Showing posts with label Tramping Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tramping Food. Show all posts

Monday, 25 May 2020

Tramping Food: A couple of my most popular meal ideas....

Tasty vittles for Jon's tramping trips....

I find my posts about tramping food, tramping menus and food for the trail are usually the most popular pages on my blog. So I thought I would look at a couple of my favorite meals I like to eat when out tramping.

One of my homemade 24 hour ration packs...Chilli-Mac on the menu!

I tend to rotate freeze dried meals with homemade meals when I am out overnight. Freeze dried is light, quick and simple to make but they are quite expensive and the flavor gets tedious after awhile. Homemade meals can be cheap but usually require more cooking time and can be heavier. I much prefer the flavour of  homemade meals to freeze dried meals.


I do eat freeze dried meals..Outdoor Gourmet Thai Chicken Stir Fry

All of the following recipes get a regular outing when I go on trips into the outdoors...solid and well known meals which I know are quick to prepare, tasty and filling. Some are totally homemade while others are a mixture of commercial meal components with my own additions.


Recipes I use on my tramping trips

I'm talking about hot meals only and I have broken these recipes down into meal periods (i.e. the times when I actually eat hot meals) so breakfast and dinner really...

Breakfast meals for tramping trips:


 A lot of people just eat toaster pastries, muesli bars or breakfast biscuits etc. with a swing of water for breakfast but I think that sucks. I like a cup of coffee or tea in the morning and a sit down meal if time allows. My attitude is...I'm boiling water so I might as well make something hot to eat at the same time.



Muesli bars like an OSM can provide breakfast on the go....

....as can toaster pastries!!!!


I like to have a meal before I start walking each morning but it needs to be filling, quick and easy to prepare. I also like breakfast meals I can eat from the bag as this saves me doing too much kitchen admin when I could be tramping.

Enjoying a tasty morning brew on my hut bunk....

I find breakfast to be the most difficult meal to plan...it tends to get monotonous. I try to rotate recipes so that I have some variety in my menu...the same meal quickly becomes boring after 2-3 days and you are looking for something new.

My usual breakfast fare is good old porridge aka POG aka oatmeal with a mug of coffee/tea with sweetened condensed milk in it. I beef up the calories/flavor in my porridge by including cinnamon,  milk powder, fruit and nuts.

Note on measures: T= Tablespoon, t=teaspoon, 1 cup = 250gm's



Jon's standard porridge/oatmeal:


Porridge and coffee in Howdon Hut on the Routeburn Track, 2019

Recipe: One person

2 pkts instant oats (I like Uncle Toby's but any brand is fine)
2t sugar
2t milkpowder
1/4t cinnamon powder (optional)
Pinch of salt
1T raisins/craisins/sultanas/chopped prunes to taste
1T almond slivers

Place all dry items in a sandwich size zip-lock bag add, add 1 cup hot water and stir. Leave for 5 minutes for the oats to hydrate and eat from the bag. Quick, easy and no dishes to clean...beautiful!!!


Hot muesli with milk:

Recipe: one person
1 cup of your favorite muesli mix (I like Hubbards brand)
1/2 cup powdered milk
1t powdered cinnamon
1T raisins/chopped dates/chopped prunes/chopped apricots
Sugar to taste

Place all the ingredients in a zip-lock bag. To prepare; add 1/2 cup hot water and mix well, leave for 2-3 minutes to hydrate. This is a hot version of muesli with fat in the form of milk and added fruit. This is excellent to break the monotony of porridge every morning, eat it from the bag. 


Cheesy polenta/grits:


Cheesy Breakfast Polenta/Grits


Recipe:1-2 person
1 cup instant polenta/grits (250gms/1cup polenta mix to 1 litre hot water)
1/2t salt
A twist of cracked pepper
1/2 chicken stock cube
Pinch of paprika (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (powdered Parmesan is good)
1/2 cup salami/luncheon/bacon bits etc. (optional)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste

Place all dry items in a sandwich size zip-lock bag at home. To prepare; add dry ingredients to 1 litre hot water and stir into porridge like consistency. Leave for 3 minutes for the polenta to hydrate then fluff and eat. I source Italian instant polenta from a local store which just needs water+oil added and a 2-3 minute simmer time. Alternately you can find grits (basically the same thing...) at Bin Inn and health food stores. You can add some protein to this meal in the form of salami/luncheon/canned chicken/bacon bits etc. and splash in Tabasco for a fiery hit.



