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Worst Camp Meals?

Odyssey - You have no idea how right you are. Those were difficult meals to eat at times. It's what led me to spending lots of time in various grocery store aisles, creating my own meals from far less expensive and more nutritious ingredients.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

I do the same thing Snap, and in fact just last night for dinner me and my missus decided to use up some leftover packets of a Thai peanut sauce. Tear open the foil pouches (4 of them, we were hungry), add coconut milk (made from powder), some udon noodles (more leftover packets) and we had camp dinner in the kitchen at home. Didn't taste as good as it would in camp but it was tasty. And easy. Although I do dehydrate there are so many interesting choices in the International aisle.
At the last minute one year before we embarked on our canoe trip we picked up some lake trout/cranberry brats at a small shop cause at least they sounded interesting. Four couples and everyone agreed they were the worst brats we ever had! Although and I'm guessing there might be one in every crowd, one of the guys ate 2 of them because as he said - we paid for them so I'm gonna eat them. Nobody else took more than 2 bites.
The curse of Kathmandu Curry

Back 10 or 12 years ago I had something called Kathmandu curry freeze dried from mountain house or another company. I never ever eat freeze dried food but this one was given to me by a friend and I had been in the habit of taking it as an emergency meal for the previous couple years in case of bad weather or as the last possible thing to eat in the bottom of the pack. It had become somewhat of a joke among my friends.

This was a backpacking trip, and up to this point we had relatively bad weather every day so I had eaten all my easy to make meals except for this one. On this particular day we had woken up to steady rain and cold temps, and our gear was already damp or outright soaked from the previous days. We hiked all day in the rain that eventually turned to snow and got to camp below tree line late in the afternoon. The wind had picked up, so I was looking for the quickest possible meal so I could dive into the tent and my sleeping bag. Kathmandu curry it is.

At first, the the curry smelled ok, and didnt seem to taste too bad. I wish I had waited a little longer for all those lentils to rehydrate, or did I not add enough water? Who cares, I'll just drink lots of water tonight. I was eager to dump this stuff into my stomach and go to bed, which I did in short order as the rain and wind cranked up a notch.

I slept like a bear for a couple hours, but woke up suddenly with a pain in my gut and knew I needed to be out of the tent NOW! Where's my headlamp, TP? Where's the dang zipper pull! In that situation I didn't care that it was pouring rain. After taking care of business, I returned to the tent shell shocked and soaked, but relieved. That didn't last long. I was back outside 10 minutes later. The scene repeated a few more times before I felt it was safe to zip myself into my sleeping bag for the night.

Kathmandu Curry never again.

I got together with some of my wife's family members for their first time trip to the 9 carries. My wife's aunt prepared all the meals and most where fine but one night we had warmed up spam with white rice. It was awful, worst meal I ever had.

Later I learned one of finer recopies for spam from my friend Memaquay, well, just fry it in butter, not bad.
A few years back a last minute decision to go out for a few days and had nothing dehydrated in advance. As it was mid summer fresh food was out of the question. So on my way up North I detoured by Costco and bought some protein bars as well as Cliff Bars. Had this 3 meals x 3 days. Lucky thing I was alone cause the tent smelled awful.
Having a good chuckle reading these.

I don't have anything nearly as humourous, but my wife and I had an oops-moment during our first trip together into Algonquin. We stopped in Barry's Bay and bought a couple of steaks, a bag of ice, and a newspaper. We jammed the steaks (wrapped) into the bag of ice and at the Rock Lake access point we repacked the now properly chilled meat into the newspaper. After starting late and fighting strong headwinds, we arrived, exhausted, to our site on Pen (the nice, mid-lake, beach site). I got a fire going while we set up our tent. Ready to eat, I took out the steaks and that's when it became apparent that I had packed sugar instead of salt. Not wanting to eat unseasoned meat, I improvised. What is saltier than chicken Cup-A-Soup? I carefully separated the noodles from the seasoning and sprinkled it over our steaks. It worked, but once cooked the steaks were a very distinct, almost radioactive green. Didn't care - ate and went to bed by 7:30.

