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

Monday, 29 April 2019

Tramping Food: Go Native: 24 hour ration packs and sundries

Go Native: all in one food packs

There is a new outdoor food company in the market in New Zealand, the brand is called Go Native. Go Native sell a number of items, they have both 24 hour rations and assorted pre packed retort meals. The mains are in thermo stabilised retort pouches so they can be reheated in a pot of hot water or by using one of the Backcountry Flameless Ration Heaters.

The Go Native Vegetable Curry being served...

So far there are only three 24 hour rations available, hopefully this number will be added to as time goes on. They also sell a range of retort pouch main meals which I will discus below...

One of the Go Native retort pouch meals

The advantage of this type of meal is taste....they taste a lot better than freeze dried meals which lose a lot of their flavor in processing. The downside is weight...because they are 'wet' meals they are heavier, still at 700 odd gms for 24 hours worth of food the weight is not excessive. 

Go Native: Beef Casserole

First up is the Beef Casserole, this is the main in this 24 hour ration and is accompanied with items for both breakfast and lunch. 
Go Native 24 hour ration pack: Beef Casserole

As you can see these packs provide food for all three daily meals, including two snacks for during the day.  All three varieties of ration pack have muesli with milk powder, coffee, sugar and creamer (a milk substitute).

For lunch they all have tuna and crackers and a fruit bar and jerky style steak bar for snacks as and when required. They also have sachets of salt and pepper, tea, creamer and sugar.

Go Native 24 hour ration pack:contents of the Beef Casserole

The real difference is in the main meals: they each contain the stated main meal (Beef Casserole, Italiano Chicken or Vegetable Curry) and a suitable side dish (potato's or rice). 
Side view of the Go Native 24 hour ration packs...all have the same dimensions
The 24 hour rations weigh approximately 700gms each and are in a pack roughly the size of a A4 sheet of paper. The bags are waterproof and made of tear resistant plastic so you could just chuck a couple of these in your pack and away you go.

I have had one of these beef meals and the beef casserole was very nice....a well seasoned sauce with big chunks of beef and vegetables. I would certainly eat it again...

Go Native Chicken Italiano

The only difference with the Chicken Italiano meal is the main...this one is chicken not beef but all the other contents are exactly the same. Again, these weigh approximately 700gms and the dimensions of the meals are exactly the same as the beef and vegetable curry (vegetarian or vegan???? I'm not sure about that..) meals.

Go Native 24 hour ration pack:Chicken Italiano

You get mashed potato as the side dish with the chicken stew this is probably a fair choice as rice would not suit a European inspired main meal. 
Go Native 24 hour ration pack: contents of the Chicken Italiano

I have yet to eat one of these Chicken mains so I cannot yet provide feed back on the quality of the product. 

Go Native: Vegetable Curry 

There is a vegetarian option in this range which has a west Asian inspired vegetable curry as the main meal (with a side of rice to accompany it). Ive had one of these curries and it was really nice..good level of spice, creamy and nice big chunks of vegetable. 

Go Native 24 hour ration pack:Vegetable Curry

Again all of the other contents are exactly the same: muesli for breakfast and crackers and tuna for lunch. 
Contents of the Go Native 24 hour ration pack: Vegetable Curry

My main problem with these 24 hour rations are two fold: Firstly, I don't think they would provide enough nutrition for your average tramper, they would need a degree of assistance to provide all the calories you need. Secondly the monotony of the same breakfast and lunch items would quickly get boring. I love muesli and tuna and crackers but eating them every day would really irritate me and I'm sure you as well. 

Miscellaneous menu food items

Go Native also make a series of other main meals in the retort pouches without all the accompanying items you get in the 24 hour ration packs. So far they have Butter Chicken, Chilli Con Carne, Spaghetti Bologanese and Vegetable Curry. 

Go Native MRE: Chilli con Carne

Go Native MRE: Butter Chicken

Its possible that they intend adding these to the 24 hour range at some future point although they are perfectly useful as they are. Using these you could make your own 24 hour ration with suitable store brought items or you could buy one of the pre-packed rations and add this as your main.

