Author Topic: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?  (Read 6666 times)

sheepstache

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Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« on: June 15, 2015, 08:10:27 PM »
I like multi-week hiking trips, so I'm always looking for a good calories-per-gram value at not too high a price.

Dehydrated meals are great, but they run $10-$12 bucks a pop. My stomach is pretty chill so if it's enough for two meals, I stretch it out without worrying about it going bad. Still, my goal is to spend close to the same amount for camping food as regular groceries.

Powerbars and the like are good, but, again, cost. Same for beef jerky. And macademia nuts, which are the best value at 200 calories per ounce. (A lot of power bars, for comparison, are 125 calories per ounce. Beef jerky isn't huge on calories, but is a good ratio for protein.) Of course you can mitigate cost through bulk purchase.

So, on to cheaper stuff I'd normally have in the kitchen and can reliably get at small-town grocery stores along the way:

Cheese and sausages are good for a couple days so if you eat those first you get the weight out of the way.

Tuna sold in a foil packet is good too. (Even though canned is cheaper. And even though I would feel stupid paying for the flavored ones when I could add my own oil and spices, in this case it seems like a good value.)

My favorite thing that I came up with this time was power oatmeal. Take one packet commercial instant oatmeal (for extra flavor), about three parts regular instant oatmeal (so you're not going crazy on sugar), however much raisins, walnuts, and chia seeds you want (got last two at wholesale place), bunch of cinnamon. Then you have a stick of butter with you for the first week and throw a tablespoon of that in for each serving. Delish!

I also like grapenuts and whole fat dried milk (Nestle Nido). I don't like the taste of the dried milk normally but the grapenuts do something to it.

Pasta actually isn't too shabby in terms of calorie concentration, but it doesn't feel like a nutritional powerhouse. It is filling, though. Angel hair takes the least fuel to cook. Throw some butter in for sauce, also an opportunity for that shelf-stable parmesan cheese.

I also take a multi-vitamin, which people say are useless because you're probably getting adequate vitamins in your regular food intake, but that might not be the case under these circumstances. Plus, I heard there was new research that mosquitoes are less attracted to you if you have a ton of b-vitamin in your sweat? Worth a shot!

Obviously, I'm carrying a stove. I did try the time before last not taking the stove and fuel to save weight, but I found it wasn't worth it in terms of lost variety.


So anybody else have similar needs and have some suggestions?

kindviking

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 08:35:38 PM »
Depends on your weather, but I love hard-boiled eggs, cheese, bread/butter/meat, trail mix and fruit on my hikes. I've never measured the calories, but they tend to satisfy me over a few long days of mountaineering.

StacheInAFlash

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 08:43:07 PM »
A couple of my go-to items are raw almonds (pretty cheap if you buy at Costco or Sam's Club or on a deal in bulk at a Co-Op) and dried mango. The mango is not exactly cheap (usually $14 a pound when I buy it in bulk) but its basically like beef jerky where you don't need much at a time. Also, I'm not talking about the freaky, neon orange super sweetened mango you can find prepackaged at a lot of places. I'm talking about the non-artificially sweetened Co-Op/Whole Foods mango.

I find that a quart size ziploc bag of each item lasts a ridiculous long time, even as I constantly find myself reaching in and grabbing a handful. Not exactly sure about the weight, but I've never thought it was too heavy.

Also, a 16 ounce jar of peanut butter is a godsend. Heavy? I suppose, but man a spoon of that always hits the spot (long as you're not low on water!).

dfields

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 09:55:04 PM »
I like to bring dry couscous, cook it separately, and then mix it with the dehydrated food pouches. I used to find that even though I was getting enough protein/calories, the dehydrated meals didn't make me feel full. Couscous goes well with a lot of those meals and soaks up the extra sauce if you use too much water (we never measure accurately). It also tends to use the least fuel compared to other carbs we've tried.

