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pula58
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pula58
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PostSun May 28, 2017 1:09 pm 
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I've tried all the brands. They all make me kinda sick, having to go to bathroom (#2) many times, lots of gas. It IS convenient to just add boiling water, but I am thinking of changing back to good old (non freeze dried) Mac and cheese!

What are your experiences?
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Hesman
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PostSun May 28, 2017 5:39 pm 
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I am never had much luck with dehydrated packaged hiking food. Mountain House was the worst....#2 and throwing up. After that I've stuck with making my own creations to eat on the trail.

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Malachai Constant
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PostSun May 28, 2017 6:22 pm 
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I have had good luck with home dehydrated meals with nuts and instant rice with various dried veggies supplemented with landjeager or jerky. Most freeze dried commercial meals give us the trots with MH the worst, many seem to have a lot of msg and other nasties. Mission tortillas and Instant mashed potatoes last forever and are edible if you are hungry.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Ski
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PostSun May 28, 2017 6:56 pm 
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Get a dehydrator and make you own.
It's really not that difficult, and you are in control of ingredients. Plus it's only a tiny fraction of the cost if you do it yourself.

nwhikers member sarbar is the resident expert on this stuff - she'll probably chime in here.

I've posted several of my own concoctions for the dehydrator here

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Gregory
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Gregory
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PostMon May 29, 2017 4:44 am 
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You are not alone.To me, an extra pound or two is allowed for real food.
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AlpineRose
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PostMon May 29, 2017 11:53 am 
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I think the OP is referring to freeze dried food, which is not the same thing as dehydrated food.  Certainly it's possible and fun to devise one's own recipes, many of which don't even need dehydration because the ingredients involve easily hydrated real food (I'm looking at you, couscous).  But if one doesn't have the desire or the time to do so, there are some excellent, healthy dehydrated foods available:  Hawk Vittles, Packit Gourmet, Harvest Foodworks.
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Navy salad
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Navy salad
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PostMon May 29, 2017 5:38 pm 
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I almost exclusively eat dehydrated food that I make myself. I have found that I can get digestive issues if I don't rehydrate it enough. What works for me is to heat everything to boiling, then put my pot (or freezer bag) in a well insulated cozy and let it sit at least a half hour and up to an hour. It's generally still plenty hot after that, tastes better, and it generally eliminates any digestive problems.

Also note that some foods are more problematic than others. I've officially given up on putting chicken, even when smashed thin, into my backpacking meals. Corn is also usually hard to rehydrate, though it will work if you give it enough time. On the other hand, lentils, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, cooked pasta*, quinoa and similar foods seem to work really well.

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* cook till it's "just right", then pour cold water on it to stop the cooking process, then dehydrate
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Ski
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PostMon May 29, 2017 8:30 pm 
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^ Chicken is troublesome. After reading comments here and on a couple other sites I never even fiddled around with it.
Ground meats lend themselves better to dehydrating that whole meats. (Note in the other thread I cited my experiment with small cubes of lamb ended up like hockey pucks after dehydrating.)
I've never tried corn, but I did buy some tabouli mix one time that contained dried peas that took no less than two hours to rehydrate, by which time the tabouli had started getting a bit on the soggy side.

Some stuff works better than other stuff.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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mountainsandsound
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PostTue May 30, 2017 12:52 pm 
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I like the taste of some of the MH dinners, but they tend to destroy me.  I've had a dehydrator for a couple years and I've been phasing out the MH to save my gut.  I've not had much success with rehydrating meats that are not ground.

Packit gourmet sells the bags to rehydrate food in (the size medium are equivalent to a MH dinner size).  They are not insulated so I made a sleeve with the aluminum bubble wrap stuff used to cover hot water heaters.  I have found that it is best to wait 30 minutes or more with dehydrated food rather than the 12 minutes for the freeze dried stuff.
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Navy salad
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PostTue May 30, 2017 1:13 pm 
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Ski wrote:
dried peas that took no less than two hours to rehydrate

Good point, I forgot that whole peas or beans can also be problematic. If I have either of these ingredients in a homemade meal, I usually use a hand mixer to buzz it smooth, then dehydrate it. Yeah, you lose the texture (substituting "smooth and thick" for "chunky but thinner"), but it will rehydrate much faster than otherwise and presumably be easier to digest. Plus, I like the way it thickens things up.
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drm
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PostTue May 30, 2017 4:21 pm 
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Just for the other side, I eat them all the time and have no digestive problems. My favored brands are Alpine Aire and Backpackers Pantry. Probably makes me go more often at night because of all the sodium, which is there because it is a natural preservative.
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AlpineRose
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PostTue May 30, 2017 6:21 pm 
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For beans or peas, you can substitute the dried pea soup, lentil soup, and black bean soup preparations found in bulk bins at PCC (and probably other places).
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pula58
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pula58
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PostWed May 31, 2017 7:54 am 
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The kind of things we've tried are the just-add-boiling-water type of stuff, wait tent minutes, then eat.  Mary Janes, Mtn house,Alpine air

The Harvest Foodworks food looks enticing (thanks for the links) , but wow, close to $48 (with shipping) for two entrees for two. Yipes.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

This past weekend I had the Mary Janes "Curry in a Hurry." While relieving myself the TP roll fell into the rocks..too far in to reach..stranded with no TP and a body that was removing all freeze dried food with a vengeance, I had to resort to using snow. Survival!
Is this too much information?
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Ski
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PostWed May 31, 2017 12:19 pm 
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pula58 wrote:
"...just-add-boiling-water type of stuff, wait tent minutes, then eat..."

Well..... the difference between your pre-packaged store-bought "just-add-boiling-water" stuff and a meal you've prepared at home in your own dehydrator is essentially:
- you get to choose all the ingredients when you buy them at the grocery store.
- you get to control the amount of salt.
- you get to omit the MSG
- you get to omit the Hydrolized Soy Protein, Modified Food Starch, Corn Syrup Solids, BHA, BHT, XYZ, and all the rest of the garbage that's usually incorporated into those commercially-prepared meals.

sarbar must be away somewhere.... here's her website:

trailcooking.com

Once you've made the initial investment in a dehydrator and a roll of baking parchment you can master making your own stuff in fairly short order. It's actually pretty straightforward.

(* a quick search on Craigslist for "dehydrator" returns about 20 listings anywhere from $20 up to about $50. I'm using an "American Harvester" - be sure you get one with a fan in it.)

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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InFlight
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PostWed May 31, 2017 11:41 pm 
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There's lots of meals that can be made with rice, powdered potatoes, bread stuffing, or pasta as the main base.

Foil Package Precooked Chicken, Tuna, etc for protein.

Dried fruit, Knoor Vegetable packet, spices, gravy etc.

I've done backcountry Pad Thai, and many others.

Try out your meals ideas at home first, making them a second time in the field is easier.

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...  ― Henry David Thoreau
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