Backcountry meal options

Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
87
*3 packets instant oatmeal vacuum sealed
*1 or 2 cliff bars or protein bars
*2 cups ecial K low fat granola, 1/2 cup instant milk, 1/2 cup freez dried strawberries or blue berries vacuum sealed
*2 Starbucks via
*2 powdered pedialyte/Gatorade packets
*1 oz jerky
*1/4 cup mixed nuts
*Mountain house meal for dinner

Above is my food I pack for each day. I typically do around 20 days of back packing just for archery elk season spread out over 4 trips usually.

I buy the jerky, mixed nuts, and coffee at Costco typically. Seems to be best price for quality/taste of food. Costco has a Kirkland turkey Jerkey and a beef jerky that are priced well and taste really good

I watch for sales at REI, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and Bi- Mart for sales on Mountain House meals throughout the year. If you catch them on sale you can get your cost per 2 serving mountain house down around $6.50-$7.00. These are the pouches that have a total of 500-700 calories usually. A single serve pouch doesn’t work for me.

I also watch for sales at Costco or other stores for sales on cliff bars and protein bars. You can cut your cost nearly in half on these buying on sale. Premier Protein makes some really good protein bars.

Also watch your groceries store for sales on the instant oatmeal and Starbucks Via if you drink coffee. Buying these items on sale you 30-50 percent also.

Doing this I’m definitely no where near $30 per day for food. It sounds like you were looking for a mountain house alternative due to cost not dislike of the taste, that is the reason I included advice on that. I have tried quite a few alternatives to mountain house, and I haven’t found a store/internet bought alternative that is a better bang for the buck for me.

Long post on saving cost and my base food list, I’ll do post another on stuff I do to add some variety.
 
OP
atorres

atorres

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Texas
*3 packets instant oatmeal vacuum sealed
*1 or 2 cliff bars or protein bars
*2 cups ecial K low fat granola, 1/2 cup instant milk, 1/2 cup freez dried strawberries or blue berries vacuum sealed
*2 Starbucks via
*2 powdered pedialyte/Gatorade packets
*1 oz jerky
*1/4 cup mixed nuts
*Mountain house meal for dinner

Above is my food I pack for each day. I typically do around 20 days of back packing just for archery elk season spread out over 4 trips usually.

I buy the jerky, mixed nuts, and coffee at Costco typically. Seems to be best price for quality/taste of food. Costco has a Kirkland turkey Jerkey and a beef jerky that are priced well and taste really good

I watch for sales at REI, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and Bi- Mart for sales on Mountain House meals throughout the year. If you catch them on sale you can get your cost per 2 serving mountain house down around $6.50-$7.00. These are the pouches that have a total of 500-700 calories usually. A single serve pouch doesn’t work for me.

I also watch for sales at Costco or other stores for sales on cliff bars and protein bars. You can cut your cost nearly in half on these buying on sale. Premier Protein makes some really good protein bars.

Also watch your groceries store for sales on the instant oatmeal and Starbucks Via if you drink coffee. Buying these items on sale you 30-50 percent also.

Doing this I’m definitely no where near $30 per day for food. It sounds like you were looking for a mountain house alternative due to cost not dislike of the taste, that is the reason I included advice on that. I have tried quite a few alternatives to mountain house, and I haven’t found a store/internet bought alternative that is a better bang for the buck for me.

Long post on saving cost and my base food list, I’ll do post another on stuff I do to add some variety.
Thanks a lot man. Getting plenty of good info here. By the time this thread dies I'll literally be able to come in here and pick my meal plan out haha.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
87
Mountain House makes a lot of different dinners that that I actually really like!

-Pasta Primavera is very good by itself, you can also add a pouch of tuna or chicken if you want some extra calories.
- spaghetti with meat sauce
-beef stroganoff
-chicken and rice
-sweet and sour pork is good but a little on the sweet side for me
-chicken fajita bowl is an great one. We pack tortillas and make burritos. Squeeze a ketchup packet on if you want. Really good
-one of us makes a chili Mac, one of us makes a chicken and rice. We mix the two together and then split in half and make burritos with tortillas add a ketchup packet

-every once in a while we also do breakfast burritos made with either spicy southwest breakfast skillet or just the breakfast skillet.
This one usually just split the mountain house for two breakfast burritos, add ketchup packet. This would replace the oatmeal or a bar that day

You can vacuum seal a cinnamon raisin bagel, compresses it down to save space. Justin’s Almond butter makes individual squeeze pouches with honey in it already(buy at Walmart or Amazon). Heavy, but something different.

On a rainy/cold day some sort of instant ramen or noodle soup is really nice to have and weighs nearly nothing. I would usually eat this mid day, not dinner. They are usually only around 200 calories and don’t fill me up. This would replace one of my proteincliff bars.

