I’m the first to admit it – I am not very good at cooking things while camping.
It’s something I definitely want to improve at but to be honest most of the time I just offer to carry the gear of the designated camp chef. But when I’m going solo in the backcountry, I always want a big, hot breakfast – so I’ll usually pack a freeze-dried offering.
The folks at Mountain House have been very, very helpful in this venue. When I spent a month traveling around Utah and Arizona last year, they gave me a ton of tasty meals to keep me moving along the way – and recently they sent me a new package – something they call the Just in Case Breakfast Bucket.
Part of an appeal to hyper-planning backpackers and folks who just like to be prepared (earthquake kits, anyone?), the Just in Case series has a few different models, including an Essential and Classic assortment. The Breakfast Bucket features 16 freeze-dried breakfast foods, including scrambled eggs with ham and peppers, scrambled eggs with bacon, a breakfast skillet filler that’s got hash browns, scrambled eggs, pork sausage, peppers, and onions – and granola with blueberries.
The basic cooking instructions for all of the packets are the same – just add water, stir, and wait.
I boiled some water and tossed it into the ham and pepper scramble packet. After a few minutes, I drained out some of the excess water and put the meal onto a plate with some pepper and Sriracha sauce (because, come on, what ISN’T improved by Siriacha?) and tucked in.
I thought the food was surprisingly good – the bits of ham were nice and tender and the eggs for the most part were tasty, too.
With freeze dried packets, I’ve found there’s almost always going to be one or two bites that weren’t re-hydrated enough but it’s nothing that’s going to ruin your day. Let’s face it – food like this is never going to be quite as good as actual scrambled eggs and ham – but it’s a heck of a lot easier to make when you’re deep in the backcountry – and the packets themselves don’t have any expiration date – only a date when the optimal flavor starts to decline.
I will say, though, that I absolutely love Mountain House’s granola with milk and blueberries – and it tastes just as good if not better than granola you’d fill up with at home – it might even be my favorite freeze-dried breakfast out there.
Want to win a free Breakfast Bucket from Mountain House?
The team at Mountain House is giving away one free Breakfast Bucket to Modern Hiker readers!
All you have to do is leave me a comment with your best camp cooking experience – good OR bad. I’ll pick my favorite by Monday, March 17th and contact the winner by email (so make sure you’re logged in with a working email address!)
He has also been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and the Associated Press, as well as in documentaries for Columbia Sportswear and the OTIS College of Art and Design.
Casey is currently writing a book on day hikes in Los Angeles for Mountaineers Books.
This post was written by Casey Schreiner on March 13, 2014