Loaded O-Meal Hash-brown Potatoes:


OMeal Hashbrown potatoes


Recipe: 1-2 person
1 pkt O-meal self heating hash-brown potatoes
2 bier-sticks/salami sticks/cubed luncheon/pre-cooked bacon or similar, diced
1-2 tortillas each
Salt +Pepper
Tabasco to taste

Heat the O-meal following the instructions, cut meat into small pieces and add to hash-brown mix once heated. Wrap in a tortilla and splash with Tabasco to taste. The OMeal range are retort pouch meals new to the New Zealand market...they are available at Hunting and Fishing stores. They have a flame-less ration heater included and can be warmed and eaten right from the bag. There are a variety of entrees but the one I like best is the hash-brown potatoes. 



Breakfast beans: 


Beans are a hearty breakfast or dinner meal....

Recipe: 1-2 people
1 pkt Absolute Wilderness freeze dried beans or small tin baked beans
2T Hormal bacon bits or 2 rashers bacon cut into small pieces and fried
1T dried onion flakes
1T brown sugar
1/8t ground mustard powder
1-2 McDonald's Ketchup sachets or tomato sauce of your choosing
1t Worcestershire sauce
1-2 flour Tortillas per person
Salt/pepper to taste

This is basically a stove top version of BBQ Baked Beans. At home place all of the dried ingredients in the packet of beans and reseal or place in a sandwich size zip lock bag. Worcestershire sauce can be carried separately, I reuse those small fish shaped measures you get with sushi. To prepare; add all dry and wet ingredients to the recommended amount of hot water on the bean packet. If using tinned beans add 1/4 cup of water. Stir well and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Place aside for 5 minutes to fully hydrate and then eat with the tortillas. 


Lunch/Dinner meals for tramping trips

I usually eat crackers or wraps with peanut butter/cured meat/tuna/smoked chicken/pate and cheese for lunch but I occasionally break out the cooker and whip up a hot meal.

My usual lunch...wraps/crackers with pate and a drink...

 I would usually only do this on cold wet days and if I had some cover like a handy hut, shelter, tree or similar.You usually find cooking shelters on the Great Walks and private walkways but a small tarp will suffice to keep you dry if you plan to cook lunch. I have a 1.5x1.5 tarp just for this purpose...Karen and I took it to Rakuira as I was expecting some wet lunch breaks.


Preparing to cook a hot lunch on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

....Dutch Curry Soup and Butter Chicken Curry for lunch....

Any of the following recipes can be eaten as either lunch or dinner meals., I would pair these with a pre-meal soup (see information below) for a hearty and satisfying meal. 


Beef Chow Mein:



Easy mince chow mein......
Recipe: 2 person
1 cup freeze dried mince
1T dehydrate onions flakes
1 pkt 2 minute noodles
1 cup sliced cabbage or 1/2 cup dehydrated cabbage
1 cup freeze-dried mixed vegetables (carrot/peas/corn/green beans)
1/2 pkt Maggi Mince Chow Mein base
1/2t salt
Salt/Pepper/Soya Sauce to taste

Place all the dry ingredients in a sandwich zip lock bag. Carry sliced cabbage separately if fresh. In a pot boil 2 cups hot water and add dried ingredients then simmer for 3 minutes. Add sliced cabbage to pot and simmer additional 2 minutes. Take from heat and leave for 5 minutes before eating. Add soya sauce as required..I use those small fish shaped measures you get with sushi.



Beef & noodle curry:
Backcountry Beef Curry...better with noodles added!!!



Recipe: One person
1 serve pkt of Backcountry Classic Beef Curry
1 pkt Oriental flavor 2 minute noodles
Soya Sauce to taste
Salt/pepper to taste

Prepare the Backcountry Beef Curry as per instructions. Cook the 2 minute noodles as per instructions, drain excess water and combine in the pot with Beef Curry. Add soya sauce as required. A light, quick and tasty meal for one person...the Beef Curry is much better with the noodles added.



