Nutrition in the Field

kthomas

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What are eating when out backpacking or hunting in the field? Curious to hear what you have found works and doesn't work out in the field while hunting and/or hiking, to fuel your body.

I have a few hiking and hunting trips coming up this year, and this is what I'm looking at using/trying:

- Greenbelly meal bars
- Stinger waffles
- Energy Bloks
- Perhaps some freeze dried/dehydrated meals? Looking at Peak Refuel and PackItGourmet
- Maybe a simple sandwich if I don't feel like packing the above and stove/fuel
- Liquid IV
- Water, obviously
 

ForgeValley

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    I've always just stuck with good old mountain house. Sodium is off the charts but I don't sweat it to much when I'm out burning calories all day. And I like it enough that I sometimes eat it at home when there is nothing in the fridge but a block of moldy cheese. 😂
     

    KeithStone

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    I keep a list with calories and weight I’ll post below that I have transitioned to over the past few years. Since you mentioned the energy gel I will say for me after about 2-3 days I couldn’t get them down so I went to gummy bears and if you want energy try the GU Roctane drink mixes. You can get them in 10pks and they have about 35mg of caffeine and 250 calories so it’s a helpful way to boost your calorie count without having to eat more food. Also I don’t pack all these snacks but it’s a decent assortment that may give you some ideas.

    Breakfast
    Peak refuel
    -Mountain Berry Granola 570cal 5oz
    -Strawberry Granola 530cal 4.6oz
    Mountain house
    Breakfast skillet 520cal 3.7oz
    Spicy breakfast hash 500cal

    Dinner
    Peak Refuel
    -Chicken pesto 920cal 5.71oz
    -Beef pasta 1040cal 6.35oz
    -Chili mac 610cal 4.79oz

    Snacks
    -Snickers 215cal 1.56oz
    -Poptarts
    Strawberry 370cal 3.38oz
    Cinnamon 400cal 3.38oz
    -Peanut butter single cups 250cal 1.5oz
    -Rold Gold Pretzel Rods 110cal per 3 rods
    -Oberto beef jerky 130cal per 1oz
    5oz per bag
    -Black Forest gummy bears 400cal per 4oz pack
    -Peanuts 290cal 1.75oz
     

    kthomas

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    I keep a list with calories and weight I’ll post below that I have transitioned to over the past few years. Since you mentioned the energy gel I will say for me after about 2-3 days I couldn’t get them down so I went to gummy bears and if you want energy try the GU Roctane drink mixes. You can get them in 10pks and they have about 35mg of caffeine and 250 calories so it’s a helpful way to boost your calorie count without having to eat more food. Also I don’t pack all these snacks but it’s a decent assortment that may give you some ideas.

    Breakfast
    Peak refuel
    -Mountain Berry Granola 570cal 5oz
    -Strawberry Granola 530cal 4.6oz
    Mountain house
    Breakfast skillet 520cal 3.7oz
    Spicy breakfast hash 500cal

    Dinner
    Peak Refuel
    -Chicken pesto 920cal 5.71oz
    -Beef pasta 1040cal 6.35oz
    -Chili mac 610cal 4.79oz

    Snacks
    -Snickers 215cal 1.56oz
    -Poptarts
    Strawberry 370cal 3.38oz
    Cinnamon 400cal 3.38oz
    -Peanut butter single cups 250cal 1.5oz
    -Rold Gold Pretzel Rods 110cal per 3 rods
    -Oberto beef jerky 130cal per 1oz
    5oz per bag
    -Black Forest gummy bears 400cal per 4oz pack
    -Peanuts 290cal 1.75oz

    That's really helpful, thanks!
     

    wpeach1912

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    Depends how long I’m going to be out for, but day hunts where I’m walking back to camp for a dinner:
    Sandwich PB and Nutella or lunch meats
    Fritos
    Trail mix
    Apple
    Fruit snacks
    Granola bar
    Protein bars
    Clif bar
    Snack sticks/summer sausage
    Possibly stinger waffle
    Possibly another sandwich if hunting in longer daylight months
    I generally won’t bring freeze dried meals since that requires bringing a stove, pot, and utensils. Generally stuff that is fatty/oily will be calorie dense, which is what you need for mountain hunting. I’ll also make sandwiches with bagels to get more calories. I recently tried dehydrated bananas, and those were good. Fruits and veggies give you good vitamins and such, but are usually heavy and not many calories. I get tired of eating so much sugar, so it’s good to have a mix of savory and sugary foods
     

    powdahound76

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    You backpacking or day hunting?

