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Oneriver
2003-12-26, 13:07
Howdy all yous intrepid trippers...Time for me to start planning a hike in the Blue Range Primitive Area in southeast Aridzona..I will be leaving at the end of March ..I'm planning to hike 10 /14 days in the area..Well to get to the question I would like to ask...I'm going with MREs for the first time and would like opinions on which are some of the more desirable MRE pouches to take...I have found a web site (http://www.longlifefood.com/) that sells individual pouches so I thought that would be the way to go..any thoughts/suggestions...?

john pickett
2003-12-27, 10:38
Oneriver,
Are you planning to resupply or are you planning to carry ten to fourteen days of food on your back?
If the latter, I suggest you examine the weight of the mre's Very carefully. Dehydrated food is Much lighter than mre's and can be downright tasty with a little attention to herbs, spices, etc.
John Pickett

doc
2003-12-29, 07:06
Made that decision my first trip.
MRE's are 8oz per entree and 5oz for desert.
Three days worth for two of us was alot of weight.

Use'em car campin' if you already got'em. or go with freeze dry.
Cheaper if you do it at home too rather than but dried.

my 8oz worth

Oneriver
2003-12-29, 10:08
I haven't bought any food yet...still have some dehydrated items left over from my many canoe trips last Summer...I'm not planning to resupply so I'm lookin to keep the food weight down...I haven't taken a 14 day hike in many years (USArmy), I have done many wilderness hikes, but none longer than eight days, didn't have to consider food weight until now.. Alaskans are notorious for lugging heavy packs. I have been buying unlra-lite lately and for the first time I have gone to lengths to lighten my load...I'm going w/the gearskin pack, alcohol (cat) stove, sil-nylon shelter and bivy sack etc. In the past I always got my grub from the grocery store..any suggestions for dehydrated entrees, I have tried a few in the past that we not very good..

doc
2003-12-29, 11:31
I dehydrate and flavor my own ground meat.
Beef, venison, ect..
I use taco mix or something like that to add flavor.
I bring rice & beans and hydrate them in a nalgene between lunch and dinner's miles and then cook.
I also bring tortilla flats and make roll ups.

john pickett
2003-12-29, 11:45
Oneriver,
You and I seem to share similar thoughts. I'm just getting back to backpacking too, using a catstove, wmgp, gearskin, hammock and tarp.
On a recent trip to Cumberland Island National Seashore,(my first since Boy Scouts/ military all those years ago) I cooked oatmeal with dried fruit and a muffin each morning after coffee, had a big bag of gorp/trailmix for lunch (snacking all day) and herbed potatoes with salmon followed by a snickers bar for dessert each night.
Coffee: boil two cups of water and add about four spoonfuls of fine grounds in an insulated (lemonaide) cup. Let steep for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Pour thru a fine mesh filter into a cup.
Oatmeal: grind streel cut oats to a fine flour in a food processor.
half cup oat flour, half cup dried milk, dash of butter buds, spoonful of cannola oil, dash of cinnamon, handful of dried fruit (from my cheap food drier), into a cup and a half of boiling water, boil briefly and put into insulated cup. stir occasionally till thick.
Muffin: Half cup yellow cake mix, quarter cup oat flour, dash of cinnamon, handful of pecan pieces/deried fruit. Dollop of oil into an aluminum potpie tin and turn the tin to coat the bottom and sides.
Add enough water (quarter cup or so) to make a stiff dough of cakemix mixture and squeeze into potpie tin. Place potpie tin into wmgp atop a slender (qaurter inch or so) coil of aluminum oven liner to lift the pie tin off the bottom of the pot. cover and cook about twenty five minutes, or till top of muffin is firm.
Potatoes and salmon: Half a box herbed potatoes from the local grocery, dash(s) of whatever spices you enjoy, half cup instant mashed potatoes, half cup dried milk, dollop of olive oil, 3oz package of salmon (comes in foil like an mre, if I'd had more time I would have dried this too).Boil two cups water and add potatoes and salmon. Simmer till potatoes are soft and liquid is thickened.
Try these at home first, you may want to modify to your tastes.
John Pickett :D

