What do you eat ?

The first thing I do is look at the nutrition facts on the package, because I want to the most calories and best nutrition from the smallest lightest packages I can find. With that being said I want something that is filling and edible as well as having a variety. The only advantage the freeze drieds have for guys like us is the fact that you just add water to the package it comes in, but they are overpriced and most of them taste foul.

I do not shop for food at the same place I shop for guns, optics, clothes, etc.. I shop for most of my hunting food at the supermarket. You can find a nearly endless variety of dishes that only require adding water or milk (buy powdered). Some suggest butter, but that IS optional or you could get the stuff in the little packets. I agree that instant rice and potatoes are a good thing as well, but more for the carbs and that "wow I'm full" feeling. Also in most instances you can get a couple of the supermarket variety liptons such as cheddar broccoli or an alfredo dish for the price of one mountain house, and they taste better.

A quality water filter and a good camp stove and you are set. I personally use the jet boil stove, because it uses very little fuel, stores in its own cup, and all tests have shown that it boils water faster than most if not all stoves on the market.

Don't forget to bring some fishing line and a couple of hooks if the area has fish.

On a final note, if you, like myself, tend to do a little preseason scouting and physical training. Then you should pack in some grub ahead of time. This way you can store the non-perishables on the mountain and pack in some quisine during the trip. Maybe even a big fat steak for the last night.
How do you prepare the liptons sidekick? I have always ate mountain house using my jetboil stove, real food sounds a lot better if there isn't a bunch of preperation involved. How much does one of these lipton sidekicks weigh?
I have to agree with EJONES 338. I have found alot of good meals from a grocery store that require only water or powdered milk. My wife hates it when I go to the store with her because I am always buying something new to try before my hunting trips or scouting trips. I still use some mountain house but found I can get alot more for my dollar at the grocery store.
I pack in for 5-7 days, and fortunately, I am not one who is put off by freeze dried or other concentrated foods--although I have to admit that by the end of the trip, I am ready to get a hot shower and head for the nearest steak house or Mexican food on the double! I learned about nutrition when I used to do a once-a-year non-stop 260 mile canoe race during which we ate about 2-3 ounces of food every hour from sealed packets and drank constantly through tubes.

Now, when hunting, I package one-day's food all together and vacuum seal everything for that day. I take 2 pounds per day--period. Here is my regimen:

Breakfast: two packages of two Nature Valley granola bars each--4 total. I happen to like the "oats and honey" flavor and use only that. I heat 12 ounces of water in my titanium kettle and drop 3 Folgers Coffee Single bags in and leave them while I drink the whole thing down then pull off the cardboard tags and pitch them under a pinion or juniper.

Morning Snack: 2-3 ounces of honey-glazed roasted pecans, roasted but unsalted almonds, and/or dried fruit. Low salt is important because it makes you thirsty and water is heavy. I drink like a pig at the trough anyway--it comes from being Texan.

Lunch: a chunk of cheese and a chunk of ham--both ladened with preservatives--not good for you, but for 5-7 days, so what. My grandparents ate the stuff for 80 years and eventually died, so I probably will too, one of these days.

Afternoon snack: A little premium beef jerky--not the kind they sell at Cabelas--and some dried fruit.

Supper: Here is where I take the huge majority of my calories. I have a real thing about not being able to sleep with an empty stomach--not the best way, I know, but it's my way--I pretty much have to do it. One freeze dried meal (for two people.) Water boiled in my Kettle, and poured into the plastic/foil bag and I eat out of the bag. I follow this with a couple more granola bars and a cup of hot chocolate, mixed in the kettle. I then pour water into the kettle, clean it out and drink the water--good to go for breakfast.

Bedtime Snack: A bag of M&M s to keep the sleeping bag warm. I take a variety of regular, peanut, dark chocolate, and almond.

So there you have it--dull as dishwater but full of calories--I take nothing that doesn't amount to 100 calories per ounce and prefer to average 140 per ounce. That comes out to over 4,000 calories per day--perfect for the trail for a lard-butt like Uncle Russ--(who, if the truth be known, could live off his own fat for a couple of years.)

Lot of great info/ideas already. Most of the following ideas are from a great little book I bought several years ago (I don't know if it's still in print) "The Hungry Hiker's Book of Good Cooking" by Gretchen McHugh.

One thing that hasn't been discussed is something I really like to do. When the mood strikes me, I make my own dehydrated meals. They all start with browned/ground meat. Simply brown some LOW FAT burger (venison works well, as does high end beef). Drain ALL the fat (pat it out with paper towels). Then spread it on a cookie tin and put it in the oven on low heat until it is DRY (6 hours at 140degrees does it pretty well), add a little flour to it and use it in all types of meals. You can also dry Tomoto Paste the same way and end up with a tomato leather that weighs almost nothing and can be used in the following meals.

