or pre-soak them during the day.

garlic08
07-20-2017, 07:39
I'm with 10K, I don't go hiking for the gourmet food. Food is fuel--when you need it, fill up. (However, I do sleep better outside.)

I wouldn't change hiking plans because of the type of food that's available. Walk the aisles of the market and buy food and carry it, even if it's only peanut butter and a bread product and a few bananas. My shopping got better when I discarded the idea of "meals." I eat all I can at every break. Usually at the end of the day I don't even think about "dinner," having eaten plenty probably an hour before that. I'll have another large snack and go to sleep.

Venchka
07-20-2017, 09:25
Peanut butter, oatmeal, dried fruit, cheese, Lara, Kind and Cliff bars, Peanut M&Ms, Krave Jerky, etc. all taste the same at home or in the Boonies.
Wayne


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Suzzz
07-20-2017, 09:52
I don't have a dehydrator and my dehydration attemps with the oven were less than successful, hence the reason why I was going for the commercial dehydrated meals.

I don't have much time before I leave (less than 24 hours now) so I'll keep it simple with stuff I like and know won't spoil in my pack like Knorr noodles, cheese, jerky, etc. This being my first section hike of the AT, it will also be my longest hike. Up until now 2-3 days was my max and food was not as much of a concern but now that my kids are older I'm planning more longer hikes so I'll invest in a dehydrator when I get back and use my kids as guinea pigs this winter. Next time I'll be more prepared... foodwise.

Thanks for all you tips!

Traffic Jam
07-20-2017, 10:02
I mainly make my own dehydrated meals and add hot sauce, cheese, Fritos, etc. after cooking.

For me, Hawk Vittles is the best, although pricey. However, I believe most of his meals make two, large servings so I repackage them into smaller portions.

Traffic Jam
07-20-2017, 10:04
Also Suzz, you may find you're not very hungry, especially in the heat. As others mentioned, smaller, more frequent snacks and meals might work better.

This is going to be a very hot weekend. If you haven't already, think very carefully about hydration.

Gambit McCrae
07-20-2017, 10:31
I personally don't mind the meals. The biggest downer for me is the redundancy. Last trip I stuck to the chilli, pineapple chicken and alfredo. If you sample it, and it is crunchy, add another 1/4 or < cup of water and let sit another 5-10 minutes. Other options are rice and pasta sides, instant Idahoan tators, or just snack on excess combos, chips, trail mix etc. Trail food all the same is to me just more reason to push harder to next town. In town, pack out half a pizza, a sub for that night etc.

I made my own dehydrated meals for about 2 years. Lots of effort, better tasting, hard to do for a thru, easier for a sectioner, trial and error, startup costs, little more cleanup on trail. prose and cons all mixed together right there.

Suzzz
07-20-2017, 11:29
Also Suzz, you may find you're not very hungry, especially in the heat. As others mentioned, smaller, more frequent snacks and meals might work better.
This is going to be a very hot weekend. If you haven't already, think very carefully about hydration.

Yes I have a plan for hydration. I typically drink a lot and I figure I'll drink even more on the trail. I plan on topping off every time I see a water source and from what I see on the map and what I was told in another thread there is plenty of water available.

Thanks for your input!

rafe
07-20-2017, 13:42
Put a Mountain House in a hiker box and see if it stays there 30 seconds.

this......... !

Traffic Jam
07-20-2017, 16:01
Yes I have a plan for hydration. I typically drink a lot and I figure I'll drink even more on the trail. I plan on topping off every time I see a water source and from what I see on the map and what I was told in another thread there is plenty of water available.

Thanks for your input!

I take that back, looks like it's going to be nice and (possibly) rainy. I'm jealous. You're starting at Springer, right?

BuckeyeBill
07-20-2017, 16:35
I was checking out food on Dutch's Make Your (http://www.makeyourgear.com/food/all/) Gear site and found that freeze dried food not only worked and tasted better, it also looked better. Presentation is the most important thing when serving a meal weather at home, a restaurant or on the trail.

Suzzz
07-20-2017, 16:48
I take that back, looks like it's going to be nice and (possibly) rainy. I'm jealous. You're starting at Springer, right?

No, I'll be doing a section in Maine, from Stratton to Monson. It won't be so hot there and so far the forecast says ''possibility'' of rain.

Traffic Jam
07-20-2017, 18:00
No, I'll be doing a section in Maine, from Stratton to Monson. It won't be so hot there and so far the forecast says ''possibility'' of rain.
Sounds divine. Can't wait to hear about your trip.

Maineiac64
07-20-2017, 20:23
I guess I am lucky as I have found a few MH meals that I like, stroganoff and chili mac are good. I usually have these for dinner. I also like several of the packit gourmet meals. Knorr sides and regular macncheese are good too.

I cannot stand any of the egg/skillet dishes.

