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Cool dude
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I make up my own 24 hour ration packs for hiking. I use items I can readily buy at local supermarkets instead of specialised hiking foods to keep the price down. I like to keep things lightweight, convenient, cheap and filling. I have breakfast, morning snack, afternoon snack, dinner and dessert sorted, but am stuck at lunch.

- Breakfast is a coffee and quick oats with sugar. Boil water, add oats, let soak for a couple of minutes, add sugar, enjoy.

- Morning snack is a 100g yogurt covered oat bar.

- Afternoon snack is a muesli bar and tea.

- Dinner is cous cous and tuna. Boil water, add cous cous, let soak for a couple of minutes, add tuna, enjoy.

- Dessert is quality tomato soup powder.

For lunch I don't want to have to heat anything or clean pots to save water. I've tried slices of bread, but they get squashed in the sandwich bag. Bread rolls are a bit bulky and crackers end up as a pile of crumbs.

There must be a simple solution, but I'm coming up blank. Any suggestions?
 

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For lunch, if you don't want to cook, summer sausage and cheese is a good choice. Ritz crackers, rolled in a tube of cardboard made from their original box, seem to survive okay for me. They live with my clothes, not the rest of the food, for added protection from squishing. Or you could make a sandwich of summer sausage or pepperoni and cheese on a bagel. Beef jerky, dried fruit (dried bananas are one of my favorites, because they don't cause unfortunate issues with the *ahem* speed at which they pass through me -- ymmv) or, in season, wild raspberies also are a good addition to lunch.

For serious hiking, there's not enough calories in that pack and definitely not enough fat/protein. If you're hiking a reasonable distance and carrying a moderately heavy pack, you're going to burn 4000-6000 calories a day.

If you don't take in enough calories at home, you'll be cranky, light headed, impulsive, impatient, and prone to making mistakes. You know, hungry! That's a nuisance at home; on the trail, that kind of mood can get you into real trouble. So, you want to be sure to eat enough.

My meals on the trail might look like:

Breakfast -- two packets of oatmeal with tons of brown sugar and raisins, and handful of dried banana chips plus a source of fat, like a piece of summer sausage, plus a large cup of coffee with creamer and sugar

Midmorning snack -- summer sausage or slim jim, cheese, crackers, dry banana chips or apple chips or raisings

Lunch -- Ramen noodle soup, and another cup of coffee (coffee bags, are awesome, or instant). I sometimes take a few raw eggs with me and they go in the soup.

Midafternoon snack -- sunflower butter (peanut butter substitute, I'm allergic to peanuts) and some apple chips

Dinner -- One entire two-person package of freeze dried backpacker glop per person, with either a bagel with butter and garlic powder (toasted on the fire, for "garlic bread") or a tortilla on the side

Dessert -- little debbie brownie, because I have the approximate taste buds and diet of a small child on the trail, and those brownies pack pretty well.

Aaaand I'm usually still hungry and come home having lost a few pounds per day of weight.

(I eat very healthy at home, but on the trail? Forget it. I'm going for maximum amount of calories in the least amount of weight!)
 

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For lunch, if you don't want to cook, summer sausage and cheese is a good choice. Ritz crackers, rolled in a tube of cardboard made from their original box, seem to survive okay for me. They live with my clothes, not the rest of the food, for added protection from squishing. Or you could make a sandwich of summer sausage or pepperoni and cheese on a bagel. Beef jerky, dried fruit (dried bananas are one of my favorites, because they don't cause unfortunate issues with the *ahem* speed at which they pass through me -- ymmv) or, in season, wild raspberies also are a good addition to lunch.

For serious hiking, there's not enough calories in that pack and definitely not enough fat/protein. If you're hiking a reasonable distance and carrying a moderately heavy pack, you're going to burn 4000-6000 calories a day.

If you don't take in enough calories at home, you'll be cranky, light headed, impulsive, impatient, and prone to making mistakes. You know, hungry! That's a nuisance at home; on the trail, that kind of mood can get you into real trouble. So, you want to be sure to eat enough.

My meals on the trail might look like:

Breakfast -- two packets of oatmeal with tons of brown sugar and raisins, and handful of dried banana chips plus a source of fat, like a piece of summer sausage, plus a large cup of coffee with creamer and sugar

Midmorning snack -- summer sausage or slim jim, cheese, crackers, dry banana chips or apple chips or raisings

Lunch -- Ramen noodle soup, and another cup of coffee (coffee bags, are awesome, or instant). I sometimes take a few raw eggs with me and they go in the soup.

