Look What We Found!

A couple of days before the last (and thankfully successful) Glen Affric trip, the folks from Look What We Foundgot in touch. They make boil-in-the-bag meals, and none of your crap either, the names say “bring the restaurant to the mountain” to me: Home Reared Beef in Black Velvet Porter with Potatoes; Mushroom Stroganoff with hand-picked Scottish Mushrooms. Hardly roughing with that in your pack it is it?
Several time this summer I’ve been caused problems through lack of water, routes changes, camp sites a compromise rather than ideal, and having boil-in-the-bag food would have helped me out quite a lot. It’s something worth thinking about, it means carrying extra gas probably, but it;’s not enough extra weight to be an arse burster. Another thing is variety, if you’re out a lot you really have to swap brands and types of food so you don’t get fed up looking at the same thing all the time, and tucking into real food has to be nothing but good. Naan bread, oatcakes and the like will add a bit of dryness as usual and your cuppa is made with the water that just heated the bag. Magic.
The test samples arrived the day I came back from the trip and I’ve had to resist the temptation to eat some on a daily basis ever since. If I’d spoken to them a few days earlier I might have changed my plans on the hill with some of their gear as I would have had 500ml more water the next morning. Interesting.
Field test imminent.

20 thoughts on “Look What We Found!

  1. Had a few of them now, but never tried them out on the hills, mainly at campsites and even at work ;o)

    they do some pretty tasty stuff, i think the vennison was my fave followed by some firey meatballs.

  2. Lucky you! I’ve tried some of these in the interest of occasionally getting some variety into my outdoor menus, as you suggest. Generally excellent (apart from the rather bland chilli for my taste – though I always carry a little chilli powder & sometimes parmesan). They really must reconsider portion size if they’re serious about the outdoor market. The fact that the flavour is so good is a double-edged sword – it means you’d easily scoff a full portion & be looking for more after a day on the hill! Carrying (& paying for)the two portions needed for a satisfying meal makes them less attractive. I’d be much happier with, say, 50% more for a minimum hill serving, even at extra cost. I agree they’re handy as an occasional fallback if water is an issue but I’m usually looking to heat-in-the bag & then use the carried-in cooking water for my brew, so is there a real benefit? If you cook loose in the pan you still need brew water.
    They do seem to have a genuinely good product – no doubt you’ll appraise them of the issues….

  3. No stick pan for those, boil in a bag took me ages and the stuff can chemically fuse with Titanium. I used them with a Prims Li Tech pan withot issue though :o)

  4. Moggy, I will give in at some point. I keep thinking “Oh, I’ll just have the soup…”. That soup will be better with a sunset though, so it’s still in the cupboard.

    Good points thinkgreysky. I know how much much my grub means to me when I’m out there (or in here!), so I’ll looking for issue-free happiness in a bag for sure.

  5. I tried them myself and they are really nice but they’re pretty impractical for the hill in my experience.

    There isn’t enough in one pack for me and I’m only 10 1/2 stone so you either need to take 2 or take noodles or smash to bulk them up. If you take 2 you need a pretty big pot, one fills a mitymug if you boil in the bag and the ink leeches out of the paper label (virtually impossible to remove) so I’m not keen on using it for a brew. If you take one and some smash you need more water for the smash and more fuel. They’re slow to reheat, 3 minutes in a microwave at full power, which might be ok with a gas stove but with a meths stove you end up carrying extra fuel. You could reheat in the pot but unless you want your brew to taste of beef and porter you’ll need an extra pot or mug to boil water. At 300g odd you could carry 250ml of water for dried meals if you weren’t sure of finding a supply and most dried meals have double the Kcal value. They’ll work if you think they’re worth the effort and for a one-nighter they might be but the problem is that you end up trying to use something in a wild camp that was never intended to be used that way. As has already been mentioned they’d be better if they had 50% more in the pack, that way they’d be a one shot meal (just)

    One other thing to check for is how well they’re welded along the top of the pouch, you can see the weld on the top is different from the weld on the bottom and sides. I had one burst when I was trying to roll it into a 550ml pot and I wasn’t putting much pressure on it, if it had burst in my rucksack it would have been a mess and no dinner.

    I think they’d be fine for car camping with a 2-3 pot cookset and a double burner stove but for lightweight backpacking with something like a Mitymug and a poly mug they’re not all that appealing.

    Just my view anyway.

  6. I got sent some samples to test. Taste fine and cant wait to use them on a wildcamp. Mac said the same things to me and he has some good points. The trade-off is more fuel to cook extra food to bulk them up (and weight) vs real food on the hill and the feel good factor that brings. Feeling good after a long wet days walking sure is good. I will keep a eye out on how you get on with it.

  7. Interesting. I wonder how one pack will do for me when I get to camp? I tend to eat late when I’m out, by which time I’m getting desperate.
    The different varieties I’ve got have different sized chunks of meat an’ that in them that should affect the heating time quite a lot.
    Good points folks, I’ll be watching for all this stuff closely.

    What price a bit of luxury indeed.

  8. I’ve used these for overnighters and 3-day/2-night trips. Yes, I bulk them out with rice or smash. And yes, I use two pans (only one burner, and possibly a pot-cosy). But then I do all that anyway – for me making something of the meal routine is part of the enjoyment of backpacking, I’ve never got into this one-pan, boil in the bag way of eating. I carry pans, plenty of fuel and either a gas, meths or multifuel stove according to the trip. and I make my weight savings elsewhere…

    I agree that slightly bigger portions would be good.

    And we’ve used them less since we got our own dehydrater, b ut I’d still come back to them for something tasty, easy, and unadulterated with E-numbers :))

  9. Just to second (third..) the above. The family and I have used these for over a year when in our car camping palace as we have two burners (my F1 and an old epigas alpine – old habits) and can add potatoes/rice as the portion sizes just aren’t enough. On the hill its Travelunch etc. Like Matt I used to take lots of cooking kit, but realised I much prefered walking until late and then wolfing down something with lots of calories. It’s one of the reasons I never got round to a dehydrater.

  10. They are expensive though for car camping and when you’ve got multi burners and pots, the options for camp food are wider than a few expensive ready meals. The meat balls and beans is good, two bags and I feel sorted.

  11. This is intersting, food as a devisive issue.
    I wonder if it’s a personal rather than performance thing?
    I like my instant dinner and cuppas, so what will I make of the 8-minute boil time?

  12. You’re not wrong there on the first two points.

    As always debate is good though. On my recent and very wet Lyke Wake Walk constant discussion and sampling of our two very different ‘menus’ kept my mate and I just about sane (and refueled) over the 40 miles. As always variety is the key as you say.

    As to the boil time we’ll see, just make sure the pan is big enough ;-)

  13. Just thinking that maybe you could take a wee pot and a ti mug and use the mug for brews.

    Also instead of trying to boil in the bag and make smash or whatever, get a tin of baby potatoes, drain and put them in a zip lock and smash them up a bit, then just empty the spuds and LWWF into the pot and heat them direct. Clean the pot with a bit of moss or grass.

    More weight for sure but for a one nighter meal it might be worth it as they’re tasty.

    Can’t wait to hear how you get on.

  14. These things are yummy, but of course you have to take some carbs along with you to bulk the meal up – smash, couscous, quick-cook rice (though the latter is slightly heavier). The chilli con carne’s very good (add a bit more water if you’re cooking in the pan, the sauce is quite thick), but the meatballs in basil and tomato sauce are really excellent. If I take LWWF, I expect to heat in the pot whilst the couscous is doing its stuff in a bag.

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