First We Had Ramen

The lightweight backcountry meal market is ripe with delicious, healthy, and energy-sustaining backpacking food options.  Hunters and backcountry adventurers have never had it better when eating in remote places. 

Before Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef we had ramen – flavored in original, beef, or chicken.

We need to back up a little though.  Many backcountry hunter’s first experience with a lightweight backpacking meal was the always recognizable, ramen noodles.  Before Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef we had ramen – flavored in original, beef, or chicken.  Now backpacking meal choices seem deliciously endless. Does all this mean ramen is obsolete in today’s backcountry adventures – NO. 

Backcountry Noodle Bricks

Most know ramen noodles as the small square pre-cooked packages on grocery store shelves selling from twenty-five cents to a dollar per packet.  These conveniently packaged dried noodle bricks are made from wheat-flour, veggie oils, and flavoring.

These little bricks are one of the most recognizable food items in the world. PC: Adobe Stock

Most are low on calories, fat, and protein – all needed nutrition for active hunting.  For example, we looked at one package and found

  • Calories: 185
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Total fat: 7 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram

Many of us would be lying if we said ramen does not make it on a hunt anymore.  Ramen noodles will always make it into backcountry backpacks because it is cheap, easy to prepare, cheap, quick, lightweight, cheap, and filling.  Oh, and did we say it’s cheap!

When you are out of higher-end options or don’t have $12-$15 for a meal, don’t be afraid to grab some ramen.  Below are some ways to add nutritional value and increase the tastiness of your backcountry ramen meal.

TURNING RAMEN INTO A BACKCOUNTRY MEAL

  • VEGGIES

Vegetables are filling and super good for you.  Adding dried vegetables to your ramen noodles will help fill you up and increase the nutritional value by giving you the calories, vitamins, and nutrients needed on a rigorous hunt.  Dried veggies are not very expensive either.  We bought a pound of organic mixed veggies on Amazon for $20. You could even dry your own.  Divide them up into small single-serving plastic bags for your backpacking meal and add when boiling your ramen on the mountain. 

Vegetables in the backcountry will give you a needed boost of nutrition. PC: Adobe Stock
  • SAUCES

When gassing your vehicle up, go into the convenient store and snag a few soy sauce, hot sauce, and lime or lemon juice packets.  These little condiment packets will increase the palatability of your ramen and add a little excitement to the predictable ramen flavor.  Gather them for free at the gas station or fast-food restaurants and pack a couple to mix in while cooking.

Add some zest to your ramen with free sauce packets. PC: Huy Fong Sriracha
  • PROTEIN

The best source of protein is always meat.  Shredded and ground beef or venison is pure gold for adding calories and protein to your ramen.  Chicken and turkey work great too.  You can purchase online dried beef, pork, chicken, and turkey or dry it yourself at home.  We like to throw our dried meat in with the dried vegetable baggie until ready to cook. 

Set aside some of your next roast and put it in the dehydrator. PC: Adobe Stock
  • BONE BROTH 

Bone broth is extremely healthy and will add calories, fat, protein, and flavor to your ramen noodles.  Do a quick search and you can find dried bone broth sold in 1-serving packets with all kinds of different flavorings like beef, chicken, vegetable, Thai, curry, and so on.  These packets are super small and easy to pack.  Dump the bone broth powder in while cooking and you’ve just added fat, protein, and calories to your simple meal.    

Bone broth has all kinds of goodness your body needs. PC: LonoLife
  • EAT IN TANDEM

Like your ramen virgin?  Pack other ‘side dishes’ to go with your meal to make up for calories, protein, and other healthy nutrients you’ll need on the mountain and to fill you up.  Nuts, jerky, protein bars, dried fruit, and nut butters are all excellent choices to go with your ramen and extremely good for you. 

Preteen to Backcountry

There you have it. Your childhood staple and the first food you learned to cook as a preteen can still work for you today as a serious hunter. We’re not saying eat ramen for every meal. What we are saying is don’t be so quick to think it can’t be a backcountry meal. Use these tips and mix it in once or twice on a five-day hunt.

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