For breakfast definitely oatmeal. We also make it with powdered milk, add dried fruit, and bring our own brown sugar/nutmeg mix. I tend to go camping in larger groups, so it's cheaper to buy the canisters of oatmeal and portion it into daily bags rather than buying the little pouches.

For lunches we sometimes bring peanut butter, although the crackers can be inconvenient. We also make our own trail mix. I think most packaged trail mix is too salty and this way I can put in just the stuff I like. Again, this probably works better with larger groups.

Mirwen

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 10:21:12 PM »
Boiled Eggs
Ghee (clarified butter)
olive oil
sunflower seeds
peanut butter
pasta
oatmeal
dried fruit
powdered milk
potato flakes ( I prefer the pre-seasoned packets for backpacking)
foil tuna packets

less4success

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 10:23:38 PM »
PB&J

(Although I don't go on nearly as extreme of hikes as you, apparently :)

Exflyboy

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 10:40:01 PM »
local indian store has dehydrated curried in foil bags.. just add hot water.. delicious!

sleepyguy

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 12:01:45 AM »
Depends,

Short hike, 1-3hrs
Water
ham+cheese sandwich
some fruit that doesn't bruise easy
bag of trail mix (not too sweet)

Med hike 3-6hrs
lots of Water
uncooked rice
precooked smoked meat of sorts
some precut veggiies
some fruit that doesn't bruise easy
bag of trail mix (not too sweet)

Obviously for the med-hike i need to bring some cooking gear, which is usually something very simple like a 'tuna' stove or a small alcohol stove.  plus a small pot obv.

jeromedawg

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 12:25:02 AM »
"Moose goo" - peanut butter, masa harina and honey mixed together and put into squeeze tubes. You'll get a good amount of carbs off this

Homemade Gatorade from a mixture of Morton's lite salt and tang. You'll have to play around with the portions and do some math to get the ratio you want.

Tieke

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 12:32:30 AM »
I'm still working on getting a good line-up of cooked meals, but one of my favourites is ready-made rice risotto - I mix up a combination of basmati rice (which cooks super quick) plus spices, dried tomatoes etc., so then I just add water and cook for a few minutes.

I'm fussy about coffee and don't like a lot of additives, so I make my own formula, which is, per cup:
1 tsp high quality instant coffee
1.5 tsp milk powder
1 tsp sugar
tsp cinnamon

For fruit, I'm about to trial freeze dried berries, which should be awesome (I hope) once rehydrated.  For snacks I make scroggin (I think that's like trail mix?  Basically nuts, seeds, raisins, and chocolate).  Popcorn is awesome for getting in plenty of energy with very little weight.

bludreamin

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2015, 04:27:04 AM »
Some great ideas here - following to get more since my backpacking experience is limited (and pre-MMM to boot) so I've basically done the dehydrated meals (bought on sale or with coupons for whatever that's worth).

sstants

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 06:37:21 AM »
I love the whole foods mac n cheese boxes. I won't typically eat them at home but on a trip they're lightweight and only need a little butter/milk for the sauce or butter and water if you don't want to carry the milk. A box of this with a cut up hot dog is good for 2 people after a long day of hiking (and the cardboard box is recyclable!)

svosavvy

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 07:18:12 AM »
Great suggestions all.  I would only add that imo a good bang for the buck in the meat dept is mini genoa salamis or pepperoni sticks.  Usually 5 bucks gets you a good hunk of the stuff (cheaper than jerky).

spokey doke

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 07:41:58 AM »
For our weeklong + trips, we typically bring:

sweet homemade trail mix: toasted pecans, m&m's or generic substitute in bulk, peanut butter crackers/pretzels, dried cherries

savory trail mix: chinese cracker mix in bulk, wasabi almonds

multiple meals made with couscous, including this pilaf: a packet of homemade spice mix (cumin, garam masala, paprika, cinnamon , raisins, garlic, olive oil, toasted sliced almonds

instant mac and cheese

instant refried beans, torts, cheese, something spicy

Angel hair with homemade peanut sauce

we do granola or Grapenuts with Nido too

we often bring some instant tabouli with a bit of olive oil to go with it (HATE the instant hummus mixes, but the bulk instant tabouli is generally pretty good for us

GOOD, DARK, CHOCOLATE (we like Green & Blacks)

jeromedawg

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 09:14:19 AM »

Magister

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 09:19:36 AM »
My wife and I hiked over 500 miles last year. We bought a dehydrator and were very happy with it. It allowed us to make fruit chips, our own sauces and parts to more complicated meals.