Midafternoon snack -- sunflower butter (peanut butter substitute, I'm allergic to peanuts) and some apple chips

Dinner -- One entire two-person package of freeze dried backpacker glop per person, with either a bagel with butter and garlic powder (toasted on the fire, for "garlic bread") or a tortilla on the side

Dessert -- little debbie brownie, because I have the approximate taste buds and diet of a small child on the trail, and those brownies pack pretty well.

Aaaand I'm usually still hungry and come home having lost a few pounds per day of weight.

(I eat very healthy at home, but on the trail? Forget it. I'm going for maximum amount of calories in the least amount of weight!)
I struggle to eat on the trail...I end up eating less while I'm backpacking than I do at home on a normal day...which, at 110#, is not recommended...I just can't force myself to eat enough, nor find enough food I like to eat out there that's easy to prepare. It's easy to say one needs upwards of 4000 calories, and I agree...but it's easier said than done for some people.
 

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One lb. of fat is 9000 food calories, IIRC. What you also need is enough carbs to keep your blood sugar up along with the fat. Low blood sugar leaves you tired before you should be. A typical backpacker on the PCT will lose a quarter pound a day during the first couple months.

One of the most nutritious sources of fat you can take with you is Pemmican. Lots of calories from fat and protein. A constant small supply of carbs is still necessary to avoid low blood sugar.

http://www.denverpost.com/2015/05/04/long-haul-packing-in-calories-for-the-big-hike-with-pemmican/
 

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One lb. of fat is 9000 food calories, IIRC. What you also need is enough carbs to keep your blood sugar up along with the fat. Low blood sugar leaves you tired before you should be. A typical backpacker on the PCT will lose a quarter pound a day during the first couple months.

One of the most nutritious sources of fat you can take with you is Pemmican. Lots of calories from fat and protein. A constant small supply of carbs is still necessary to avoid low blood sugar.

http://www.denverpost.com/2015/05/04/long-haul-packing-in-calories-for-the-big-hike-with-pemmican/
1lb of fat is 3500 calories, not 9000 :thumb:
 

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I struggle to eat on the trail...I end up eating less while I'm backpacking than I do at home on a normal day...which, at 110#, is not recommended...I just can't force myself to eat enough, nor find enough food I like to eat out there that's easy to prepare. It's easy to say one needs upwards of 4000 calories, and I agree...but it's easier said than done for some people.
A 110 lb person isn't going to need as much calories as a 200 lb person even if both have the same load.

I like MH, and some of the alternative FD foods, but they are calorie lite. I prefer MREs to what I think of as firefighter meals, which are prepackaged commercial foods- Ravoli, beef sticks, etc. the food seems and tastes healthier- but either choice is a whole lot heavier than FD. But google coyote camp- who sells meals like this to fire departments- often at a higher cost then MREs. There is probally something in there you would like. All are going to survive a few hours at 110 degrees

As far as cooking, Ramen with green onions and an egg or two, dried cooked beans with real bacon bits. Cheese will keep for a day or more- I' ve taken brie (day one) and and a hard cheese (frozen). I've taken frozen steak ( frozen with garlic and mushrooms at -10 deg) and cooked it 2 days latter (eaten with rice and seaweed paper.) Knorr soup and side dishes (so much better then that Mary Janes's crap at REI). Bear Creek soup mix from wallmart. fresh Broccoli, fresh carrots (for soup), and Hummas with bagel chips. PB&J. Nuts (including flavored or toasted), Peanut M&Ms, fried rice (packets of soy sauce, oil, seseme seeds, MSG, frozen or dehydrated peas and carrots, green onions, egg, and maybe frozen steak or hotdog or summer sausage- this is hard to cook to really get a fried flavor, unless you are in a group and carrying a frying pan.

For crackers, its hard to beat the MRE crackers for portability, but I've packed bread and exotic crackers in a box, or Carr's in a compartment by themselves. With the right compartment you can bring a bag a doritos or potato chips.

Busted up crackers or wonton strips will still enhance another dish.

I've brought chickpeas, and drained them as soon as I left the truck- for the first night. I don't hike overnight in 90 degree Wx, so bear that in mind.) Don't be scared of a few cans.

I've been known to freeze a survival kit, stove fuel, and even extra water to help keep some food cold in the bottom of the pack. Freeze the food together, and inside an outer bag- freeze to -10 degrees (deep freeze) and keep cold (good cooler or dry ice. Wrap in frozen thermorest pad, and frozen rain suit (or bubble wrap). Pack next to MSR bottle (white gas at -10) and pillow (yes, I bring a pillow) and remaining socks and underwear.

Crazyest thing:
Cavier on crackers (Carrs) with boiled egg, minced onion, and lemon juice (from a packet) Obviously there was a woman involved.