Cous Cous & Tuna Salad:

Recipe: One person

1/2 cup instant cous-cous per person
1/4 cup mixed freeze dried vegetables
1 crumbled chicken stock cube
1/2t dried garlic granules
1/2t dried parsley
1T chopped sun dried tomatoes
1T chopped olives
A handful of salted peanuts/cashews/almonds
1T olive oil
Salt to taste
1 pkt Sealord Tuna, Lemon, sesame and ginger or Kaffir lime and coconut

Place all dried ingredients in a zip-lock bag. Pre-chop the olives/sun-dried tomatoes and place in a small zip-lock bag. To prepare add hot water to dried ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes to hydrate, add the olive oil and fluff cous-cous. Add the nuts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and tuna. Mix well then eat. For a North African taste finely chop some apricots/dates/prunes and mix into the meal.


Loaded Mac n' Cheese:


A tramping food icon...Loaded Mac 'n Cheese!!!

Recipe: One person

2 pkt Kraft/Begg 3 minute Mac 'n Cheese (for 2 people use a box of Diamond Macaroni Cheese)
1T dried onion flakes
1/4t garlic granules
1/4 cup freeze dried mixed vegetables (optional)
1/4t curry powder (optional)
1 Baby Bell cheese cut into small pieces or 1/4 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup cubed salami/luncheon/smoked chicken
Salt/Pepper to taste

Mac 'n Cheese is a classic trampers meal. Place the packets of Mac n' Cheese in a sandwich sized zip lock bag, place the other dried ingredients in a small zip-lock bag, carry meat and cheese separately. To prepare: add hot water to  vegetables to hydrate and leave for 10 minutes. Prepare Mac 'n Cheese by boiling macaroni until al-dente, drain excess water and add cheese powder sachet. Combine with meat, grated cheese and vegetables and enjoy.


Asian Style Chicken Lhaksa:


Any commercial curry paste can be adapted into a tramping meal...


Recipe: One person

1 cup rice noodles (Vermicelli)
1/4 cup dehydrated beans (or dehydrated mixed vegetables)
1T dried coconut milk powder
2T Asian Home Gourmet Singapore Laksa paste
1/2 chicken stock cube, crumbled
1/2t dried coriander
1/4t ginger powder
1/4t garlic granules
1/4 cup cubed smoked chicken or small tin of chicken
Salt/pepper to taste

Place all dried ingredients into a zip lock bag, except noodles which have their own bag. To prepare: soak noodles in warm water to soften, drain after 3 minutes. Cube chicken. Add dried ingredients to one cup hot water and simmer for 3 minutes stirring frequently. Add cubed chicken and noodles once vegetables are soft and enjoy.

(Lhaksa or Laksa....the term is interchangeable....)


Trail Thanksgiving Dinner:


On trail Thanksgiving dinner...beautiful!!!

Recipe:One person

1/2 cup flavored stuffing mixture (Sage is good...)
1/2 cup dried potato flakes
1T dried onion flakes
1/4 cup dehydrated mixed vegetables (optional)
1T Craisins (optional)
1/2t garlic granules
2-3T gravy powder
1T olive oil
A small tin of chicken or 1/2 cup cubed smoked chicken breast

Place the stuffing mix, potato flakes and gravy in a sandwich size zip lock bag. Place all the dried vegetables into a second small zip-lock bag. To prepare add hot water to the second bag and let the vegetables sit 10 minutes then drain. Just cover the potato/stuffing mix with very hot water and stir well. Leave for a couple of minutes then add the oil, vegetables & chicken and stir again. Can be eaten from the bag. 

Herbed Tomato Rice

Recipe: One person

1 Cup instant rice (freeze dried rice or a bag of pre-cooked rice)
1/4 Cup freeze dried corn or mixed vegetables
1/4 Cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1T dried onion flakes
1 pkt tomato flavor Cup-O-Soup
1/2 beef stock cube
1t garlic granules
1/4t dried oregano
1T olive oil
1/4 Cup grated cheese (optional)
1/4 Cup cubed salami/luncheon/bacon etc. (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste


Pack the rice, sun dried tomatoes and other dried ingredients into a zip lock bag. To prepare: Add dry ingredients to 1& 1/2 Cups boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minute.  Add the oil, stir well and then let rest for 5 minutes to fully hydrate. Sprinkle over cheese and enjoy. Add some cubed bacon bits/salami/luncheon etc. for protein. 


