Author Topic: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?  (Read 1316 times)

alan de enfield

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If packing for several days what would be the 'hives' consensus ?
Dehydrated meals typically take 500ml of water to reconstitute so would you ?


1) To save weight carry in dehydrated meals and assume you will find water each evening ?
2) Carry the extra weight and be less reliant on finding water ?
3) Carry both so you have the flexibility to stop wherever ?


My feelings :


The taste of re-constituted dehydrated meals is 'not the best', whilst ready meals taste pretty good.
The dehydrated meals typically have 800 - 1000 Kcals, whilst ready-meals are typically around 400Kcals
A ready meal typically weighs 300g, whilst a 800Kcal dehydrated meal is 150g & a 1000Kcal meal is 200g
I (possibly) need to carry another 1 litre of water if relying on dehydrated meals.


So ready meals are twice the weight for half the calories (but around half the price)


If I am packing for (say) 5 days I'll probably include 1 ready meals (just in case) and 4 dehydrated meals. If hungry then the dehydrated meals, despite the taste, do go down well enough.


One assumes that within that 5 days there would be the opportunity to re-stock with some fresh fodder.





zuludog

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #1 on: 15:24:51, 10/06/18 »
Well firstly I'm puzzled. Surely when you camp for the evening you make sure you are near a water source?
Or you have say 4l capacity of water containers so that you can fill up and carry that for a short distance to your pitch?


I've never worried about all that calorie counting or vitamin stuff, I just eat what I fancy. Organising meals for a 5 day trip is a doddle


Prepared meals like pouch/wet meals/MRE and Dried/AFD are convenient but expensive. Take them if you wish for all or some of the meals
I have used them, and still do now & again, but it's a lot cheaper and almost as easy to make your own -


Pasta & Sauce with - smoked pork sausage; a can or sachet of tuna; cheese; or whatever else you can think of
Make up your own dried meals from pasta & Beanfeast & cook-in sauce mix
Have a browse round a big supermarket; there are all sorts of packets & pouches
For a change, especially in summer, you could have soup; oatcakes & cheese; stewed dried fruit & instant custard or whip


There's no need to simmer pasta all the time - bring it to the boil; let it stand & soak for 30 mins or more; then bring it to the boil again
Look through the magazines; books & accounts of other peoples trips; and YouTube; there are loads of ideas 


And if you're still worried about calories, just take more choccy bars

Doddy

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #2 on: 17:15:35, 10/06/18 »
+1 for dehydrated meals ,I do my own and buy some.

Owen

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #3 on: 19:25:10, 10/06/18 »
For anything over a couple of nights out and up to 15 days, I always take freeze dry for my evening meals. Porridge with freeze dry red berries, sugar and milk powder per-mixed in a soup n' sauce bag for breakfast. With both breakfast and evening meals I just need to add boiling water into the bag, so no washing up and saves on gas. I'm changing my ideas on mid-day snacks (see the Trail food thread).


 I like wilderness so I actively seek out remote places where there is no where to re-supply en-route, not to everyone's taste but that's how I like it.


I've worked out by trial and error that 17-18 kg is what I can work with any more and I'm struggling, this equates to my kit and fifteen days food/fuel. it's also simpler to get two weeks off work than any longer.


I find with freeze dry meals it's better to pay out a little bit more and get the better quality brands than going for the cheapest which are mostly vegetable textured protein (soya). 

richardh1905

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #4 on: 08:18:54, 11/06/18 »

Hi Alan, in my opinion dehydrated is the only way to go for multi-night trips - just look at the calories per 100g on the nutritional information. zuludog has some good tips.


- I'll second beanfeast, although it does take a bit of cooking.
- I'll also second oatcakes - I love them and there are 1000 calories in a 200g pack! Have them with a Cup-a-Soup if you want something hot.
- browse your supermarket shelves for dried meals such as macaroni cheese etc.
- Consider dried sausage such as saucisson, chorizo, kabanos etc. to add to a dried pasta sauce.
- Don't overlook couscous for your carb; very easy to cook (just pour on boiling water, cover, and wait a few minutes).
- Boil in the bag rice is convenient (no straining with a pan lid and getting rice everywhere).
- Take a small amount of tabasco to liven up a drab meal. Speedsterstoves sell small plastic squeeze tubes that you can fill with your chosen sauce. Or take curry/chilli powder, herbs etc (even lighter).
- for breakfast pre mix museli or instant oats with dried milk. About 2:1 works but you may wish to experiment.