Oneriver
2003-12-29, 13:04
Well..Yall got me to thinkin..I'll probably just modify my canoe grub supply list, which is as long as yer arm..I have access to dried salmon, moose, caribou..tuna in a bag is good...I only eat two meals a day..The last wilderness trip I went on in the Wrangell Mts 2 years ago (fly-in walk-out)the frist two days of bushwacking left me so exhusted that I didn't have a appetite until the 3rd day...ended up burying food...I wouldn't mind loosing 5 or 6 pounds of body fat on this comming trip either...Thanks for the suggestions...

cldphoto
2003-12-29, 14:46
Originally posted by Oneriver
Howdy all yous intrepid trippers...Time for me to start planning a hike in the Blue Range Pritimative Area in southeast Aridzona..I'm going with MREs for the first time and would like opinions on which are some of the more desirable MRE pouches to take...I have found a web site (http://www.longlifefood.com/) that sells individual pouches so I thought that would be the way to go..any thoughts/suggestions...?

Here are my recommendations, based on what I can see that's available at the site you cite above:

- Tasty: Beef Ravioli (think Chef Boyardee); Chili Mac (REALLY god heated up); all of the fruit (think Dole's snack packs in a bag).

- Decent: Beef Teriyaki, Turkey with Potatoes, Beef Pot Roast.

- Really not that good at all: Buttered Noodles (bland), Cheese Tortellini(ditto), ALL MRE rice (that too), Mashed Potatoes (notice a trend?).

- Haven't had: Vegetable Manicotti, Clam Chowder (but I wouldn't recommend clams that have a 7-year shelf life).


Of the MRE main courses currently produced but not listed at the above site:

Tasty: Spaghetti with Meatballs, Pork Chop (yummy Jamaican spices), Country Captain Chicken (mmm, curry), Chicken with Salsa, Thai Chicken, Chicken Cavatelli, Chicken Tetrazzini

Decent: Beef Chili with Beans, Beef Stew, Pork Fried Rice, Beef with Mushrooms, Parmesan Chicken, Pasta with Veggies in Tomato Sauce, Meat Loaf

Not that good at all: Beef Steak (big hunk of meat with nasty fatty juices), Chicken Breast (ditto), Beef Frankfurters, Beef Enchiladas

Haven't had: Pork Rib, Veggie Burger, Beans & Rice & Sausage, Jambalaya

And, for the record, old MRE meals (dark brown bag -- phased out a while ago, wouldn't recommend buying any of these now):

- Tasty: Omelet with Ham (great hot with the cheese spread and Tabasco), BBQ Pork, Chicken with Rice, Chicken a la King, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

- Decent: Beef Stew, Meatballs and Rice, Pork Chow Mein

- Really not good at all: Tuna with Noodles, Corned Beef Hash, Ham Slice, Escalloped Potatoes with Ham

- A note on the old desserts: I REALLY MISS CHERRY NUT CAKE. Even more than that, I MISS DEHYDRATED STRAWBERRIES. The old dehydrated fruit came in a 4" x 4" x 1/2" square, almost like a block of fruit-flavored styrofoam. Pop those rascals in your mouth, though, and they were awesome. Instructions always said to reconstitute them in a canteen cup, but I always just chomped down ald let my saliva do the work -- yummy, yummy, yummy.

For all meals above, a note on spreads: Cheese spread rocks. Jalapeno cheese spread rocks even more. Apple and grape jelly is way too watery. Strawberry jam and peanut butter are OK. Have heard they have blackberry jam now, but have yet to see one.

Bottom line for MREs: if the main meal is hot and you have Tabasco, they're all OK to a certain extent, even the old Omelet with Ham. However, a lot of the new, starchy side items (noodles, rice) are terribly bland, and even hot sauce can't save them in my eyes. The one exception to this was a pouch of Mexican rice I had back in 2000, but it was only good because I left it sitting directly on the engine block for my M1A1 tank for about 10 minutes. From my experience, the chemical MRE heaters aren't up to the job of making Mexican rice palatable.

cldphoto
2003-12-29, 14:51
p.s. Heard a rumor once that adding water and a few bottles of Tobasco sauce to an MRE heater makes an effect similar to CS (tear) gas. Never tried that, though I have witnessed n MRE bomb (16-oz Coke bottle 2/3 full of water + MRE heater pack, cap it, leave in place and run). Those suckers are LOUD. The bottle detonates because of the hydrogen gas buildup -- MRE heaters give off hydrogen as a byproduct of the chemical reaction between the heating element and water. (Which leads to a futher note -- don't use MRE heaters in a sealed space (can displace oxygen), and don't use them near sparks or open flames.

