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Eastmans’ Gear Lab: Backcountry Food
In our office I might be known for occasionally getting a little “hangry” when it gets close to lunchtime. In the backcountry this can just become a flat-out dangerous situation where I might be inclined to roast the closest squirrel, or better yet, an unlucky pine chicken if I am needing to supplement my food rations.
All kidding aside, there isn’t much worse than not planning a high enough caloric intake to keep you trucking on a backcountry hunt. This Gear Lab is going to dive into a few of the options that are available and actually taste good!
These products won’t be the only food that we take along into the high country, but they are going to be the anchor, so to speak. They will have the highest calorie count and will go a long way towards the 3,500-4,000 calories most of us need when packing in.
So let’s dig in!
Heather’s Choice – I wasn’t sure what to expect the first time that I tore open a package of food from Heather’s Choice. It didn’t take long for a few of us to take part and enjoy the offerings from the relatively new company and decide that this was something worth the weight in our packs. The Packaroons and breakfasts are a favorite and the Dark Chocolate Chili is one that has flavor that won’t disappoint. These meals are packed full of top-notch ingredients that make the taste flavorful and you won’t feel like you pounded a brick of salt after the last bite has been carefully removed from the packaging. Take some time and visit www.heatherschoice.com and take look at all of the options they have available!
Mountain House – The beauty of Mountain House meals is their availability to the masses and if you have been hunting or backpacking for long at all you know this name well. When you need meals fast Mountain House entrees will be what is usually available in major retail stores or your local Sportsman’s Warehouse. In recent years Mountain House has revamped some of their packaging into the Pro Pack line to make things lighter and easier to fit inside of your pack. For the space conscious ounce counter this has been much appreciated! Beef Stroganoff has been a long-time favorite of mine and the relatively new Biscuits and Gravy rarely gets left behind when there are a few sitting in the gear closet. To see their large variety of meals visit www.mountainhouse.com and take your pick!
Off Grid Food Co. – If you follow along in the western hunting social media world you have likely seen pictures of someone trying a product from Off Grid Food Company. Off Grid has put together some fantastic breakfast and trail mix options and heading into the tail end of July 2018 they will be launching a new trail mix, entrees and more breakfasts. The trail mix is an often requested backcountry snack when the team is heading out and I am planning to make it a staple inside of my meal kit for the summer scouting season and into the fall. The breakfasts, in particular the Blue Raz, are top-notch, and do a great job filling the belly with fuel for the day ahead. Off Grid Food Co.’s options are worth exploring and with an expanding line of products.
After food comes caffeinated hydration in order of necessity, personally. In the backpack hunter’s world for the longest time that meant coffee in the form of little pouches that if we are really honest tasted about what you imagine the elk wallow mud taste like. Then a certain brand entered the game whom we will not mention due to their anti-hunting tendencies, but their new product was fantastic and a game-changer. Fast-forward a little further and there two companies who produce great tasting coffee singles and aren’t opposed to the lifestyle we live!
Alpine Start Coffee Single – On a turkey hunt this spring I had the chance to use the original mix and was very happy with the taste and the caffeine boost. Hopefully, it won’t be long until I can try the Dirty Chai Latte! While talking with their team the theme for the conversation was that it all starts with the bean, and based on the taste we could tell! Visit www.alpinestart.com and take a look at the three options that they have!
Dark Timber Coffee Co. Ascent Packs – Every green bean sourced by Dark Timber Coffee is composed of handpicked Arabica beans and are prepared by their in-house master roaster. These small packets are a far cry from the slurry that we used to haul with us into backcountry and are worth the weight carry in and fuel the caffeine fix while glassing the high country basins. Visit www.darktimberco.com to look at the 11 packet Ascent packs that come in two top-notch flavors!