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Enertia Trail Foods Report

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  • Thomas C. Vickers
    Enertia Trail Food Thomas Vickers 34 years old Male 5 feet 11 inches tall 165 lbs redroach@pobox.com South East Texas, Houston Area December 2, 2002 I grew up
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2002
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      Enertia Trail Food

      Thomas Vickers
      34 years old
      5 feet 11 inches tall
      165 lbs
      South East Texas, Houston Area
      December 2, 2002

      I grew up in the piney woods of southeast Texas. Camping was a quick trip into
      the mosquito-infested woods behind the house. I attended college in North
      Texas. During this time I was severely bitten by the hiking bug and spent a
      great deal of time hiking and camping around Lake Texhoma in North Texas. This
      time period is best described as my discovery period. I found out about
      internal frame packs, sleeping bags and tents. I can also claim that this was
      my “heavy” gear period. After college I finally got the chance to explore
      more of the United States. I have hiked in California, and Central Texas. I
      went from heavy gear to heavier, more expensive gear as I expanded my hiking
      horizons. Over the last 3 or 4 years, I have begun to take a lighter weight
      approach to hiking gear and I have rediscovered the pleasure that can be
      involved in being outdoors with your gear. My recent trips have been in the
      John Muir Wilderness of California and along the Buffalo River in Arkansas.
      While I have flirted with lightweight hiking, I feel that I more of a mid
      weight hiker now. My pack weight with food and water runs about 32 lbs (5 days
      food and 4 liters of water), so I think I have reached an acceptable level of
      comfort in my hiking forays.

      Manufacturer Information
      Enertia Trail Foods ([ www.trailfoods.com ]www.trailfoods.com)

      Portion Size Calories
      Sierra Scramble 3.25 ounces (85 grams) 510
      Max Patch Mac & Cheese 4 ounces (113 grams 420
      Rainier Rice 3.5 ounces (99 grams) 380
      El Capitan 3 Bean Chili 4 ounces (113 grams) 400
      San Juan Stroganoff 3 ounces (85 grams) 330

      Tester Information
      Each entrée was packaged in a vacuum-sealed x inch zip lock bag. My
      initial thoughts were that this bag was wasted weight and material till I took
      a closer look at it. The outside edge of each Ziploc bag had markings, which
      indicated how much water had been added to the container. The markings are for
      6, 8, 12 and 16 ounces of water. I quickly changed my mind about wasted
      material and weight when I realized that this made preparing the meals in the
      bags much easier.
      Sealed inside each Ziploc were the entrées (in smaller individual bags), any
      necessary seasonings or spices, and instructions. The instruction sheet
      contains two methods of preparing most entrées (in a pot and in the larger
      Ziploc bag), nutritional information, and the name of the entrée. My Packed
      weights below are based upon the weights of the entire packed meal. This
      includes the entrée, instructions, outer Ziploc bag, and any other spices or
      seasonings in the package.

      Entrée Packed weight
      Sierra Scramble 3.80 ounces (108 grams)
      Max Patch Mac & Cheese 4.40 ounces (125 grams)
      Rainier Rice 3.90 ounces (111 grams)
      El Capitan 3 Bean Chili 5.4 ounces (153 grams)
      San Juan Stroganoff 3.9 ounces (111 grams)

      My test of the Enertia Trail Foods was conducted over three weekends in
      Southeast Texas, near Houston. I was able to spend the time exploring the
      Piney woods where I grew up and enjoying the wonderful weather. The
      temperatures ranged from the high 40
      the afternoons. Despite one of the wettest autumns in several yeas, I managed
      to stay inside during the wet weather and enjoy some very nice sunny days in
      the woods.

      My plan for testing was very simple, but allowed for the maximum amount of
      mistakes in preparing this food. I chose to prepare half of the entrees
      according to the “in the pouch” directions and the other half of the entrees
      according to the “in the pot” directions that were included by Enertia. The
      cooking utensils that I decided to use in this test were my MSR Dragonfly stove
      and my MSR Titan pots.

      Sierra Scramble
      This meal was prepared in the Ziploc pouch provided by Enertia, according to
      their “in the pouch” directions. Water was boiled and added to the egg mix in
      the large pouch. The large pouch full of water and egg was then boiled for 6
      minutes in a pot of water.

