Food is usually quite heavy due to it’s water content. Carrying several days worth of food with you when out in the woods can lead to a very heavy backpack.
I do not enjoy cooking as much as some other people however I do like to eat something tasty and wholesome when out in the field.
I look for the following qualities in outdoor food
- Calorie content
- Ease of preparation
- How much mess does it create
- Likelihood of causing digestion problems
- Potential for slow release of energy vs fast release of energy for different meal
- Storage life (fresh vs dried or canned. How long will it last with no refrigeration)
I am not going to go into food in any great detail here but it should suffice to say that Men need about 2500 calories a day and Women need about 2000 calories a day. This number depends of course on how hard we are working, how much energy we are burning, the climate and our own individual requirement. Some people need to eat like horses while others only need to eat like a small bird.
In light of this, on an expedition on foot or other human powered endevour, we can expect to be needing to eat anything from 2000 to 4000 or 5000 calories per day.
Ideally, I want to take some food that is light weight, easy to cook, does not create any mess to clean up, tastes good, gives me plenty of energy and easy to digest.
I have found that Military rations do not generally meet these requirements for me and are too expensive anyway. I once took 3 old British Army 24hr ration packs on a 3 day walk and ended up caching 2 of them along the way as they were too heavy. It is interesting to note that the British Army have started to use dehydrated food now in their ration packs.
Dehydrated meals are a good option when water is easy to come by, some are better than others but in general, these are a great option as they should be decent and ca be eaten out of the pouch so the only cleaning up that you need to do afterwards is fold up the pouch and put it in your rubbish bag.
I have used the Mountain House dehydrated meals extensively in expeditions in the past and I have to say that they are pretty good, especially if you get the larger packets and add just a little bit more water in them than they suggest.
Today I checked out a new dehydrated meal and thought that you might be interested. Click here to see that post.