I am a big fan of tortillas and pbj/nutella for lunches and oatmeal or a meal bar (green belly) for breakfast with coffee.

egilbe
07-20-2017, 20:41
No, I'll be doing a section in Maine, from Stratton to Monson. It won't be so hot there and so far the forecast says ''possibility'' of rain.
Soaking rain monday and tuesday, hot and muggy saturday and a little coolr on Sunday. Sunny after that, but you should be across the kennebec by then. West Carry pond has a trail angel who leaves snacks at the leanto.

scrabbler
07-20-2017, 20:54
Fight me if you don't like the Big Easy Gumbo. Kidding, but seriously, to me it's damn good after a long day.

kestral
07-21-2017, 00:04
I consistently like oatmeal mixes I make at home. Not the packets bought premade which don't suit my taste buds.

Basic recipe:

line up about 8-12 sandwich size ziplock bags. In each add variations of following to your taste and availability

1/3 cup instant oats
1/3 cup regular rolled oats ( I like the texture of both types together)
fruit - 1/8 to 1/4 cup raisins or chopped dates or apricots or dried apples or dried cranberries
nuts- 1/4 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts or chopped macadamia
sweet - 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar, honey powder, coconut sugar maple sugar or skip.
Spice - cinnamon or ginger or clove or whatever
cream - 1/4 cup Nido or 2 tablespoons Grace coconut powdered milk or powdered coffee creamer
salt - 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

i like lots of variety and have a well stocked pantry. Good food is worth the money to me.

Favorites are. Cranberry almond coconut, maple walnut, apple walnut cinnamon, macadamia pineapple.

I make a ton of these, put the individual baggies in gallon zip locks and freeze for long term storage.
I never tire of them, kids like them, pack up for work meal in a pinch and the exotic flavors have high swap value

happy hiking!

MuddyWaters
07-23-2017, 13:36
I don't have a dehydrator and my dehydration attemps with the oven were less than successful, hence the reason why I was going for the commercial dehydrated meals.




Well, im not sure how you can be unsucessful dehydrating in oven.
lay parchment paper on cookie sheet, set at 150-160F, crack door with wooden utensil wedged in top

dry as long as takes. Maybe 4-6 hrs for meat crumbles, up to 12-14 hrs for thick chili.
grind up thick stuff in blender.

Ive dried lean ground meat, jar spaghetti sauce, canned chili, and cooked pasta this way in oven
It all rehydrates beautifully, tastes good, is simple, and is better than 95% of what you can buy.

a bit of trouble...yes, by comparison to just buying crap.

Suzzz
07-28-2017, 11:53
Well, im not sure how you can be unsucessful dehydrating in oven.lay parchment paper on cookie sheet, set at 150-160F, crack door with wooden utensil wedged in top
dry as long as takes. Maybe 4-6 hrs for meat crumbles, up to 12-14 hrs for thick chili.grind up thick stuff in blender.
Ive dried lean ground meat, jar spaghetti sauce, canned chili, and cooked pasta this way in ovenIt all rehydrates beautifully, tastes good, is simple, and is better than 95% of what you can buy.
a bit of trouble...yes, by comparison to just buying crap.
I guess that means I need more practice. I don't mind the trouble at all. I'll have to try some more over the winter.

blw2
07-30-2017, 19:52
went to REI today, decided to pick up a few of the mountain house meals that I hadn't tried before...juts for experimentation at home.
Tonight was chicken and dumplings.
I was thinking about this thread. It was more like a chicken pot pie I'd say, and certainly not chicken and dumplings, at least not even close to what mom used to make.....but while not fine dining I thought it was fairly good...

BuckeyeBill
08-06-2017, 16:43
Suzzz, Just keep trying different things and ways. Trying the same technique over and over and expecting different results doesn't help the thinking mind grow. I do know that meat slivers dehydrate well. Find a nice beef roast and ask the meat cutter to cut the roast very thin for you. Take you pile of meat slivers home, and trim any excess fat. Dry as you normally would. You can even marinate the meat overnight for a different taste. I use Liquid Smoke, Worcester Sauce, Tabasco Sauce and a sprinkling of ground hot peppers with salt and pepper added. It turns into the greatest beef jerky you will ever taste. Good Luck and keep trying and drying.

Suzzz
08-07-2017, 00:52
Suzzz, Just keep trying different things and ways. Trying the same technique over and over and expecting different results doesn't help the thinking mind grow. I do know that meat slivers dehydrate well. Find a nice beef roast and ask the meat cutter to cut the roast very thin for you. Take you pile of meat slivers home, and trim any excess fat. Dry as you normally would. You can even marinate the meat overnight for a different taste. I use Liquid Smoke, Worcester Sauce, Tabasco Sauce and a sprinkling of ground hot peppers with salt and pepper added. It turns into the greatest beef jerky you will ever taste. Good Luck and keep trying and drying.

Will do! Right now I am away on vacation with the family and when we get back home I'll have to concentrate on the ''going back to school'' craze but as soon as the dust settles and fall comes along I'll get back at it. I'm hoping that next year's section will be a more gastronomic experience.