BWCA Food noob - help! Boundary Waters BWCA Food and Recipes
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      Food noob - help!     



05/27/2020 02:41PM  
Planning my first trip & the thing I’m stuck on most is FOOD. There are two of us going, just a weekend base camping on Seagull. We’re north first timers. I have car camped, but this feels a lot bigger than that, especially when planning food.

I don’t necessarily love the idea of spending time making “real” meals (you all are creative!!) and I don’t want to have to do too much work before the trip with cooking. I have no experience with freeze drying things and I don’t necessarily want to run the risk of messing it up for my first trip, though I am willing to do some work pre-trip.

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distinguished member(650)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/27/2020 03:17PM  
The easiest is to buy the Mountain House-type packet meals, can be found at Walmart or sporting goods stores. Just add hot water, seal up, and serve ten minutes later. Portions for two are sometimes a little light if you eat a lot. If you aren't portaging and are base camping on Seagull, you could always bring in some meals that you have prepared and frozen for your first night, like chicken fajitas, kept cold in a small soft lunch cooler bag, then just reheat and serve on tortillas. Bagels and cream cheese with smoked salmon are a favorite of ours for the first morning, keep the cream cheese in with the fajitas so it stays cool. Lunch can be as easy as pb&j on tortillas. If it's just a weekend trip, don't over think it.
distinguished member (153)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/27/2020 03:18PM  
Oatmeal (just heat water)
Pre-made breakfast burrito: can wrap & freeze in aluminum foil then reheat by fire or stove.
Coffee- you can get something like Starbucks Via packets.

Granola Bars
Summer Sausage & cheese with/without crackers
Candy bars
Trail mix

Velveeta Shells & cheese (just head water and add cheese
Fish fry?
Dehydrated soup (look at Bear Creek soups)
Pasta packets (like Korrs brand): just add to water
brats/hotdogs: no dishes necessary

There are also lots of dehydrated meals like Mountain House that you just add water to.

I've been on group trips with super elaborate meals, but the above is what I typically do when it's just me and I want limited dishes and time cooking.
05/27/2020 04:15PM  
Pre packaged starches (rice/noodles/potatoes) and foil packs of tuna/chicken, and spam usually just require water a little simmer or soak time and cook and eat. I particularly like red beans and rice with summer sausage. What is left on the link goes with lunch. One dish meals are easy and reduce cleanup.
Not as easy as prepackaged freeze dry, but not as expensive and can be pretty tasty.
05/27/2020 04:26PM  
Fear not - food is not that hard, especially for just two people and two days. As mentioned, the simplest solution is to buy some commercial freeze dried foods. They’ve gotten better over the years. Everyone finds the brand and meals they like best. Mountain House is everywhere and I like some of their stuff. I also like Alpine Aire and Backpackers Pantry, but my fave is Camp Chow which is made right up on the Gunflint Trail at Trail Center Lodge. You could order from them online or probably over the phone if you want some help.

There are plenty of foods at every grocery store that are shelf stable. I always like tortellini with some things from the olive bar and cheese. Or, since you are are only on one lake you could even carry some ice to keep things cool. There are really a lot of options. I’d suggest you just make a list of the meals you like, and chances are you can find a way to make it work up there. Just remember no glass, and coolers are not bear proof.
05/27/2020 06:07PM  
I never want to spend much time cooking or cleaning up while I'm in the BW, so I don't - I keep it simple. I just add water to a meal in a bag, let it rehydrate in a cozy, eat it out of the bag, clean the spoon, and put the bag in the garbage. Cold cereal and coffee for breakfast, a ProBar Meal Bar for lunch, nuts for snacks, and a dehydrated dinner for supper. Usually about 16-18 oz. of food per day, about 2300 calories, minimal prep, cleanup, equipment, low fuel usage. I usually get my meals from various mail-order sources. If that sounds like what you're looking for and you want a list of sources and some recommendations just ask. You can also email me if you prefer more in-depth info.

distinguished member(625)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/27/2020 07:46PM  
I'm also a fan of Camp Chow meals. I have not had one that wasn't excellent. And as noted above, they are made right on the edge of the BW so you are supporting a local business. For two big eaters I also sometimes supplement a two person meal with something extra like the foil packaged chicken, salmon, or spam as mentioned above and some sun dried tomatoes.
05/28/2020 08:07AM  
Load up on snacks and munchies. It's easy to over-stress about food when you don't have exact experience under your belt. Oreos, beef sticks, bag of pistachios, mini candy bars... anything you can open and eat will take the pressure off for your "camp meals".
05/28/2020 08:40AM  
Thank you all for the suggestions and keeping my mind at ease when it comes to this! It’s greatly appreciated.
distinguished member(1722)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/28/2020 09:42AM  
Food is really quite easy...

