Dartmoor Tramping food

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Over the past few years, my food menu for backpacking has settled down to a fairly predictable formula. However, for Dartmoor, I introduced two new variants: a proper porridge breakfast and a dessert for dinner. I used Mountain Trails food for the first time. In addition to breakfast and dessert, I ordered a couple of main meals as well, pasta bolognaise and beef risotto. Service was very quick, arriving in two working days. Prices are pretty comparable with competing meals.

All the meals come vacuum packed in robust packaging. They are quite compact compared to some competing products, which would be an advantage if you are carrying several days food. Calorific values are reasonable. There is a choice of sizes, with large portions for expeditions. I chose the smaller sizes.

So what are they like? I thought the pasta bolognaise was quite reasonable, if not as good as the best (Fuizion/Lyo/Real Turmat). The beef risotto was very disappointing. It was almost devoid of taste, like eating sawdust. Alan had a cheese pasta and said it was good. In my experience, rice based meals can be disappointing, whereas pasta is generally a better bet.

However, both the porridge (apple and sultana/cranberry and apple) and the rice puddings (sultanas/strawberries) were excellent. I suppose it’s difficult to mess these up but I really enjoyed having a hot breakfast and a hot dessert. They’ve both got decent calorific values as well. I’d be tempted to get the larger porridge for breakfast which has nearly 600kcal.

A large breakfast, average freeze-dried evening meal plus a small dessert is around 1,500-1,600kCal for around 375g. An average adult needs around 2,500kCal per day, so you’d only need to find another 1,000kCal. Obviously, on a strenuous trek, you’d need more, but you could probably keep your daily food weight down to around 800g and still have enough energy. You could boost it with a large dessert!

The porridge reconstituted really well and was tasty, with full cream milk. I eat porridge every day, so it’s my breakfast of choice. In theory, you could make these breakfasts up a lot cheaper using your own ingredients, which is something I might experiment with. However, the low bulk and convenience is an attraction.

The rice puddings were very good too. They were a nice boost at the end of they day. I will experiment with some of the other puddings as well as, perhaps, using a rice pudding as a breakfast. I might even have a pudding at lunchtime!

The downside of hot breakfasts and desserts, apart from cost, is increased fuel usage. I almost ran out of fuel at the end of the trip, whereas I’d normally been safe with a 100 cartridge. The upside, is more calorie dense, compact and appetising food, with the boost to morale of more hot food.

For my two remaining evening meals, I had Fuizion Food meals and they were fabulous. To my mind, they are still by far the best. It’s such a shame that they appear to be struggling at the moment.

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15 thoughts on “Dartmoor Tramping food”

  1. I use Mountain Trails and would agree with your comments. My absolute favourite is the Chicken Cous Cous, worth a try. A benefit, as you note, is the compact size and when you are squeezing a week plus of food in a pack they really come into their own.

    Another plus is a 20 per cent discount for a large purchase, I tend to buy a year’s worth at one time.

  2. I had a couple of their meals in Sarek and found I couldn’t eat them. One was the Chicken and Rice with Mushrooms and the other was the rice pudding with strawberries. Whether I hadn’t got the water boiling properly or not, I don’t know, but I did end up throwing them away and eating into my emergency hot chocolates and biscuits…. On the other hand, Geoff has enjoyed the cous-cous meals.

    1. I took two Fuizion meals that I knew I’d like if the MT ones didn’t work. I’ve got one more to try (minced beef) but for main meals I think I’ll stick to Fuizion/Lyo. The breakfasts and desserts are good. I think freeze-dried meals have improved a lot overall.

  3. I always use their meals now. I found Fuzion too expensive, too spicy and too unreliable. Mark and Mountain Trails is always quick, effiicient, reasonably priced and friendly. The mashed potato is the best! The only meal I didn’t get on with was the Rainbow Cous Cous, the Four Cheese and Mushroom Pasta is yummy, as is the Bolognaise and Korma. The Hot Chocolate Pudding is lovely and as apple and custard is one of my favourite things, that is the best Pudding ever! I’ve also found the dried full fat milk really good, I have some dried full fat cream to use this year and some dried butter…liked the idea, don’t know how useful it will be…
    Yeah, I like Mountain Trails, but then, could be a bit Paramo, or Trail Shoes…😁 each to their own!

    1. All down to personal taste πŸ˜‰. Fuizion meals (when you can get them!) are only 50p to Β£1 more expensive. IMO, most are excellent. I’ve got a Mountain Trails mince beef and potato to try. I don’t like curry or Cous Cous, so my choice is limited. I think having a hot breakfast and an evening dessert is a good idea and I’m going to order some more breakfasts and desserts πŸ˜‹

      1. I have been known to have a pudding for breakfast. Both worked for me (…not on the same day, obviously…) πŸ˜‹

  4. There is a far greater choice of backpacking food brands today than there has ever been.

    For my past few trips I’ve enjoyed the Meaty Main Meals by Be-Well Expedition Foods, but I found I was ordering exactly the same meals each time.

    Mountain Trails disappointed me because each one came in two packs (= more weight, more preparation, more gas), which wasn’t mentioned on the website, and a substitution was made for one item, so I returned them for a refund.

    You say Fuision Food is struggling, well the reason I’ve never ordered from them is that it’s not clear on their site if they are complete with potato or rice. With one exception, my impression has been they’re just meat and veg only.

    For my next trip I’ve bought Extreme Food which is lighter, mostly 102-103g, and higher callories, all 500 kcal, but I’m now wondering if I won’t find them as filling as the 125g packs I’m used to.

    1. Fuizion used to have ingredients on web site. They all have rice/potato/pasta/noodles. Tend to be a bit light on carbs if anything. Good amount of proper meat and where appropriate vegetables. Actually look and taste like proper food. Just a shame they seem to be permanently in financial difficulty.

    1. LYO certainly have an interesting range, though their site only gives the serving weight, it does not show the pack weight, but I was deterred more by the dearer prices and a standard €9.89 shipping charge from Germany.

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