/ NEW REVIEW: Travellunch Sampled by Alicia
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1959
what are the weights of the packs (including packaging ?)
useful info if talking about lightweight kit!
Full product list here with weights: http://www.rosker.com/cgi-bin/range/range.pl?Travel%20Lunch
I think they are usually around 125g
thanks Mick but its a review and i'd like to know what they weigh on the reviewers scales - bit late now for this one :-)
We have several Travellunch reviews coming up. So no not too late at all.
I have some, want me to weigh them?
if they are the ones listed yep - occasionally
try these odd things out, and realise there are more reviews coming
up (a full menu of choices!)
Just grabbed the Pasta and the Chocolate Mousse from stock and I can tell you that on our scales they weigh in at 148g ad 122g respectively. Unfortunately we don't stock the scrambled egg so I can't help on that one.
cheers for that ... 148g for 500 kcal is pretty good for 'proper food'
"Travellunch is made in Augsburg, southern Germany. It is good food that is freeze-dried to retain more flavour and nutritional values than simple dehydrated food"
Good food eh? Every single 'main course' meal that I've checked contains hydrogenated vegetable oil. This really is filthy stuff and has been banned in Denmark and Switzerland. Give me Expedition Foods' freeze dried stuff any day.
Shhhh, Mick will have you booted for crazy talk like that undermining the advertorial text in a 'user review'. Honestly, who would want to know anything about the nutritional value and quality of food rations?
They are so good my mate recently found after a long days cragging in the alps that the beef and potato hotpot variety was almost entirely inedible. His gag reflex kicked in after the second spoonful and chose instead to go hungry for the night. £5 well spent... I think not.
Personally I'll be investing my money in a dehydrator and making my own dried meals from now on.
all the Travellunch main courses (and I'm pretty certain I've had them all) look, smell and taste like cats' vomit. If you really think they are gastronomically pleasing then please don't write any restaurant reviews or invite anyone to dinner! I regularly use them on mountain marathons because they are very light, indestrucible and need no cooking pan (these surely being the only selling points) and can just about be forced down with some decent chile sauce. The puds are sweet and sticky and palatable. I know such things are in the mouth of the beholder but really how anyone can suggest those meals are in any way aesthetically pleasing defies me completely
totally mystified but will be eating cats' vomit again on the OMM this year
Agreed almost entirely. Except that, unlike you, I'll not be using them again.
A generally positive review of these meals from somebody who appears to be at home and not too far away from the kitchen cupboard does not do UKC much credit. If these meals get a positive review in this setting then what does it take to give a negative review ??? This only serves to undermine the credibility & value of all UKC gear reviews. IMHO.
Err. (a) It's for eating out on the hills; if you're expecting a Michelin star, you're not cut out for outdoor activities, (b) the meals are salty, which is my primary 'must have' for this sort of thing, ergo it gets a thumbs up, and (c) I am at home in the photo (and no, I wouldn't have taken a photo if I hadn't been asked to send one in!) because I don't own a stove and I'm certainly not about to go buy a stove so that I can take it out into the hills and provide you with a more authentic-looking photo.
If you are going to review mountain food that should be eaten under conditions of physical excertion, it would be a good idea to do the test under the same conditions. cooking it up in your kitchen after you've been at work all day isn't a fair test. Noones expecting a Michelin star, and the overly salted nature of it just makes me think they are salting it to disguise the lack of flavour. You say that if you had been running all day you would consider this a plus. I HAD bveen running all day and it was a negative.
I have now started to make my own ready cook meals as pretty much anything I have bought in the ready meals market is a waste of money. the extra effort involved is well worth it, and no hydrogenated veg oil.
Are you really that concerned about hydrogenated vegetable oil after you've been out running and burning calories/maybe even some fat all day? I personally don't think it's a big deal at all and it wouldn't affect my decision to buy or not buy the product.