    That changes it a lot IMO.

    Im up early, just have a little java and hit the trail. no breakfast in camp

    For my daily snacks in my pack, I make my snack bags up the week before in quart ziplocks.
    I then store those in my pack in scent proof bag because I dont need help getting winded if the winds shift and they always do and food has strong and unique odors.

    My daily snack load:
    1 clif Builder's Bar (the PB/choc is really pretty tasty)
    a nut bar (I like the costco ones, they are about $0.50 ea and pretty good) pack 2 if you want
    granola bars x2
    snack bag size ziploc with peanuts
    1 hot choc packet
    1 coffee packet (2 when its nasty cold out during late rifle).
    1 cup of soup (extra noodle if you can find it)
    1 Clifshot with caffeine.
    I also last year started carrying a Mountain House granola and berries 2 servings pack with a light spoon (GSI, 79 cents) in my scent proof bag. Some days you may want/need it and some days not. Recent hunt did not eat at all. Recommend if you think you do, get the #10 can from them, measure it out and vac seal, cuts your price in 1/2 for a few minutes work.
    Some of this is for just in case I get stuck out (cup o soup, hot choc, Cliff shot, extra coffee packet) or end up with a late kill, clean, and pack out and want the extra juice for it.

    I also carry a small ti pot, super light stove, small fuel can, and lighter if I need any of the warm stuff above.
    On cold hunts, a second cup of java around 1000 really kicks some butt.
    These are light, so if you like that, carry more. I tend to buy a bunch when they go on sale, too spendy otherwise for me. Starbucks and lavaza are the only ones I know of, but happy to learn of more if someone knows.

    Sometimes I make my famous triple decker PB and J, but usually for pack out days or just hiking or scouting trips.
    Kinda messy and need none of that chasing critters.

    I eat like a pig when I return to camp at night. 😎
     

    TacticalDillhole

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    What are eating when out backpacking or hunting in the field? Curious to hear what you have found works and doesn't work out in the field while hunting and/or hiking, to fuel your body.

    I have a few hiking and hunting trips coming up this year, and this is what I'm looking at using/trying:

    - Greenbelly meal bars
    - Stinger waffles
    - Energy Bloks
    - Perhaps some freeze dried/dehydrated meals? Looking at Peak Refuel and PackItGourmet
    - Maybe a simple sandwich if I don't feel like packing the above and stove/fuel
    - Liquid IV
    - Water, obviously
    Yes to oral IV. What a game changer.
     
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    K15G

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    What ever you do use, you need to try it out before you go out. Ie test it on your body in the lead up. Some of these products cause in some massive issues with their guts and the last thing you want to learn on a hunt is that your bloated, lethargic, and suffering cramping and diarrhoea. It may feel expensive to test and adjust prior to going out but it could make or break a trip!
     

    kthomas

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    What ever you do use, you need to try it out before you go out. Ie test it on your body in the lead up. Some of these products cause in some massive issues with their guts and the last thing you want to learn on a hunt is that your bloated, lethargic, and suffering cramping and diarrhoea. It may feel expensive to test and adjust prior to going out but it could make or break a trip!

    Great point! You're not the first to tell me this.

    Thankfully I have experience with most of the products I listed. Just tried out a green belly the other day on a 20 mile bike ride, and my body was okay with it.

    I'm certainly going to test anything before commiting to a full day or more to it out in the field.
     

    Statusquo

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    Breakfast:
    Instant oatmeal and/or breakfast burrito (I make a bunch at home and freeze them for hunting season, can heat them via jet boil and ziploc bag.)