Regarding water - you'll need to carry water or camp next to a safe water source in any case. Take a collapsible water bottle along with your normal bottle, and top up at a decent source before you stop for the night - this gives you more freedom in choice of pitches. 2-3 litres per person should be plenty enough for the night and morning - unless you are going to Death Valley! (you don't say where you are going)
Strenuousness is the path of immortality, sloth the path of death.

alan de enfield

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #5 on: 09:23:49, 11/06/18 »

Thanks for all the replies.


Maybe I should have mentioned in the OP that I am a 'recovering' diabetic, who had high blood pressure and very high, (you'll be dead in 6 months) Cholesterol levels.


Everything I ate was BAD, BAD, BAD.
Pizza, Chips, Burgers, Cheese on toast, eggs, drinking pints of milk, everything had high saturated fats.


I lost 5 stone and was taken off the blood pressure tablets, I put 2 stone back on to get to a more comfortable weight (I was a skeleton) and my blood sugars were OK and was taken off the Diabetic medication, but the Cholesterol was still high for a diabetic' at 2.7 so I have to be extremely cautious about the foods I eat - pre-packed is OK as it tells me what I need to know, but to go and buy a 'lump-of cheese', or food with 'sauces' or a bag of chips is a no-no. I can have oven-chips if I weigh them out, but its not practical to do oven chips on a camping gas stove.


I still have to have regular check-ups


Add in the fact I have very 'strange tastes' and strongly dislike Cous-Cous, Fish, most vegetables, not keen on meat (except sausages and bacon) etc etc I have a restricted diet of 'cook your own food' of basically chicken.


In the last month I have stuck to my normal diet except having (maybe) 3 or 4 ice-creams per week - each week I have 'put on' 1lb in weight due to the 'fats' in the ice cream, it now looks like in this hot weather it will just have to be Sorbet in lieu of ice cream.


Apologies for waffling on but that's the background to me using 'pre-made' foods as it allows me to monitor fats & calories consumed against calories expended.


I tend to carry 4x 500ml water bottles and either a 1.5 litre or 5 litre collapsible water carrier. I do have both a Sawyer and a 'Soldier' water filters so if 'reasonable quality' water is available it will be used.


Breakfast is normally a 'porridge-pot' (complete with dried milk) decanted into self seal bags, takes up no room and has very little weight, simply tip into the bowl, add 150-160ml of boiling water and wait 1 minute.


Boil in the bag rice is good, but expensive in the terms of gas used as it needs to boil for 12-15 minutes, to minimise gas usage it falls back to boiling 500ml of water (2.5-3 minutes) and having a nice ex-dehydrated Shepherds pie and mash.


For calorie & sugar boosts (when the wobbles hit) I have dextrose tablets and an assortment of B&M Flapjacks (they have about a 6 month shelf-life, and the small - 75g, 19p ones - have about 350 Kcals, and the bigger - 125g, 29p ones - have 550Kcals) and find they are a lot more tasty than oatcakes.

zuludog

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #6 on: 10:47:06, 11/06/18 »
A few comments for you -


I too have diabetes. Have you joined www.diabetes.org.uk? They have lots of information and advice, though not specifically on hiking & backpacking, but their forum is good, with lots of active & helpful members


As I mentioned, have a good look round a big supermarket
You will find various foods in pouches by www.merchant-gourmet.com and others, like supermarket own labels
wet/RTE pouches of rice from John West, Tilda, Uncle Ben's

This brings us to the weight of food, where you have the same problem as the rest of us - which is best - MRE and less fuel or a lighter dried meal and more fuel?  Or an AFD meal which only requires water to be boiled, but is more expensive? Oho, have fun with that!
Yes, MREs are heavier than dried, but I wouldn't have thought that even 4 or 5 would be excessive; after all, the weight will be going down each night


You don't have to boil rice or pasta continually, just bring to the boil and let it soak; try a pot cosy


