I found that the ration pack which I made is not as great as I first thought. I had felt that the combination of foods would make enough meals for my needs and not be too large of a weight to carry. I have decided that I was wrong for several, unforeseen (and a couple I considered were a risk) reasons.
The Spam. Much to Kitty’s disgust, I normally am happy to eat this “meat” product. Don’t get me wrong… I don’t eat it often… I just enjoy the taste. Yet the can I included in this pack turned out to be too much. It made me feel ill after I consumed the contents. That isn’t due to a problem with the food, it was just that it was too much fatty meat. I ate it all in one sitting (I didn’t gorge on it, I just happened to eat it all). I have decided that this is not the best inclusion for the pack. With it removed, the pack will weigh much less.
The breakfast bars. They had turned into a fine powder after repeatedly being jostled in my bag. While they are still edible and contain exactly the same nutritional value, I don’t think they have a place in my pack.
The noodles. They were broken into their component particles and ended up being a type of gruel. I still ate them, and they went really well with a bit of Beef Jerky included. I was considering their removal too.
The other inclusions seemed to work out fine. Some of the crackers were broken, yet they were still good to eat. In all, I should say that the ration pack made my backpack a little too heavy. Not too heavy for the worst case scenario of walking home, yet too heavy for everyday carry. For this reason, I have decided that they revamped ration pack will be kept in a secure location in my car. I already have provisions stored at my work location… enough to get me through several days (this is basic stuff I have for lunch and such at work). Nearly every situation which would require my use of the ration pack, I would also have access to my car.
To this end, I have decided to include some Camp style meals. I have found light, easy to cook, and tasty meals called Back Country Cuisine.
These meals are very light (90gms for a single, 175gms for a double serve) and only need hot water to reconstitute their contents. I have sampled several of these and I am very happy with their taste, although the serving size left me wanting more. They provide around 800 Cal per meal, so that would be a great end to a day of hiking.
I tried the Beef Stroganoff and the Roast Chicken meals. Both were extremely tasty and really filled me up. The dried ingredients don’t appear to be different to items you would add to such a dish if created in the kitchen, apart from the meat… that had the look and texture of very dried jerky (almost like cardboard in appearance). When this is soaked in hot water, the fragrance and taste make you forget their simple origins. I shared mine with people I work with and they really enjoyed it, telling me that it was (almost) as good as their own home cooked version.
I do note that the Back Country people also sell Emergency Ration Packs. If I can find any of these, and manage to try it, I may decide to add them instead of making my own rations (as their ingredients sound great).
I will substitute the heavier can of Spam for several of these meals… greatly expanding the usefulness of the ration pack, along with the nutritional and flavour value.
I have decided to keep the noodles, as they are so useful as a meal, and throw in a couple more packs of jerky. These can be eaten cold, or made into a meal on their own.
By keeping this pack in my car, I am not weighed down in my everyday carry. If needed, I can add the items to my pack and take them with me on the walk home… or stay well fed in a broken down vehicle while I wait for a pick up. I can also keep an expanded amount of water in my car too, allowing me to stock up for any occasion (or have water for when my family and I go out for an outing).