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 Trail Cooking 101

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Number of posts : 2738
Age : 57
Location : Arizona, USA
Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Trail Cooking 101   Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:40 pm


So you have pored over the recipes. Now you are ready to go and thinking "I need to go hiking!" but then you you realize you have questions about the cooking methods, about what kind of gear to bring and more. Fear not! Peruse through the sections below to get the basics on the many methods of trail cooking, how to pick gear and even how to protect your tasty vittles from hungry bears.

Planning menus?

For more on how to figure out how much food you need to take, see The menu planning page.
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Number of posts : 2738
Age : 57
Location : Arizona, USA
Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Finding Hard to Find Food Items   Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:41 pm

• Canned chicken comes in cans from 3 oz size, to 5 oz size and also 10 oz's. The 5 oz size is good for 2 person meals. The broth in the can has good flavor for the meals. Do not drain it! You can also use the 7 oz foil packets of chicken if you like more chicken. Be sure to get the cans with pull tops. While you might think that cans are heavy, once empty they weigh about the same as the foil packets. Stomp the can hard with your boot, and it will fit nicely in your garbage bag.
• Ham comes in 7 oz foil pouches in some areas. You can also find it in small cans, look for pop tops.
• Tuna comes in foil pouches. 3 oz size is perfect for one person, the 6 oz size for two. Albacore is the better choice. If you are doing long days, use the oil packed version. Tuna steaks are now available in pouches.
• Salmon. The small pouches are great for 1 person-larger pouches are good for 2 persons. Canned can be used, make sure it is boned and skin free.
• Seafood. Shrimp, Clams, Crab, all come in small pouches.
• You can always substitute canned products. Just look for pop tops. The liquid can always be used in your meal, so no draining needed.
• Hamburger: Precooked and dehydrated at home. Directions are in the drying section.
• Freeze dried meat: There are many choices, and it can be an easy way to carry meat on long trips. Freeze dried meats are not inexpensive though, but if you are trying to save weight and space, they can be worth it. For a large selection online, see Wilderness Dining and Be Prepared. You can also substitute TVP which comes in many flavors. See Harmony House Foods for it.
• Couscous: It is tiny pasta, full of protein and carbs, and needs only water added. You can find whole wheat also. You can find this at grocery stores near the rice mixes, in bulk sections, natural food stores.
• Coconut Cream Powder: A high fat/calorie powder that makes coconut cream. It is found in Asian stores and some larger ethnic sections in grocery stores, also online. Used in curry dishes to make creamier.
• Instant Hummus is a powder you mix with cold water, to make a spread. Made from Garbonza beans and spices. Can be found in natural or ethnic section at grocery stores, in bulk, natural food stores.
• Instant Refried Beans (Flakes): They come in brown or black bean. Can be found in bulk, in grocery stores, in natural food stores. Sometimes sold as "bean soup" mixes...but can be used to make refried beans. Use more water than the box calls for-as refried style, they can be very thick.
• Veggie Flakes/Dried Veggies/freeze dried veggies: Tiny shreds of dried veggies. Usually is a mix including carrots, celery, onions, parsley, sometimes also tomato, potato, peas, beans, etc. Found in the bulk sections of grocery stores or natural food stores, sometimes sold as "soup starters". You can also find this online through some retailers. You can make your own by dehydrating a 16 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies (small cut), then chopping up in a food processor or blender. Find them online at Wilderness Dining.
• Dried Mushrooms: There are many kinds to try. Plain white mushrooms work well in many meals. Find in the produce department in grocery stores and online through Harmony House Foods.
• Dried Bell Pepper Flakes: Dried, in small flakes, these rehydrate quite fast. Either in green or red. Some natural food stores carry, or at spice and herb stores, as well as online stores. Find them online at Harmony House Foods.
• Dried Onions: You want the smaller pieces (some places carry two sizes). Find at grocery stores, in bulk sections, at club stores, online at Harmony House Foods.
• Dried Tomatoes/Powder: You can find dried tomatoes (sun dried, no oil) in bulk herb sections & gourmet sections. If you cannot find powder, you can run tomato pieces thru a mill, coffee grinder or food processor. You can also dry tomato paste and powder it.
• Dried Carrots: Online, spice & herb stores, in natural food stores sometimes. If you dry your own, just run through the blender or food processor till flaked.
• Instant Milk Powder: Non-fat milk is widely found, whole milk (Nido®) can be found online, at Walmart Supercenters® or in gourmet cooking stores in the baking area. For higher protein, you can use soy milk powder, found in tubs in the soy milk section of your grocery store.
• Soy Milk Powder: Instant dairy milk can be used instead. Find the soy in your grocery store in tubs, in the soy aisle. Usually is 2 Tbsp per 8 oz of liquid, so in many recipes if it calls for 1/2 cup dairy milk powder, use 2 Tbsp instead. Much higher in protein than dairy. Better Than Milk® is an excellent brand.
• Freeze Dried fruit: Look in club stores and in your grocery store. Just Tomatoes® and Harmony House Foods sell freeze-dried fruits. You can also find a limited variety at Trader Joe's, that changes often.
• Making Your Own Oatmeal: Take 1 minute "Quick" oats...and run through a blender or food processor till it looks like instant oatmeal. Use just the same as the instant packets, adding spices, sugar, fruit, nuts, etc.
• Low Sodium Chicken/Vegetable/Beef Bouillon: If you use it and like salt, add a pinch of salt to your food. We have recipes for making vegetarian "chicken" bouillon on the site, which is very good. By using low sodium, you can control the salt to your liking.
• Salt: We use kosher salt in allour recipes, if needed. Sea salt is also nice to use. Table salt can be used, but tends to have a "saltier" flavor so use less.
• Instant Rice: Basic Minute Rice®. In any rice recipe you can use instant brown rice. Brown rice does need to sit in the cozy for an extra 5 to 10 minutes.
• Cheese Sauce Powder: You can find this in bulk at some grocery stores, or online. You can always sub cheese powder packets from mac and cheese boxes or use a cheese of your choice (1-2 ounces) diced up. Look in organic sections for faux cheese sauce powder as well.
• Salsa can be easily dried at home on a dehydrator (see drying section) but can also be found as easy prep mix online and an easy to make corn salsa.

