What are the essential bits of grub that you ought to have in your cupboard, handy to grab for the next overnighter? The main meals are easy in comparison.
1 – Dried milk – hardly fashionable anymore, but useful anywhere that you usually need milk – obviously.
2 – Noodles – quality egg noodles are already supplied in a handy block and cook much quicker than pasta. They’re also tastier than regular dried pasta, which don’t usually have the egg. Not to be confused with ramen type noodles, which are handy to have as a spare meal but aren’t as good a pasta substitute.
3 – Boil in the bag rice – just grab these from the cupboard and you’re ready to roll. There are smaller bags available that suit a smaller appetite, or can be used to bulk out a dehydrated meal such as the Fuizion curries, that don’t have enough rice.
4 – Condensed milk in a tube – Maybe I’m covering the same ground as no 1 here, but this stuff is excellent. You can add it to puddings or hot drinks in order to make them creamier and sweeter. When after a sugar rush, often eaten from the tube. The only downside is that the only supplier is a multinational that is often boycotted for reasons I shan’t go into here.
5 – Cup a soups – These are very handy to bulk out your food. There’s a bewildering array of these to choose from. Some even have noodles and pasta in them, making them much more filling than coloured liquid alone. There are even some more expensive versions in a tube available which are meant to be tastier.
6 – Smash – Available in many flavours, and even in pots, dried potato has been the ultimate staple of D of E groups since time immemorial. Really does need a knob of butter to bring out the best flavour.
7 – Hot Chocolate and coffee sachets – I’ve a load of these to choose from, ranging from hot chocolate to Horlicks. The instant coffee sachets with milk or sugar is handy to have, and I’ve usually got a couple on each trip just in case. I usually need to be desperate for a cuppa to drink these coffees though!
8 – Powdered Puddings – Far from being gourmet fare, there are a number of puddings that just require the addition of hot water. Weight watchers do a range that include custard and strawberry whip, while of course there’s always Angel Delight. Fun Fact – 75% of the fruit intake of under 12s in the 70s and 80s was directly from Strawberry and Banana flavoured Angel Delight. You will need some dried milk however. Instant custard is a staple of mine, made tastier with a dollop of condensed milk and some sort of chocolate sponge bar. There are some jellies available, but hardly seem worth the hassle considering the low calorie content.
9 – Drink sachets or tablets – Hydration tablets are now an essential part of my kit, as I used to find myself drinking insufficient water on trips. Tablets, combined with sweeter drinks and an evening recovery drink such as Mountain Fuel, make all the difference. Strangely enough, I usually drink litres of water when I’m not on the hill.
10 – Various Pilfered Sachets – You know the ones. You’ve discreetly slipped a few into your pocket in your time, I’m sure. Available free in most hotel rooms, or for the adventurous to help themselves at the various fast slop shifters. The insanely honest however, can buy a selection of sugars, condiments and tracklements online; which really does take all the fun out of it. Those little squares of jam however can really jazz up a camping rice pudding (link. Though I’m unsure as to what backpacking food you’d desperately need to add ketchup or mustard.
Have we missed out any of your faves? Let us know below.