    Pack food:
    2 Clif bars
    1 Kind Bar
    1 Snickers bar (reserved for packing out heavy)
    1 Tuna pack and/or Kipper snacks
    Liquid IV
    Instant coffee
    Maybe a pack of ramen if it’s cold

    Dinner:
    Whatever is left from my pack and maybe a freeze dried meal
     
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    308pirate

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    What are eating when out backpacking or hunting in the field? Curious to hear what you have found works and doesn't work out in the field while hunting and/or hiking, to fuel your body.

    I have a few hiking and hunting trips coming up this year, and this is what I'm looking at using/trying:

    - Greenbelly meal bars
    - Stinger waffles
    - Energy Bloks
    - Perhaps some freeze dried/dehydrated meals? Looking at Peak Refuel and PackItGourmet
    - Maybe a simple sandwich if I don't feel like packing the above and stove/fuel
    - Liquid IV
    - Water, obviously

    How long will you be out?

    I find it amazing that only one of the people who've answered you asked that so very basic and important question.

    Also, where do you hike/hunt? The answers can be very different between the northeast, midwest, and intermountain west.

    If you're out for a day hike or hunt, some of the answers in this thread are irrelevant.
     
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    OREGUN

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    Answers to this question depend entirely on how long you are going to be out, in what climate, at what exertion level, your ability or desire to carry stuff, your willingness to test stuff out, your palete, your

    A general answer will always be better than a specific one: eat real food that you know and like. You have certainly eaten enough foods to know what you like and how it would travel (cooking and refrigeration needs). So, eat that stuff. As soon as you go off down the freeze dried, gu packet, gel block path, you are eating science experiments that are way outside of your normal diet. So, it’s an experiment. You may shit your pants after an afternoon of gel blocks…or really hate the texture of gu...or get so constipated on freeze dried food that you are nearly incapacitated…or find that the food you thought sounded good is less appealing after four days of walking.

    On a personal side: I like PBJ or peanut butter and banana sammiches for single day, moderate/low exertion level stuff. I like the clif bars with coffee/caffeine for a little boost that doesn’t involve cooking. I like non-caffeinated gu for high intensity (first half of a marathon, for example) activities. But the caffeinated gel can add a nice bump at the end/second half of a marathon despite tasting metallic. In really high intensity stuff, I find that gel packs have an energy drop at about 45 mins…so once you start with them, it’s one every 30 mins or so or it’s easy to bonk off it. I can‘t manage gummies in my mouth while running or cycling hard…I nearly choke to death trying to chew them.

    I hate eating in the morning but it’s hard to beat oatmeal for a solid place to start. Real oats, maybe some raisins, nuts, cinnamon and some sugar. Instant oatmeal is NOT the same (has the texture of snot soup, among other things).

    If it’s really cold, I think it’s worth carrying a stove and being able to make hot drink/food as needed to stay warmer and be inspired to eat (eating cold stuff on a cold day is like eating is like eating food straight from the fridge while standing in the fridge and it’s gross).

    I usually take a NOLS style approach (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...-7th-edition&usg=AOvVaw1MIo5ALQAqMeJokP6Ckiqs) to food on backpacking trips: reach in your pack and grab it foods of your choice for on the move (GORP, cheese, salami, etc) and ingredients for real cooking in camp.…spices, rices, beans, baking mix, etc. Pre-packaged stuff is expensive and only so-so on taste, in my experience.

    I could go on and on. You get the point.
     
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    kthomas

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    How long will you be out?

    I find it amazing that only one of the people who've answered you asked that so very basic and important question.

    Also, where do you hike/hunt? The answers can be very different between the northeast, midwest, and intermountain west.

    If you're out for a day hike or hunt, some of the answers in this thread are irrelevant.

    I'm starting with day hunts. Leave the house early AM, get back to the house late at night.

    My first hunt will be end of October, hunting mule deer in Southern AZ just north of Tucson in the Catalina's.

    I'm sure my hunting will evolve from that, but that's where it's starting for me.
     

    308pirate

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    I'm starting with day hunts. Leave the house early AM, get back to the house late at night.

    My first hunt will be end of October, hunting mule deer in Southern AZ just north of Tucson in the Catalina's.

    I'm sure my hunting will evolve from that, but that's where it's starting for me.

