Pre-Prepared Camp Meals

Hilltop

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Feb 25, 2014
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Eastern Nebraska
I'm in the middle of preparations for my Wyoming hunt Oct 6th-15th. Plan to stay on the mountain the majority of the hunt and am planning to pre-make most of my meals. I'm looking for ideas that others have done in the past. What are some of your favorites?
 

JimP

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Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
I hardly ever use pre-prepared meals when I am hunting, I found that they usually take up too much room in the coolers unless it is just for one or two people.

But some of the better ones that I have done are chili, and different kinds of soup. We always preboil potato's and shred them to be used at breakfast or dinner as hash-browns. A friends wife also makes killer breakfast burritos that are wrapped up in tinfoil where you can either eat them cold or throw them in a fire for a few minutes to warm up.
 

Hilltop

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Feb 25, 2014
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Eastern Nebraska
I'm not too worried about cooler room- just time to cook. I'll be out of camp by 5:30am most mornings and won't get back until after 8pm each night. Pre-done meals will hopefully save quite a bit of time. I have a lit of ones from the past- just looking for new ideas.
 

Umpqua Hunter

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May 26, 2011
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North Umpqua, Oregon
The last few years my wife and I have been carrying prepared vacuum packed meals in on our hunts in a small chest freezer. We use these meals for both lunches and dinners. We use dry ice for the first few days in the field, then the generator in the camper (a few hours a day) to keep things frozen for a few days and finally we move the remaining items into the camper refrigerator for the last few.

Starting a month or so ahead of the hunt, we begin to prepare larger than normal portions of dinner and vac pack and freeze the leftovers.

Meat sauce is really great because it requires minimal space in the freezer since most of the bulk comes from noodles that just need boiled at dinner time.

BBQ boneless chicken thighs

BBQ Bacon Birds (4 ounce football shaped burgers wrapped with bacon)

Hearty Soups/Stews

On the way home, the small chest freezer carries the processed meat.
 

Againstthewind

Very Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
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Upton, WY
Yeah, I like soups, too. Like above, crockpot a big batch, freeze it in ziplock bags serving size. Vacuum bagging is another thing I need to get going on. Still haven't gotten that far. They kindof thaw in the cooler then you can heat them up pretty quickly, enough to get them in a thermos or something for the daypack or whatever. I also like cabbage burgers and hot pockets homemade with whatever, ham, broccoli and cheese is a good one. I think the tortillas or dumpling type things pack better than bread sandwiches and taste ok cold. Mostly I am just following this because there were some good ideas that I have forgotten about.
 

mcseal2

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Mar 1, 2011
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midwest
We have worked out a pretty decent system for evening camp meals that don't take to long.

We pre-cook food at home and vacuum seal it, and freeze it. Each morning we put that nights supper out to thaw. We try to find a way to thaw it by that night without it getting to hot. Sometimes we thaw it in a small softside lunch cooler. Then when we get back to camp we get both burners on our little Coleman camp stove going. One burner we put a pot in with the sealed meal in it. The other burner we put a pot on and boil water for noodles, instant potatoes, whatever our meal requires or a side. Things like beef stew, chili, spaghetti, chicken ala king are staples. It lets us have our evening meal prepared quick, fairly clean, and easy without a big effort cooking. We are worn out and ready for food and sleep by then.
 

Colorado Cowboy

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Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
Started doing this on my boat when we out tuna fishing for multi days. Works for hunting camp too, especially for 1 to 3 hunters.

I precook everything at home. Chili, pasta meals, stew or any one pan dinner. Vacuum pack and freeze. Leave out in am to thaw and put the plastic bag in boiling water to reheat. You can also use the hot water to do dishes or wash up.
 

dirtclod Az.

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Jan 26, 2018
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Arizona
I pre-cook then freeze everything flat.Soups,spaghetti.chili,chicken thighs etc.. and stand them in my cooler like on a book shelf.With frozen ice blocks they tend to stay frozen longer than laying them flat.Pair them with Uncle Bens pre-cooked rice,instant potatoes and noodles.I'm good to go.:cool:Small 12pk. cooler is all it takes.
 

Prerylyon

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Apr 25, 2016
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Lots of hunters doing this homemade frozen food vac thing. I think this will be the year I try it.

You guys are gonna laugh, but my hot evening meal while backpacking or diy hunting in-unit is usually doctored up ramen cup o noodles with some additional dried vegetables and freeze dried meat.

For situations where a cooler is readily at hand to keep the meals refrigerated, the vac sealed frozen homemade meal sounds likes its definitely quick, cheap, tasty and low maintenance.

