Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
When we go out in the winter we get into snowy areas that require snow shoes or skis, sometimes. We always hike on unpopular trails, and sometimes off trail. So we have a reasonable chance of spending an unexpected night out on one of these day hikes, even though we have not yet. So here is my question. Given no stove, and a chance we will not be able to get a fire going, what is a good emergency food to take that doesn't require cooking? The only thing I have come up with is to take extra GORP and a couple of extra Power Bars. Do you know of anything more interesting? Or less perishable? It would help if it had a long shelf life so I could leave it in my back and use it on many outings.
Bear Valley Pemmican (not true pemmican) or Meal Pack (?) bars - I think REI still sells them. I used to eat one for lunch, and it worked pretty well. A bit too much sugar for me now (type II diabetic), but they keep well. I think the “pemmican” variety comes in fruit and nut or lemon flavor, and the “meal pack” variety is chocolate-something and another flavor.
They’re good sized, somewhat of a “blondie” texture, and keep well.
I think someone used to make “heater meals” that had some sort of heater in it (similar to the hand warmers, maybe?); you’d need to remember a spoon, of course.
UPDATE: I just checked REI’s website. A search for “Bear Valley” brought up one food item: Bear Valley Pemmican. However, the product page indicates that it comes in Carob-Cocoa, Coconut Almond, and Fruit and Nut varieties. Lemon must have gone the way of the dodo. $2 each, 3.75 ounce bar, 400-440 calories.
Edited by Glenn Roberts (11/30/1710:37 AM) Edit Reason: Additional info
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I think GORP would be a good option if you rotate out the old bags and eat them at home. Put in a fresh bag before you go out or on some regular interval. You might also check the "sell by" date on pre-made trail mix from the grocery store. As long as you leave the package sealed, it should last a long time.
Loc: Portland, OR
I will also recommend Bear Valley Pemmican bars. I find their texture a bit dry and the soy flour is a bit too evident compared to, for example, a Clif bar, but they are fairly good tasting, compact, very filling, and they're durable enough to throw into your pack over and over again for several months. This qualifies them as excellent emergency rations and I've used them that way in the past.
A little bit off the original topic but I remember reading where dry dog food was a good emergency food. It has good nutritional value, dogs live on it for years, but you are not tempted to eat it before you are in an emergency situation. A bag of M&M's are likely to disappear but the dog food will last until you have a true emergency.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I started carrying a small alcohol stove with enough fuel for a couple of boils. Hot tea or cocoa and powdered soups can really perk up an emergency menu or even just lunch on a cold day. A few ounces for stove, fuel and a cup-sized pot will work fine.
I've heard that about dog food, but never was willing to try it. Of course if you have a dog along, there goes the dog food!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I agree with having hot food in the winter. I often take a thermos full of hot chocolate! Or soup. Actually a stove and ingredients is lighter, but the thermos is really handy.
MRE's are the standard emergency food- they self-heat. Expensive and heavy, though.
I even occasionally take a stove and always a pot with me on day-hikes in the summer. I really like to stop and have hot tea or miso soup. You can cook in a cup or light solo pot. Do not need big bulky cook gear. I once got caught out, but had my pot and built a fire and had hot tea, and after the tea ran out, hot water. It makes a difference when you are cold! When I used to climb, we used to get caught up on a cliff occasionally, and I learned how miserable it is to get stuck out at night - and that was summer.