Oneriver
2003-12-29, 17:20
Christian...tanks for the info..good rundown.. I will probably take some MRE items and the rest dehydrated stuff.. Hey looks like you are close to the area to which I am going...? Whats the weather like at the end of March early April..any biting bugs (bug dope)..got any tips or suggestions..? I understand that in that part of Arizona water isn't a problem...?

ShoeLthrExpress
2003-12-30, 02:23
Bah. I just buy those freeze dried meals from Moutain House. I buy them locally, but you can order them from Campmor if need be. They are lightweight, taste good, and have what you need to keep going. I only eat two meals per day, snacking on jerky, Slim Jims, and granola bars in between. I get one meal for breakfast and one for dinner. I also carry two extra meals for emergencies.

My philosophy is thus: I'm a finiky eater. A heaping, steaming bowl of generic mac~n~cheese isn't my idea of a good meal. Food can be a morale booster or breaker on a trip. I prefer to look forward to meal time. I don't have the inclination to put together meals like some folks here do. Don't get me wrong, these are extremely talented people when it comes to cooking on the trail, but it's too labor intensive for me. I'd rather just add a cup or two of boiling water and wait ten minutes. Besides, have you ever had a bowl of oatmeal get cold before you're done eating it? It tastes as good as it sounds. :(

Oneriver
2003-12-30, 10:21
I,m a great cook at home and otherwise and some of my trail meals are great, but like you said labour intense, i.e. pizza, stir fried oriental, pesto, curry dishes, what they require adds weight to carry...the daze of me humping 60 lbs. packs are gone...I tried Mtn Home turkey dinner once and it really turned me off..I found info on freez dried meals that were critiqued by a bunch of hikers I'll investigate that a little more..thanks for the input

cldphoto
2003-12-30, 12:43
Originally posted by Oneriver
Christian...tanks for the info..good rundown.. I will probably take some MRE items and the rest dehydrated stuff.. Hey looks like you are close to the area to which I am going...? Whats the weather like at the end of March early April..any biting bugs (bug dope)..got any tips or suggestions..? I understand that in that part of Arizona water isn't a problem...?

Close in Arizona is a relative term. The Blue Range Primitive Area is NNE of Fort Huachuca, about 300 miles by road. I've driven through Alpine (closest town to BRPA) but have spent no time there -- drove up US 191 in November on my way to Canyon de Chelly, Hovenweep, Yucca House, and Mesa Verde. Closest camping experience I've had to the Blue Range (distance-wise) was Mount Graham in the Pinaleno Mountains, but from photos I've seen, the two ranges are not the same -- Graham is aspen and fir at 9,000 feet, while I believe the Blue Range is between 6,000 and 8,000 feet and is mostly fir and spruce.

End of March/early April is the windy season. Should be dry and breezy, occasionally gusty; highs in the 60's or 70's in the Blues, lows in the 40's at night. (Yes, Arizona gets cold -- the low in Tucson Sunday night was colder than Anchorage's.) Might want to have a rain fly and an emergency poncho, but I wouldn't expect much rain, even in the mountains. Of course, I write that now, but I remember it snowing in early April 2001, right after I got to Fort Huachuca (5,000 feet). Might wat to check with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest rangers to check conditions closer to your arrival date: (928) 333-4301 or http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/index.shtml (note that the A-SNF site is currently under construction, so almost nothing is available deeper thn general information pages).

Biting bugs are going to be a minor nuisance if you camp near water, otherwise bring some repellant but no need for a beekeeper suit. I know there is some water in BRPA (e.g., the Blue River), but having never been there, I don't know how much is there in the spring and how frequently it's available on hikes. Certainly you'd be well-advised to take some in with you. Bugs have never been a huge problem for me in Arizona -- mosquitos aren't too bad, and the flies are slower than ones back East and therefore easier to kill (although flies do love to chase you around to try to get your sweat, at least in desert environments).