    Lots of good suggestions on here already in that case.

    You can bookend the trip here:
    1665672907641.png
     

    Waco Kid

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    For day trips, hard to beat a pb, pb&j or pb& bannana as stated above. I pile the pb on em where your mouth sticks together, they will do well at keeping you full and pb has good fats/calories. For snacks, check out monster trail mix. Brands may vary it some but usually peanuts, raisins, m&ms, chocolate chips and pb chips. Tastes good and works well for a quick refill, at least it does for me. Or you can always go with what I like to call a redneck mre, can of beenie weanies and a pack of lance crackers. That’s the been the go to for hunters around me for years haha!
     
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    kthomas

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    The instant coffee I ordered from one of my favorite coffee roasters showed up today. They accidentally sent me two cases instead of two individual boxes (6 servings), so I'll have good instant coffee for a while :cool:

    PXL_20221014_001557716.jpg
     

    TheBigCountry

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    Get a dehydrator.

    Make your own fruit and meat.

    A Foodsaver is also your friend.

    Homemade jerky and fruits will be awesome in the field. Especially when it’s game you harvested yourself that you made into jerky.

    When I was in the Corps, I always brought smoked meat and homemade jerky into the field and my platoon went bananas for it. They begged me to bring it all the time.

    MountainHouse also makes a good Stroganoff.

    Get on ExpertVoice and JetBoil of your fancy. Or your local REI.
     
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    Aftermath

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    I use a vacuum sealer and vacuum seal PBJ's, then freeze them. Usually freeze about a dozen. They do get compressed but I don't give a crap about that. They will thaw in the backpack unless it really is cold, just carry them a little closer to the torso. Usually carry 2, a Ti kettle kit that has some cup/bowls, a spork and room for a isobutane can and my little burner and a mini-Bic. Several packs or ziploc of instant coffee, a tube of airborne for the water bottle, 2 packs of instant oatmeal, 2 Mountain House meals and my trusty MSR filter. I'm good for 3 days away from base, a little hungry. 4 days and I can wolf down some chow when I get back.

    I carry 1lb of Gravy Train in a ziploc for true emergency rations. It works better than GORP or whatever because I am not going to be breaking into that stash until I actually am thinking I might starve to death. It's not really that bad tasting.
     
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    powdahound76

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    @kthomas

    Little late for this year and was reading a cool thread on Rokslide about setting up lightweight kit for food when out for extended times.

    Lotta good here, stuff I learned I like, and there is good info to mull over there too.


    For hiking/climing and backcountry skiing here, I have always been a fan of the “triple decker” PB&J.
    Literally a PBJ, then jelly on top of the “jelly bread” and another PB slice on top of that.
    Made with good wheat bread and lots of goods inside, its an amazing fuel source.

    Havent used for hunting due to how I do things and increased work/mess.
    Totally gonna try the vac and freeze plan that @Aftermath noted above.
    Easy/cheap/friggin tasty. 😁
     
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    kthomas

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    Freeze dried PB&J's sound like a good trick, I'm going to have to try that!
     

    Aftermath

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    Freeze dried PB&J's sound like a good trick, I'm going to have to try that!
    The way I do it, it's not freeze dried. You can buy a freeze dry machine. They are expensive to purchase and fairly expensive to maintain. What I'm doing is just vacuum sealing them, mainly to contain the possible mess. Then I freeze them, mainly because I can make a bunch ahead of time and then just grab and go. The vacuum bag can be used for lots of things in an emergency/survival situation, too.
     

    Aftermath

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    Are we just going to ignore the post wherein some claims to carry dog food as their emergency rations?
    I started carrying Gravy Train as true emergency rations long, long ago. You don't have to hydrate it, can eat it dry if need be. No can opener needed, it doesn't freeze into the bag/can/whatever so even if you are injured, you can feast. It will most definitely be there when you do need it. At the end of the season, just feed it to your pal. If you have never eaten any dog/cat food, you have never been very hungry.
     

    kthomas

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    The way I do it, it's not freeze dried. You can buy a freeze dry machine. They are expensive to purchase and fairly expensive to maintain. What I'm doing is just vacuum sealing them, mainly to contain the possible mess. Then I freeze them, mainly because I can make a bunch ahead of time and then just grab and go. The vacuum bag can be used for lots of things in an emergency/survival situation, too.

