Trail Rations




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Trail Rations
Winter Camp Recipes

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The quantity of calories utilized in winter programs is dependent upon many factors: weather, temperature, type of experience, etc. The following ration is designed to be adjusted from between 3,000 to 4,000+ calories per day.

This ration should be used along with between 2&1/2 to 3 quarts of water per day. This amount of liquid can be increased depending upon the amount of work, temperature, etc.



Breakfast should provide moderate energy but fat enough to satisfy.

bullet  Hot Cereals: oat, wheat, rice, corn grits, etc.
bullet  Cake Bar: this category can also include granola bars, etc
bullet  Fruit Mix: a single item like raisins or mixed fruit. Sauce can be added to make a fruit soup.
bullet  Fruit Juice: a pure fruit juice, not simply a fruit-flavored drink as used at lunch and supper. The primary purpose of this juice is to provide liquid, sugar for energy and Vitamin C.
bullet  Hot Drink: can be cocoa but should not be limited to this product alone. Many new market items supply a good hot breakfast drink: teas, eggnog, spiced hot cider, etc. Try Jell-O as a hot liquid drink.


Hot cereals can either be the cooked type or instant. Preparation can be accomplished in many different ways, even to the use of a fireless cooker for overnight cooking. Cereals should be sweetened with honey or brown sugar with refined white sugar being a last choice. Wheat germ can be added to any cereal to increase its nutrient value. The fat for breakfast comes mainly from the butter or margarine added to hot cereal. Corn oil margarine is a good choice for all of your vegetable fat needs.

bullet  Dry fruit mixes: can be eaten as is or made into fruit soup by the addition of the sauce and hot water.
bullet  Cake bars: high in carbohydrate value and supply needed energy in the morning. They can also be broken up and added to the cereal.
bullet  Fruit juice: can be used either hot or cold. If used hot, add mix to hot but not boiling water as boiling destroys the value of the Vitamin C.
bullet  Hot drink: prepare according to instructions, remembering that the hotter the drink is, the more likely your body will sweat to cool itself. Warm to hot is much better than an extremely hot drink.


Lunch should provide high carbohydrate energy and minimum preparation.

bullet  Peanut butter: individual servings work best since they can be carried in a pocket
bullet  Jelly, jam, honey: during the morning. Your body heat will keep them soft & pliable.
bullet   Cheese, meat, hard crackers: a fortified cracker strong enough to be used with spreads.
bullet   Snack item: any type of good trail snack.
bullet   Fruit drink: can be served hot or cold. A hot gelatin mix such as Jell-O work's well. This drink provides high carbohydrate energy. Serving size should be between 12 and 16 ounces.


Lunch items can be eaten during the morning and early afternoon as well as at a specific time. At a midday halt, a hot drink or even soup can be prepared. The retort baked beans and applesauce are excellent as lunch items.



Supper should provide the highest protein of the day & adequate calories to give warmth and tissue repair during the night's rest.

bullet  Hot Dish: should include a starch (rice, noodles or potatoes), a sauce (beef, stew, gravies, etc.), and a meat (chicken, beef or ham) blended into a one-pot dish. Freeze-dried or fresh vegetables can also be added. Other possibilities include:

Freeze-dried dinner

A meal can be prepared at home, spread in a shallow pan & frozen. This can then be broken into small pieces and added-to hot water on the trail. Make the dish with less water when first preparing so that the water can be added on the trail.

bullet  Crackers: can be less "durable" than those eaten at lunch but should still be high in nutritional value.
bullet  Fruit Drink: same as lunch item, serving 8 ounces.
bullet  Hot Drink: same as breakfast, serving one cup.
bullet  Dessert: can be one that requires preparation and cooling such as a pudding or an already prepared item. A hot sauce goes well with either.
bullet  Extras: non-caffeinated teas, sugar or sweetener, milk powder, cream powder, salt. pepper, and your own favorite spices. Butter or margarine, honey, maple sugar, fruit soup mixes, flavored teas, instant hot soup and bouillons, special soups, extra snack items such as fruits and nuts.  Don't forget toilet tissue, paper towels and matches!


Supper is by far the most complicated meal of your winter camping day. At-home preparation will make it a real pleasure. If you plan to make a meal on the trail from "scratch," make certain you have at least practiced it at home on the stove. Most one-pot dishes begin by boiling lightly salted water. To this add your starch (rice, noodles or potatoes) and cook until done.  Only testing and experience will work in this instance. You can now add your sauce mix and after blending, add the freeze-dried or retort meats and vegetables. Remove from heat, cover and allow to stand for about five minutes. Serve.

If you wish to use fresh meats and/or vegetables, you may wish to cook them in the boiling water before adding the starch. Rice is a special case as it can be started in warm water and brought to a boil. Instant rice needs only to be added to boiling water and removed from heat to cook. Some special rice mixes such as Rice-a-Roni must be browned in butter prior to adding water. In some cases, the starch in your evening meal may be mashed potatoes. Simply follow carton directions for preparation, At-home time cannot be stressed strongly enough to insure success on the winter trail.

Many varieties of cooked desserts can be prepared in winter camping. Those calling for cooling in the refrigerator, are especially appropriate for camping below 38 F. Puddings, cheesecake, gelatin desserts, etc. are all good and each can be enhanced by a warm sauce.






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.