Go Native MRE: Spaghetti Bolognese

Go Native MRE: Vegetable Curry
You would need a side dish to go with these as they are the sauce/main meal only and have no potato/rice/noodles to go with them. This is not a problem in my opinion. There are commercially produced heat in the bag versions of rice and pasta and also freeze dried and air dried potato flakes in most supermarkets.

Diamond make these pre-cooked and packaged boil in bag pasta varieties

Go Native also make the muesli bars included in the ration packs, I have seen them at outdoor shops but also many local supermarkets. You can buy them in various quantities from singles to packs of 40, so far they have only one flavour: Raspberry and Apple.

A Go Native Raspberry Apple Bar

Hey....they look like New Zealand Army Ration Packs..

Yes, they do look like a New Zealand Army Ration Pack (...or Operational Ration they are known!) with that brown packaging. I don't know if they are one of the ration pack suppliers to the New Zealand military or maybe they just buy some of their items from a supplier who does.

NZ Operational Ration Pack

As you can see the military believe you need to give troops in the field a lot more variety and calories to remain operationally fit. Beside the retort main meals (two per pack) you get things like chocolate, two minute noodles, biscuits, vegemite, condensed milk, canned cheese, jam, peanut butter and a lot more drinks.

The contents of a New Zealand Operational Ration Pack

Army life is hard at times but not much more difficult than a 6-7 hour tramp.....way to much food!!! When I was in the NZ Army we would strip these down to the bare minimum and loose about half the contents. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Using a home dehydrator for tramping food...

Home dehydrating your tramping meals...

I haven't posted for awhile as I have not been for any tramping trips over the last couple of weeks. The weather combined with study, the kids school camps and work have curtailed my tramping considerably. 

Jon out walking for fitness in mid May

I am still walking to maintain my fitness, on a Saturday, as weather permits.  I usually walk along the beach from Waimariri to Spencer Park (2-3 hours) as well as trips along the Port Hills. 

Longer term, I am planning an overnight trip to Nina Hut towards the end of the month as well as a few day trips over the next couple of weeks to Mt Grey, Lewis Pass and sections of the Christchurch 360 Trail. I have also arranged to walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track the last week of August, something I am really looking forward to (NB: I had to cancel this trip due to unforeseen circumstances but it is just as well as there was some bad weather that week anyway...).

Anyway enough of that, here are a couple of tramping meal recipes I have made before and enjoyed....

Dehydrator heaven

My tramping food style is to eat from the bag or prepare simple home-made tramping meals. While there are a lot of commercially made ingredients available there are some significant omissions notably vegetables other than peas, carrots and corn and meat other than beef mince.

  I got a food dehydrator for Christmas last year and have started furiously dehydrating meat and vegetables to use in my tramping meals.
Sunbeam home food dehydrator

  Mine is a  Sunbeam DT5600 model which cost  $200 NZD, it sounds like a lot but some models retail for over $500.

So Jon, what can I dehydrate?

The world is your oyster really, you can literally dehydrate just about everything.

Things that dehydrate well are; any kind of fruit, onions, celery, mushrooms (all available commercially), capsicum, courgettes, pumpkin, beans, corn and cabbage. I was surprised how well cabbage and sauerkraut dehydrate. I have a nice recipe for sauerkraut and sausages.....mmmmmmm!

Dehydrated Sauerkraut - delicious!

This is 500gms of Sauerkraut after dehydration

Meat does not dehydrate easily, it takes a long time and has a limited shelf life outside of the freezer. Better to use freeze dried or commercially produced versions if you can. Eggplant, it is tough and leathery with an off putting colour when dried. Parsnip...not good! Tofu....just don't do it...styrofoam is the closest thing I can think of...yeeruucckkk!

Do try this at home...

I am an inveterate collector of trail cooking books and recipes. I currently have 11 books on backpacking food as well as numerous recipe files from a variety of web pages, books etc.

The Backpacking Chef awesome source of meal ideas!

Both of the following recipes are from the BackpackingChef website, adapted for my personal preferences.

Backpacking Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a traditional French dish of stewed vegetables including eggplant, onions, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes—seasoned with garlic and herbs. Zucchini and capsicum dehydrate and rehydrate well,  my version dispenses with the eggplant.