    Sorry, meant vacuum sealed - typed that in a rush.

    Thankfully have a vacuum sealer, so all set there.
     

    Totoro

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    Timing is on point, as I just got back from a multi-day solo backpack trip in 2 different areas in state.

    Thorough boring meal plan, I just made things as simple as possible but also tastes good enough for my palate.

    Breakfast I went with MO Enduro single packs and MO Performance bars.

    Lunch would be the same in different flavors.

    Dinner from Peak Refuel in whatever I fancy as I have them all.

    For the in between snack fillers; a mixture of trail mix with peanut butter and chocolate chips, home made beef jerky cut into small bite size pieces and broken up pieces of Honey Stingers all put into a single 1 gallon ZipLoc bag hovering around 1.5lbs.

    As for boiling the water; I went with a MSR PocketRocket Deluxe, MSR IsoPro 3.9oz canister, and Toaks titanium cup with lid 900mL version.

    The PR and canister tuck nicely into the 900mL.

    If I went on a day trip, I would take out the Peak meals altogether and change the breakfast and lunch plans.

    Breakfast, heavy on carbs and protein; eggs/bacon/toast/potatoes/protein shake (MO Magnum). This keeps me going well into lunch

    Lunch usually consists of 2 breakfast burritos with the same eggs/bacon/potatoes if the weather is cooler so the food doesn't have a chance of spoiling in my pack. Or sometime I leave those out and take my MSR/Toaks combo and make a modified top ramen meal for some hot liquid.

    Snack fillers will be the same.

    I don't go by the nutrition on the label, I judge by what tastes good and keeps my energy level up during heavy exertion.

    Great question for gathering information!
     
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    kthomas

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    Awesome info so far!

    Stoves and cooking appliances seem to be a whole field of discussion in itself, I see you reference the pocket rocket which seems pretty popular.

    I have an MSR Dragonfly that hasn't seen use in a few years. Rather than just buying a new stove, I'll use what I have. Probably not the most ideal stove for my situation, but I own it and it will work. I have a GSI Dualist pot/cookset, pretty big for one person but maybe I can fit the dragonfly inside of it. If not, I'll look at getting a smaller pot - open to any suggestions there.

    Appreciate all the awesome info and suggestions so far!
     

    Ronws

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    So far, I have not gone on extended hunting trips. I live about an hour from public hunting land. So, I just have some breakfast with coffee. Fill the water bladder. maybe stick a soda in a cooler. Then, I can hunt for half a day. Stop in a town bigger than mine for the groceries, then go on home. But all of these are good suggestions if you are out there for 12 hours or camping.

    However, I have read stories of people who camp with a fire. Wander in the woods half a mile and find a curious deer and boom, there you go. Another guy who bought an old Astrovan and took out the bad seats. He will hunt out of state public lands. So, quite a bit of his food is stuff you can eat cold, if you want. And he just sleeps in the van.
     

    Totoro

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    Sure there are lots of ways one can go!

    I started on day trips then moved on from there.

    Then isn't any "wrong" way of doing it, just short of going in under prepared but the OP is asking the right questions and getting lots of info.

    Back to the OP, the MSR Dragonfly is a nice piece of kit. A little more heavy duty for a 1 day-er/overnighter. But if you're going in with a bigger group, and saving some space and weight then it's a great choice.

    The PocketRocket and PR Deluxe are just a few of the more compact stove options. There are a host more, Soto is another that comes up in lots of discussions.

    The Toaks pot is another container, and lots out there to choose.

    Whatever kit you pick, throw it in your bag and get a feel for it.

    If you're not ready, the weight will surprise you.
     
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    spamassassin

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    What are eating when out backpacking or hunting in the field? Curious to hear what you have found works and doesn't work out in the field while hunting and/or hiking, to fuel your body.