A special note about soup...

I love soup as a appetizer before dinner or with my lunch on a cold day if I have time and water available. I usually use instant Cup-O-Soup varieties but I will also take packets of simmer soup as well.

Continental and Maggi are the instant Cup-O-Soup leaders in New Zealand with a wide range of flavors to choose from. 

Continental Cup-0-Soup...Spicy Asian Laksa....


A tasty Cup-O-Soup at Whawharangi Hut on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

There are a number of dried packet soups from Knorr, Maggi and Continental which you can find at supermarkets and Asian food stores. All have a longer simmer time (3-10 minutes) but are more flavorsome than Cup-O-Soup so this is what I use at dinner time. There is no need to simmer them for 10 minutes as per the instruction. I just simmer these for 3-4 minutes and then leave them covered for another 5 minutes to fully hydrate. It works.....

The Knorr range of simmer soups found in New Zealand


These simmer soups will serve two people and always go down a treat...Chicken Noodle, Crab and Corn, French Onion and Rich Tomato are my favorites.


Continental also sell a range of simmer soups....


I have also taken freeze dried soups from Backcountry Cuisine on tramping trips, these just need hot water added to the packet to reconstitute and are an excellent lunch option. Currently they have three flavors (Chicken and Corn, Mushroom & Potato and Spicy Malaysian Chicken) all of which are delicious. 

Soup for lunch on the Queen Charlotte Track

Keep an eye out for Asian style noodle soup packets the next time you are shopping. My local supermarket has a soup range from Trident which includes a delicious Tom Yum Goong and three other spicy Thai style soups. Asian supermarkets will also have a range of these soups.


Trident Tom Yum soup...light, tasty and easy to prepare

I usually have my soup in the mid afternoon and then wait for a couple of hours before making my main meal. It takes those hunger pangs away when you have finished walking for the day and replaces a lot of the salt you will have lost in your sweat. I really recommend you get in the habit of having a soup with your evening meal when out on trail...

Soup makes a filling appetizer before diner.....

So there are a couple of my most popular tramping meals..feel free to give any of them a go the next time you head out. 

Bon-appetit...

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Tramping food: The self heating Omeal range

Omeals....no cook tramping food...


Karen and I tried something new on our tramp on the Rakuira Track, the new range of self heating meals called Omeals. Omeals are a product new to the New Zealand market and are basically like a military MRE...you have the pouch of wet food, a water activated heating element and an outer bag to contain the meal.






Using them requires no external heating or even hot water as you simply add about a cup of cold water to the pack, add the food & unwrapped heater pack and wait as it chemically heats the food. This means you can potentially eat in the back-country without carrying the extra weight of cooker, gas canister and cooking pot....usually a saving of 500-700gms. 


No cook tramping...forgo the cooker, gas canister and cook pot!!!

There are a variety of meals available for both breakfast and main meals including gluten free and vegetarian versions. These meals are currently only available from Hunting and Fishing stores ($15 per meal) but I could see more shops carrying them as an option if the demand was high enough. 


Review of the meals I have tried from the Omeal range...

We tried a couple of different varieties of these meals including a breakfast option and two of the main meal options. Here is a list of all of the options currently available from Hunting and Fishing stores:

Hashbrown Potato, Oatmeal, Vegetable Stew with Beef, Chicken Creole, South West Chicken, Spaghetti Bolognese, Red Lentils with Beef, Cheese Tortellini with Tomato Sauce and Pasta Fagioli...


Another option: vegetarian Pasta Fagioli

There are a number of other meals but they are not yet available in this country, have a look at my comments on the meals we have tried below..... 


Southwest Style Chicken

We tried these meals as an experiment on the second night of our Rakuira Track walk...I thought it would be a good option after a tiring seven hour day. Karen chose one meal for herself and I chose one for me. My choice was the Southwest Style Chicken....stewed chicken, rice, beans, corn and other vegetables. 