I don't like glucose tablets for instant sugar. You can use jelly babies but they tend to clag together in a rucsac in hot weather; liquorice allsorts are more [size=78%]substantial[/size]
[size=78%]
[/size]
[size=78%]Make up your own nuts/raisins/sultanas mixture then you can add M&Ms or not as you wish[/size]
[size=78%]I take dried fruit; dates, figs, or apricots[/size]
[size=78%]
[/size]
[size=78%]Have a look round a health food shop, Holland & Barrett is the most common. They have various tubes & tubs of pastes, pates, cheese substitutes and other things. Ask the staff, they will know their products and advise you[/size]
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[size=78%]You seem to do the water business in a big way. I have 2 x 1,8l platypus bladders for use when camped plus a 750ml bottle during the day. And a few purification tablets in my first aid kit[/size]
[size=78%]The situation is self adjusting. In the hills the water is usually good enough to drink raw, and at lower levels you are more likely to use a campsite or pass farms & houses[/size]
[size=78%]
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[size=78%]If you're going to buy ready made backpacking meals it would be worth joining Go Outdoors discount scheme and /or Surfing the Net for the best prices[/size]

I'm puzzled. All packaged food has a lists the composition and nutritional breakdown, so why is food with a sauce a no-no, but shepherd's pie & mash (meat & gravy, which both have fat, & carbohydrate) acceptable?
« Last Edit: 10:59:40, 11/06/18 by zuludog »

alan de enfield

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #7 on: 11:56:59, 11/06/18 »
A few comments for you -


I too have diabetes. Have you joined www.diabetes.org.uk? They have lots of information and advice, though not specifically on hiking & backpacking, but their forum is good, with lots of active & helpful members


I'm puzzled. All packaged food has a lists the composition and nutritional breakdown, so why is food with a sauce a no-no, but shepherd's pie & mash (meat & gravy, which both have fat, & carbohydrate) acceptable?



The 'problem' is milk and milk based products which have high saturated fats.
My sat.fat target is 12 grams per day. With extra exercise I can have more.



A 700g (reconstituted weight) serving of 'Expedition Foods' Spag Bol' is 1010 Kcals and 8.8 grams of sat.fat.
The 800Kcal dehydrated Shepherds Pie is 6.6 g of sat.fat and are a 'meal'

A 100g portion of Pasta and cheese sauce is 4.4 grams of sat.fat.
Even the 'low fat' Pasta Mug shots with 'cheese flavouring sauce' are 2.2 gram sat.fat.
A 25g squirt of squeezy-cheese is about 3g of sat fat.


So, as 'snacks' they are not filling and add considerably to my allowance.

Even amongst the dehydrated meals I must choose carefully


The 800KCal dehydrated Chicken Korma, when re-constituted weighs 530g & has 13.6 grams of sat.fat.


I was never aware of what was in my food until I had the 'death threat'.
« Last Edit: 12:38:01, 11/06/18 by alan de enfield »

FOX160

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #8 on: 19:01:30, 11/06/18 »
You can try by making your own up from different packets plus adding Biltong cured meat,
to add calories, you could carry a small plastic bottle of olive oil and add a tablespoon to your food.
But agree most hydrated foods are poor in taste.
Regarding water source just add a course to the source before crashing out for the night, just saves
taking the weight with you.

April

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #9 on: 20:40:30, 11/06/18 »
to add calories, you could carry a small plastic bottle of olive oil and add a tablespoon to your food.

Alan needs to cut his saturated fat intake, this would be 2g of his 12g daily intake. I cannot stand oily food so this sounds pretty disgusting, well it does to me anyway  ;)

Alan, when we plan our routes we always plan where we are getting our water from throughout the day. We start off with 500ml each and top up when we reach the water sources we pass. We try to pitch close to a water source, we need 3l each for our tea, drinks and breakfast. In the Lakes water sources are not in short supply so it is quite easy to do this. Where do you go hiking Alan?