Followed by fake lobster (halibut boiled in cup with water and equal parts sugar and salt- cooked like fondue) with melted butter and a salad (one of those cabbage based bagged salads from walmart.)

Worst thing:
Huvos Rancheros with refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese, onions and sauce- just no flavor at all. It seemed so easy, I should have tried at home. Maybe a white guy shouldn't think he can invent his own Mexican recipe. Next day I used the can for cheese fondue- which was awesome (bread pieces, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and summer sausage (IIRC- it was day 3, so it wasn't fresh) in cheese (fondue chease comes in a HD foil pack.)

2 days of MH and soup/noodle dishes aren't bad after fresh food the first 2 night. Google cooking in a bag for some ideas on putting up your own, add boiling water dishes.
 

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Re: canned food -- On numerous occasions, I've packed a large can of dinty moore or pork and beans for the first night -- cook it right in the can, then use the can in place of a pot for the rest of the trip. If you're dry camping, it's not even much extra weight, because you'd have to pack the water to rehydrate a MH meal otherwise. Canned food requires no extra water, and the can takes the place of a pot!

I also sometimes freeze cubed beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, and spices in several layers of tin foil and then throw it in the fire on the first or second day and cook for fifteen or twenty minutes. Might add an ear of corn too. (Wrap the ear of corn in tin foil with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, garlic salt, and crushed red pepper, cook in the fire.) This is actually a good "lunch" meal because you don't need to clean a pot afterwards.
 

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Instant oatmeal...you could probably starve on that even if you had a truck full.
5 minute oats better, or better yet muesli cereal (not the bar). Add a bit of dry milk?

OP, I like the lunch and dinner.
I don't care to cook at lunch either. The small aluminum can tuna salad and the accompanying round crackers makes a good lunch. Peanut or almond butter in the small squeeze packs. As other posters say, summer sausage, cheese (some keeps better than others). There are some really fine nutritious crackers out there, but $$$$$$$. Like others here, I'd go naan or pita bread, or tortillas (whole wheat).
Trail mix with chocolate and dry fruit. (Some grocery stores you can almost custom mix.) I'd just think of it almost as stretching your 2 breaks into an almost continuous one.

Dinner-
Cous cous is awesomely fast and easy to cook as you know. But for a change angel hair pasta cooks very quick. Ramen noodles without the flavor pack.. but with dry veggies (REI - Whole Foods - Trader Joe's) and whatever. Dry real bacon bits are good (glass jar too heavy, put in baggie). The instant potatoes packs, many flavors out there.
Knorr's sides. Olive oil (Get the good stuff - there's some scamming going on).
 

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I make up my own 24 hour ration packs for hiking. I use items I can readily buy at local supermarkets instead of specialised hiking foods to keep the price down. I like to keep things lightweight, convenient, cheap and filling. I have breakfast, morning snack, afternoon snack, dinner and dessert sorted, but am stuck at lunch.

- Breakfast is a coffee and quick oats with sugar. Boil water, add oats, let soak for a couple of minutes, add sugar, enjoy.

- Morning snack is a 100g yogurt covered oat bar.

- Afternoon snack is a muesli bar and tea.

- Dinner is cous cous and tuna. Boil water, add cous cous, let soak for a couple of minutes, add tuna, enjoy.

- Dessert is quality tomato soup powder.

For lunch I don't want to have to heat anything or clean pots to save water. I've tried slices of bread, but they get squashed in the sandwich bag. Bread rolls are a bit bulky and crackers end up as a pile of crumbs.

There must be a simple solution, but I'm coming up blank. Any suggestions?

Try some dried fruit, beef jerkey, country time lemon aid, and maybe some hard candies.
 

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Perhaps add MRE peanut butter packets to add some substance to lunch. Squeeze it onto your bars for extra fat and protein to help prevent hypoglycemia later in the afternoon. I've seen other brands of less enhanced peanut and almond butter in smaller packets at Target and Walmart that would work, too.
 

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Cool dude
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys, lots of good ideas suggested here.

I'll experiment with bagels and tortillas out on the trail with the various fillers suggested.
 

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Try some Ultralight Joe's Moose Goo. I took some on a 100 mile hike in the Smokies and couldn't get enough of it. Very calorie dense with lots of carbs, protein, and fat...and it can't be damaged in a pack unless you break the container. Exactly what I look for in hiking food.

Several recipes here:
http://www.ultralightbackpacker.com/moosegoo.html
 

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If you're using it that much, why not buy a dehydrator? You can make your own packets then, of whatever you prepare at home. ;)
Some good recipes out there too, for those who use dehydrators.
 
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