What to always carry in your "kitchen":

The good thing about freezer bag cooking is usually your food is going to be ready to go taste wise...but you never know how your taste buds might be day in and out. So carry with you in a small bag:
• A couple salt and pepper packets from a fast food place. I carry a small GSI Pepper Mill.
• A couple packets of Parmesan cheese.
• A couple snack size baggies with some herbs & spices such as thyme, garlic, dried parsley, etc. If you are planning on making soups in a cozy, it never hurts to carry some instant mashed potatoes to thicken if it is thinner than you like.

Building your "outdoor" pantry:

Keep on hand in bulk or boxes:
• Instant Rice
• Couscous
• Instant refried beans
• Instant hummus mix
• Cheese sauce powder
• Dried minced onions
• Dried veggie mix
• Dried bell peppers
• Dried tomatoes, flaked
• Dried mushrooms
• Soup mixes
• Gravy packets
• Stuffing mix
• Pouches of tuna, salmon, cans of chicken, turkey, dried hamburger or flavored TVP.
• Drink mix packets.
• Ramen noodle pouches.
• A vast assortment of packets of condiments. I keep them in small zip top bags by type. Whenever I eat out I always ask if I can have triple what they give me. Ask nicely and don''t be greedy and you will be rewarded.
I also have in my kitchen a large assortment of herbs and spices. Whenever I want to perk up a recipe this is my mode:

Savory foods:
• Dried thyme, garlic, dried parsley, fresh ground black pepper, dried chives, dried rosemary, pizza and spaghetti blend herbs.

Deserts, Breakfasts:
• Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pie spice blend.
• A favorite item for me is candied ginger. If you buy it in bulk, it is very affordable. Dice it up and add it to your oatmeal.

Where to find single serving items & condiment packs?

If you look into Sarah's food bag you will find a world of flavors, all in single serving packets. The items stay fresh and are ready for when you need them. They can take a plain meal to something spectacular in a couple seconds!

Don't be shy! Ask for packets whenever you eat out. Most fast food places will give them to you if asked nicely.

Organize the packets you collect in snack or sandwich zip top bags by type of condiment. Try to rotate your stock, and for items like mayo and dressings, use them up in couple months or toss them.

Honey: Starbuck's (real honey), fried chicken places, other fast food such as fish shops - though some are flavored corn syrup. Read carefully.