Lack of flavour--I have to admit I'm not particularly concerned about flavour when I'm out running or climbing, I'm more concerned about nutrients! I do think that the Travellunch meals taste a lot better than my staple climbing trip foods, though. Re you not wanting to eat them, (a) loss of appetite is common when you've been running for a long time and (b) you might simply need to tweak what you're eating during your runs to find the right thing. The fact that you didn't want to eat it doesn't automatically mean that there's something wrong with the product. I tried porridge in my first ultra because someone told me it was a great idea but it really didn't work for me!
You clearly haven't ever had a problem with finding yourself too low on salt during an activity; I have and certainly have no desire to repeat the experience. I also find that the saltier the food I eat during long runs/ultras, the more appealing it is to me. At the beginning of my last ultra, I was suffering from either a bad cold or the flu and could barely keep any food down; the one thing that I still had some desire to eat was a very salty bit of cheese.
So you think all ready meals are a waste of money? i.e. *no* ready meal reviewed on this site should get a positive review? That seems like a difficult standard to meet...
For any that are not aware of the health risks surrounding trans-fats / hydrogenated veg oils then this article in the Independent gives a reasonable picture:
Alicia: If you're as blase as you sound about the risks of trans-fats to your own health well that's fine. But I 100% agree with others who've suggested that you SHOULD have highlighted the fact that they contain trans-fats in the review. Perhaps you were not aware yourself....?
For the review to have had any credibiility it should have been done in the context in which it is likely to be used ie in the field & after a long endurance event / alpine climb. Nobody is going to take seriously a review of tent put up in somebody's back garden on a sunny summer's day if the tent is meant for high altitude use. And how about some more details re. fat, carb content, salt content, weight etc ?
These are the health risks surrounding a diet consistently high in trans-fats. Eating a recipe containing trans-fats very occasionally as hill-food is not the same as having it regularly in terms of health risks. If I have a takeaway once a month as part of a healthy balanced diet, I wouldn't expect my overall risk of heart disease to be higher. The key things with hill food is that it is portable, easily-prepared, palatable and energy-dense.
Having said that, you'd expect that the manufacturer of any product aimed partly at the mountain marathon crowd to know that trans-fats are likely to be a turn-off among athletes who are far more conscious about what's going into their bodies. It's a marketing issue rather than strictly a health one, though.
Though judging by some of the replies, there is some debate over whether this product meets some of the other criteria!
> Though judging by some of the replies, there is some debate over whether this product meets some of the other criteria!
Indeed! You'd need two or three of them each for a mountain marathon meal, and even as a snack there are better options.
> Err. (a) It's for eating out on the hills; if you're expecting a Michelin star, you're not cut out for outdoor activities,
(c) I am at home in the photo (and no, I wouldn't have taken a photo if I hadn't been asked to send one in!) because I don't own a stove and I'm certainly not about to go buy a stove so that I can take it out into the hills and provide you with a more authentic-looking photo.
Sorry to snipe; but you've got to love the irony!
Several more Travellunch reviews up soon.
Good discussion. Thanks.
So you'd take 2 or 3 of them. Or mix and match with other things - most products give around 500 calories or less per packet. (I take a pot noodle - about 450 calories - and a packet of couscous-based stuff, about 400).
Or is there anything on the market that gives you all the calories you need in a packet the size and weight of one of these? If there is, then I'll place a bulk order!
EF taste good (i.e. you can finish the meal without gagging), though some meals are very sweet, EOF are supposed to be very good tasting, but i couldn't get any 'cause they were out of stock of the 800's last time i checked, so cannot certify about the taste, but they've been widely recommended.
Mountain House's meal have 'only' between 500 and 800 kcal, though a couple of their 'flavours' go up to as high as 1000kcal. They are a bit heavier as well, but God they taste good! So much so that i carry some of them willing to trade the calorie downfall for the pleasure of eating them. They've just started producing and distributing in Europe, as they were unavailable before.
Interesting. How do the weights compare?