Not camping, per se, but up at my family's remote cabin with my dad and a several of my friends, there was a breakfast incident. My friends and I had a few too many celebratory "arrival" drinks the night before. We were nursing severe hangovers on the front porch when my father decided to make himself some "eggs in purgatory" - eggs poached in tomato sauce. He likes them close to raw - albumen slightly opaque. The sound of him slurping up his breaky was enough to send us all to the bushes. Nasty.
A number of years ago a friend and I were on the last night of a week in the northern adirondacks. We had spent an extra couple of days (neither of us had kids then!). No issue, as I always pack a couple of emergency freeze dried meals. We were down to the last meal, the one and only time either of us has/had eaten Kung Pau Chicken (Backpackers Pantry if I remember correctly). Saying that it tore us up would be an understatement. To this day neither one of us can bring ourselves to eat the dish in any form.
Worst? Anybody remember the Siedel (sp?) packets?:eek::eek::(
Oh heck yeah! In the 60’s before freeze dried meals became available my Boy Scout troop carried these both hiking and canoe tripping. My favorite was Veg-a-Rice, although they all tasted pretty much the same. We also had (freeze)? dried sausage patties in a can. When you opened the can there was a sucking sound, so i guess they were vacuum sealed. You simply poured boiling water into the can, to the top, and the two patties re-hydrated and were hot. Eat them too soon and they were a bit dry. Not bad tasting though! I don’t recall who made them… maybe Armour meats??

With the advent of Mountain House freeze dried meals, my usual dinner routine is a first course of Knorr (or the like) dried soup, followed by a freeze dried entree. Heating the water for the entree in the empty soup pot effectively cleans the pot, and of course the freeze dried entree needs no cleanup if eaten from the bag. These, https://www.hyperlitemountaingear.c...MIur6m9OLe8gIVBkWGCh0GLQfCEAQYAyABEgIqjPD_BwE, make a great item to keep your freeze dried entree hot while re-hydrating. You can DIY also with Reflectix foil.
It seems that most people eat well on their canoe trips. Otherwise this thread would be longer.

Usually I eat well on trips but there's this one memorable meal.

It happened on the Albany River in Ontario. We were running low on food and there were still 3 - 5 days to paddle until the resupply. Since 3 days we had to cut the rations. Angling was bad that day the fish didn't bite.

At least we found a nice place to camp on a rocky outcrop with a little sandy spot, excellent to have a dip in the river. It was cold and started to drizzle when we decided to have a feast for dinner. On the menue was onion soup, spam (fried in lard) with tomato sauce and spaghetti. No dessert because cookies and chockolate were long gone.

Our last can of spam and our last ration of pasta found their way to the kitchen area.

During the cooking process an argument about camp chores started. No wonder, five young men with empty stomachs, the spirits were very low.
One person, let's call him Fritz, became the focus of the debate. He was accused of contributing too little and devoting himself only to photography and fishing.
In the meantime, the spaghetti were long done. The sauce, too, had been simmering on the fire for a long time.

To prove that he wasn't lazy, Fritz took the pot with the spaghetti. He went to the sandy place to pour it off. Yes, you can guess what is coming next.

The entire content of the pot ended up in the sand. Swear words were shouted and all got angry but Fritz survived the mishap.

We didn't want to throw away our last spaghetti and decided to rinse them well. With little success. The sauce was fried in the frying pan along with the spaghetti. The taste was okay but you don’t want to chew "breaded" spaghetti too much.
I won’t say their name but there’s a small Midwest freeze dried food co. that has a mushroom stroganoff, it looks and sounds very appetizing. I remember being extremely hungry and excited for this meal during a cold day on a remote beach location. Once it was done, I scooped in the bag and took a large bite and made that face…. Sticky salt noodles! It was like we got the batch of stroganoff where the cap fell off the seasoning and they just shrugged their shoulders and shopped it off. Nothing we did made it better, it was like chomping into a bag of salt. I’m hesitate to eat anything from them again
This is an interesting question. “Worst meal” depends a lot on personal preference. Kathleen and I started out together as backpackers. We bought a couple of freeze- dried meals, and they were horrid. Never bought them again. When we became wilderness canoeists, on 3-6 week trips, Kathleen dehydrated all our meals. Obviously she never dehydrated anything we didn’t truly like.