Butter and its imitators: fried chicken and fish shops, other fast food, continental breakfasts, diners.

Ketchup & mustard: Your favorite fast food place, grocery store delis.

Salsa/picante sauce: Fast food that offers burritos and convenience stores, sometimes you can find 4-8 packs of tubs at grocery stores and Quickie Marts.

Ranch tubs: Fast food and Hidden Valley Dressing® in 4 packs at the grocery store.

Parmesan Cheese & Red Pepper Flakes: Costco and Sams Club food courts, any pizza joint.

Jam packets or tubs: Fast food, continental breakfasts at motels, diners.

Soy Sauce & sesame seeds: your favorite Chinese place or full service grocery store deli.

BBQ Sauce: fast food.

Salt and pepper packets: most places.

Mayonnaise and relish packets: Convenience stores that sell fried foods, deli's in grocery stores, truck stops, sandwich shops.

Arby's® is great for Horsey sauce, their BBQ sauce, etc.

Many McDonalds® and KFC® have moist towelettes in packets.

Papa John's®: will sell you tubs of cheese sauce, garlic sauce, marinara sauce for minimal cost. They also have Parmesan cheese and pepper packets.

How to get packets with no begging involved:

Visit PackitGourmet and/or Minimus. These companies stock so many items you will want to order as many as you can. They carry many hard to find items. Minimus also carries supplies for stocking your first aid kit as well. Both have excellent customer service and are fast. Now go shop!

Shopping For Items Online:

PackitGourmet - consider it an online store for hikers.

Justin's Nut Butters - some of the best out there and it comes in packets.

Just Tomatoes - Full line of dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetables, fruits and powders. Many organic versions.

Harmony House Foods - full line of dried vegetables, fruits, beans and meat subs ready to go on the trail.

Wilderness Dining - They carry many items.

Fungus Among Us - producers of dried mushrooms.
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Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Freezer Bag Cooking   Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:46 pm


Freezer Bag Cooking 101
Tue, 01/05/2010 - 12:09 — Sarah

When we started developing recipes for outdoor cooking nearly everything for the first couple years were for the method called Freezer Bag Cooking or also known as FBC. When asked "What is FBC?" the answer is it is making your own meals, just the way you want.

Consider them to be similar to commercial freeze dried meals but without the cost and you can customize them exactly to how you want!

How to do FBC:

Most people who do the FBC method will package their meals at home before the trip. You will want to note on each bag what the meal is and how much water is required. Some will tuck a tiny note inside, others use a permanent marker on the outside.

When getting ready to “cook” your meal, bring your water to a near boil. Pour the water into your cup to measure, then add it to your freezer bag. This way you avoid the chance of burns, adding too much water, or touching your freezer bag with a burning hot piece of metal - and having the small potential of melting the bag. You DO NOT need boiling water to rehydrate meals! Boiling is at 212°, 180° water will work just fine. If you need to boil your water to remove any chance of water born pathogens let it cool for a couple minutes and then proceed.

Stir with a long handled metal, wooden or heat safe plastic spoon. After you have mixed it well, zip up the bag tightly and wrap in a fleece hat, jacket or cozy made for the purpose. Then let sit for 5 to 15 minutes (the recipe and altitude will determine how long), make yourself a drink and wait for your meal. Once ready, stir well and eat. We usually put our freezer bag into our cozies before we add the water (since we use a dedicated cozy), this works well as we don't have to hold the bag upright while the water is added.

What is a cozy? See here for the all the info!

A Note On Squeezing/Kneading Bags:
If you squeeze or knead your bags to mix up the food, be very careful- be sure you have pushed out all the air before you do this. The steam from the hot liquid can cause a build up and your kneading could cause the bag to pop open. For items like mashed potatoes and stuffing kneading if done carefully works well.

The "How Do I Eat Out Of The Bag?" question:
This can take a little practice, but after your food is ready, roll the top 1/3 of the bag down (imagine you are cuffing socks). This will make your bag into its own bowl. If eating soup or chowders, be careful. You can also witha sharp camp knife cut off the top half to make a "bowl".

The "How Do I Feed 2 People?" Question:
Many of the recipes are listed as feeding two people, which might make one wonder, how do you feed 2 our of 1 bag? My answer to this has to been to bring two bags with me - an extra bag (usually recycled from having held dry food before). After the meal is ready, I do the final stirring, then divide the meal between the two bags.