      Portion Size: Huge. I would use a ton of adjectives, but most of them would
      probably not be good for polite company. When I first saw this tiny yellow
      powder in the bag I knew that I would need some oatmeal to go with it. Once I
      had the eggs prepared, my mistake was evident. The preparation pouch was over
      1/3 of the way filled with the eggs mixture. It was so much food, that I
      resealed the pouch and finished the remaining eggs off for a late morning

      Taste: The Sierra Scramble tasted just like scrambled eggs, which I consider
      rather bland. The meal is spiced and Enertia provides a salt and pepper packet
      to use as well, but it is still pretty much just scrambled eggs. A little
      Tabasco sauce and I had the perfect trail breakfast. Overall, I was amazed
      that the eggs tasted like eggs. There was not the slightest bit of
      disappointment over this entrees

      Energy: Since this meal was large and broken up into two portions (breakfast
      and snack) I feel that the Sierra Scramble provided more than enough energy for
      hiking, especially considering its small pack size. I usually eat two packages
      of oatmeal for breakfast, a balance bar, and then have a couple of balance bars
      on the trail. The Sierra Scramble kept me full till lunchtime and I even got to
      scrimp on lunch because of how well it took care of my appetite.

      Notes: Despite cooking every night at home and most of the nights I am on the
      trail, I managed to goof the eggs up. First of all, if the recipe calls for 8
      ounces of water, it is best to add that to the large Ziploc first, then add the
      egg mixture. I did this in reverse order and came up with eggs that were a big
      dry, till I added some more hot water. I also discovered that eating out of
      the preparation bag is difficult, unless you cut the top portion of the bag
      off, which in my view, removes a large portion of the bag
      had expected to pack my trash into the Ziploc and carry it out, but if you cut
      the top portion off to eat out of the bag, there goes that option.

      Max Patch Mac & Cheese Macaroni Meal
      I prepared this meal using the “in the pouch” instructions. I even added the
      water to the pouch prior to adding the noodles. This meal was much more of a
      success than the Sierra Scramble due to adding the correct amount of water in
      the beginning.

      Portion Size: For a single dinner, this meal was just a little small to stand
      by itself. I usually add tuna while on the trail, but for this test I used the
      meals as they arrived from the manufacturer. I think that the addition of my
      normal portion of tuna would have complimented this meal a great deal.

      Taste: While I was expecting a cheesier taste, this meal had some surprises.
      The addition of Tomatoes, Carrots, Onions, Corn, Peas, and Green Peppers made
      the Max Patch Mac & Cheese very flavorful. Rather than a bland meal of Mac &
      Cheese I treated myself to tasty treat. This was something that I would love
      to have to eat at the end of a long day in the Sierras.

      Energy: I went to bed full and stayed asleep all night. I noticed that I didn
      wake up cold and hungry, which is how I normally know that my dinner was not
      big enough. When I crawled out of the tent in the morning I was not really
      hungry, but I did manage to eat one package of oatmeal instead of two. My next
      meal was going to be a hot lunch. I wasn
      was going to fit the ticket, but I was looking forward to it. The Mac & Cheese
      held me through till lunch pretty good. I only had to stack a single Balance
      bar in on top of the oatmeal.

      Notes: I added the required amount of water and let the Mac Patch Mac & Cheese
      sit for 10 minutes. I expected a dry, crunchy pasta dish, but it was actually
      tender and ready to eat in a very short time. This dish was a bit soupy and I
      found that eating it out of the pouch was hard to do without folding the pouch
      down. The instructions tell you to do this, but I liked keeping the pouch
      reseal able for when it goes into the trash sack. So I dumped it into my bowl
      and at it that way instead. I also noticed that the website
      this meal differ from the printed instructions that accompany the meal.

      Rainier Rice
      This was the first entrée that I actually prepared according to the “Pan”
      directions. I emptied eight ounces of water into my pot, poured in the “Pintos
      and Rice with a South American Taste”, mixed both very well, and then brought
      it to a boil. I immediately removed it from the stove and let is stand for
      about ten minutes.