It was well cooked without being over soft and you could clearly make out all of the flavor profiles of his very popular SW American style dish. The sauce is tomato based but was rich and dark with the slightest touch of chilli flavor to it. It was very nice and I would have no problems eating this one again...

Hashbrown Potatoes

We had the Hashbrown Potatoes for breakfast and unlike other all day breakfast options I have tried (Back Country and Mountain House) this one is bloody good. This hashbrown mix has distinct flavors of potato, onion, green peppers (capsicum) and bacon. It is absolutely beautiful and I have subsequently used it on two further tramping trips.




It is grated and cooked potato with additions and while intended as a main meal or meal accompaniment but it is at breakfast where it excels. I have always had problems with breakfast meals..I like porridge and muesli but it does get boring after a couple of days. I have so far paired this with salami sticks, spam and cold sausages and it is awesome with all of them. 

While this would not totally supplement the usual morning staples it is certainly another excellent no mess breakfast option when planning meals for your tramps. I will be using this into the future.....


Lentils with Beef


Karen had this for dinner as she enjoys lentils and it has a mixture of beef pieces, lentils, cubed carrots and a tomato based sauce in a thick curry like meal. It has a rich savory flavor and smells and tastes really delicious. 





The carrots and lentils were well cooked without being mush and there were plenty of chunky pieces of slow simmered beef which flaked to the fork. The flavor was strongly of tomato but with a deep beef essence, coriander, onion and garlic. It was really nice...probably better than the South West Chicken but not by far..I would buy this one again.

Are there down sides to Omeals?


There is not a lot wrong with these..generally they tick all the right boxes for nutrition, ease of use and general weight savings. They do have a number of down points mainly the waste associated with them, cost and weight of the packs. 

There is a lot of waste packaging with these meals but then there is with all food and dehydrated meals in particular. They weigh 227 gms which is heavy for a single meal but this can be partially addressed by removing the enclosed spoon, napkin, wet napkin and salt and pepper pack. They cost $15 which seems a lot though any dehydrated meal will currently set you back for $12-$19 anyway.

All of the commercial freeze dried meal ranges available in New Zealand


It is all about choice really....you get to choose what you will carry..this is just another option. 


These are another option when meal planning for your outdoor adventures and you should give them a try at least once to see if they fit into your tramping style and dietary requirements. I am really pleased to see these meals as another tool in the outdoor cookery chest.  I will add a review for any other meals I use from this range so make sure you check back in the future to see what other options I have sampled.


Thursday, 21 November 2019

Tramping food: Homemade 24 hour ration pack

My 'take' on a 24 hour ration.....

By way of comparison with the Backcountry Cuisine 24 hour ration pack featured in my previous post...here is my own take on the same type of ration pack. This was produced with items of food and sundries sourced from supermarkets, Asian food warehouses and outdoor stores. 

I ate this ration on the first day of my recent trip to Nelson Lakes National Park....


Homemade 24 hour ration + snack pack

This ration pack contains all of the food and associated items I need for a day and comprises breakfast, lunch and dinner items....some snacks and beverages at a very modest weight of 580 gms. I would estimate the contents of the pack cost me approximately $30-40 dollars so on par with the BCC commercial variety. 




This is typical of the type of rations I make and carry when I am going out on a over night tramping trip. It also includes items like a Chux cloth in lieu of a tea towel, water purification tablets, salt+pepper and a scrubbing pad. 


Food items for a whole day

I usually only carry meals for breakfast and dinner...for lunch I usually have wraps or Arnotts Sesame Wheat crackers, cheese, salami or some other cured meat, sometimes fruit and a hot or cold drink depending on the availability of water. On this trip I had noodles as I was going to be at the hut in the early afternoon and would have the time & facilities for preparing hot food.

Usual lunch...crackers, salami, cheese and some drinks...

I usually take 3-4 snacks per day to be eaten on the trail during rest breaks or after dinner as a dessert item. I use a chux cloth to dry my dishes and carry salt, pepper and olive oil to flavour my meals. 