Not Into Freezer Bags, But You Want To Do The Recipes?
• See the section on the one pot method.
• See the section on insulated mugs.
• Gladware®, Rubbermaid Take-A-Longs®, or Rubbermaid® food containers that have a lid. If it is dishwasher safe, you can use it. These can be put in soft sided cozies.
• Roasting bags and slow cooker liner bags, found in the plastic bag section.
• Food Vac bags, they are rated to be submerged in boiling water for extended periods and are some of the strongest bags on the market.
• 'Boil-In-Bags'
• Fozzil Dishes
• Orikaso Dishes

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Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Trail Cooking - Gear and Tools   Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Gear and Tools - Buying A Pot

Over the years gear is one of the questions we get asked most. It can be very confusing to figure out what to buy and even more easy to overbuy.

Unless you decide to go 'no cook', eventually you have to break down and get a kitchen set up. It can be very overwhelming, especially if you wander into a large REI and have no clue where to start. Outside of your stove your biggest item to decide on will be your cooking pot(s). But, if you don't have a kitchen setup get the pot before the stove - you want to love your pot most of all and you don't want to be mismatched. Not all stoves and pot sets work well together.

Things to consider when buying a pot:

What kind of metal do you want? This is going to be a big part of your decision. What is your backpacking style like? Do you take everything? Are you trying to go UL? Is your wallet on a diet? Your major choices will be:

Titanium(TI): The darling of light weight packers it does have its pros - it is very thin metal so pots are light. It heats up fast, helping water boil even faster. If unlined you can use metal utensils and scrub pads. Cons - thin walls get blistering hot but don't retain heat well after removing from heat source, never cook dry, the metal will heat super hot and can warp as well as turn new shades, is notorious for frying on food if you take your eyes off the pot or use too hot a stove - you can get non stick versions but again, you have to have a stove that can simmer - high temps will destroy the lining. Isn't much lighter than HAA, is often twice as much in cost but does come in mugs and smaller pots - so for minimalist setups it may be your only option. And Ti has the "cool factor".

Best use - boiling water or cooking liquids such as stews and soups. Works well well alcohol stoves and high performance canister stoves.

Hard Anodized Aluminum (HAA): The pros of it are light, transfers heat well (retains it, fans it out so your food cooks more evenly), durable, strong and very affordable. Naturally non stick, though some companies add a super slick lining for ease in cleanup. The hard anodizing allows you to cook acidic foods (cleanup should be done promptly!) and does not impart any metal taste. Cons are that not all companies make their products thin walled, some pots made of it can be very heavy. You will need to research if your pot is OK for use with metal utensils. Some HAA pots will get scratched, some are OK. Find out also if scrub pads are OK to use.

Best use - Overall HAA is your best buy for the majority of uses. Shop carefully to get what you need and to keep it affordable and light.

Stainless Steel: Is not used as much these days, but can still be found. Pros: High quality, nearly indestructible, very inexpensive. Good for base camping, car camping and for melting snow for water in winter. Can use metal utensils and scrub pads. Cons: the weight of the metal makes it not normally a good choice for backpackers.

Best use - Snow melting in winter (very durable, handles being exposed to heat well), use in fires, use by young kids who are hard on gear.

An example of where SS works well, in small pot mugs (GSI Glacier Mug):

Aluminum: Rarely seen these days and that is NO loss! Plain aluminum was often used in the old days to make "mess kits" sold to Scouts and similar. It was light, but dented easily and often imparted an aftertaste to food/liquids. Can use metal utensils and scrub pads - but you have a "metal" smell on your hand after cleaning. You also have to avoid using acidic foods in it. Avoid it, just not worth it - and none of the major companies make anything with it these days, you will mostly find it in "surplus stores" imported from China.

Best use - Honestly? None. Avoid. You really don't want it!

What kind of pot do you want?

So you figured out what material you want, now you need to decide what pot to get. And do you have choices! Every year multiple new pots come out, plenty to dazzle and confuse the heck out of anyone.

There are three basic styles though:

Tall and Narrow - Often used in smaller pot sizes, from 12 ounce mugs to up to 1.8 Liter or so, it works well for boiling water and meals that have liquid. You will often need a longer handled utensil to stir. Can make clean up a pain if you made a messy meal. Works well on alcohol stoves and narrow canister stoves. Best for 1 to 2 people.

