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Stealth camping and self-heating meals

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Stealth camping and self-heating meals

Old 07-23-04, 09:37 AM
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stokell
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Stealth camping and self-heating meals

Does anyone out there have experience with using self heating meals while camping? I've found this product so far:
http://windupradio.com/hot_pack.htm

I'm planning on stealth camping during my next tour and this might solve the weight and size problem, never mind having to buy raw food, a camp stove and pots. No open flame, no washing up. It all sounds good.

I realize they are bulky but I'm not planning on using them during extended tours. The question is: Who out there has had experience with the latest self heating meals? What are the pros and cons of using these products and if you live in Canada, where can you buy them?
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Old 07-23-04, 09:51 AM
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shaharidan
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when i was in the army we had self heating MRE's(Meals Ready to Eat) and the self heating part worked just fine.
a couple problems i can see for tour:
1) these kinds of things can be fairly expensive, i didnt see a price on the website but i didnt look real hard.
2) they may not be real easy to find in stores, so depending on your plans you may have to bring a lot of them, and more than a couple would take up a lot of space. where with a stove and more normal type foods you can get what you need on a daily basis.

if you decide to go with them i'd try them before hand to see which ones you like. with the MRE's there were some that were pretty good, and some that were pretty bad.

o and as far as where to buy, in the states you'd likely find them in camping stores, i imagine the same for canada.
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Old 07-23-04, 11:16 AM
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I've seen self-eating meals at REI. They were bulky and heavy.

Consider building an alcohol stove. An alcohol stove is very small, very lightweight. The windscreen will hide most of the flame and they are very quiet. you can pack the stove, fuel, widscreen, pot stand, and 250 ml fuel bottle inside a 1-L grease pot from walmart. Good enough to boil a few cups of water for cooking.

For food on the road, consider semi prepared foods that require little cooking. Things like lipton noodle side dishes, instant mashed potatoes, minute rice or various flavored rice packages need little more than boiled water and some standing time. If you make a pot cozy from a cheap foam sleeping pad, you need only to boil water, add the ingredients, put the pot in the cozy and wait. No need to keep the stove on.

You can buy precooked chicken, turley, tuna, and even ground beef in foil packets that save weight. Just add to the food in the pot and let heat up before eating. Be creative and you can have a hearty meal with very little cooking time.
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Old 07-23-04, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by supcom
I've seen self-eating meals at REI.
Hmmm... seems like a self-eating meal would sort of negate the point of eating at all...
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Old 07-23-04, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by stokell
Does anyone out there have experience with using self heating meals while camping? I've found this product so far:
http://windupradio.com/hot_pack.htm

I'm planning on stealth camping during my next tour and this might solve the weight and size problem, never mind having to buy raw food, a camp stove and pots. No open flame, no washing up. It all sounds good.

I realize they are bulky but I'm not planning on using them during extended tours. The question is: Who out there has had experience with the latest self heating meals? What are the pros and cons of using these products and if you live in Canada, where can you buy them?

I am planning on using the civilian version of MREs for several, short biking/camping trips in the near future. Check out this website: http://www.longlifefood.com/

They sell the MRE entrees, side dishes, desserts, etc. and heaters seperately. They even show you what the food looks like. Its basically institutionalized, mass produced cafeteria food. I've tried the ravioli and bean burrito. They are very tastey, although I wouldn't pay $2.50 for it on the street. There's a local Army Surplus store that sells MREs around here (St. Louis, MO), but they are $7.99 a piece and $1 for the chemical heater. Although the full meal kits are quite bulky, the separate elements of the MRE kits (entrees, side dishes, etc.) are actually very small and compact.

There's also these: http://www.heatermeals.com/

They are more expensive than MREs, but they look tastier and more compact. Plus, they include the heating element and water in the package.

I'm in your frame of mind as far as cooking goes. Using a camp stove and separate ingredients to come up with meals seems a bit more tedious than having a self contained, self heating meal. I'm sure it brings more enjoyment and satisfaction to actually cook your own meals, but I enjoy being able to whip out some food, chow, and enjoy the outdoors without the hassle of waiting for food to cook and cleaning pots.

The only real disadvantage I can see to using self heating meals is the extra garbage. Price isn't really an issue for me. I mean, how much money are you actually saving by not using MRE-type meals? Granted, on long trips there is no way you could rely solely on them.


-Matt C.-
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Old 07-24-04, 07:11 AM
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tasty bites (indian food packets) can be eaten w/o cooking, and acquired at trader joes and safeway. if you do have a stove you just boil them in the bag they come in, and eat right out of that, no washing up, one pot only.

also, food does not have to be hot. canned soups and chilis, spaghetti-os can be eaten right out of the can. you can make a wicked burrito with tortillas, canned beans or chili, cheddar and/or avocado, and packets of salsa you bogart from taco bell. add canned/foil wrapped tuna/chicken/beef (I haven't seen beef - but haven't been looking, either)

that being said, you don't have to eat/cook where you sleep. at the last town before camping you can eat at a restaurant, get takeout, or cook at the grocery store, then just snack on something cold at camp.

I have serious doubts about acquiring this kind of specialty food on the road. maybe you are talking about a really short tour where you carry your food? or an off road tour where you can't resupply daily?

my thoughts on this matter come mainly from big-wall climbing - on tour i cook "real food" where i camp, and don't find the extra weight too annoying - of course, i'm not setting any land speed records, either.

see you on the road - 7 days and counting!
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Old 07-24-04, 07:43 AM
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Using MREs, or self heating meals, is a part of the mystique of stealth camping if I understand things correctly. The idea being that you can just take off on your bike and disappear for a short time. No trips to the store, no public campgrounds, etc. I wholeheartedly agree that there are plenty of other food choices out there, and I appreciate experienced opinions on the subject. Many people have gone primitive camping and bicycle touring without self heating meals without any problems. I think one of the reasons some of us like to use self heating meals is the neatness of them. They are a self contained and kind of adventurous form of camping food. Of course going out into the wilderness with absolutely no food would be a real adventure.

Any tips on hunting & gathering?


-Matt C.-
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Old 08-04-04, 05:41 PM
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Ggo 2 www.rei.com. they have freeze dried meals and sell a heater that u can use 5 times, no fire. Cost is about $11.00. If u r near a gayan's they have them too.
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Old 08-04-04, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by djpeterb
Ggo 2 www.rei.com. they have freeze dried meals and sell a heater that u can use 5 times, no fire. Cost is about $11.00. If u r near a gayan's they have them too.
Search google for army surplus. I was just on a site today offering MRE's for $1.49 a piece with like 10 different meals and the heaters came in a seperate package of 12 for $6.49. Just over $2 per meal, and you dont need a stove, can't hardly argue that.
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Old 08-21-04, 08:01 AM
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Just a short update to those subscribing to this thread:
I have been having a great deal of difficulty finding self heating meals in the shops in Toronto. This is quite a suprise, as anyone who is familiar with Toronto knows, you can buy just about anything here.

I have found a Canadian made products made mostly for rescue services and EMS. A place in Ottawa was willing to sell me a case of assorted meals but there was the matter of $CAN20 shipping.

While waiting for my favourite store in the world (MEC) to open this week, I walked into the competition (Europe Bound) who wisely open one half hour earlier. Much to my suprise, there was yet another brand, also made in Canada and selling for around $1 less.

So dear subsribers, if you live in our near Toronto Europe Bound has three stores. One is in Oakville and the third is on Front Street. They are selling "5 Minute Meals" in four varieties; beef with red beans, beef and noodles and two pastas, one with a cream sauce and one tomato based.
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