This 24 hour ration contains the following items;

Main meals: 
Porridge with dried milk, fruit and sugar
Two minute noodles + Continental simmer soup
Chilli Con Carne and Macaroni Cheese (Chilli Mac)

Snacks: 
1 pkt raisins
1 pkt salted peanuts
1 Teriyaki steak bar
Freeze dried pineapple

Drinks:
1 pkt Raro (sweet navel orange)
Tea bags (Earl Grey) and Splenda Artificial sweetener

Miscellaneous items:
2x salt sachet
1x pepper sachet
8x Aquatab water purification tablets
Medium Chux cloth
Green 3M pot scrubber

I like to pack all the food into a ration...I'm used to it from my army days but also it is a great way of keeping track of what you are eating. The contents are placed in a zip-loc bag usually with the day of the trip written on the outside. 


Homemade ratio pack: Freeze dried chili, macaroni, dried pineapple


For breakfast I had instant porridge with sugar, raisins, milk powder and prunes...to this I add hot water and eat it from the bag. I will have this with tea or coffee depending on what I packed in the ration. 

As mentioned before I had noodles for lunch on this trip....I added some cubed salami to the noodles for a bit of protein and a squirt of olive oil to improve the flavor. I had the Onion simmer soup in the late afternoon before my evening meal...I always start dinner with a soup by way of a top up...


Homemade Ration Pack:Snacks, Raro, chux cloth and miscellaneous bag

Dinner was Chili-Mac....freeze dried chili from Absolute Wilderness (the best freeze dried meals available in New Zealand in my opinion) and a packet of instant macaroni and cheese. This is really good...even better on a wrap or with a couple of crackers broken into it. I had the Raro drink powder with dinner and the re-hydrated pineapple for dessert.


Homemade ration pack: 2 minute noodles and pre-packed porridge

This is plenty of food for me for a 24 hour period and I never feel really hungry if i eat all of the contents of the pack. I sometimes add chocolate bars as a dessert but I'm not much of a chocolate person so it is a rarity. I carry my tea and sweetener with my cook kit as I sometimes like to stop for a brew if I am walking for more than 3 hours...nothing like a char enjoyed under a shady tree looking at the wilderness...

Nothing like swinging the billy on trail....


There is no limit to the type of ration packs you can make...it is only limited by your own imagination and available ingredients so it is definitely worth trying some of your own ideas out. 


Tramping Food: The Backcountry Cuisine 24 hour ration Pack

A 24 hour total meal package from Backcountry Cuisine...

Several months ago I was in the Bivouac store here in Christchurch and spotted their supply of Backcountry Cuisine 24 hour ration packs. These packs are packed to be 100% complete and hold all of the food items you would need for a 24 hour period. 

The Backcountry Cuisine 24 hour ration pack no. 667

I decided to buy one of the ration packs to have a look at what was inside and see if indeed it contains enough nutrition to keep you going through a whole day. Backcountry Cuisine sell four varieties...two have meat as the main meals and the other two are vegetarian. The cost for one of these packs is $35 NZ dollars which is pretty good when you consider the freeze dried meals inside add up to $30 by themselves. 


Table of contents on a Backcountry ration pack no. 667


The main meals are freeze dried single serve portions from the Backcountry Cuisine meal selection, the item number for this particular ration is 667. I took this on a trip to Nelson Lakes National Park recently and this is what I thought about it....


Contents of the BCC Ration Pack...



There is a table of contents on the front of the ration pack which details all of the items contained in the pack. This particular variety contains a one serve meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner...the meals could be eaten in whatever order best suits your requirements.

The version I brought was one of the meat based varieties and had meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner a drinks pack and snacks. 


BCC 24 hour ration pack table of contents....no. 667

This ration pack contains the following food/miscellaneous items:

Main meals:Porridge Supreme (one serve)
Classic Beef Curry (one serve)
Roast Lamb and Vegetables (one serve)

Snacks: 1 pkt Candy Chocolate (Smarties)
1 pkt trail mix 
I pkt Oatie Biscuit (two biscuits)
1 pkt jelly beans

Drink Pack: Orange Drink
1 hot chocolate
2 tea bags
2 coffee sachets
4 sugar sachets
4 creamer sachets
2 Salt sachets
1 Pepper sachet

Miscellaneous Items: 1 plastic spoon
1 small packet tissues

What they are giving you in this ration pack is three meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner), snacks for during the day and drinks to accompany the meals. That is basically all that most people will need when out on a tramping trip. 



