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tyler0928
01-17-2008, 23:22
Any advice about packaged dehydrated food? I'm trying to figure out foods to eat on the trail and I was looking at the dehydrated food today and its like $4-5(some are two servings). Whats the best option?

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-17-2008, 23:28
Check out Sarbar's Freezer bag cooking web site (http://www.freezerbagcooking.com/) - Try some of the recipes there and if it looks like something you would like, she has a book that is worth buying - loads of great recipes.

Pedaling Fool
01-17-2008, 23:33
Depends on who you ask. If you're asking me, then the answer is yes, dehydrated food is the only way to go. However, I don't buy it, I do it. It's cheaper, but more work, but it's cheaper!

Many thrus eat badly, IMHO, mostly eating a ton of snickers and the main course is limited by only stuff that keeps well on the trail, which does not include much in the way of fresh fruits/vegetables, also it's not easy to carry because of weight/bulk. I can carry 2 weeks supply of tomatoes in a ziplock bag and the weight is next to nothing.

sarbar
01-18-2008, 01:47
It can be cheaper and a lot easier to pack (and also having a great shelf life) but...do it yourself :) You will eat better as well. I am thinking you are referring to items like Mountain House freeze dried meals? Instead think buying packs of dried vegetables, fruits, easy to use carbs and meat. Or dry your own!

For the cost of a couple MH meals you can easily do many times that of homemade meals :)

cachica
01-19-2008, 18:14
Excellent advice! Just got a dehydrator for Christmas, and so far have only dehydrated split pea soup. Here might be an easy way around cost and work. I sent out an email to all the lovely ladies in my life and asked them to send me good recipes along with a nice thought so i could think about them while i'm eating their food on the trail. The coolest thing about that is that most of them said they'd cook it for me! Talk about cost cutting!

Colter
01-25-2008, 10:35
I didn't prepare any dehydrated food for the AT, didn't buy any backpacking freeze-dried foods, and did only a handful of maildrops.

Dehydrated foods are great, but I was quite satisfied with the foods found in a normal grocery store, which do of course include things like Just Veggies. If you wander the aisles and take a new look at all the stuff that's there, you'll find a huge variety of foods that will work just fine on the trail.

Tipi Walter
01-25-2008, 10:43
Here's the best dehydrated stuff I've found and it's all organic. If you buy in bulk it comes to around $2.00 a meal. I've been carrying her stuff for years.

http://products.maryjanesfarm.org/pfoshop/AllProducts.asp?dept_id=150#Meals

bloodmountainman
01-25-2008, 11:10
One or two of these meals are ok every week, but don't depend on them only. Tortillas last a long time and are a great bread source. You can roll tuna, peanut butter and jelly, or anything else in them for sandwiches. Dried fruits and veggieges are also good to add to your meals. De-hydrated soups are great. Rice will add substance to almost anything! Experiment with some of this stuff at home.

Fiddleback
01-25-2008, 11:45
IMO, homemade dehydrated food is the way to go. It's tastier, healthier (more nutritious and specific to the hiker's requirements), and cheaper. And if you do it right (e.g., dry portions reserved from a regular home meal) it's almost less time consuming than purpose shopping for the commercial stuff.:) Use a dehydrator or cookie sheets in an oven...either way it's a win-win-win-win situation.:D

FB

hopefulhiker
01-25-2008, 11:51
ditto that, Get the book, Gourmet Backpacker

JAK
01-25-2008, 12:54
I tried dehydrating my food, but those damn chickens looked so miserable out there.
I just couldn't do it.

Hoop
01-25-2008, 14:22
Some de-hy meals are really high in sodium if that's an issue for you.

Smile
01-25-2008, 15:51
The pre-prepared ones sometime have vitamins added and so much sodium! It's a lot of fun too to do your own, and experiment with different stuff.

I made dinner after my first experiment and one couldn't tell it had been dehydrated. You also know exactly 'what's in there' ;)

JAK
01-25-2008, 16:53
My carrots didn't grow too well either. How do you do it?

Bob S
01-25-2008, 17:27
Dehydrating your own food?

I have 2 dehydrators that I have only used to make jerky, is there a web site that talks about (shows) how to dehydrate regular food?
And just as important, how to re-hydrate so it comes out right.

I’m going to start experimenting with it, but it’s always good to learn what others have done.

