Typically in the field I generally have two different categories: what I eat near a river and what I eat far from river.
FAR FROM RIVER
When far from river, I usually stick with MREs. For meals away from river, I generally stick to the main meals and maybe squeeze in a pound cake or something or another if I feel like it.
I don’t use the FRH bags (the green bag that heats up with water), so I save even more space by taking the contents out of the brown boxes and writing the contents on them with markers.
CLOSE TO RIVER
Close to river, I can have a little more fun.
If you so feel like it (and you probably will after going on MREs for a while), you can afford to cook yourself a meal with all the water near you (mind that you don’t set up camp BELOW the flood line).
A nice field mess set is good for cooking. There are other alternatives as well, but this is the way I’ve done it so far. A bit old school perhaps. Jetboils are awesome, but I’ve only used them once and it wasn’t mine. If I ever get my hands on one, I might actually do away with my entire mess set. If only they weren’t so expensive…
Your field mess set should have at least one pot for cooking and some way to handle it without getting your hands burned (i.e. appropriate handles). I use the other two pots (one as the container and the other as a lid) to keep and carry what I catch from the river back to camp. I use the onion bag as a net to catch the fish. How this is done will be explained later.
A handy water filter is a must.
A standard canteen will hold enough water for most of your cooking needs.
The MRE cracker or bread (preferably broken up) attract fish near the net. Here I’ve tied it off with a string. It will help keep the bait in the net when you submerge it. Soak it to help it sink. Flatten the net on the bottom with the mouth of the net made as wide in all directions as possible. Make sure the bait is in the middle of this opening. When enough small fish gather, lift, holding onto the outer rings of the net. This helps trap the fish faster as it makes the net form a bag shape. If you lift the bottom of the net with the outer rings at the same time, this shape won’t form, and fish will escape.
Put the fish you caught into a suitable container and don’t forget to put a lid on it.
Repeat process until you’ve got enough fish.
Fish that are about the size of your finger don’t need to be gutted.
I’ve found the best way to give this nasty stuff flavor is to pack some Ramen soup base powder with your kit. The noodles themselves are too space consuming but the soup base powder is about the size of a small pack of sugar. Small price to pay to avoid having your food too disgusting. Also they’re very cheap.
And Don’t Forget…
Spoon, fork, spork, chopsticks…