Wide and Shallow - Often seen in larger pots from 1.5 Liter to 2 to 3 or even 4 Liter. They work well on remote fed canister stoves, liquid fuel and stable canister stoves and as well on large propane camp stoves for car camping. You can find great options for 1 to as many people as you need. Typically a 2 Liter wide pot can cook for 2 to 3 people. Wide pots are perfect for gourmet cooking, where you need room to move food around. It can make boiling water harder and longer if your stove is made for a narrower pot. Super cheap often equals bad handles! See the GSI Backpacker Set here.

The kettle - It is low, wide and short but is typically under a Liter. It works well on all stoves and is very stable. Some are for just boiling water, others allow you to cook in them. See the GSI Halulite Kettle here.

No matter what you decide on make sure that the pot is sturdy and well built. Some off brands cut corners on the handles. You will see floppy metal handles that don't stay put or worse, plastic handles that can melt if used on the wrong stove! Buyer beware, a $25 bargain may well mean you end up buying twice. Or the top of the pot is rolled weird so food gets trapped under (example? Certain versions of the "grease pot" which is a cheap $10 or less "pot" used by some UL hikers)

As well, don't assume that a set will be better than buying pots by the piece. In all honesty, some sets are great (especially if you have no kitchen when you get going) but better to say have a pot for solo trips, one for if you have a partner and one for luxury car camping. It is common to see new backpackers carry everything in a set - if it has 3 pots, they carry all 3, with all 3 lids ;-) Sets have become huge in the past 3 years or so, every one is making them it seems. It makes sense though - it is a great way to offer convenience and value to the customers. But do ask yourself if you will use the waterproof bucket that holds the set, the mugs, plates, etc before you buy. If No, then just buy the pot and save $20 to 50.

Also ask yourself what you will really cook. If you know you are a committed FBC or freeze dried meal maker, then go as simple and light as you can. A hiker kettle will be your friend! If you swap between FBC and simple one pot meals consider a narrow 1.8 Liter or so pot so you can do both. If you like to cook big gourmet meals, then invest into a large 2 Liter or bigger wide pot for ease of cooking and cleanup. And consider getting non stick on it for quick simple cleanup.

Check that the lid sits well, is easy to take off and that most of all, the handle on the pot is VERY secure. Most companies have gotten with the times and gone to securely clicking in/locking handles. You should NOT have to take the handle off the pot to take off the lid except for in the base models or in small mess kits these days. This makes cooking safer as you can hold on to the pot while you stir. Many pots now have drain holes as part of the lid, allowing you to safely drain water when making pasta, it also allows steam to whistle out while you cook, less boil overs.

Do make sure to test the new pot(s) at home first to make sure you are comfortable with it. Test it outside, on non level lawn/dirt, in the wind. Make sure you practice lifting the pot fully loaded with water and draining it. This will let you know that you are comfortable with it.

Once you know what you want then you have to match the stove to it. And do make sure they will be compatible. If your pot has coated or plastic handles, a hot alcohol stove can easily lick up the sides and melt them. If you are using an MSR Pocket Rocket stove or similar canister stove, larger and wide pots will not be stable on the narrow arms. These are things to check out. Bring your pot with you when you shop if you can and test it filled with water for stability.


Gear & Tools:
Eating well doesn’t mean you need to carry a big kitchen with you on the trail. You needn’t carry heavy pans, multiple pans, a lot of fuel, and have to do cleanup after your meals. You can eat great, have a nice variety of foods, and be done eating before dark. There are a few items and techniques that will go a long way to achieving edible nirvana….or as close as we can get to it.

Basic tools needed:
A backpacking tea kettle or lightweight pot with lid.

For solo you will want capacity of 1 1/2 to 4 cups water. For two you will want at least 4 cups (1 Liter) to 8 cups (a 2 Liter pot). With bigger families or groups you can go as large as a 3 Liter pot but it becomes easier to carry two smaller pots and two stoves - it is often faster that way. Any metal (Titanium, Hard Anodized Aluminum, etc) is fine you will develop a preference over time. If boiling water only your pot need not be non-stick or hard anodized. While not needed for one pot cooking, the coatings make cleanup much easier.

A canister or alcohol stove.