I normally just cut the top off my vacuum sealed pouch of granola, powdered milk, and freeze dried fruit, and add water out of my water bladder. Sometimes I heat the water in my jetboil if I’m wanting something warm to eat.

If I’m going to add something for a little variety, I take something out for that day. I also put each days worth of food in a gallon ziplock bag, then in my food stuff sack. First days food doesn’t go in a gallon ziplock in the food stuff sack. It just goes in my pack. The gallon ziplocks come in handy for a trash after you take your food out. Having each day separated also helps to make sure you didn’t bring too much or too little of any food/drink items.

It used to really drive me nuts when I would go on a 7 day trip, and I would get back to the car with enuff miscellaneous food to last another couple days.

I always leave 2-3 days worth food back at the car in the gallon ziplock bags in case we need to extend the trip for packing meat.
 
OP
atorres

atorres

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Texas
I find it really helpful to prepackage each days food into 1 gallon zip lock bags. I throw one into my bag at night when I get back to camp and I'm ready to go for the next day
Definitely a good idea, that way I'm not trying to organize 5 days worth of mixed up food in a pack
 
OP
atorres

atorres

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Texas
Mountain House makes a lot of different dinners that that I actually really like!

-Pasta Primavera is very good by itself, you can also add a pouch of tuna or chicken if you want some extra calories.
- spaghetti with meat sauce
-beef stroganoff
-chicken and rice
-sweet and sour pork is good but a little on the sweet side for me
-chicken fajita bowl is an great one. We pack tortillas and make burritos. Squeeze a ketchup packet on if you want. Really good
-one of us makes a chili Mac, one of us makes a chicken and rice. We mix the two together and then split in half and make burritos with tortillas add a ketchup packet

-every once in a while we also do breakfast burritos made with either spicy southwest breakfast skillet or just the breakfast skillet.
This one usually just split the mountain house for two breakfast burritos, add ketchup packet. This would replace the oatmeal or a bar that day

You can vacuum seal a cinnamon raisin bagel, compresses it down to save space. Justin’s Almond butter makes individual squeeze pouches with honey in it already(buy at Walmart or Amazon). Heavy, but something different.

On a rainy/cold day some sort of instant ramen or noodle soup is really nice to have and weighs nearly nothing. I would usually eat this mid day, not dinner. They are usually only around 200 calories and don’t fill me up. This would replace one of my proteincliff bars.

I normally just cut the top off my vacuum sealed pouch of granola, powdered milk, and freeze dried fruit, and add water out of my water bladder. Sometimes I heat the water in my jetboil if I’m wanting something warm to eat.

If I’m going to add something for a little variety, I take something out for that day. I also put each days worth of food in a gallon ziplock bag, then in my food stuff sack. First days food doesn’t go in a gallon ziplock in the food stuff sack. It just goes in my pack. The gallon ziplocks come in handy for a trash after you take your food out. Having each day separated also helps to make sure you didn’t bring too much or too little of any food/drink items.

It used to really drive me nuts when I would go on a 7 day trip, and I would get back to the car with enuff miscellaneous food to last another couple days.

I always leave 2-3 days worth food back at the car in the gallon ziplock bags in case we need to extend the trip for packing meat.
All good stuff. The nut butters are probably something I'll do. I like the idea of doing ramen and chicken or tuna for a lunch instead of just cold shit. I will definitely use that list of mountain house meals when I'm picking them out.

Have you tried any of the other brands of backcountry meals? I know they're more expensive now, are they any better/better for you?
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
87
I have tried a few other. All cost more, most tasted like crap to me. A few of the peak Refuel ones were pretty good, but even on sale I think it was still $12 each plus shipping. I could be wrong on that price, I just remember even on sale they were very spendy in comparison to mountain house. Also the peak refuel was fairly similar in nutrition with the mountain house meals I like, but it was way higher calories nearly all from HUGE amounts of fat. I don't remember exacty what it was, just remember thinking if I ate those each night I may have a heart attack before I get back to my truck!

With the food I listed I can hunt my butt off, and it seems to give me what I need to be very active day after day in really nasty mountains. I'm not a picky eater. The only thing that doesn't seem to agree with my system is super fatty stuff, and super sugery stuff. Every ones body is a little different on what the need and what taste good to them.
 
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atorres

atorres

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Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Texas
I have tried a few other. All cost more, most tasted like crap to me. A few of the peak Refuel ones were pretty good, but even on sale I think it was still $12 each plus shipping. I could be wrong on that price, I just remember even on sale they were very spendy in comparison to mountain house. Also the peak refuel was fairly similar in nutrition with the mountain house meals I like, but it was way higher calories nearly all from HUGE amounts of fat. I don't remember exacty what it was, just remember thinking if I ate those each night I may have a heart attack before I get back to my truck!