    I have a few hiking and hunting trips coming up this year, and this is what I'm looking at using/trying:

    - Greenbelly meal bars
    - Stinger waffles
    - Energy Bloks
    - Perhaps some freeze dried/dehydrated meals? Looking at Peak Refuel and PackItGourmet
    - Maybe a simple sandwich if I don't feel like packing the above and stove/fuel
    - Liquid IV
    - Water, obviously
    The lists below are only valid while away from camp, let's get that straight. In camp we eat mostly fresh meat but I like to bring along stuff like instant pasta/sauce stuff, ingredients for cole slaw and fresh fruits and if possible some Pilsbury-ish cinnamon rolls or other desert.

    In Africa:
    Biltong, droewors, naartjies, rusks, raisins, dried apple/pineapple/mango.

    In USA:
    Sardines/Anchovies, dried mango/banana/dates/raisins, gummi whateverthefucks, jerky, biltong.
     
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    kthomas

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    The lists below are only valid while away from camp, let's get that straight. In camp we eat mostly fresh meat but I like to bring along stuff like instant pasta/sauce stuff, ingredients for cole slaw and fresh fruits and if possible some Pilsbury-ish cinnamon rolls or other desert.

    In Africa:
    Biltong, droewors, naartjies, rusks, raisins, dried apple/pineapple/mango.

    In USA:
    Sardines/Anchovies, dried mango/banana/dates/raisins, gummi whateverthefucks, jerky, biltong.
    I love the idea of dried fruits, jerky and biltong. Don't have a dehydrator, but maybe I'll get one in the future. A dehydrator would also allow me to make my own dh meals, which I know some people do.

    Anyone ever try their hand at making their own pemmican?
     

    Billdoe708

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    Cheesewiches are a nice treat. Thicker cut cheese as the "bread" with a piece of hard salami in the middle. Vac packed.
     

    BJames

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    Jan 20, 2014
    344
    274
    Alaska
    Backpacking, extremely mountainous terrain, multi-day(5+) trip.
    Breakfast: 2 bars, handful of trail mix
    Lunch: pemmican, fat bomb, more trail mix, moon cheese.
    dinner: nextmile meal with spinach tortilla’s, landjägger sausage, maybe something else like another bar depending on length of trip. Average weight 1.2 lbs per day. Also, have your food rationed out per day separately.

    Shorter trips are more or less the same, but might add another next mile for breakfast, those less than 5 day trips, I’m not worried about weight so much, so I’ll take more comfort stuff. More questions besides length of trip, terrain, distance, weather, etc, to ask yourself are; do you plan on losing weight during the trip or attempt to maintain, how many calories does your body take to keep going at 100% output(or 75,80,90), if it’s cold/wet- you’ll burn more. Most people pack way too much or don’t know what their body needs to keep energy levels up. Try to stay as light as possible but having a comfort item to look forward to is well worth the added weight. Mine is coffee, fuck instant coffee in all it‘s forms, I have a ti backpacking French press that goes with me on every trip. Also, a hot meal at the end of the day is a godsend, especially if you’re wet.
     

    Jscb1b

    Dumbass.
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Dec 22, 2018
    7,303
    12,342
    Arizona
    I started carrying Gravy Train as true emergency rations long, long ago. You don't have to hydrate it, can eat it dry if need be. No can opener needed, it doesn't freeze into the bag/can/whatever so even if you are injured, you can feast. It will most definitely be there when you do need it. At the end of the season, just feed it to your pal. If you have never eaten any dog/cat food, you have never been very hungry.
    Or a kid.
     

    lariat

    Old Salt
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 11, 2018
    3,571
    7,559
    There are quite a few mentions of coffee. I have simplified all trips with caffeine pills for when the energy dump happens and I’m not where I can make coffee. A bottle can last a long time. Bite off half, chew or rake with water and go. It also keeps the coffee shits to a minimum in the field.

    A buddy of mine comes down once a year and we ground hunt deer in the morning and evening while using the mid portion of the day to jump ducks off of stock tanks. It’s non stop. At the end of the day after hunting and cleaning game we are dragging. That little hit of caffeine really does help.

    A couple of advil in the pill bottle just in case is a minor thing but good insurance to help make sure the day is enjoyable.

    It’s not food, but it definitely helps.
     
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