Good brands of canister stoves are MSR, Primus, Coleman, Snowpeak and JetBoil and many others. Canister stoves are simple and safe to use, making them a great choice for those who don't like to tinke. Do use name brand fuel, off brands can foul up your stove quickly. If your stove has an electric starter (a Piezo) do pack a backup way to light it. They can and do break! Canister stoves are a good choice for families and when fire bans are on. You rarely get flareups and are quick to shut off. Expect issues with performance at high altitudes and in the cold.

Alcohol stoves are very popular due to ease of use - with no parts to break and whisper quiet. They do have a learning curve and should not be used during fire bans or in tinder dry areas (they are an open flame). Do use with caution around children and animals.

White gas/multi fuel stoves. They have their fans for winter use/high altitude adventures. Do know how to field repair them before using one. Expect them to be the messiest of choices. Learn how to light it to avoid flareups.

Solid fuel stoves. Usually known under Esbit these minimalist stoves are good for solo hikers who only need to boil a cup or so of water. They work well but can leave a sooty coating on your pot (it washes off with dish soap easily) and has a chemical smell when burning. Practice at home till you get the hang of it.

A windscreen for your stove made of a turkey pan, stove liner pan or heavy duty foil folded 3 times. This will increase fuel efficiency. Most companies that make alcohol stoves include them with the stove. See here for the Trail Designs line.

FBC Cozy: If you plan on doing meals FBC style you will need something to insulate your meal with. A dedicated cozy is important. You can then tuck it into your food bag at night. Look for lightweight and washable.

A long handled spoon to eat with. You can find heat safe plastic, wood (and now Bamboo!) and metal. Sporks can be used very carefully if eating pasta dishes. Be careful though with poking the bags.

A mug/cup with measuring markers on it. Dual purpose for your hot beverages but also for an exact measure for meals. Many mugs made for backpackers now have measurement lines.

Paper Towels: Yes, an odd one there but you will find them quite useful. Tear off a paper towel per day and fold into quarters. Pack them in a quart freezer bag. They work great for assembling food on, wiping messes up and as well wiping out a cooking pot to remove leftover food before cleaning.

Lighter and matches. We carry both. In seperate areas of our packs.

Bags: We recommend bringing 1 or 2 extra quart freezer bags in your food bag and double bagging dried pasta as it can have sharp ends. You can use brand name freezer bags (avoid dollar store ones), Food Vac bags or 'Boil-In-Bag' bags for FBC meals. For meals prepared in a mug or in a pot feel free to use snack or sandwich size plastic bags. For those avoiding plastics you can buy wax paper "bags" for sandwiches but are not good for powder items. You can as well make bags out of muslin fabric if one was inclined.

A black permanent marker to write on your bags. Mark what your meal is, and how much water to add. You can also write it on a scrap of paper and stick it inside.

Are there other items?

Of course....you can end up like Sarah, with many storage bins overflowing with dishes, pepper mills, spatulas, fry pans, baking ovens......

Just start small and build up is the best advice!
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Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Trail Cooking - Insulated Mug   Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:03 pm


Very similar to using the FBC method, but using an insulated mug instead of freezer bags. The mug acts as a cozy for you. Follow the FBC method if a recipe does not mention using a mug.

The ‘insulated mug method’ mentioned in our recipes? Easy enough! It is using your lightweight insulated mug to prep meals in. The method works best for solo meals meals for one in the range of 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups water added.

It will depend of course on what size mug you carry while backpacking - do you take a 12 ounce mug? Or a 18 ounce one? A 12 ounce mug works best with no more than 1 cup water added to dry ingredients. A 18 ounce mug should be 1 1/2 cups or less water added. You will need room for your food to expand!

If super hungry, there is always the Super Grande coffee mugs found at truck stops across the country. You could fix a meal for a logger in one of those puppies!

You can take any sturdy (yet light) mug that you prefer but you will want a good tight fitting lid. Be it plastic or metal, either is up to you. If you use metal be warned the interior will be cold in winter. Preheating with hot water will be needed to not chill your food.

