I’ve never been a big fan of instant, just-add-boiling-water food. Even as a student I didn’t care much for instant noodles, no matter how ‘super’ they were. I just appreciate fresh, proper grub too much. That said when it comes to fuelling yourself during an adventure or expedition there needs to be some level of compromise. Whether you’re carrying stuff on your back or on your bike, you don’t want to be carrying more weight than necessary, so often those ‘add water’ meals will be the go-to option. But if you’re not staying near a source of water, you’ll be carrying the excess weight anyway. And as we know, water will always be the heaviest thing you’ll carry.
Having what feels like a proper meal at the end of a day when you might just been eating trail snacks and consuming gels all day is also a great fillip and motivation. Since our sub-zero microadventure in February I’ve been using ready meal pouches from British company Look what we found!. Not taken by any of the more instant options in my local supermarket, I came across their offerings in the tinned veg isle and bought one of each flavour – a chilli con carne, a Thai red chicken curry and a beef meatballs. I’ve been very impressed, so much so that the Thai chicken has been a firm favourite on almost all our subsequent trips.
The company state that all ingredients are 100% natural – by that they use everything you’d find in your cupboard at home with no artificial flavourings or sweeteners thrown in. Some of their meals are gluten free and they are also supporting British farmers and suppliers which is no bad thing. Pouches are 250g in weight and can easily be slipped inside a rucksack pocket or frame bag. In fact I can fold two into my MSR stowaway pot which is a very handy use of that void. What I also like is that the packaging, whilst not recyclable, is robust meaning you can be confident you won’t find the contents all over your spare clothes at the end of a long day on the trails.
I took advantage of a £1 a pouch offer in my local supermarket a few months ago, but their stock is also available to order online and their range is extensive and varied with RRP in the region of £1.70 to £2.50 per pouch. With the likes of the curries and chillies, they go perfectly well with rice to make a more substantial and balanced meal and I typically carry a microwaveable sleeve of rice to add to the meal (somewhat ironic I know). The contents takes just a few minutes to heat through (though they can be eaten cold) and you aren’t using precious water in the process or having to carry extra for the purposes of cooking.
Although these aren’t expressly aimed at the adventuring type it’s a product that should appeal. All things considered, I can’t fault what Look what we found! have created. Wholesome, warming, hassle free grub in a bag that is just the ticket after a long day in the saddle.