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  1. #1
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    Default Food Carrying Techniques?

    I like my Ramen as much as anyone, but I also find myself with a few “Hollywood” dinners in my pack from time to time. I’m partial to Mountain House. ( Is it just me or are there a growing plethora of good, tasty, Expensive, dehydrated and freeze dried meals on the market). Anyway, back to my question.... I am looking for a way to carry the MH, but lessen the bulk in my food bag. Other than buying only the ProPak MH, does anyone do anything clever on this matter.. poke a hole, squeeze the air, tape over? Remove from pouch, place in ziplock, maybe carry one MH pouch and clean, reuse?

    I know I’m nitpicking, but I think about this every time my food bag reaches the max, fill line, can’t quite get all in, level. Thanks for any creative ideas.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  2. #2

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    I always hefty-bag all my packaged meals like Mt House etc etc. Of course I use a cook pot for the meal cozy.

    If you're talking about a "fill line" maybe you're talking about a bear canister?? Here's one novel approach with a canister---Nobody will ever do it though---

    Fill the thing up to the brim with every cookable meal you have---mix it up like one big powdered mess---Oatmeal, ramens, Mt House meals THE WHOLE WAD. No packaging in the canister at all, just raw food products. Then spoon out enough for dinner, bring to a boil, put in cozy---eat. You'll be eating everything all mixed up---but one canister can sure hold an amazing amount of food this way.

  3. #3

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    Put it in a ziplock (or vacuum seal) and use your pot? A cozy on the pot might be helpful, but isn't completely necessary. You could use a hat or vest. I don't like to do that because I don't want food spills on my clothes personally, YMMV.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GolfHiker View Post
    I like my Ramen as much as anyone, but I also find myself with a few “Hollywood” dinners in my pack from time to time. I’m partial to Mountain House. ( Is it just me or are there a growing plethora of good, tasty, Expensive, dehydrated and freeze dried meals on the market). Anyway, back to my question.... I am looking for a way to carry the MH, but lessen the bulk in my food bag. Other than buying only the ProPak MH, does anyone do anything clever on this matter.. poke a hole, squeeze the air, tape over? Remove from pouch, place in ziplock, maybe carry one MH pouch and clean, reuse?

    I know I’m nitpicking, but I think about this every time my food bag reaches the max, fill line, can’t quite get all in, level. Thanks for any creative ideas.
    I buy it in #10 cans to save $, then portion it out into ziploc bags. Add water to the bag, put the bag into a cut-down padded envelope I got on an Amazon delivery (not reflective, just sort of like bubble-wrap) that serves as a cozy, works great. If I were actually cooking in my pot (Knorr sides or something like that) , I'd make a more traditional pot cozy, but with freeze-dried stuff the envelope is smaller and works great.

  5. #5
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    Default

    I met a thru hiker on the AT in Georgia in 2012 that carried a five gallon bucket. Before you say “he will never make it”..... I met him in NJ a few months later still carrying the same bucket. Maybe give that a try.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  6. #6
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    Step 1 - divide the MH meal into 2 quart sizes ziploc bags and discard the heavy and bulky foil pouch.

    Step 2 - eat. I make each quart sized bag last a whole meal by combining with a tortilla or 2 and maybe even cheese depending on the meal. I haven’t found any of the MH meals that aren’t good when eaten burrito style.


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  7. #7
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    Default

    MH many have stated that one can make it more compact by transferring it to a ziplock bag. Make it a freezer type ziplock and one can cook and eat in that bag. Other then that your pack or food bag may be too small for the task. If it's just the food bag they are fairly cheap unless it's one of those bear/mice resistant sacks. I've heard it said don't buy a pack larger then what you need, and heard buy the smallest one you can get away with. This will force you to keep the weight down. I have found the opposite, buy a pack where you can comfortably and quickly pack and access what you need, and if you need to be out a bit longer of resupply is bulky it's not a problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    I met a thru hiker on the AT in Georgia in 2012 that carried a five gallon bucket. Before you say “he will never make it”..... I met him in NJ a few months later still carrying the same bucket. Maybe give that a try.
    That was Animal, and yes he made it, still toting his bucket. He wanted to stay out of towns as much as possible and would typically get 2-3 weeks of food at a time. The bucket was extra storage for food.

