Hiking is a popular outdoor activity. Not only does it give you the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, but hiking is an excellent form of exercise. Depending on your body weight, you can burn up to approximately 500 calories per hour hiking.
However, if you plan to eat more than just granola bars, cheese sticks, and similar snacks during your hike, the chances are that your food choices will involve cooking them. When it comes to cooking on a hike, there are various challenges that you may face. One of them is the amount of equipment to carry.
There are standard items that a backpacker carries, and particular items if the hike is one that will last for 24 hours or more. For overnight or extended trips, a backpacker carries a backpack, sleeping bag, pad, and a one-person tent typically. When it comes to the pack, one of the primary considerations of backpacking is the amount of weight you’ll be carrying. Packing a lot of food adds to the weight of the backpack and the heavier the pack, the heavier the load and the harder it is to hike with it. A backpacking stove and fuel, for example, along with the food to cook on it, can contribute additional pounds to a backpack. Every seasoned backpacker knows that there’s a certain weight that is acceptable to carry as opposed to unrealistic to carry. Typically, you’ll want to keep your backpack no more than 30 pounds for the most useful load.
There are also hassles involved with a backpacking stove and fuel. There’s the hassle of having to set it up, of having to refill stove fuel and of having to find a place to rid yourself of the empty fuel canisters responsibly. There can also be circumstances that are unforeseen, such as leaking stove fuel or malfunctions of the stove. When these things happen, depending on where you’re hiking, you may be in a real jam.
Of course, you can always build a campfire, but there’s the hassle of having to build one and there are also things to consider. For example, what if you’re hiking in an area that is fire-restricted or what if the weather is such that it’s too damp for a campfire? You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you cannot prepare the food that you’ve brought along.
But there is another and more convenient way to get delicious meals and is done without cooking. Meals Ready to Eat or MRE are breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks that are ready to eat and that contain all of the necessary nutrients.
MREs have initially been created by the U.S. military so that servicemen and women would have convenient, ready-to-eat food to bring with them while out on duty. A hiker or camper can eat an MRE straight out of the package, or the temperature of the food can be altered, such as warming up over a campfire or with an MRE heater.
An MRE heater, which typically comes with MRE foods, is a flameless heater that is designed explicitly for warming up meals ready to eat. It’s a water-activated chemical heater that can heat up an 8-0unce entree, for example, to up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in approximately 12 minutes. This is much more convenient than building a campfire. To use such a heater, you simply add water to the heater and insert the sealed pouch of MRE food into the bag. Once you’ve applied the water, the unit is activated and produces heat. They are non-toxic and can be safely disposed of. They also don’t produce carbon monoxide.
MRE Kits typically also include eating utensils and napkins so that there is nothing a person will need to acquire to consume the food. You simply prepare and eat.
Other important features of pre-cooked MREs is that there is an extensive shelf-life of usually up to five years. Also, each meal is calorie controlled, and contain no preservatives.
You can opt for only cold meals with MREs, but that would leave you with a small variety, such as crackers, pudding, energy bars, hard cheese, and packaged cheese. To be a healthy hiker, it’s important to mix in hot meals, with a variety of nutrients along with these colder items. This also ensures that you’re getting enough water, which is something that you’ll need to bring along, as well. Dried foods, such as granola bars, are dehydrating, and being dehydrated on a hiking trip is something you don’t want. This is exacerbated if you’re not drinking enough water on your hike.
Fruit, however, is not something that has to come in a package and is a good cold item to include in your arsenal. Fruits such as apples and oranges contain water as well as vitamin C. You’ll need to determine how many of them you can bring to keep your backpack from getting too heavy.
An example of an MRE breakfast food kit includes hashbrowns with onions, peppers and bacon, a toaster pastry, wheat bread, peanut butter, and fruit punch, for example. Or one can buy a single meal such as apple maple oatmeal.
Lunch and Dinner Foods
An example of an MRE lunch or dinner kit would include meatballs in a marinara sauce, crackers, vanilla pudding, a lemon-lime beverage. Or another example would be beef ravioli, a cheese spread, chocolate pudding, a grape beverage. Or you can buy a single meal such as Asian beef strips.
Those who are on a vegetarian diet can also enjoy Meals Ready To Eat. Typical vegetarian dishes may include things like vegetable lasagna, crackers, brownie, and an orange drink.
MREs general include the entree, a side dish, a dessert, a snack, crackers, spreads such as peanut butter or cheese, a powdered beverage, utensils, an FRH, and things like salt and pepper and moist towelettes.
The best way to buy MREs is online. This is where you will find the most variety for your needs.