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Favorite LIGHT climbing/backpacking foods
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Dec 23, 2011
I am interested in seeing what other people are taking for food when you have to carry your food on your back. Do you go out and load up on Freeze Dried or do you make your own. What do you take when it has to be light but still full of calories?

Here is one of my favorites dinners

Hawaiian Haystacks
Minute Rice
Dried pineapple, peas, green peppers, corn
ham bought from the grocery store for sandwiches
sweet and sour sauce found at the grocery store in the mixes isle.
Soy sauce small packets from fast food restaurant

Really good with lots of calories to burn.
From SLC, Utah
Joined Aug 2, 2006
60 points
Dec 23, 2011
Just started using powdered peanut butter. 2 Tbsp powder to 1 Tbsp water. makes a good paste, tastes super good, and none of the weight. Nathan Stokes
Joined Oct 20, 2008
255 points
Dec 23, 2011
A log of Jimmy dean sausage. It is good with Everything inluding oatmeal. thomas ellis
From abq
Joined Oct 12, 2009
1,440 points
Dec 23, 2011
This time of year I like to stock up on holiday summer sausages and the accompanying, and highly preserved cheese gift boxes. For the most of my backpacking trips I take the following items:

Hobo dinner for first night, always
Dried fruit
Cured/dried meats
Peanut butter (just learned of powdered variety)
Instant rice
Dried soup mixes
Lipton cup o' noodle
Via instant coffee
Propel electrolyte mix for nasty water
...and other stuff I can't think of now
BackCountry Sortor
From Ogden, UT
Joined Oct 29, 2009
295 points
Dec 23, 2011
One thing I've started using recently is instant mashed potatoes packets. They actually taste pretty good and come in little prepackaged 2-3 serving envelopes. David Appelhans
From Medford, MA
Joined Nov 11, 2007
140 points
Dec 23, 2011
I tend to carry some heavier stuff for the first night and go light for the other nights. But a few things that come to mind

Bacon either pre-cooked or cooked at home
kielbasa sausage

You can dehydrate nearly anything that you would normally eat. Tried dehydrated spaghetti once. Not the best I ever had but worked pretty well. And a decent dehydrator will run you ~$30 new.
trailrun.reynolds Reynolds
From Seattle
Joined Feb 26, 2011
0 points
Dec 24, 2011
Freeze dried stuff has no fat, and not enough calories, leading to 4 AM shivering wake up sessions where another dose of chow is necessary. Fats are the best calorie to weight ratio in the end, as long as that's not all you eat. Nuts, cheese, jerky, and enough carbs to keep chow interesting is the way to go. A little fresh fruit can do wonders to keep the spirits up and stave off the gag reflex. Moof
From Portland, OR
Joined Dec 11, 2007
0 points
Dec 24, 2011
I usually bring some Lipton noodle packets. These are pretty light (~3.5 - 4 oz) and there are tons of flavors. I also bring Ramen noodles. I will add butter to either of these if it's winter. Candybars are a staple, as are bagels.

In the past, I would make chili, soups, spaghetti sauce, etc and dehydrate it. This worked well, but took a lot of time, so I don't do it anymore. Fatty sauces like alfredo sauce won't work. That seems like common sense, but I tried it anyhow.

A super-light option for winter hot drinks is crystal light. The packets weight nothing and make 2 quarts of drink. You can make hot lemonade or whatever and they taste pretty decent. I discovered this while being stuck at Denali basecamp for an extra day and a half. I ran out of cocoa, so I heated up the crystal light. It's worth a try.
Josh Wood
From Oneonta, NY
Joined Nov 16, 2011
0 points
Dec 24, 2011
Bring along some olive oil...a lot of calories. wankel7
From Indiana
Joined Oct 4, 2010
0 points
Dec 24, 2011
Nathan Stokes wrote:
Just started using powdered peanut butter. 2 Tbsp powder to 1 Tbsp water. makes a good paste, tastes super good, and none of the weight.

I'm curious about powdered peanut butter. Peanut butter isn't really high in water content. Do they make it powdered by removing the liquid oils? That isn't dehydration. That oil isn't just unnecessary weight that can be reconstituted with water. I don't see the point. Yeah, it's lighter. That's because it's less food and calories.

2 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter has 45 calories and weighs 12 grams. That's 3.8 calories per gram.

2 tablespoons of real peanut butter has 188 calories and weighs 32 grams. That's 5.9 calories per gram.