      Portion Size: This meal struck me as a little small for one of my dinners. Even
      with the addition of dehydrated meat, I have my reservations about this serving
      size being enough to keep me full. The Rainier Rice would probably make a
      better hot lunch or breakfast due to its portion size, but it is a bit too
      small for a dinner by itself.

      Taste: The Rainier Rice was bland until I mixed in the crushed red pepper that
      came with the meal. This gave the dish a zing that I like (of course crushed
      red pepper is one of the spices I carry regularly anyway.) and it made added
      just enough extra flavors to make it interesting.

      Energy: I woke up hungry, really hungry. The addition of meat would have made
      this meal go further, but it was just not enough at night. I think it would
      have provided more than enough energy as a lunch dish instead of my last meal
      of the day.

      Notes: This meal was easy to prepare and was not the least bit soupy. I had a
      warm meal in my hands in about 15 minutes. It needed the spice packets that
      came with the meal, but I still enjoyed this dish.

      El Capitan 3 Bean Chili
      This was the only meal that did not come with directions for cooking in the
      pouch, so it needs to be cooked in a pot.

      Portion Size: My initial impression was that this was going to be too small of
      a meal. Once I had the Chili prepared and ready to eat, I realized that this
      was not going to be the case. While it may not be a larger serving size than
      the other meals, it did fill me up. Add in some meat and it might just be a
      little too much for one mea.

      Taste: There are not enough good words to describe the taste of this meal.
      Once the chili mix was stirred into the beans, I had the best tasting meal I
      have tried so far. It was the best tasking meal I have probably ever had on a
      hiking trip in my life. The El Capitan 3 Bean Chili didn
      ahead and added the crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese packets that came
      with the dinner. This really put the taste over the top. While I am eating
      these meals on short weekend trips, I know that this meal would be a huge
      morale booster on longer trips. It tasted damn good. No other way to describe

      Energy: This meal was a great warm dinner and I was happy to wake up ready for
      breakfast, but not starving. It kept me going during the night and gave me a
      good base to build upon for breakfast. My number one requirement for a good
      dinner is the ability to sleep through the night and not wake up starving and
      cold. The El Capitan 3 Bean Chili met this requirement and some.

      Notes: I was worried that the El Capitan 3 Bean Chili was going to too soupy to
      enjoy, but once it soaked, cooked, and had the chili mix added, it became a
      nice, thick meal. The extra spice packets were a nice touch, but not needed to
      help the great taste of this meal. This is an entrée that will probably find
      its way into my pack for a long time. It is just plain good.

      San Juan Stroganoff
      I prepared this meal according to the “pot directions” that are included with
      the meal.

      Portion: This meal made a very good-sized meal. The noodles, mushrooms and
      other vegetables filled me up and convinced my stomach that it didn
      more to eat.

      Taste: Very Beefy. That is probably the best way to describe this entrée. I
      was amazed that the taste was so strong. My complaint is that you really have
      to like beef flavored noodles or you are not going to enjoy this dish.

      Energy: This dish kept me going. It filled me up at dinnertime and I snacked
      the next morning for breakfast rather than eating my oatmeal. This noodle dish
      goes a long way toward keeping you on your feet (or warm an toasty at night).
      It may not give any more energy than other noodle based meals, but it sure
      seemed like it filled me up better.

      Notes: Yet another quick and easy dish. It was rather thick and filling, but
      the beefy goodness was nearly a drawback to me. If you are hungry and want a
      meal that has a good, strong taste, this entrée is the way to go.

      Overall Impressions: The Enertia Trail Foods entrees are a vast improvement
      over any meals that I have carried on the trail. This includes homegrown meals
      and freeze dried meals of all sorts. They were all easy and quick to prepare
      and provided a decent sized meal. Some of the meals were a bit on the small
      side, but this can be easily corrected by adding dehydrated meat of your own.
      Their packaging was minimal, but very useful in the field. The outer packet
      can be discarded, used as a measuring cup or used to prepare meals. I think
      that these meals are very impressive and would make a great addition to any
      hiking pantry.

      What is our aim? Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of
      all terror;
      Victory how ever long and hard the road may be.
      Sir Winston Churchill
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