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Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling Paperback – 1 Apr 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling
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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; Rev. Ed edition (1 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070344361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070344365
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 0.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Book Description

" . . . a book that will appeal to everyone who has ever choked down the pre-packaged, bargain-basement camp food (or gone bankrupt buying the good stuff)."--Canoe & Kayak

. . . if you're on the lookout for a way to bring real meals to the field, [this book] might have the answer."--Field & Stream

Life in the outdoors revolves around food--cooking it, eating it, packing it, carrying it. We even fantasize about it, especially after a week of eating store-bought provisions. This book is all about fulfulling those food fantasies and avoiding those expensive disappointments. Trail Food tells you how to remove water from food, to make it lighter and longer-lasting, without removing its taste. Learn to plan menus and prepare meals just like the ones you left behind, using fresh foods from your garden or market, prepared and seasoned the way you like them.

Why fantasize when you can have the real thing?

About the Author

Alan Kesselheim dries his food in Bozeman, Montana, where he lives with his wife and three children. He is the author of five books, including Water and Sky: Reflections of a Northern Year and Going Inside, and has published hundreds of magazine articles.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kesselheim's approach is to dry ingredients at home, than carry them into the field and use them to prepare meals. This results in having to also haul all the kit for preparation such as chopping board, knives, spatula etc. The other result is that most of the cooking times are far too long unless you have huge quantities of stove fuel (one of his soup recipes takes 1 hour to cook in the field for heaven's sake!)

Overall, the boook does not contain much information and there is far too much padding in the form of recollections of trips and irrelevant line drawings. 5 of the 88 pages are given over to plans for making 2 homemade dehydrators - who is going to bother doing that?

If you are a genuine backpacker, look elsewhere for inspiration.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Perhaps to the amazement of an earlier reviewer I actually made the dehydrator based on Kesselheim's plans taken from the paperback book. Admittedly, I made it over 10 years ago and have now moved on to an electric dehydrator. But back then, having read many of Kesselheim's canoeing books, "Trail Food" was a true find. It's a great book with great ideas. The drawings give it character and the anecdotes serve to slightly make up for Kesselheim not having written as much as I would like.

Dated? Perhaps, but a little gem nonetheless.
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Format: Paperback
KESSELHEIM knows how to appeal to a useful purpose and makes a simple process an ease to work with. His book is what everyone should have on their bookshelf or carry a copy in your backback with some blank paper and pencil to plan future trail meals. You don't need glitz to be good. Christopher D. BORDEN - RCMP - Northern BC
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for dehydrator fans and trekkers , successful crossing of Scotland carrying my own food light, just ensure you have access to clean water to hydrate these recipes
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 104 reviews
149 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book! 27 Dec. 2005
By M. L Strickland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have several books on dehydrating your own trail meals and this is easily the best. It is concise and full of good ideas and recipes. The guidance is flexible enough for the lightweight backpacker or for the canoe or pack mule traveler. For example, some of the recipes call for a dutch oven (too bulky and heavy for the lightweight backpacker) and others are suitable for a one pot meal (ideal for the lightweight backpacker).

A nice feature is the chart of drying temperatures and times for different foods. Also, the chart of calorie and protein content of different foods is important to making sure you get enough calories to keep going in the field and enough protein to keep your body from consuming your muscle tissue for fuel. There are also plans for building your own dehydrator for the do-it-yourselfer. The suggested one week meal plan is a good guide to get you started on packing for a trip.

The emphasis of this book is on drying individual ingredients and then rehydrating and combining them at meal time. This allows you to be more flexible in your meals, but takes a little longer at meal time. However, it also tells you how to use your own recipes to prepare a conmplete meal and then dehydrate it. Precooked spaghetti, rice or beans rehydrate and cook faster in the field. The book recommends having both types of meals with you for variety and flexibility. You can also dehydrate canned foods like vegetables or canned chicken, tuna or salmon and use them in your recipes.

This book is concise and a fast read, but packs a lot of information. This means that you need to pay attention to pick up all the important points. Fully half of the book gives infomration on dehydrating and meal planning as well as other important instructions and the other half gives some excellent recipes.

One important point (based on experience) is to be sure to try the recipes at home on the same stove and cooking utensels that you will have in the field. You want to make sure that you have everything you need and know how to use it BEFORE you are in the field and cold and wet and tired and hungry. That's not a good time to find out that you need another pot or that your pot isn't large enough to properly prepare your recipes!

"Trail Food" is all you need to dehydrate your own meals, but a few other general books on dehydrating wouldn't hurt to help you gain a full understanding of all the nuances of dehydrating.

Excellent book!
73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars straightforward drying advice 22 Feb. 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've had this book for a few years now, and have read it cover to cover several times.It gives good advice on how to dry everything from plain vegetables to your leftover dinner.I even started to dehydrate my own eggs,and let me tell you they come back wonderfully.Great book that will have you tossing aside those $6.00 nasty premade meals.
58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book 13 July 2000
By Randall Barnhart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Time was, drying food was a real pain and involved an old stove and a lot of attention. Now, with the proliferation of dryers on the market, anyone can dry, meat, fish, fruit and veg. The problem is that, in a lot of places, The how of drying is still a closely guarded secret.
No more. This is an excellent introduction to drying, and you don't need to be an expert to start either. Wanna dry? Get this book.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, the healthiest. 6 Sept. 2010
By C. Harding - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this and lipsmackin backpackin at the same time and found this one to be the best. You can control the food you put in your body, you can use up garden extras, and the ideas for cross-use of items are excellent. Also small enough to pack along if you're not a lightweight hiker. I would highly recommend this as he's realistic about what you might want to purchase or not purchase to make the process easier - all budgets can afford his methods and he doesn't load you down with sodium. You can see my review of lipsmackin backpackin over there and find that sodium is a huge concern for me. It may not be a concern for you but even without that this book doesn't rely upon many store bought sauce packets or seasoning packets so you can choose what you like and enjoy your wilderness cooking that much more!

In other words, if you have a husband as I do with high blood pressure this book will give you options that others don't. :)
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More helpful than a barrel of jerky... 5 Jun. 2001
By Ann Manes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, concise guide to the process of drying as well as impetus to get the canoe onto the top of the car. While Kesselheim does give instructions detailed enough for the most persnickity among us, he also describes method, allowing the use of the imagination. Good tips, good recipes, wonderful guidelines -- and some memories to start the inner loon calling. Very glad I have this book.
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