Please bear with me. I have gone on extended trips requiring dried food and stuff due to the weight, and I have eaten Ramen for ten days.
But Generally I get to go out for 1 or 2 nights so why eat stuff meant for harsh long distance trips?
I find that just eating normal fully hydrated eat at home food often requiring no cooking at all, I require a MAXIMUM of 1.5 pounds of food per day. For 4 pounds of food including snacks, chocolate, coffee and real meals - often a rib eye steak with golden egg noodles (the ONLY dried food I will carry besides my coffee and milk, I can enjoy 3 days camped. My Titanium pans don't weigh much and I prefer cooking over soaking my food. It tastes better and I believe you will get more strength from real food than highly processed food.
I have not the experience to know - but would 4 pounds of real food = 1.5lb of freeze dried? I'd rather carry an extra 2.5 pounds of real food and eat fresh, for a weekend trip.
And finally, you only carry the food one way, its expendable weight so you kinda gotta divide its weight by two to get "effective weight". A 3 pound rabbit for 2 people is a very weight effective way to eat awesome camp food. Cooking a rabbit over a campfire is true Daniel Boone type fun. Jim
Edited by Jimshaw (01/18/0902:47 PM)
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
Well, I would have to say 4 lb of fresh would be roughly equal to 1.5 of dry, depending on what you were taking. Given that when I'm eating freeze dried, I'm usually rehydrating with 2 cups of water for dinner, and 1.5 cups for breakfast (that doesn't count coffee) that should mean I'm adding in roughly something less than a kilo (about 2 pounds) of water.
So, by the reverse of that math, assuming I'm adding a kilo of water to rehydrate food everyday, all other things being equal my rehydrating my food might save me 2.2 pounds a day. Yes, absolutely on a short trip if eating fresher food is important to you, that's an easy tradeoff to make.
Depending on how "real" your food needs to be, on an overnighter you could also ditch the stove. just take stuff pre-cooked, or buy two big taco bell burritos for dinner take bars for breakfast and you may be ahead of the game. Personally I could handle the cold dinner just fine, but the coffee monkey on my back screaming at my brain in the morning I probably couldn't take...
One other problem with "real food" however is that I may need to take more crap with me to make it. making my "kitchen" setup heaver and also adding weight. Personally, I find with a little inventiveness I get enough variety and taste into my dehydrated menu that I'm happy with it, and "forcing" myself to do meals fbc style has the side effect of keeping my cooking setup utterly minimal. When I have "real" food I take a heavier stove, bigger pots - a pan, scraper, etc. all of it adds up.
These days my usual "real food" take is if I'm gonna head in in the evening on a short hike in to where I've got a nice spot and can build a fire. then it's simple. everything else is FBC, and a foil wrapped good steak, potato, and a litre box of red wine can weigh me down horribly for my first little bit, and I'll enjoy that immensely the first evening.
It really comes down to what you like to eat, and why you're out there. I know from experience that I like eating good freeze dried meals just fine for a week. I know (also from experience) that after about two or three days on nothing but ramen I worry I might start thinking like the Donner party. I also know other people who simply don't like anything they've tried FBC style and would rather pack more "real" food. I personally don't find *good* freeze dried food (good store bought meals or good homemade stuff) blah.
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
Ham. I just want fresh ham in the morning. Or maybe a nice pork chop. I'm fine with everything else dehydrated, although I will bring fresh stuff for the first night if the spirit moves me. But ham, oh how I love ham at breakfast . . .
Okay, I'm better now.
Why am I online instead of hiking?