With the food I listed I can hunt my butt off, and it seems to give me what I need to be very active day after day in really nasty mountains. I'm not a picky eater. The only thing that doesn't seem to agree with my system is super fatty stuff, and super sugery stuff. Every ones body is a little different on what the need and what taste good to them.
Super fatty will mess me up sometimes. Sounds like MH is the one.
 

PNWGATOR

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Messages
1,307
Location
Rathdrum, ID
Take a look at Andrew Skurka’s web site/blog for recipes. He’s covered a lotta miles and with a lotta clients and has some really good stuff that won’t break the bank. Takes some prep, but they work.

Also, I pay whatever the $$$ is for Peak meals as I find they’re worth it. Use way less water, taste excellent and are real food.
 

sneaky

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
6,824
Location
ID
Mtn House doesn't make the Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice anymore. Im 6gonna have to find an alternative, that was my favorite meal from them.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 
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atorres

atorres

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Texas
Take a look at Andrew Skurka’s web site/blog for recipes. He’s covered a lotta miles and with a lotta clients and has some really good stuff that won’t break the bank. Takes some prep, but they work.

Also, I pay whatever the $$$ is for Peak meals as I find they’re worth it. Use way less water, taste excellent and are real food.
Cool, thanks.

I'll think about the peak stuff. I have to watch my numbers but if I have room maybe I'll mix some in
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
87
Another good snack item for the first 2-3 days of a back pack trip is some slices of home made summer sausage, cheese, and triscuit crackers. Pretty easy to keep cool for a few days even in warmer weather.
 
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atorres

atorres

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Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Texas
Another good snack item for the first 2-3 days of a back pack trip is some slices of home made summer sausage, cheese, and triscuit crackers. Pretty easy to keep cool for a few days even in warmer weather.
Summer sausage is exactly what I was thinking. Having straight meat on hunts like this is invaluable
 

fmyth

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
540
Location
Arizona
Mountain House makes a lot of different dinners that that I actually really like!

-Pasta Primavera is very good by itself, you can also add a pouch of tuna or chicken if you want some extra calories.
- spaghetti with meat sauce
-beef stroganoff
-chicken and rice
-sweet and sour pork is good but a little on the sweet side for me
-chicken fajita bowl is an great one. We pack tortillas and make burritos. Squeeze a ketchup packet on if you want. Really good
-one of us makes a chili Mac, one of us makes a chicken and rice. We mix the two together and then split in half and make burritos with tortillas add a ketchup packet

-every once in a while we also do breakfast burritos made with either spicy southwest breakfast skillet or just the breakfast skillet.
This one usually just split the mountain house for two breakfast burritos, add ketchup packet. This would replace the oatmeal or a bar that day

You can vacuum seal a cinnamon raisin bagel, compresses it down to save space. Justin’s Almond butter makes individual squeeze pouches with honey in it already(buy at Walmart or Amazon). Heavy, but something different.

On a rainy/cold day some sort of instant ramen or noodle soup is really nice to have and weighs nearly nothing. I would usually eat this mid day, not dinner. They are usually only around 200 calories and don’t fill me up. This would replace one of my proteincliff bars.

I normally just cut the top off my vacuum sealed pouch of granola, powdered milk, and freeze dried fruit, and add water out of my water bladder. Sometimes I heat the water in my jetboil if I’m wanting something warm to eat.

If I’m going to add something for a little variety, I take something out for that day. I also put each days worth of food in a gallon ziplock bag, then in my food stuff sack. First days food doesn’t go in a gallon ziplock in the food stuff sack. It just goes in my pack. The gallon ziplocks come in handy for a trash after you take your food out. Having each day separated also helps to make sure you didn’t bring too much or too little of any food/drink items.

It used to really drive me nuts when I would go on a 7 day trip, and I would get back to the car with enuff miscellaneous food to last another couple days.

I always leave 2-3 days worth food back at the car in the gallon ziplock bags in case we need to extend the trip for packing meat.
Have you tried powdered peanut butter? Saw it at Walmart the other day and was curious if anyone was taking it on backpack hunts.
 

GKWMontana

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
35
Location
Montana
We vacuum seal a lot of cheese and dry salami for snacks and try and eat them early in the hunt if its really warm.They keep well as long as they are vacuum sealed. We also eat a lot of the zip lock tuna packets.
 
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atorres

atorres

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Texas
We vacuum seal a lot of cheese and dry salami for snacks and try and eat them early in the hunt if its really warm.They keep well as long as they are vacuum sealed. We also eat a lot of the zip lock tuna packets.
Dry salami and similar things have been in my mind and sound really appealing. I think I would have given half my ammo on a lot of my hunts for a hard sausage.
 
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