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Backpacking - Boys Planning The Menu

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I will endorse the "roasting bag" method GW posted here. I was at Philmont in '06 and our crew used crock pot liners to rehydrate our evening meal. The crock pot liners are just about the right size for the 8qt pot we used, and they became the "yummy bag" that any remaining food went into.


Using a liner will keep the clean-up much easier to handle, and it is "human-sumpable", one member of the crew got the honor in rotation (11 crew-11 nights-10 human sumps...Chuckwagon stew at last trail stop at Ponil).


I would suggest a meal of red or black beans and rice. Our crew liked that one the best of all. The worst was Hawaiian chicken....even curry powder couldnt fix it...numbah 10 GI!


Swap-Box raiders! We got some good stuff in our foraging...lots of oriental trail mix, very little gator-aid...no beef jerky.

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I just looked at the "backpacking food" shelf in my pantry - various flavors of dehydrated meals, Zatarain's Complete Meals (boil in the bag instead of microwave, Uncle Ben's Ready rice (boil in the bag instead of microwave), Knorr Sides Plus, Lipton Rice Sides, foil packs of Tyson chicken. Plus instant oatmeal, Nutrigrain bars, crackers and peanut butter in a squeeze tube on another shelf (and at least one MRE) - my boys can just plan their menu from that.

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I haven't read the entire thread, so I apologize if I am doubling someones info or suggestions.


My troop is primarily a backpacking troop. Whether we hike for 1 mile or 10, the basics are always covered. Food is planned, purchased, prepared and packed by the scouts.


That sounds easy, but it takes a good year or so for them to get to that point. We will allow a campout where hamburger helper is the main course, but that patrol will not be able to use that crutch for the next outing. Instant oatmeal is a wonderful thing and we support it, but we also love to show them what our homemade version of instant oatmeal is and how good it tastes.


First campout they car camp and learn what we do. A patrol of more experienced scouts helps set thier camp up, shows them how to cook, clean and play. Gives them pointers on how to hike which includes trail etiquite, leave no trace, and trail safety (big one for us). We teach rudimentary orienteering right off the bat, and then we teach "how to get lost" from day one.


Before the second campout, the boys and thier parents get to go shopping for thier food, after they've planned a menu that has been approved by the SPL and the SM. They then head over to my home, I have a very large kitchen, and I demonstrate, with some help from other troop members, how to prepare the food, how to dehydrate in my oven, how to pack each meal to minimize trash and waste, etc.


For the third outing, the parents help the boys to shop and to prepare/package the food.


We also have a meal system or menu system, where they can easily fill out a form to get the proper amounts of food for each person for each day of camping, this also translates into a pretty comprehensive shopping list. We don't believe in re-inventing the wheel here. There are tons of books on backpaking food and nutrition, and we've compiled this info into guidelines for the boys to use. I can email a copy of what we do if you're interested, just pm me.


We give the patrols a "cook book" loaded with nice meals that meet our nutritional needs. We also have a library of the books on back packing meals that they can experiment with. Sometimes we have a competition at a troop meeting where the patrols get to cook against each other with a new or secret recipe. It's a lot of fun, and usually edible (although there have been some exceptions).


By the time the boys are old and strong enough to go on a week long HA trip, they've almost mastered back country cooking and menu planning. "One less thing..." as Forest Gump would say.



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