> So you'd take 2 or 3 of them. Or mix and match with other things - most products give around 500 calories or less per packet. (I take a pot noodle - about 450 calories - and a packet of couscous-based stuff, about 400).
You're right that most individual packets aren't big enough, so I don't take any of them...
Take a freezer bag full of cous cous and soup mix, and a smoked sausage or couple of pepperamis. Though next time I might try going for something heavier but tastier...
> So you'd take 2 or 3 of them. Or mix and match with other things - most products give around 500 calories or less per packet. (I take a pot noodle - about 450 calories - and a packet of couscous-based stuff, about 400).
> Or is there anything on the market that gives you all the calories you need in a packet the size and weight of one of these? If there is, then I'll place a bulk order!
You defo need more than one - my standard for a MM evening meal is 2 TL main courses suitably doctored with szechuan chillie pickle sachets from the chinese supermarket and one (occasionally known to be 2) TL pud plus chocolate over the evening
I wouldn't dream of touching the TL keech on climbing trips etc where I'm willing to pay a (small) weight penalty and eat actual food eg pasta with pre mixed garlic/oil/chile
PS - did chuckle to find out I'm not cut out for outdoor activities - could have saved a lot of pai, fear and heartache if I'd worked that out say 35 years ago ;-)
Chicken Korma with Rice: 523kcal/134g = 3.91kcal/g
Pasta with Lasagne Sauce: 709kcal/141g = 5.03kcal/g
Spaghetti Bolognaise: 791kcal/166g =4.77kcal/g
Rice pudding with Strawberries: 431kcal/120g = 3.6kcal/g
Chicken Korma with Rice: 493kcal/146g = 3.38kcal/g
Pasta Bella Italia in a cheese sauce: 531kcal/150g = 3.54kcal/g
Meatballs & mash: 584kcal/142g = 4.12kcal/g
Beef & Potato Hotpot: 561kcal/144g = 3.9kcal/g
Rice Pudding with apples & Cinnamon: 390kcal/124g = 3.15kcal/g
So actually the two work out pretty similar in terms of energy to weight (scran for your gram?). Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Mountain House meals in my experience is that they're a fair bit bulkier to carry. I'd agree that they're a bit tastier than the Travellunches though. I'm afraid I've not tried the others you list so I can't comment. If there're any other flavours you'd like weighing then let me know and I'll put up the details.
To compare with Sam's info above,
Super Noodles: 262kcal per half pack serving (50g) = 5.24kcal/g
Info from http://www.supernoodles.com/files/nutritional_information.html
This is dry weight kcal/g which is what I'm assuming Sam has done above.
Super Noodles on kcal alone are hard to beat!
> Super Noodles: 262kcal per half pack serving (50g) = 5.24kcal/g
I wonder how they manage that with such a small sachet of flavouring - dry noodles (other brands), pasta, rice and cous cous all come in at about 3.4 - 3.6 kcal/g, so they really are in a different league. Weird.
I've never found anything that beats them for that price.
The most common MM overnight meal must be super noodles with pepperami!
cos they have loads of palm/veg oil used in making them!
Pot noodle = 4.27 kcal/g, cost = 88p
Sainsburys couscous = 3.75 kcal/g, cost = 55p
Now I remember why I don't bother with Travellunch and their ilk!
> Good discussion. Thanks.
Mick, can't you rework all the 'reviews' into a proper review by someone who knows about these products, and the alternatives, and can do a proper job on it, but also including the comments of your samplers.
The gear reviews on UKC are usually very informative as they are done by climbers with detailed relevent knowledge, and the discussions they spark are equally informative. I looked at this review when it went online (as I had put my name down to get a free sample!) and didn't think it said much of value. It wasn't even carried out in the normal environment of such food, which does make a huge difference, as the quality and experience of food prepared and eaten in a kitchen at home is completely different to that when translated to a freezing belay stuck up a mountain with a full day ahead of you.
The fact that there is a good and informative discussion after the event doesn't unfortunately make it a good review.