Oneriver
2003-12-30, 13:56
Thnx 4 the reply...good info..Tucson colder than Anchorage is an eye opener..The official temps for Anch. are taken at the airport near the inlet...I live in the Northeast part of town next to the mtns and Sat morning it was 10 below zero (I keep a thermometer in my truck)... yesterday it was warm enough to rain a little...I was thinking that I could get by with my light sleeping bag, about 1 1/2 pounder..maybe not..I've decided to take a few MREs for the first couple of days to split/supplement dehydrated meals to share w/hiking buddy and some of the cheese pacs and a couple of others that you mentioned..I don't see how Arizona could match Alaska for bothersome flying insects..I'll leave my head-net at home and bring a small bottle of Ben's..I have the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest web site book marked and will use your suggestions..thnx for all the great info you guys..

Pappyhighlife
2004-01-13, 16:01
Well my friend if you bring 14 days of MRE's you better bring 7 days of laxitives. They can really stop you up. I have used them for years. Even the Army recommends no more than 3 per day. Bring some roughage GORP that helps alot.
That said, they are packing beau-coup calories 3500 per meal and chock full of carbs, after four days you will be craving protein. Some are better than others test them now, www.theepicenter.com sells individual units for 1.66 a meal and .89 for sides.
Before I head out I strip the bags & cardboard down and take only what I like and leave the rest behind. I eat 1 to 2 MRE's per day. For a six day trip I bring 12 meals, and I carry the various components in the pockets of my ALICE pack.

It's a very versatile food system, if you buy a case check the issue date, they can last fives years and longer if stored properly.
Now for the fun part, you can take the cocoa pak and add just a few drops of water and stir, when you have a nice paste spread it on a cookie or better yet the "PoundCake" Kids love it! Ranger pudding: Stir the cocoa again, mix in your dairy creamer crush up part of you cracker mix, and bada bing bada boom you got a tasty desert. The kids love this too, they also like to get in their hammocks take a sip of good Brandy and smoke a cigar <<...>> Have fun on the trip wish I was going.

Oneriver
2004-01-13, 18:16
Thnx for the Great info. I figured out that MRE's will only supplement the dehydrated foods I'll be taking..I plan to keep my pac at 40lbs max...My hiking partner and I may do a figure 8 and resupply back at the vehicle as we hike through...we haven't worked out all the logistics yet..I still haven't figured out how I'm going carry a liter of tequilla plus the food...I could always go with less food...

Pappyhighlife
2004-01-14, 10:23
A most excellent choice

cldphoto
2004-01-15, 12:34
Originally posted by Pappyhighlife
Well my friend if you bring 14 days of MRE's you better bring 7 days of laxitives. They can really stop you up. I have used them for years. Even the Army recommends no more than 3 per day. Bring some roughage GORP that helps alot.
That said, they are packing beau-coup calories 3500 per meal and chock full of carbs, after four days you will be craving protein.

(snip)

I agree and disagree. Yes, they will stop you up -- I typically take granola or something with fiber for breakfast anyway, so this doesn't affect me much.

But no, they do not have 3500 calories per meal; or if they used to, they don't anymore. I was curious one time and added up the nutritional information on one of the newer meals (light brown bag, don't remember which meal), and it only added up to about 1700 or so.

Sorry I can't remember the exact total, or the exact meal, but I definitely remember it was a newer meal and that it was les than 2,000 calories total. I'll hunt around and see if I can't tally something up.

cldphoto
2004-01-15, 13:02
OK, even less than I thought. This page (http://science.howstuffworks.com/mre1.htm) has a breakdown for the Chicken with Thai Sauce meal and has a total calorie count at 810. I think that's a little low, and the menu has changed since that site was published.

However, I found an Army medical newsletter here (http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/dhpw/Wellness/NNM/NNM2004Articles.doc); according to this doctor, average calorie count in an MRE is 1,250 calories (scroll down, it's a ways in -- look for the page titled "Deployment Nutrition").

I can see 3 MRE's a day equaling 3,500 calories, but they're certainly not 3,500 each.

Oneriver
2004-01-15, 13:13
Probably a good thing they weight so much or we might all be stopped up...anyone Know anything about the Blue River and Bear Mtn. area in the Blue Range Pritimative area in southeast Aridzona...Oh yeah ..! its 9 below zero here this minute...Arizona I'm dreaming of you...hurry up March 27th...

Pappyhighlife
2004-01-15, 13:39
Right you guys they are about 1200 each bag sorry about that.
The Country Captain main meal only is 230 Cals
Where as the Mexican rice is 220, they vary.

At any rate they pack a wallop, but they are handy...