Enertia Trail Foods Report
- Enertia Trail Food
34 years old
5 feet 11 inches tall
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
What is our aim? Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of
Victory how ever long and hard the road may be.
Sir Winston Churchill