Easy cook ratatouille anyone?

I like this with some tuna as the fish and vegetables have very complimentary flavours.

Serves 1
·         1 cup dried zucchini
·         2 Tbsp. dried onions
·         3 Tbsp. assorted dried capsicum
·         3 Tbsp. sun dried tomato’s
·         1 garlic clove, smashed, finely diced
·         1 Tbsp. tomato concentrate or 1 pkt tomato Cup o’ Soup
·         Pinch fennel seeds
·         Pinch mixed herbs or dried thyme
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         1 tsp. olive oil
At Home:
Pack all dried vegetables, herbs and soup in a sandwich sized zip-lock bag.
In a separate snack size bag add the sun dried tomato, tomato concentrate if using and peeled/diced garlic clove.

On the Trail:
Combine dried vegetable mix with 1½ cups water in your pot and rehydrate for five to ten minutes. For larger servings, just add equal parts of dry Ratatouille ingredients and water. Add extra water as required. 
Light stove, add olive oil, tomato paste (if using) and garlic to vegetables and heat until nice and warm. It is not necessary to maintain a boil. 
Transfer pot to an insulating cosy for another ten minutes where your meal will continue to rehydrate. 
To enjoy this meal with rice or macaroni, combine ½ cup Ratatouille dry mix, ½ cup instant or dried rice or macaroni, and one cup water. If using macaroni, add a quarter cup more water. Bring to a boil for one minute. Turn off stove and wait ten minutes with lid on pot. 

Unstuffed Peppers

This recipe is awesome, I've made it a couple of times now and it is totally delicious, a great combination of rice, beef and vegetables. Try it- you will like it!

Delicious un-stuffed peppers!


·         ½ Cup dried or instant rice
·         ¼ Cup ground beef, dried
·         ¼ Cup bell peppers, dried
·         1 Tbsp. dried onions
·         2 Tbsp. sundried tomato, diced
·         1 pkt. Tomato Cup o’ Soup
·         2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
·         1¼ cups water

At Home:

Pack Parmesan cheese, sundried tomato and tomato soup separately in small plastic bags. Enclose in a larger plastic bag with rice, ground beef, onions and peppers. 

On the Trail:

Combine all ingredients except Parmesan cheese in pot with water and soak for five minutes.

Light stove, bring to a boil, and continue cooking with the lid on for one minute.

Remove pot from stove place in cosy and wait ten minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese before serving.

Curried mince with cabbage and rice

Curried mince with cabbage and rice
This recipe is my interpretation of a Countdown supermarket recipe in their feed four for $15 recipe range. This uses commercially available and home dried ingredients to make a really delicious tramping meal. Cabbage is one of the main ingredients and dehydrates surprisingly well. 

Use Ramen noodles instead of rice and add some soya sauce and you have made Mince Chow Mein aka Chop Suey!

Servings: 1

·         ½ Cup Instant or Dried Rice or 1 pkt. Ramen, crushed, without flavour packet
·         ¼ Cup F/D mince or dried mince
·         ¼ Cup dried cabbage or sauerkraut
·         1pkt. chicken noodle Cup o’ Soup
·         2 Tbsp. dried peas
·         1 Tbsp. dried onion
·         1 tsp. Curry Powder
·         1 Tbsp. soya sauce (for Chow Mein)
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         1¼ Cups water

At Home:

Place all dry items in sandwich size zip-lock bag. For freezer bag variant place dried vegetables in snack sized bag, add to main bag with other dry ingredients. 

On the Trail:

Cook variant: Boil 1¼ Cups water. Combine all ingredients with water in pot and cook for 3 minutes. Insulate pot and wait ten minutes. 

Freezer bag variant: Rehydrate dried vegetables for 5 minutes in separate bag. Add hot water to main bag, drain vegetables and add to rice mixture. Place in cosy, wait 10 minutes and enjoy.

So there you have just three of my ever expanding repertoire of tramping meals, if any take your fancy I would encourage you to give them a go. I thoroughly recommend you go and buy a dehydrator, it is an extremely useful piece of kit for the outdoor enthusiast.