Trail Cooking

The Old School Hiker’s Pantry Vs. The Modern One

I was going through old photos recently and saw some from the 2008-2010 era, and I had shot photos of my “hiker’s pantry” which was a couple plastic totes full of various ingredients and meals waiting to be reviewed on the site. It brought a smile to me, in how far I have come in the past years. Instead of buying to make a specific meal/recipe like I did then, I instead keep a full pantry now, that I can walk into and pick what I need.

Back then though?

There’s a time capsule.

Pack Lite Foods? You were sure affordable at $4.75! (They seem to have a static front page now, but otherwise the website isn’t working. I really liked their commercial meals!)

3-ounce chicken packets? Always had those on hand back then.

We lived where I didn’t have a lot of space, so my hiking ingredients had to be in totes, in my office. This was in the time period right as freeze-dried companies selling base ingredients was about to explode on the scene, so I can see lots of HarmonyHouseFoods plastic containers (green lids) (yes, they are still out there, selling good quality items! Click here to visit Harmony House Foods, Inc.) Even a few Mountain House meals hiding in there.

At the time, it wasn’t easy to find dried ingredients if you didn’t have the time or desire to get a food dehydrator and get cracking. For a couple of years I lived off of the 1 pound bags that Frontier Co-Op sold – and which they yes, still sell. These mylar bags are what all those bulk ingredients come in, that are sold in the bulk herb/spices/dehydrated section of your local grocery or health food store. A pound seemed like so much back then. Into plastic tubs they went, into the even bigger plastic totes.

Now, in the present I have multiple shelves dedicated to outdoor cooking. Cans, bags, packets and jars waiting to be used in recipes. It really opens up what I can make when I get ideas in my head.

Which I will say: If you have a well stocked pantry, cooking is that much better and easier to do.


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