I have sympathy with you having to control your diet, Beefy had to do the same to cut his cholesterol levels too and has to watch everything he eats.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

alan de enfield

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #10 on: 21:06:55, 11/06/18 »
Alan needs to cut his saturated fat intake, this would be 2g of his 12g daily intake. I cannot stand oily food so this sounds pretty disgusting, well it does to me anyway  ;)

Alan, when we plan our routes we always plan where we are getting our water from throughout the day. We start off with 500ml each and top up when we reach the water sources we pass. We try to pitch close to a water source, we need 3l each for our tea, drinks and breakfast. In the Lakes water sources are not in short supply so it is quite easy to do this. Where do you go hiking Alan?

I have sympathy with you having to control your diet, Beefy had to do the same to cut his cholesterol levels too and has to watch everything he eats.



Thanks for the support. It is nice to know I am not alone.
I have sent you a PM

KimE

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #11 on: 16:41:24, 12/06/18 »
[font=]"- Consider dried sausage such as saucisson, chorizo, kabanos etc. to add to a dried pasta sauce. [/font][font=&amp]
[font=]- Don't overlook couscous for your carb; very easy to cook (just pour on boiling water, cover, and wait a few minutes). "[/font]
[font=]
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[font=]Yes [/font]
[font=]For dinner dryed beer suasage or salami with dry tomato and onion + couscous, 3min pasta, powdered potato mash. One meal about 150-200g carry weight add a small sip of olive oil for extra calories. Alternative to sausage prosciuto or baecon during the first days of the walk. This have less weight than a high quality dry readymeal which cost about 5£ more than then do your own meal.[/font]
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[font=]Breakfast oatmeal porrige with raisins and dry milk.[/font]
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alan de enfield

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #12 on: 17:14:48, 12/06/18 »


Breakfast oatmeal porrige with raisins and dry milk.[/font]



My typical menu for a 5-day 'pack-up' (includes instant mash, store bought dehydrated meals, and porridge pots - with milk - decanted into small poly bags and 'bits & pieces') :
                                               
 
                        Breakfast         Lunch                             Dinner                     Supper
 
Day 1               Porridge           Cup-A-Soup                 ‘Sausage/Beans’      Bar Chocolate
                        Cup of Tea       Twin Granola Bar         2x Portions Mash   Cup of Cocoa
                                                                                                                       Flapjack
 
Day 2               Porridge           Mug Shotz                     Beef Curry            1x Bar Chocolate
                        Cup of Tea       Twin Granola Bar          Rice                       Cup of Cocoa
                                                                                                                      Flapjack
 
Day 3               Porridge           Mug Shotz                     Oriental Chicken    Bar Chocolate
                        Cup of Tea       Twin Granola Bar         Rice                         Cup of Cocoa
                                                                                                                        Flapjack
 
Day 4               Porridge           Cup-A-Soup                 Spaghetti                  Bar Chocolate
                        Cup of Tea       Twin Granola Bar         Bolognese                Cup of Cocoa
                                                                                                                        Flapjack
 
Day 5               Porridge           Cup-A-Soup                 Shepherd’s Pie        Bar Chocolate
                        Cup of Tea       Twin Granola Bar         1x Portions Mash    Cup of Cocoa
                                                                                                                        Flapjack
 
(~ 2000Kcal per day)

Price is not the over ruling issue, it comes down to convenience.
As I have previously said, making my own with a 'bit of this' and 'a bit of that', 'add a splash of oil' etc etc and you end up with a unknown meal as far as fats etc are concerned.
« Last Edit: 17:18:01, 12/06/18 by alan de enfield »

richardh1905

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #13 on: 18:27:02, 12/06/18 »

Edit



I've just bought a packet of Tesco own brand pasta - "tomato and herb" for the princely sum of 50p.


120g pack has 450kcal yet only 0.8g saturated fat. Cooking time 8-10 minutes gentle simmer.
« Last Edit: 13:45:30, 13/06/18 by richardh1905 »
Strenuousness is the path of immortality, sloth the path of death.

KimE

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Re: Ready Meals - Dehydrated meals - a Mix of Both ?
« Reply #14 on: 11:13:10, 23/06/18 »

[font=]As I have previously said, making my own with a 'bit of this' and 'a bit of that', 'add a splash of oil' etc etc and you end up with a unknown meal as far as fats etc are concerned.[/font]
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[font=]Yes but if you bring unsaturated fat its would make your colesterol lower. Five days of walking should not be a problem even if you eat too little calories.[/font]