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Thread: Food on the go - again

  1. #1

    Food on the go - again

    Sometime back I posted some "eating out while stalking" food solutions.

    Recently I've been trying another one in the shape of freeze dried food and here are my thoughts, hopefully this might help someone. I've been giving Mountain House and Expedition Foods branded freeze dried food a try in a range of menus and the results have been fairly positive with most of the meals being pretty tasty and working out well. I think the Expedition Foods chicken korma was my favorite so far but both Mountain House and Expedition Foods get good reputations and I don't think that I could say that one brand was consistently better than the other.

    The freeze dried food comes in a plastic pouch to which you add boiling water. The pouch is like a robust version of one of those "space blankets" and so holds the heat of the water while the food hydrates:



    Clearly some types of food are more suited to this process than others and you can't have large chunks of anything as it would take too long to re-hydrate. In general the process is simple and it takes the food somewhere between 5 - 9 minutes to re-hydrate depending on the menu and the instructions. So, all you need to do is boil up the water:



    Then you tip it in on top of the food, having removed an oxygen absorber packet which is in along with the food to keep it fresh, and wait. Now even after around 10 minutes my meals have always been very hot but I always take care to set the packet out of the wind and I wrap it in a towel, or spare clothing, or whatever is handy. In the end applying a bit of common sense is useful in these situations. Leave it lying in the wind on the snow and things might work out differently.

    The meals state that they require between about 380 and 550ml of water to re-hydrate and in all cases I've found this to be a significant under statement of the amount of water required with something over 600ml required in almost every case. The meals that I've been using are, as you can see, marketed as being for those with big appetites or as having a high calorie count as a lot of pre-packed type meals would hardly feed a sparrow. I would say that these offer a decent feed for one person. The down side is that they are expensive and so probably not sustainable for "everyday" use at something around 6.50 - 7.50 for a main meal with the rice pudding type dessert about 4.50.

    The huge advantage with these meals comes when you don't have to carry your water - when fishing on Lewis for example I take my water from the lochs and there is a loch every few hundred yards so there is simply no need to carry water - as the meals are dry and so you save a lot of weight. If you have to carry your water, and I guess that is the case in most places, then that will be a problem for anything more than one or two meals as you need in excess of 1lb of water for one of these bigger meals. They are also simple to prepare as all you need is the facility to boil water and so the basic Crusader stove, which has nothing at all to break or go wrong, is all you need to prepare a tasty meal in the middle of nowhere so this makes these meals ideal to "backstop" other plans in case it all goes wrong:



    In summary the big plus is a long shelf life and low weight if you don't have to carry water. The downside is that they are expensive and so simply not sustainable as the primary source of food for someone like myself who is out 100+ days per year.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  2. #2
    Philip, I appreciate you really take this stuff seriously, but for 11 a meal, you can go two miles up the road to Hunter's Pub for pie and chips and a pint of Guinness.
    Brian.

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

  3. #3
    I have to ask the question...........why not just take sandwiches? I'm not trying to be a smartarse, but all I've ever taken has been a sandwich or two, a few sachets of all-in-one coffee mix & a 1-pint Kelly kettle. I've recently started taking my own home made jerky too, and that gives an immediate energy boost when you're starting to flag a bit on a hike.

    Seems to me to be a lot of faffing about for what's basically just a fuel-stop?
    A Man should be wise, but never too wise. He who does not know his fate in advance is free of care

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Woodsmoke View Post
    I have to ask the question...........why not just take sandwiches?
    Well, one reason is because I'm out so much I get fed up with sandwiches, though I do take them sometimes, so I like to vary the menu but the other reason is that when I'm fishing I might be out for 2 days, which means 4 or 5 meals. I could, of course, go without eating as it would do me no harm but the only reason I go out is to enjoy myself so I like to be comfortable and well fed.

    As Brian says I can go up the road to the pub sometimes, say 20 days in the year, but that still means I have to get fed in more remote spots for about another 80 days. Often I take the bits to make something and enjoy everything from chili to bacon butties on the day but a lot of that stuff doesn't keep so well in the rucksack for a few days plus the freeze dried stuff is light which is useful if you've to carry it 12 miles in and 12 miles out.

    I certainly don't see the freeze dried stuff becoming a big part of the diet, but as something to backstop other things if it all goes wrong then it is light, takes up little space and all you need is to heat water.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  5. #5
    When we are at the stags we are on the hill for 6 days a week for 6 weeks, I get a bit bored of sandwiches and a mars bar so I've been taking tins of mackerel fillets in tomato sauce or a couple of oatcakes with a chunk of cheese in between them, the wife has started to throw in a couple of cooked sausages and a couple of hard boiled eggs in the piece box.

    variety is the way forward.

    Couldnt be bothered with the faff of dried meals though.

    I use the Kelly kettle when out fishing though.
    There is a place on this planet for all of God's creatures, right next to my tatties and gravy!!!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gliballs View Post
    When we are at the stags we are on the hill for 6 days a week for 6 weeks, I get a bit bored of sandwiches and a mars bar so I've been taking tins of mackerel fillets in tomato sauce or a couple of oatcakes with a chunk of cheese in between them, the wife has started to throw in a couple of cooked sausages and a couple of hard boiled eggs in the piece box.

    variety is the way forward.

    Couldnt be bothered with the faff of dried meals though.

    I use the Kelly kettle when out fishing though.
    Tinned mackerel in spicy tomato sauce with nice thick whole meal bread is a winner Can be often found in my sandwich box!
    dave

  7. #7
    I think it depends how long you are out, and weather conditions, there's nothing like warm food on a cold day.

  8. #8
    I second that. A hot meal is a lot better than a sandwich when out on the hill for a few days. It makes it possible to stay out longer in my opinion.

  9. #9
    Ok this I'm very interested in .... I'm working on Middle East in the desert in remote locations with no camps so basically for 4 or 5 days at a time your living out of a GMC V8 pick up ... Ok I have an inverter , travel kettle etc but resort to tins o tuna & finger rolls or pot noodle ....
    This would work well for me is give a boost / summit half decent .... I could store a heap of them no probs .... Would just have to make sure there was no pork labelled on it
    Caorach can you post a link please to these
    ??!
    Paul

  10. #10
    I can see why it might not be a bad idea when fishing, to much hassle on the hill carrying either some means of boiling water or a flask of hot water.

    Think we all get fed up of sandwiches every day, did try a food flask at one time which was fine up to a point still to awkward to carry on the hill so it was left in the vehicle or Argo, which sometimes we never got back to until the end of the day,so all in all not worth the trouble.

    Settled for a couple of Mars or energy bars and maybe a bit of fruit in my pocket,guests at the lodge were the same they were given something they could stick in a pocket and eat on the move,no elaborate lunches on the hill.

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