  8. #8

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    I found that even the cheapest generic brand of resealable bags work for the "pour boiling water in bag" method. The higher cost freezer bag is unnecessary when you're just reportioning right before or during a trip. I ended up in all sorts of low budget stores, and just bought what was available.

    If you're dehydrating and vacuum sealing, you'll need a stronger bag to avoid punctures from sharp edged food.

  9. #9
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    I used to be all over MH meals but I actually enjoy cooking on the trail. My absolute favorite is a pouch of salmon fried in olive oil add water, bring to a boil and add one of the Knorr pasta packs and olives if you like. That and my hammock and I forget all about the day’s miles and mountains.

  10. #10
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    When I did the JMT, I had to plan for 10 days of food in a bear canister (MTR to Whitney). I budgeted for 3,000 calories per day, so it takes some effort to get 30,000 calories of food into a bear canister.

    I purchased the Bearikade Expedition (almost 1,000cuic) because it's the biggest commercial bear canister available.
    I then concentrated on finding foods that were not only calorie dense in weight, but also calorie dense in mass.

    So foods like crackers were totally out. Where the 1st half the trip I used Minute Rice, for these 10 days on the 2nd half I used Couscous (similar calorie density by weight, but Couscous pieces are smaller so less empty space store in a bag). Sunflower seed kernels were terrific at being very calorie dense.

    Another thing was using a vacuum sealer AND a knife blade sealer (heat sealer without the vacuum, and the knife blade type are easier to work with than trying to use the vacuum sealer for double duty). Rather than just drinking water, I wanted drink mixes... but didn't want to have one big bag I'd have to keep measureing out of each time, and store bought versions take up a lot of space (most the packaging is empty). So I use the knife blade sealer and ziplock snack bags to create custom drink mix pouches (the ziploc part gets cut away in the process and I'm left with a bag sealed on 4 sides just big enough for the drink mix).

    The vacuum sealer is great for foods that might break or crumble... for example, rather than ramen noodles, I get soman noodles. Practically the same thing, but soman comes in strait strands like spaghetti. Lay that flat in the bottom of a vacuum bag and vacuum seal it... it creates a strong package that prevents the dry noodles from breaking. I've also done this for Oreo cookies (double stuff). By vacuum packing them, they sit tight together and avoid crumbling to pieces as the food bounces around going down the trail.

    I also got the large can of Mountain House freeze dried chicken, portioned out sizes I liked and put portions in a vacuum bag (I even included an oxygen absorber because I was packaging this stuff months before my trip... for something like repackaging Armor dried beef (from the jar to a flat vacuum package), the oxygen absorber made a huge difference in the quality of the meat (did a test before the trip, and the repackaged beef without an oxygen absorber changed color within two weeks).

    Other examples include packaging Plain M&M's rather than Peanut M&M's because the plain pack closer together.

  11. #11
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    Default

    I forgot to mention, I use waxed paper and paper bags for most of my food. It doesn’t make much sense to me to go out, enjoy nature and then produce tons of toxic waste. The bags are either reusable or make for an amazing emergency fire starter. It takes about 10 to 1000 years for the average plastic bag and bottle to break down and they will be highly toxic.

  12. #12
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    If I'm trying to save space, I'll pack my food in bulk instead of individual meals. I'll pack 3/4 cup of oats per day, 3/4 cup of couscous/mashed potatoes/rice per day, etc. It saves a lot of space. You do need to be a little careful not to eat more than the measured amount, or you can wind up short near the end.

    This is really only an issue when I'm trying to go more than 4-5 days without resupply, but sometimes I pack this way just because. Can save a lot of $$, too

  13. #13
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks everyone. Sometimes the easy or simplest things need to be hashed out, for me at least. It’s never to late to learn knew techniques. I’ll review, pick out those suggestions that make sense, work for me and be on my way to a more manageable food bag.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  14. #14
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    Default

    uhh, just eat it - carry it that way

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