So real peanut butter weighs 2.7 times as much as powdered, but has 4.2 times the calories. So four ounces of real peanut butter would give me 658 calories, while four ounces of powdered peanut butter would only give me 420 calories. Or, put another way, I only need 2.6 ounces of real peanut butter to get the calories found in 4 ounces of powdered.
Brian Abram
From Celo, NC
Joined Oct 17, 2007
208 points
Dec 24, 2011
tons of cliff bars or power bars or whatever is the cheapest, trail mix, and of course some delicious cheese. Thats all I really need along with a little chocolate. erik kapec
From prescott, az
Joined Mar 3, 2010
140 points
Dec 24, 2011
Really depends on the season. Olive oil is awesome but congeals in the cold, so make sure you can get it out of whatever container or throw it in boiling h2o for a minute. salami. instant potato. jameson or laphroig, depending on who i'm out with. freeze dried fine if you wanna just go super light and not have to clean up, but not enough calories and kinda spendy. cheese. Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste to spread on everything, including oatmeal... did I mention Jameson? smassey
From CO
Joined Dec 2, 2008
170 points
Dec 24, 2011
from my backpacking list

instant mashed potatos
Knorr rice sides (pasta sides too but might take longer to cook)
cous cous
add packet tuna or chicken to any of those. also bacon bits, parm cheese packets, olive oil, powdered milk, french onions.

pepperoni + cheese

Pringles 900 cals for 6.5oz tube

fig newtons.. really calorie dense.
Jake D.
From Northeast
Joined Nov 23, 2006
355 points
Dec 27, 2011
I generally make my own dehydrated meals out of pretty much everything for backpacking.

Most of my climbing lately has been either local day trips or car camping, so weight isn't an issue for camp. For meals on the rock, I just pack whatever sounds tasty that day.
From Albuquerque, NM
Joined Oct 5, 2011
0 points
Dec 27, 2011
Peanut butter is always a good staple for calories. I found these little snack packs that are about 2 servings worth that weigh next to nothing and are great. Tortillas peanut butter pack and a small honey bear goes a long way for lunches on the trail.

The best chips for backpacking are Fritos- tons more calories then Pringles (I like Pringles too)and you can get them in a handy smash proof tube if you look around. I find myself just hauling a regular bag and eating them throughout a trip.
A really good meal is freeze dried chili MH, BP, AA, or what ever, poured over Fritos with cheese on top. I have also found powered Sour Cream that is really good mixed into the above mix.
Jello is always a great fun diversion. Good calories and easy to make if you have a cold stream, lake or snow patch handy.
From SLC, Utah
Joined Aug 2, 2006
60 points
Dec 27, 2011
How about breakfast with oatmeal + hot cocoa powder mix? This is definitely more tasty than oatmeal with sugar and cinnamon!

For savory flavor, some garlic salt/chicken flavor powder + oatmeal is a good combination for me.
Bang Nhan
From Charlottesville, VA
Joined Dec 12, 2010
0 points
Dec 27, 2011
I can't get enough of the Backpacker's Pantry Lasagna. Yummy. Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Nov 4, 2011
120 points
Dec 27, 2011
Moof wrote:
Freeze dried stuff has no fat, and not enough calories, leading to 4 AM shivering wake up sessions where another dose of chow is necessary... Nuts, cheese, jerky, and enough carbs to keep chow interesting is the way to go...

Try checking the nutrition label on freeze-dried, you may be surprised by what you discover. Here's one that's about 15% fat, and at 4 kCal/gram it's about the same calorie content (by weight) as ceddar cheese or salami. Not that I disagree with keeping things interesting.

Rock Climbing Photo: Backpacker's Pantry Sweet & Sour Chicken
Backpacker's Pantry Sweet & Sour Chicken
Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Joined Jul 16, 2003
129 points
Dec 29, 2011
You guys are to fancy for me. I live off flour tortillas and peanut butter on bigwall. I haven't tried honey yet. Sounds tasty. Lowell
From El Paso, Texas USA
Joined Nov 24, 2006
1,060 points
Jan 1, 2012
I like cold Chef Boyardee ravioli straight out of the can, eaten with a nut tool. Scott O
From California
Joined Mar 30, 2010
50 points
Mar 9, 2012
bump for any more suggestions? Sunny-D
From SLC, Utah
Joined Aug 2, 2006
60 points
Mar 9, 2012
For weekend car camping/climbing I usually make some suddenly salad pasta the night before. Its perfect for a nice quick lunch. I throw in some bell peppers and onions and it doubles the amount of food.

Not really light, but not heavy to worry about carrying for the day.
Tristan B
From La Crescenta, CA
Joined Oct 1, 2009
1,250 points
Mar 9, 2012
What are your favorite freeze-dried foods that are super low in sodium? So many of them seem to have your monthly allowance of sodium in one meal. :)
Darren Knezek
Joined Jan 20, 2006
710 points
Mar 9, 2012
Bang wrote:
How about breakfast with oatmeal + hot cocoa powder mix?

Mind Blown.... I might even try this at home.
From Avon
Joined Oct 28, 2008
20 points
Mar 10, 2012
This stuff isn't bad

It's like peanut butter but more filling. I usually add some flax seeds to the recipe and eat it in a tortilla.
Tyson Anderson
From SLC, UT
Joined May 14, 2007
65 points
Mar 10, 2012
Dallen, check out Fantastic Foods. One of my favorites is a mix of their TVP Taco "meat", their Black Beans, and Minute Rice. Mix all together (figure out ratios based on your taste, or let me know and I can look it up). Throw some shelf-stable parmesan cheese into the mix, along with some spices. You can freezer-bag cook it in a cozy in about ten minutes. Serve over Fritos (love those things!). I usually bring a couple packets of Taco Bell Fire Salsa.

BTW, Taco Bell salsa is obviously easy to get. For other condiments, check out .
From Spokane, WA
Joined Oct 5, 2001
1,245 points

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