Contents of  BCC ration pack no. 667 laid out on a table....

All the main meals are freeze dried so you will just need to heat water and add it to the pack so he meals are quick, simple and little to no clean-up required. If you do not like the particular meals in the ration pack you could of course change them but this would mean extra cost. 



BCC ration pack no. 667: main meals, drink sachet, ANZAC biscuits, tissue and spoon

Having three-four snacks for during the day is my standard system as well...all of the packs are large so it might be hard eating all of a particular snack in one sitting. I ate half of each and then had the other half for a dessert after my lunch/evening meal. 



BCC ration pack no. 667: breakfast meal,snack packs, drinks kit and bag

The contents are packed in a sturdy plastic bag with a table of contents and a break down of the nutritional value in each of the individual components. The tissue are included for toileting purposes and you even get a spoon to eat it all with. 


The BCC 24 hour ration taste test....

My original plan was to camp at Kerr Bay and do some day hikes but because it was raining and because the campground was shut for maintenance I walked into Lakehead Hut and stayed for two nights over three days. 


The cooking bench in Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

On the first day I ate a homemade ration that I had made up for the occasion...


My homemade 24 hour ration and snack pack....

I had the Backcountry Cuisine ration on the second day while lazing about in the hut. It was a cold, wet and windy day so I spent half the day in my sleeping bag drinking tea and reading my book. A better test would have been to use it on a day of physical activity but beggars cant be choosers as they say....

First up was the Porridge Supreme which I ate for breakfast...I added two of the creamer packets to the porridge to make it more creamy. There is a separate packet of brown sugar in the porridge pack for scattering over your pog. BCC freeze dried porridge is good and has fruit added to the meal to increase the calorific count. A good start...

The chocolate candies aka smarties in the ration pack


I had the snack meals over the course of the day..the jelly beans and candy covered chocolate were very nice...similar to other commercially produced products. The biscuit was good...crispy, not too sweet, nice flavour and good for dunking in your tea. Yum!!!



The chocolate candies aka Smarties in the ration pack

I was not so fond of the trail mix....it consisted of dried fruit, peel, nuts, banana chips, chocolate chunks and coconut. I found it to be overly sweet and I hate coconut so it was not to my taste at all. I would definitely exchange the trail mix for something more savoury like salted nuts or a Bhaji mix. 

Trail mix snack pack from BCC Ration Pack no. 667

For lunch I had the Classic Beef Curry augmented with a packet of 2 minute noodles...I often eat this as a tramping meal as the two go together very well. With the meal I had a cup of tea with sugar and the remainder of the jelly beans. The classic beef curry is one of the better meals in the Backcountry range so I did enjoy it. 


Preparing the Classic Beef Stew for lunch...with 2 minute noodles...

I had the Roast Lamb with Vegetables for dinner later in the day...the lamb and the vegetables are mixed together with the gravy powder. There is also a small sachet of mashed potato in the pack...the lamb is nice with a lovely savoury gravy and the mashed spuds are good especially after I added a squirt of olive oil to them. 

All of these are classic freeze dried meals and just need hot water added to them...that is sum total of the preparation needed.  


Contents of the Roast Lamb and Vegetables meal.....

Overall I found the meal to be palatable and filling...I don't think I would have felt hungry subsisting on these meals over the short term. If this was all you had to eat for an extended period I think you might start feeling a mite hungry. Overall my experience of the meals and snacks was very good with the exception of the trail mix which I really did not like at all. 

The BCC ration pack brew kit...

The ration pack had an extensive drinks kit included with it and consisted of; 

Drink Pack: Orange Drink
1 hot chocolate
2 tea bags
2 coffee sachets
4 sugar sachets
4 creamer sachets
2 Salt sachets
1 Pepper sachet

All of the contents were Porters brand which I have seen in hotels and motels throughout New Zealand. The quality is OK I drank all of the items and didn't have a problem with any of the items....

BCC drinks kit from ration pack no. 667

I had coffee with my breakfast and tea in the mid morning and mid afternoon...hot chocolate after dinner. 

I would probably get rid of the creamer packs as they are not all that useful to me....I like both tea and coffee black and these non dairy creamers always have problems dissolving in your drink...who wants to chew chunks of powdery creamer in their morning coffee. 