It is all up to you. Sort of a benefit/cost thing. There definitely is a benefit - good tasting food - it is kind of hard to find a substitute for a real steak. The cost is the weight. If I were trying to do a high-mileage weekend and really push it, I would go dry to save weight. I may even do the trail bars only diet. One time I did the starvation diet - did not want to carry a bear cannister for an overnight so just ate everything on day 1 and nothing on day 2. You can really cover the miles when the only food you is back at your car! There are lots of options for lots of different situations. Given the price of freeze-dried food, I do not use it on short trips and only a little bit on longer trips. My bad experiences with real food is the spoilage-crushed factor. Bananas never have worked for me - I just get a real gooy mess all over my pack. Frozen meat has worked well. It is just nicely thawed by dinnertime on a weekend trip. And I really like baby carrots for trial food.
Loc: Portland, OR
I like the food I carry, Jim. I don't find it to be "blah". I think it is tasty. That it happens to be much lighter than a rib-eye steak, and cheaper, too, is so much gravy (so to speak).
But heaven help me if I ever tell you you're wrong to eat what you feel like eating. The Romans wisely said de gustibus non distputandem est, which means that one's appetites are not a subject for dispute.
I think that is great that even your full-fare food is only 1.5 pounds per day, which is what I plan on when using freeze-dried.
One place where it makes eminent sense to use "regular" food is when you have to pack all of your water. So if you have to carry all of your water, might as well have some of it in a juicy steak and potato as opposed to adding it to a freeze-dried meal.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
While I usually take my normal home-dehydrated food a la freezer-bag cooking (thank you, Sarbar!) for a night or two, there's no reason not to take whatever you want! The reason I take the same stuff on an overnighter that I would take for long trips is simply to test it. I also have a great aversion to washing dishes. If testing meals for longer trips or avoiding dishwashing is not an issue, there's no reason for avoiding whatever you want. Steak and salad with fresh (preferably vine-ripe) tomatoes sounds yummier the longer I think about it! If I think about it long enough, I will ignore my dislike of washing dishes!
Actually, it's better to test one home-dried meal at home before drying more than one meal or heading for the backcountry with it. A combination that sounds good in theory may turn out to be horrible in practice. From bitter experience, I wouldn't eat anything in the backcountry (except fresh trout) that I haven't already tried out at home.
Edited by OregonMouse (01/22/0903:45 AM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Do modern Canadians eat it? It is the tradional Mushers snack and would last forever in the cold.
I haven't tried that. I've heard of hard tack, which might be similar. I've carried those scandanavian type dry breads. They are crumbly, but go well with honey or dates or something like that. I'll have to look up Hudson Bay Bread. Most Canadians take a liquified form of bread, similar to Phats, but non-dehydrated.
p.s. I see its not hard tack, which was traditionally carried on ships. It doesn't appear to have originated in Canada. Looks good though. What still gets eaten alot up North is bannock, and for that you just carry the ingredients, mostly flour, plus some salt and soda. I can see how mushers wouldn't have the time to stop and make bannock, so something like Hudsons Bay Bread would be very handy. http://www.holry.org/essays/baybread.html
Geez you havne't tried that stuff JAK? I remember it being made and brought to hunting camps in my youth.. it's pretty much a nice dose of oatmeal butter and sugar, and was pretty decent to carry in the field.
In my opinion much better than hard tack - sort of a home made oatmeal bar. Twas what we used to carry around before you could just walk into the grocery store and buy pre-made oatmeal or granola bars.
If you prefer Talisker and Lagavulin you may not like the Macallan as much, it's a nice sherry cask one, and not very peaty. I'm fond of a wide range of them. I've not seen a cask strengh Talisker or Lag. If you can find a cask strength Bowmore you'll really like that, or just bite the bullet and carry the extra 15% water in the regular non cask strength merely lightweight fortified beer
I've had Glenmorangie that way, finished in a Port or Sherry cask, but it wasn't high test. Glenmorangie has a peat taste to it, but not near as smokey as Talisker or Lagavulin. I've never met a Scotch I didn't like though, or any old whiskey for that matter. I don't drink alot but I like it straight up, but your stuff would need some water I think. What proof is it? 115-120 I see. Yeah, that would need some water. What better way to celebrate a fine ice cold stream on the trail though eh. Nae need fur water treatment eh.