We cooked all of our meals from this book: http://www.amazon.com/Lipsmackin-Vegetarian-Backpackin-Christine-Conners/dp/0762725311

We ended up eating really well and saved a ton of money.

The dehydrator we bought: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0090WOCN0?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

When bananas go on sale we will buy 20 lbs and make banana chips.

Cromacster

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2015, 09:55:07 AM »
Mountain House has good dehydrated options that are pretty tasty.  You also "cook" and eat it right out of the package.  You can get them on Amazon from 5-7$ a package.  One Package is about 800 calories.  If you can find a good price on the bulk 10+ serving containers, you could just repackage them into smaller portions.  So far I haven't found a price that makes it any better to order bulk versus the individual packages.

biffwhipster

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2015, 10:04:32 AM »
I second making your own food. I thru-hiked the JMT a couple of years ago with my father. He made almost all of our meals beforehand with a dehydrator. Mostly stews, sauces, and fruit.

Make your stew, blend it up a bit, dehydrate it, and blend it again to your desired consistency. His split pea soup was my favorite.

Alternatepriorities

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2015, 10:50:47 AM »
A few of my favorites after one and half decades of multi-day backpacking trips:

For the most calories:
Drink shots of Olive Oil... 250 calories per oz, very affordable, and it doesn't go bad. My brother and I did this on a week long trip in Alaska's Brooks Range. We saw no people or trails for 7 days weight was important.

For Breakfast:
Add generous amounts of cheddar cheese to old fashion oatmeal. It brings a lot of protein and calories to the oatmeal.

For a quick hot dinner in a snow cave:
Instant mashed potatoes mixed with extra water and butter and drank as soup from the Nalgene.

For delicious snacking around the fire:
Cut pieces of string cheese in half and cook them like a marshmallow until the outside is crispy and the inside if melted.


DeltaBond

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2015, 09:14:30 AM »
jerky, slim jims, popcorn

kpd905

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2015, 09:37:07 AM »
I'd suggest buying a dehydrator and making your own meals, fruit leather, and beef jerky. You can get a dehydrator for about the price of 3-5 dehydrated backpacking meals.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2015, 09:46:10 AM »
Trader joe's actually has an incredible diversity of light, cheap, ready-made meals. Another option is the Tasty Bite indian ready made entrees (like https://www.ishopindian.com/tasty-bite-aloo-palak-potato-spinach-curry-ready-to-eat-c-130-p-1-pr-24264.html  downside is no meat)- I see these on sale a lot, so they're a good stock up option.

+1 to tuna packs, PB&J, and bulk almonds from costco.

For camp-based hikes (ie, I drive in, then go out and back from camp), I like to make chili and spaghetti sauce ahead of time and freeze it, then reheat as needed. I also do a lot of these by lakes and ponds, in which case fish is often on the menu.

celticmyst08

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Re: Hiking: what are your favorite foods?
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2015, 10:13:57 AM »
We have a dehydrator (~$50 on Amazon) and make our own dried fruits, veggies, sauces, etc. We also take hearty snacks like trail mix, jerkey, and protein bars. To fill in meals we bring pasta, instant potatoes, oats, and dehydrated beans. Cheese and eggs will keep for the first couple days on the trail so we eat that at the beginning of the trip.

Also, we always bring some kind of powdered drink mix or flavoring, so we have something more interesting to drink with our meals. :P