Contents of the brew kit laid out,,BCC ration pack no. 667

There is also a loose pack of Vitafresh drink powder in the ration pack...this is the brand I usually carry when I go out in the bush in this case it was orange flavor. I mixed this up and had it with my evening meal as per usual...powdered drink sachets are a real morale improver after a long day tramping. 

What I would add to the ration pack....

While these ration packs cover most of the basic requirements there are a few items missing to make these total complete meal kits for a 24 hour period.  



The Backcountry Cuisine 24 hour ration pack.....

Here are some items I would add to these packs if I was using them on a regular basis:


Instant Soup:

First up I would add some form of instant soup to the packs...the obvious choice would be Continental or Maggi Cup-O-Soups...they have many flavour's and just require hot water to prepare. These are individual soups and make one cup or about 250mls. 

Cup-O-Soup...Dutch Curry...yum, yum!!!!


Other choices could be instant Miso, an Asian noodle soup or Continental/Knorr/Maggi simmer soups. These require slightly more preparation but are much tastier...the simmer soups make 1 liter (enough for two-three trampers).  All these soups can be found at large supermarkets or Asian food stores in New Zealand.


Knorr Simmer Soup...Chicken Noddle


Continental Simmer Soup....light, easy to prepare and flavour-some....

Water purification tablets:

The average adult needs from 6-8 liters or water per day preferably taken as just water but also as tea, soup, powdered drinks, coffee etc. In New Zealand you will often find that you can simply take water straight from a lake, river or hut water tank but this is slowly changing. With more people in the backcountry water sources are becoming tainted...pollution, human/animal waste, viruses and other ailments have entered many of our previously pristine water sources.


Aquatabs water purification tablets....


This means we need to treat our water either by boiling, chemical treatment or filtering. I use chemical treatment methods...chlorine based Aquatabs at a ratio of one tablet per 1 liter of water. I would therefore add Aquatabs or something similar to these packs...probably 6-8 tablets per 24 hour period.


Jerky style steak bars:

Another item I would consider adding to this ratio pack are Jack Links jerky meat bars or some similar product. I always carry these steak bars...they come in three flavors; BBQ,  Peppered and Teriyaki...all of the flavors are delicious and would up the protein content of the packs. I would eat these as snacks usually mid morning or mid afternoon. 


The Jack Links steak bar....BBQ, Peppered or Teriyaki flavor the choice is yours...


Dish scrub pads:

You need something to clean your cooking kit with my go to option is a 2 cm by 2 cm square of scrubbing pad and an all purpose outdoor soap like Dr Bonar's or Sea to Summit. I would add a scrub pad in a small zip-lock bag to the packs and carry a bottle of soap for general purpose use. 


Green scrubbing pads.....

Sugar substitute:

While these packs have four serves of sugar I usually find I need more than this in an average day. You could carry more sugar but this is quite a heavy food item...better still would be a artificial sweetener...my go to choice is Splenda. I carry a small dispenser of Splenda with me every-time I go tramping they contain 200 tablets equivalent to 200 spoons of sugar and weigh only 3 gms. 

How can you complain about that ratio....


Splenda artificial sweetener tablets

By adding these few items these ration packs become much more useful items to take into the outdoors. You could add/subtract a lot more but obviously that would defeat the purpose of buying a 24 hour ration pack.....

My conclusion: How good are these ration packs?


Overall I think this is a good concept and would provide you with all of the nutrition you needed for a 24 hour period in the outdoors. I have no real problems with the contents they are all perfectly acceptable. My main concern is the weight...850 gms is a lot of weight for one days food, my home made rations usually top out at 600 gms per day. For a single day it would be fine but anything over 1-2 days would require careful consideration of weight to calorific content.  

The homemade ration pack I also took to Nelson Lakes NP...580gms!!!

I don't know that I would carry these all of the time but they are certainly worth considering for their ease of preparation and convenience. You can find them at most outdoor stores...in Christchurch I have seen them at Hunting and Fishing, Bivouac and Torpedo Seven...


Jon making himself comfortable in Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes NP

Maybe grab one the next time you are heading into the outdoors. 

Cheers!!!