Then the experimentation can begin. Always experiment at home and get the recipes correct before you leave. My favorite is to put a cup of the meat and a couple cups of elbow noodles, some dried onions and flavorings such as pepper, boullion etc. and seal in a ziplock. To use, simple add some water a couple hours prior to eating. Let it reconstitute, then heat and eat. By letting it reconstitute, it really lowers the cooking time. Reconstituting the meat/spices seperately and then adding to instant potatoe's really works great. Other items to play around with instead of noodles are the dried potatoes (works good), rice (haven't figured this out yet).

I like oatmeal for breakfast (use the bulk oatmeal and add your own dried fruit).

I like to carry a small chunk of cheese and a couple hard rolls for lunch. The cheese is full of energy and small the hard rolls are light and easy to pack. I like an apple to finish the meal if weight is not a huge issue, if water is always available in the area, I'll use a handfull of dried fruit instead of the Apple. If I have to pack my own water, I will almost always carry apples, as they are a great source for water as well as their food value and a welcome treat.

I use the above 'home made' dinner's for the evening meal.

The small packages of condiments from the fast food restaurants are a great addition

JP, Thanks for starting this thread. Also thanks to everyone that wrote back all that good info. Reading all the posts on this subject has helped me out a ton and helped save a few bucks. thanks guys
"Any suggestions of how to keep it light or something to brake up the monotony. I also us Wilderness Athlete vitamins and hydration supplements. I tried there Altitude pills and loved to results."

Can anyone tell me where I can find these supplements? I PMed JP Hunter with no result. I am particularly interested in the altitude pills and hydration supplements. Where I hunt is a 7000 foot gain from where I live and I usually don't get acclimated until a couple of day before I leave for home.


"Any suggestions of how to keep it light or something to brake up the monotony. I also us Wilderness Athlete vitamins and hydration supplements. I tried there Altitude pills and loved to results."

Can anyone tell me where I can find these supplements? I PMed JP Hunter with no result. I am particularly interested in the altitude pills and hydration supplements. Where I hunt is a 7000 foot gain from where I live and I usually don't get acclimated until a couple of day before I leave for home.


If you can't find them at a sporting goods store near you, they have a website: Wilderness Athlete Nutrition Energy Bar Gel Drink Hydration Altitude Sickness MultiVitamin Hunt Fish Organic Natural Ingredients I like most all their stuff.
Thanks Coues Sniper

It seems funny to be concerned about a hunt at 7000ft but standing my driveway with my GPS, it tells my house is at 32ft. The guys I hunt with all live about 5000ft. I have a hard time keeping up except the last day or so. I hope this stuff helps.

Thanks Again

I carry/eat what the old time prospectors/trappers used to take when they went out for weeks on end.

Oatmeal and I don't mean the little packets I take the regular oatmeal that you buy in 1 - 10lbs bags I fill a ziploc bag with enough to last the duration of my hike/hunt.

Dried blueberries throw enough into the oatmeal as it is cooking for my taste it is amazing how these dried berries puff up and taste fresh.

Salt is very important to injest as you hike you need to replenish the salt that you lose in your sweat, I put a pinch into my oatmeal when I cook it.

Granola bars I buy the ones that have a high nut and oatmeal content from Costco and pack enough for a couple per day.

Tea bags/Coffee it is always nice to take a short break and have a hot drink I carry these in a ziploc bag as well.

I carry an Esbit stove and fuel cells for quick meals/drinks, 2 extremely light pots with wire handles so I can hang them over the fire and I do most of my cooking with a fire.
ribeyes, t bones, iowa chops,
the rest of the time i have corn off the cob, apples, carrets,
dried fruit, assorted sweet candies in the rappers the ones that look like toose rolls.
pack my water purrifier, some iadine tablets, plastic bottel of buttershots, for my rumitis.
but typicaly catch it in the creak, under a rock or beneath a rotten tree.
if you don't spend your time eating you hunt harder so you can eat.
my pack usaly has every thing i need to servive of a week.
which includes a 8 oz. plastic bottle of honey.
just incase of a fatal accedent.
We don't do backpack hunts very often any more but we used to pack in with hounds during lion season and we mostly pack seasonings, top ramin, and matches. We would eat small game that we ran into while hunting, I had a hound that was one good grouse dog, Grouse with some of the ramin seasoning packet sprinkled on it is out standing!
We usually shoot or catch meals. I know a couple guys that eat of the lion kills while following them, elk backstraps are hard to beat when following lion deep into the mountains. I have had a couple of very hungry nights when no game was to be had.
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