Regards,

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mcseal2

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Mar 1, 2011
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midwest
It really is slick and easy. Like Colorado Cowboy said, dish water is all ready when it's done. The Knorr pasta and rice packets make good sides.

On more laid back trips like fishing we might take the can cooker and use it for some meals mid day. Hunting though we are usually gone all day and wore out just wanting a hot meal and sleep.

If we stay in a hotel the crock pot goes along and we use it to cook a soup or chili during the day so we have a hot meal ready when we return. We don't stay in town much. A several hour drive before and after dark to and from the hunting spot really wears me down after a few days. Add the cost of the hotel and fuel and it's really not worth it!
 

Prerylyon

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Apr 25, 2016
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Fuel is a major cost item.

Stuck inside today due to heavy rain; so worked on some hunt planning for next month.

Fuel estimate for my Tundra for next month's run to WY, is ~$400. [emoji44]

Ideas on ways to eat well and save $ are much appreciated.

(Hilltop wanted some meal ideas - let's keep 'em coming)

I'm gonna try to vac freeze some leftovers this week, bag them, and see how they do in the boil re-heat process. I'll share my take on how they turn out. Plenty of ideas in this thread (really like AZ's description of how he packs the frzn packs in) My wife makes red beans and rice in the crockpot with andouille sausage. That will be my 1st experiment. Next, I'll save some scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, green chile and see how it fares.

(I mean-I have no reason to think they won't be just fine)

Regards,

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Team Kabob

Very Active Member
May 9, 2014
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Enchiladas are great to premake, vac and reheat. Wrap in foil if you want to reheat on a grill or just vac seal and boil water! Top with goodies and salsa and done! Not a backpack meat!

Going to test pulled pork for this year!


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dirtclod Az.

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Jan 26, 2018
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Arizona
Enchiladas does sound like an excellent idea for freeze/boil in bag.I like the eggs and green chliles also.We tried that at Lake Powell one year and it worked real well.:cool:
 

mcseal2

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Mar 1, 2011
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midwest
One quick and filling meal that takes no refrigerated ingredients I make sometimes is this. It can be a welcome break from freeze dried food but is heavy to pack. Its a good one to have at the truck for when I make a trip out. It serves 2 480 calories each or one if you are a big eater and just packed out an elk. It's also good for spare meals at a base camp if the fresh stuff runs out or the trip runs long.

1 can Progresso steak and vegetable soup (18.8oz can, 180 calories)
1 bag Beef Ramen Noodles (380 calories)
1 packet Idahoan mashed potatoes (400 calories)

Heat the soup to boiling with the Ramen in it and boil another 4 minutes then add the Ramen seasoning packet. While doing this boil water and mix up the mashed potatoes. Pour the soup over mashed potatoes. The soup with the Ramen seasoning makes a good gravy.
 

sleepingbear

Member
Sep 15, 2011
73
70
Carson City
I have been doing vacuum meals for quit sometime and make a lot of what others have said, here's some additions. Smoked tri tip but leave it rare and cut into serving size n seal. Chukar stir fry, elk spaghetti, elk bacon burger, Country style ribs ect. Taco meat of any kind, just pre slice veggies and eat early in the hunt. Sky's the limit really, usually make a pasta salad and or potato salad to go with the meats. Always have a few jars of home pickled beans,peppers and salsa. Not much time in august for breakfast but I do the burritos as mentioned for later hunts, and usually just cook at camp but I still throw in a couple of these meals just in ase we have a late night. Enjoy!
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
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midwest
I started this thread in 2017 fellas. Not a bad idea to keep it going for others in their planning stages though.
I saw it was an old one, I wanted to revive it to get more ideas. I am always looking for good easy meals for home and for camp. Good thread idea.
 

nv-hunter

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Feb 28, 2011
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Reno
The thread favorite camp meals has some good ideas too.

Do you have a big dutch oven? Make your favorite casserole in a pie tin that will fit the dutch oven then freeze and bake in camp.
 

mustang8

Active Member
Jan 30, 2017
230
5
Central WI
One thing I haven't read yet that I think would be good also, just to add to the ramon noodles idea( which I think is awesome if spending the night out on the mountain) would just be to add or take along a bunch of jerky. All different flavors of that, could help out the ramon.

This is a great thread! Were planning next year to spend a night or 2 out on the mountain just to try it out and will obviously not have access to a cooler or a generator or any of those nice commodaties.
 

sleepingbear

Member
Sep 15, 2011
73
70
Carson City
Mustang8 ever try bacon and peanut butter sandwiches, that's one item I take when staying on the mtn, but if you vacuum seal it stop when the bread starts to compress or the bread will be paper thin. Great carb source. Texas toast works well for the bread