Pedaling Fool
01-25-2008, 17:38
I've only used the cookbooks that came with my dehydrator, but I'd imagine some good stuff can be found on the web/library. As for dehydrating other stuff I do a lot of vegetables like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, potatoes.... and I just mix it with my rice while cooking and rehydration was never an issue. Sometimes I get to camp and don't feel like cooking and just eat w/o rehydrating, no problems.

hopefulhiker
01-25-2008, 17:43
You can dehydrate almost anything.. Try dehydrating some leftovers sometime and then rehydrating it.. Also look into using a "cozy" to rehydrate...

You can save a lot of weight on the trail in fuel and food weight.. Also look into NIDO dehydrated baby milk in the latino section of grocery stores...

Hotrod
01-25-2008, 17:58
If I could only have one dehydrated item on the trail it would be salsa. Never done the dehydration myself, but it can turn any meal into a master piece. A great addition to mac n' cheese.

sarbar
01-26-2008, 00:18
If any of you want starter info on dehydrating I have a page on Dehydrating 101 (http://www.freezerbagcooking.com/dehydrating.htm) on our site. It has pictorials on how to do it all :)

Bob S
01-26-2008, 02:44
If any of you want starter info on dehydrating I have a page on Dehydrating 101 (http://www.freezerbagcooking.com/dehydrating.htm) on our site. It has pictorials on how to do it all :)
Thanks for the link, Iím going to experiment in the next few weeks. :sun

minnesotasmith
01-26-2008, 08:44
It's far lighter than fresh food, and keeps better. It also is slower to cook, and often tastes worse if edible while dehydrated and eaten that way (compare dried to fresh fruit, or beef jerky with a sizzling steak).

Dehydrated food vs. freeze-dried...

DF and FD are about the same in weight, as both have had nearly all their water removed. Commercially-obtained DF and FD will both commonly have lower water contents than home-made DF, so will be lighter and keep longer.

DF is considerably less bulky (FD does not lose much volume from starting size, whereas DF can go to under 1/5th its original volume). DF is also cheaper and generally easier to find. However, DF is slower to reconstitute/cook, has commonly suffered considerably greater vitamin loss (esp. Vitamin C), and does not taste as good (is not as palatable). FD food actually can cook FASTER than fresh food does, especially for fibrous foods.

Also, note that roasting foods such as nuts before dehydrating them reduces both their nutritional value and their shelf life. Always get unroasted nuts.

Too, many commercially-obtained DFs tend to have large amounts of what I consider fillers, even adulterants. Examples include sugars/oils/salt added to dried fruits, huge amounts of unneeded salt/MSG added to main dishes, soy/white flour/potato flour, etc. FDs vary in this, but "pure" (single main component) seem to have much less of a problem with this, being generally just 100% of the desired food.

What I'd love to in preparing for another thruhike would be to purchase my OWN freeze-drying unit, and make my own FD fruit such as bananas, apricots, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, persimmons; meets like beef jerky and fish; and green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, watercress, cilantro, etc. (Onion and parsley are so cheap and easy to find DF, including in dollar stores, and are commonly sold left pure, here's no point to FD them IMO.)

Topcat
01-26-2008, 09:13
You doing another thru, MS?

Lone Wolf
01-26-2008, 09:26
doubt it. he's engaged and will prolly have a baby on the way :)

budforester
01-26-2008, 09:30
Any advice about packaged dehydrated food? I'm trying to figure out foods to eat on the trail and I was looking at the dehydrated food today and its like $4-5(some are two servings). Whats the best option?
Mais, Cher' Zatarain's makes dehydrated Red Beans and Rice; look in the corner grocery.

minnesotasmith
01-26-2008, 09:39
You doing another thru, MS?

Not til 2009 or 2010, though. Would still be NOBO, lighter packweight, tent more, more hike til pooped and camp, little or no slackpacking.

minnesotasmith
01-26-2008, 09:41
doubt it. he's engaged and will prolly have a baby on the way :)

That's one of two main things that would keep me (willingly) from thruing before retirement. Other is, I'm trying to get a better type of oil job, one that pays about twice what I make now to start, and would go to about triple in 4-5 years. Would likely stay at that til I can retire (in 10 years or less).

Hoop
01-26-2008, 09:45
Ditto on that link -- can't argue with cheap & tasty.

Pedaling Fool
01-26-2008, 12:29
...Dehydrated food vs. freeze-dried...

Freeze dried would be the way to go, but the only good units I've seen are made for industry. Haven't checked lately, but sure this is still true.