There are lots of options at a typical grocery store... Many things just need water. Look in pasta/rice/potato aisle. Nearly all of those can be made easily in camp. If you need milk, you can bring in some dried milk powder. If you need butter, you can bring in a squeeze bottle of Parkay.

You can add foil packets of chicken to nearly any of the above dishes and that will make a nice meal.

For your first night dinner, I recommend steak and mashed potatoes. Carry in a frozen steak. It will be melted by dinner time. Make one of the garlic mashed potato packets from the grocery store. Cook the steak on the grate over the camp fire. You can even bring in a small box/container of red wine if you want to get fancy.
distinguished member(2739)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/28/2020 03:28PM  
Think picnic. Make some pb&j's, pringles, etc. Granola bars and instant coffee for breakfast, or just add water pancakes.
keep it simple, bring a garbage bag, and some hand sanitizer.
distinguished member (150)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/31/2020 07:24AM  
WHendrix: "I'm also a fan of Camp Chow meals. I have not had one that wasn't excellent. And as noted above, they are made right on the edge of the BW so you are supporting a local business. For two big eaters I also sometimes supplement a two person meal with something extra like the foil packaged chicken, salmon, or spam as mentioned above and some sun dried tomatoes. "

For those of you who recommended Camp Chow, do you think 2 servings per person (4 guys with huge appetites) is overkill? I've run into some camp meals where 1 serving is an appetizer.
distinguished member(1722)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/01/2020 07:53AM  
I've only had one Camp Chow meal. But it was huge.

It was the breakfast scramble for 4 people. It was 2,400 calories total. That is about good for 4 people. It would be too big for two normal people.

That is not typical for freeze dried meals. "Two person meals" are often 600 calories total which is about perfect for one person...
06/01/2020 10:13AM  
With both Camp Chow and other packaged meals, I always look to the number of calories total in the pouch over the stated number of people they serve. I also watch the sodium number per pouch as some are very high and some very low. I’ve seen some meals that are dinner-type entrees that have 450 calories and say it serves two?!?! Two leprechauns maybe! I also factor in what else, if anything, I might be eating along with it. Sausage and cheese appetizers maybe. Or if it’s something like chili I’ll likely have tortillas or something. I usually have some olive oil and Parmesan cheese which can be added to some things to both boost flavor and add calories.
06/13/2020 02:59PM  
Keep it simple at first. Freeze dried meals are easy and you can concentrate on other aspects of the trip. We went with the outfitters package the first time. Then we started drying our own cooked foods. Cup-a soup has helped us out on many cold days. Marinara is easily dried on parchment even in the oven at low temperatures. Add dried ground beef (available commercially if you don't have a drier) and cook noodles. It helps to plan ahead to be sure the meat and sauce have time to rehydrate. Ova-easy eggs and Nido dried milk are lightweight and easy to use. We repackage for individual use using a vacuum sealer for extra safety, but you could put in zipper bags. The thin precooked bacon goes with a lot of meals too. We also take a boston lettuce in one of those plastic hydroponic containers and small packets of salad dressing . Maybe not as important on short trips, but on a longer trip, fresh vegetables are more interesting. We just pack it at the top of a pack and try not to squish it too much. If you think you will be frying fish, take premixed fish fry and we take the foil wrapped crisco quarters wrapped well. Several types of spices in small bags are helpful too. ( Look in pharmacy dept. for pill bags). We over pack on food, but we've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of coming up with successful meals. Just be careful to not cook a lot more than you can eat, because you may end up packing out a lot of heavy stinky trash.
distinguished member (195)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/29/2020 07:14AM  
here is a good article.i like knorrs spanish rice with turkey slim jims in it. it makes a decent jumbaliya. it's light and cheap and you can vacumn seal it for a wind bound day. [i can almost live on it] . or if you find out your biurning to many calories. that can be a filler.

bagels in the morning. i would say a whole sleave for 2 people each day. maybe with eggs or sausage, anything left. munch on it. while on the water , so your bags get lighter.

spaghetti works.
PBJ pitas
mountain house at night and oatmeal in the day 2/3/4 mornings.
fried cabbage and ham. [you need to work some vegtables in, so you dont wear down or plug up]

knorrs pasta/rice==
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