A few years ago, we went on a three-day two- night trip with some casual acquaintances on the Red Deer River in east-central Saskatchewan. We didn’t know them well, but wanted to go paddling. I wouldn’t consider this a wilderness canoetripping adventure. More like a weekend outing. Anyway, on the second night, those responsible for the evening meal, grilled up some steaks. I really don’t like steak. I never order it in restaurants. Particularly if it’s marbled. I hate fat. When no one was looking, I chucked my steak into the river, and watched with satisfaction as it floated away in the current. Grilled steak. Worst camp meal I ever had.
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It was the early 1990s. I was a mountaineering guide, and we were camped below a peak we planned to summit the next day. At dinner that night, the other guide and I cooked calzones, and we stashed too away for the morning. The alarm went off at some ungodly hour. It was cold, and the sky was clear enough that the light from the Milky Way cast shadows on the glacier. Mechanically, I fired up the stove for coffee. My fellow guide dug out the calzones from the night before. We ate in silence.

Later that day, three-quarters of the way up the mountain and having just made the decision to turn back due to avalanche danger, the other guide and I sat on a rock on the edge of the glacier, watching the clients come in roped off the ice. "Do you have a weird taste in your mouth?" he asked.

"Sure do," I responded and took a drink of water. The clients all reached the relative safety of the rock, and we started back to camp.

Back in camp and starving, I started rummaging through the food bags, where I found...two calzones. I took them out puzzled and held them up. "Didn't we eat these this morning?" I asked.

I dug a little deeper and found that the two blocks of butter were gone.

That was the worst meal I ever had in the backcountry.
A few years back we did our 1st trip to Algonquin PP. Everyone was responsible for one group supper.

Before we left I asked my daughter what she and her boyfriend were cooking.

"Fish Pasta"

Sounds good just make sure you have a backup and don't go into the meal having to catch a fish that day. If he catches a fish during the week we'll move you up.


She didn't have a plan 'B', they spent the afternoon desperately trying to catch a fish. We ended up with Pesto, Oil, and Garlic on noodles.
They retired to their tent and we broke out the cheese, crackers, pepperoni, and any other goodies we had left.
A few years back we did our 1st trip to Algonquin PP. Everyone was responsible for one group supper.

Before we left I asked my daughter what she and her boyfriend were cooking.

"Fish Pasta"

Sounds good just make sure you have a backup and don't go into the meal having to catch a fish that day. If he catches a fish during the week we'll move you up.


She didn't have a plan 'B', they spent the afternoon desperately trying to catch a fish. We ended up with Pesto, Oil, and Garlic on noodles.
They retired to their tent and we broke out the cheese, crackers, pepperoni, and any other goodies we had left.
What's wrong with "Pesto, Oil and Garlic on noodles"? Maybe it would have been better with fish, but pesto (which has oil and garlic) on pasta is meal we cook at home and enjoy!
When I first started going on 14 days trips with our school club, over 30 years ago,I soon came to realize that our leader was trying to starve us to death, among other things. On one trip, I figured out that our daily rations were about 600 calories. Needless to say, we were very hungry.In 1996, I lost 30 pounds in 14 days. We had one meal that consisted of freeze dried baked beans, mixed in with instant potatoes. The kids detested it, and referred to it as "crap in a bag". Needless to say, I looked forward to crap in a Bag night, as I could eat to my fill. However, little did I know that crap in a Bag didn't describe the look of the food in the freeze dried bag, but the results later in the night, with the crap not being metaphorical, and the bag being the one you slept in.