Lone Wolf
01-26-2008, 12:34
Any advice about packaged dehydrated food? I'm trying to figure out foods to eat on the trail and I was looking at the dehydrated food today and its like $4-5(some are two servings). Whats the best option?

nope. not the way to go. too much $$$. buy as you go. don't buy or dehydrate 5 months of food ahead of time. your odds of completing a thru-hike are not good.

Pedaling Fool
01-26-2008, 12:40
Yeah Tyler you're just a weenie, like me, join the club:D

Lone Wolf
01-26-2008, 12:43
Yeah Tyler you're just a weenie, like me, join the club:D
i ain't sayin anyone is a weenie. it's a fact most don't make it the whole way. no sense blowing a bunch of cash. just plan week to week

dessertrat
01-26-2008, 12:48
Not til 2009 or 2010, though. Would still be NOBO, lighter packweight, tent more, more hike til pooped and camp, little or no slackpacking.

Pardon the hijack, but why NOBO again? I am always curious that so many people choose to start in the South-- is it the "grandeur" of Katahdin as a goal, or the bugs in Maine in June, or???

Tin Man
01-26-2008, 12:52
I didn't prepare any dehydrated food for the AT, didn't buy any backpacking freeze-dried foods, and did only a handful of maildrops.

Dehydrated foods are great, but I was quite satisfied with the foods found in a normal grocery store, which do of course include things like Just Veggies. If you wander the aisles and take a new look at all the stuff that's there, you'll find a huge variety of foods that will work just fine on the trail.


Like Colter said, it is easy buying appropriate food along the AT. Check Jack's resupply article in the articles section and peruse your local grocery now to see all the choices that are available.

minnesotasmith
01-26-2008, 13:05
Pardon the hijack, but why NOBO again? I am always curious that so many people choose to start in the South-- is it the "grandeur" of Katahdin as a goal, or the bugs in Maine in June, or???

1) I mostly like other thruhikers, and I'd get to know (as opposed to see once, as SOBOs mostly do) more of them.

2) Much of the trail community (hostels, hiker events, trail angels, etc.) is absent for SOBOs.

3) I can handle cold weather well enough I can leave early enough to avoid the period when crowds are a bit much, as they can be south of the Smokies early on (any time in Feb. for start date, say).

4) Could compare much more easily to my first thruhike. As a scientist, I am very much attracted to comparing apples to apples. (When I want truly different in a hike, I'll start on the CDT, say.)

5) If I took someone with me next time, ;) NOBO is far better for them.

And, top reason, BC hitting Maine and the Whites early in an AT thruhike is nuts IMO. Although I'd be in considerably better shape when starting another thruhike than I was the first time, I would still consider it beyond desirable, prudent even, to have 4+ months of concentrated hiking immediately behind me before hitting those places. Holy spit, but parts of them were hard, bordering on dangerous at times.

Lone Wolf
01-26-2008, 13:08
basically humans are creatures of habit

minnesotasmith
01-26-2008, 13:21
Freeze dried would be the way to go, but the only good units I've seen are made for industry. Haven't checked lately, but sure this is still true.

There are some that are small enough for home use, but are pricy, being intended for biotech labs for the most part. I could afford one if I chose, with some planning, and as I intend to do other hiking, I figure the cost of one could be apportioned over those as well, so could make sense.

Tinker
01-26-2008, 13:24
Try Knorr-Lipton dinners, add your personal favorites (for me, it's home dehydrated onions and peppers and the occasional canned meat or dried sausage). Week after week this may get boring, but eating in towns will provide variety and some missing nutrients. Dried potato flakes, stuffing mixes, and dried soups can be used as well.
As a seasoned (old :p) section hiker, this is what I've used for years, and if I got the opportunity to do a thru, this is what I'd start with.
First night out of town you can bring frozen meat, ice cream, etc. and eat like a pig to try to recoup some of the calories burned during the hike. You can also boil eggs in town and carry them for a few days.

minnesotasmith
01-26-2008, 13:32
The whole-grained ones aren't bad. I bulked them out with whole-grain macaroni, boosted the veggie content about 30 times with FD spinach or broccoli, tand ossed in some olive oil and foil-pack salmon (wild-caught so it has the Omega-3s). If you're hiking in sweat-inducing hot weather and/or you eat a bunch of dried fruit with a decent Potassium content, the excessive Sodium in those meals isn't much of an issue IMO.