The method:

Add your dry ingredients to the mug, along with oil and meats if called for and then add the amount of boiling water called for. Stir well, cover the mug tightly and let sit for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the time called in the recipe. Stir well and eat.
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Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Trail Cooking - No Cook   Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:11 pm


Having meals that need no heat has been very popular in the past couple years. The recipes can make great lunches, an easy meal in bad weather and also they have been extremely popular with long distance hikers looking to save weight on fuel.
Quote :
Lemony Lentils with Tuna Fillets
Prep time 30 minutes
A high protein/low carb lunch or dinner that is easy to prepare. Even better? It is a cold meal, needing no heat - just cool temperature water and 30 minutes soaking time.
1⁄4 c cooked and dehydrated lentils
1 T diced dried shallots
1 T dried spinach
1⁄2 t lower sodium chicken bouillon
2 pkt true lemon powder
1 t ground black pepper
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 pk 5-ounce tuna fillets
1⁄2 c water
At home: In a sandwich bag add all the dry ingredients. Pack with it the olive oil and tuna fillet pouch.

Add water to the lentil mix, stir and seal tightly. Allow to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Add the olive oil and blend gently. Salt to taste if desired. Top the tuna fillets with the lentil mix.
Approximate nutritional stats:
Calories: 420 Protein: 41 Carbs: 28 Fat: 19

About 8 ounces for all ingredients.
No Cook Method:

Pack your meals at home in a snack, sandwich or pint/quart freezer bag (whatever you prefer). Note the amount of water on the bag in permanent marker and what the meal is or tuck a small note inside.

Depending on the recipe rehydration will be nearly instant to up to 30 minutes. Add in cool water, seal the bag and knead or shake gently. Set aside till ready.
More No Cook Recipes Here and here
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PostSubject: Trail Cooking - One Pot Meals   Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:22 pm


The most traditional method of trail cooking is by using a lightweight pot to cook your meal in. By incorprating the methods of FBC into it you can avoid lengthy cook times (and pot scrubbings) as well you can save fuel. This method is attractive to long distance hikers and to those avoiding the use of plastics.

One Pot Method:

To save time, at home bag each meal up. You can use snack and sandwich bags for this. Be sure to mark with a permanent marker or tuck a small note inside that notes what the meal is and how much water is called for.

Add the water called for, any oil and meat to your pot. In some cases the recipe will call for the dried vegetables or the dried ingredients to be added as well. Follow the recipe directions to be sure. Bring the water to a boil, turn off your stove and add in the dry items. Stir well and cover tightly. At altitude or in cooler tempatures you will want to consider using a pot cozy to insulate your pot (it retains quite a bit of heat in). You can make your own or buy them ready to go from Anti Gravity Gear.

The cleaning of your pot is easier this way than if you do regular cooking, where you simmer for a lengthy time, such as 10 to 20 minutes. When done, wipe out with a paper towel and then rinse with a mild mixture of outdoor safe soap/water. If you use a non-stick pot you often won't need a scrubby pad.

If you don't use a non-stick coating type of pot/pan wet mud or sand will work for clean up, and you don't have to carry soap or scrubbies, lighten your pack. No grease will be left after cleaning with sand, mud doesn't work as good so you might have to have something to wipe your pot/pan with if you can only find mud.
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PostSubject: Trail Cooking - Protecting your food   Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:25 pm


(click link above to reach links on this post)

Protecting Your Food:
Something that happens quite often for people new to the outdoors, is the question of "what do I do with my food at night?" This is literally one of the most important decisions you will make when in the outdoors - do it wrong and you can face being hungry and miserable.

Please remember, YOU are the visitor to the wilds. It is your duty to keep human food and garbage from the animals. A couple years ago, at Mt. Rainier NP, I experienced a bear that had been fed by humans at a trailhead campground, simply because they thought it was cute to do. That bear kept coming back (as they will do) into the front country. Needless to say, I watched the black bear panic and destroy a basically new hood on an innocnet hiker's car (it was jumping up and down with claws out). That bear was lucky, it was given 3 chances in being relocating and finally did not come back. Many others though are put down every year. It does NOT have to happen if we are more careful of our presence when visiting the wilds.

We need to protect our food from a wide range of animals: bears, racoons, coyotes, squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, birds, mice, rats, skunks, etc. Ironically the smallest animals can be some of the worst offenders. Mice drive people in shelters crazy, birds will swoop in. Racoons can unzip tents and packs to get in.

You have options - but on using them it depends on where you hike and the regulations. Be sure to read up online and or call the rangers office for the latest information.

