Each hunting camp is a little different when it comes to preparing meals. I've been in camps where they literally put in more time preparing food than they do hunting.
I’ve been in camps where everyone is so exhausted by the time dark comes that food preparation is the last thing anyone cares about. When this is the case, I’ve found a great solution: freeze dried meals. Most people think that freeze dried food would be a last resort or something that is less than desirable to eat. This may have been the case years ago, but this is an area that has really come a long way!
When it comes to freeze dried meals, there are a variety of things I can appreciate. It helps save space, gives a variety of tasty meal options, and they provide a sufficient amount of calories for even the most intense hunts.
As far as space, the only thing you’ll need are freeze dried packets, something to boil water with and a fork. Simply boil the needed amount of water, pour in the packet, seal and wait a few minutes to cook. It’s easy, there’s no mess and best of all you get a nice hot meal of your choice in the field within minutes.
If hunting with several people, one thing I love is the fact that everyone gets to pick their own meal. If someone feels like having spaghetti, another person wants beef stroganoff, and the last person wants breakfast before bed…well, that’s no problem. I also am a big fan of having a dessert each night before bed and this is also easy. My favorite: raspberry crumble.
Another very important thing to take note of is serving sizes are not what I would recommend. Most say 1.5 to 2 servings. This does not mean there is enough for two people. I always eat a full packet for each meal- so make sure to plan accordingly. The amount of calories on these is also quite high, but calories are what you need. If you’re in the back country on a tough hunt, I can promise you’ll want all the calories you can get. During cold weather this is also super important to keep you warm. One key to making meals taste the very best is make certain to add the right amount of boiling water. Nobody usually brings measuring cups, so each meal calls for a different amount of water. Usually somewhere between 1-2 cups. I’ll typically use a regular sized coffee mug that has 2-cups and measure hot water from this. These are simple to make, but getting close to the right amount of water is key.
Something else that’s very important is to remember to drink lots of water! When eating freeze dried meals all day everyday, you can get dehydrated easily. On a recent trip to Alaska we were in for 10-days and had freeze dried meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almost every single Alaska hunt I’ve ever done I choose to take freeze dried meals because weight in my pack is always an issue. I want to spend as much time hunting and scouting as possible, not cooking!
Every person will always have their favorites, but I’ve tried a wide variety and these. Here are my current favs: Breakfast I really like the breakfast skillet. To make this even better throw in a pack of tortillas and warm them up. This makes an incredible wrap and will give you a good start to your day.
For lunch and dinner my favorites are lasagna, spaghetti, beef stroganoff, and macaroni & cheese. As far as dessert the raspberry crumble is amazing which also comes with an Oreo cookie crumble on top.
If you’re thinking about possibly taking a few of these in the field, go ahead and try them out at home first. It’s also really fun for kids to make one at home so they can see what you will eat while in the field. No mess, very easy and great tasting. As far as I’m concerned, this is a win-win in the field!