dessertrat
01-26-2008, 13:45
I like those angel hair boxed dinners by Betty Crocker-- similar to Lipton. The good thing about angel hair is that it is compact to store and cooks a lot faster than most other pastas. Add some pepperoni, cheese, or fresh vegetables (if you are just out of town). Instant potatoes with cheese and pepperoni is another favorite of mine. I think any of those things are better than the dehydrated stuff.

minnesotasmith
01-26-2008, 13:56
I like those angel hair boxed dinners by Betty Crocker-- similar to Lipton. The good thing about angel hair is that it is compact to store and cooks a lot faster than most other pastas. Add some pepperoni, cheese, or fresh vegetables (if you are just out of town). Instant potatoes with cheese and pepperoni is another favorite of mine. I think any of those things are better than the dehydrated stuff.

1) "Angel hair" pasta sounds a lot like white flour. Insulin bombs with most of the nutrition processed out. Ugh. Hold out for whole-grain pasta; it's available in most large supermarkets now.

2) Pepperoni is loaded with satfat. You can find better trail meat than that.

3) Potatos can be thought of nutritionally as just big hunks of sugar, a disguised junk food. With little in the way of nutritive value besides empty calories, negligible fiber, and a glycemic index that says "I want Type II Diabetes ASAP", they're the opposite of healthy.

dessertrat
01-26-2008, 14:38
I can't stand whole grain pasta, despite having tried it many times over the years. I don't doubt that you are correct that it is better for you.

I have to differ on the potatoes, though. 3 grams of protein per six ounces, more potassium than a banana, B vitamins, iron, almost no fat. Pepperoni has a lot of fat, which I think is great if you are burning a lot of calories, as a backpacker usually is.

While the theory of glycemic indexes makes some sense, I think it is far overblown for most people. Those with a known genetic pre-disposition to diabetes may wish to have more caution.

Happy
01-26-2008, 17:46
I can't stand whole grain pasta, despite having tried it many times over the years. I don't doubt that you are correct that it is better for you.

Try the Barilla Plus multigrain pasta (yellow box) available in most all grocery stores. Made from beans/flaxseeds, and you cannot tell the difference in taste from white/traditional pasta, but has all of the health benefits, plus more than whole grain.

A 3 1/2 ounce serving, provides 17g protein, 360 mg of omeha 3's, 7g fiber and is available in angel hair style (as well as the other styles) for quick cooking times!

Pedaling Fool
01-26-2008, 18:10
...I have to differ on the potatoes, though. 3 grams of protein per six ounces, more potassium than a banana, B vitamins, iron, almost no fat.....
I've dehydrated a ton of potatoes for this year's hike, they are just what the body needs during a long hike.

refreeman
01-26-2008, 18:57
basically humans are creatures of habit

what a crock o' *hit :D

refreeman
01-26-2008, 18:58
nope. not the way to go. too much $$$. buy as you go. don't buy or dehydrate 5 months of food ahead of time. your odds of completing a thru-hike are not good.

what a crock o' *hit :D

budforester
01-27-2008, 08:59
There are some that are small enough for home use, but are pricy, being intended for biotech labs for the most part. I could afford one if I chose, with some planning, and as I intend to do other hiking, I figure the cost of one could be apportioned over those as well, so could make sense.

Here's an opportunity for DIY. All you need is a vacuum chamber and pump. To lyophilize, freeze the food and pull a good vacuum on it; the water sublimes and the frozen state is maintained. Keep the pump going. Raising temperature speeds up sublimation.

trail_builder
01-27-2008, 11:35
Freezer bag cooking is definitely the way to go if you are good at planning ahead. i just returned from a week of winter hiking and tested out some of the recipes and great would be an understatement. One of the advantages of the freezer bag cooking (http://www.freezerbagcooking.com) is that you will definitely save on fuel --- the recipes require 1-2 cups of boiled water and that's it. It also cut down on the amount of extra food i felt i needed to carry since the servings are substantial (of course that all depends on you and your hike -- i would imagine that during a thruhike multiple servings would need to be combined).

jrwiesz
01-27-2008, 11:56
Here's the best dehydrated stuff I've found and it's all organic. If you buy in bulk it comes to around $2.00 a meal. I've been carrying her stuff for years.

http://products.maryjanesfarm.org/pfoshop/AllProducts.asp?dept_id=150#Meals

Where have I said that before?:sun

You can leave the salt and pepper home, too! Everything is in there!