Bear canisters:

All you do is pack your food in them and put in or on your pack. In camp you put your food, garbage and smelly toiletries in and leave near camp. Tree stumps work great if hollow inside, pop it in. Just make sure the canister is not near water or cliffs, so animal cannot roll it away. Also do not tie the canister to anything. It helps to put bright duct tape or paint on them in case it does get tossed around. A suggestion is to put your name andphone number on the canister in permanent marker or have a a business card taped inside. For example, our canister, a Bear Vault, has this info on the outside and offers that we will pay a reward if found (so we can get it shipped back). This is good if you ever have a bear roll your canister away!

On garbage and storing. Yes, it is unappetizing. But you have to do it! Gallon freezer bags work well for storing your food in and then the same for garbage. This way nothing touches.

Canisters are a must for areas with highly habiuated bears (ones that have been fed human food and do nightly patrols of backcountry camp sites) and Grizzly bears. Both are undesirable to have in camp. Canisters used according to directions leads to the bears getting no rewards and leaving.

The main players are:

Garcia Bear Resistant Container. Heavy but a proven winner. US made.
Bear Vault. 2 sizes. Clear for easy seeing, wide opening. US made.
Counter Assualt. Bright yellow for easy locating. Heavier than the Garcia, carries more. US made.
Bearikade. The lightest choice but also the priciest. Made of carbon fiber.

The Ursack:

We have been using Ursack Bear Bags for nearly 8 years now. Some people do question it since it is a soft sack, your food can be squished if a bear sits or stands on it. But if you carry dry food (like most of the recipes here), that isn't a problem. With an Ursack all you do is tie it off to a tree base with a figure 8 knot or hang from a tree. It depends on where you are and the rules. It holds more than the canisters, and best of all, rolls down and compresses as you eat your food. They are very lightweight and offer a hybrid aluminum insert to put into the sack to form a lightweight "canister". If you choose to use an Ursack realize that you should separate your Ursack from camp at night, more so if you are camping in heavily used areas. In our hiking group, there are at least 20 of us with Ursacks. We go into copses of trees on the edge of alpine meadows, avalanche areas full of downed trees, in the forest go up a couple hundred feet uphill from camp. Most animals that come into camp are coming back because they got fed before. No food in the "normal" areas and they leave. If you do choose to use one, you must learn how to use it right. No complaining allowed if you use it wrong! That means reading the directions and trying it out so you learn how to do a figure 8 knot. DO NOT use in areas with highly habiuated bears or with Grizzly bears. Canisters have their places and this is one area.


Rat Sack:

A bag made of fine stainless steel mesh it does a good job of protecting food but needs to be hidden from birds such as Ravens who are crafty. Will work for most animals but not for habiuated black bears or Grizzly bears.

Bear bagging:

And you might think "there is no info on it here". Well, that is because I HATE bear bagging! If done right, it does work, but you need trees of the right size and the know how. Personally I recommend that you use an Ursack, Rat Sack or a canister. If you do choose to bear bag, please use a sack that is only used for your food. Practice in a park or your back yard. Learn how to do it in the pouring rain, when you are so cold that you can barely move your fingers...imagine how you can do it, standing in a moat of snow 4 ft high. Do it at night and make sure that you have friends laughing at you as it takes an hour. Study up on the PCT Method. Do NOT do bear bagging in areas with Grizzlies or highly habiuated black bears. Mama bears do teach the babies how to climb up to get rewards.

More thoughts:

How you camp and eat can also play into wether or not you get night time (well even day time sometimes!) visitors.

Keep a clean camp. No crumbs, no washing dishes with food on them into the bushes. Don't leave open food in camp and wander off.

Avoid highly used campsites that bear the mark of bears if you can. Bears are smart and know what areas have sloppy campers. They do regular patrols of the easy areas. Same with rodents and racoons.

In Grizzly territory stop an hour or two before camp and make your main meal. Eat and clean up and then continue hiking. This helps stops the smell association.

Maintain a kitchen area that is seperate from your tent.

Do not cook in your tent. Or eat in your tent.

Double check your pack for wrappers before bed, same with your pants and jacket. Clean up before bed - wash your hands and face. In Grizzly territory you may be advised to sleep in clothing you do not cook in.

If a bear comes into your camp do make noise. Hiding in your tent and letting it get rewarded only allows it become habiuated.
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