PS looking forward to the Ridges book prize! Hope you haven't forgotten
>So actually the two work out pretty similar in terms of energy to weight (scran for your gram?). Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Mountain House meals in my experience is that they're a fair bit bulkier to carry.
I'm aware of that, hence i wrote: "Mountain House's meal have 'only' between 500 and 800 kcal, though a couple of their 'flavours' go up to as high as 1000kcal. They are a bit heavier as well"
The point being that they are very good tasting and eating is a joy, as opposed to Travelunch which are uneatable.
http://www.extremeoutdoorfood.co.uk/ (Not showing the 800kcal for some reason, but i'm sure i've seen them somewhere. You can call Charlie Porter on the number there, he's a genuine guy who has no problems talking about your necessities and surprisingly enough will recommend you other brands if they suit you better, as in my case, they were out of 800kcal)
http://www.expeditionfoods.com/ingredients.php All info there, scroll down for single meals. Again nice people who replied very quick to my e-mails and arranged for very fast shipping. (Ordered in the morning and delivered the next morning)
http://www.mountainhouse.com/ This is the US site where you can get all the info. They are sold here on http://store.securehosting.com/stores/sh207066/shophome.php?itemlist.php?clashist=-1,5&findclas=... not only as pouches, but also in big tins and separate ingredients to make your own meals.
Note that MH have the pouches as 2 servings, so double up the calorific values and eat a full pouch.
> (c) I am at home in the photo (and no, I wouldn't have taken a photo if I hadn't been asked to send one in!) because I don't own a stove and I'm certainly not about to go buy a stove so that I can take it out into the hills and provide you with a more authentic-looking photo.
> Sorry to snipe; but you've got to love the irony!
Sorry, I've been away climbing and missed the rest of this discussion, but this post made me laugh enough that I had to reply. Do you want to know why I don't own a stove? Because my regular climbing partner and I consider it a bit soft to bother with hot food when out in the hills!
Does that also help at all towards understanding why I'm finding the replies complaining about the taste not being good enough a bit, well, amusing?
To the people saying the meals aren't enough food for a full meal--you *may* want to read the review, in which I mention this issue.
To the people worried about trans fats: if you eat a healthy diet on a regular basis when at home (and as outdoorsy people I'm going to assume that you do) then I'd have to say that the least of your long term health concerns is a bit of trans fat in something you eat on a climbing trip.
To Aiden(?)--I'm surprised that with all your running experience you chose to try out a new food in the middle of a race! I've done that before when I was new to long distance running but quickly learnt my lesson...
Unfortunately none of the organisers of the 20 or so mountain marathons I've run in will allow me to run without a stove; exactly the sort of conditions this food is intended for. You may consider it soft and in that context, though I will disagree about the need, then it may not be ironic.
Maybe it would have been fairer to say to whom ever provided you with the food to test that you weren't going to test them "in condition". I'd expect someone giving a review of say, ice axes, to have swung them into some ice... unless they found winter a bit too cold and weren't about to go through the palaver of getting chilly!
I'm not sure how you get "may not be"; it isn't, as you got completely the wrong end of the stick there! But anyway...
I can see how certain races require stoves (I'm going to have to buy one when I do a winter ultra in which the only way to get water along the course is to melt snow) but it seems a bit overkill (and yes, soft) to require them for a mountain marathon!
If you were to read the review, you'd see that I go through the issues that one would face in using the product outdoors, such as breakability of the pouch, weight etc. The only thing NOT covered by testing them indoors is the taste, and that's more likely to result in a negative review since you're not eating them when you're cold and hungry.
How many MM's have you done out of interest?
None, I'm not interested in stage races! Most of the big ultras (the UTMB excepted) don't count stage races as qualifying events anyway (why do you think that is...?) so I don't see mountain marathons as particularly worthwhile at the moment. If your thing is stage races, I'm sure the mountain marathons good, but I find continuous ultras more enticing as a challenge.
That'll be the ultras that have those cold food stations you're fond of? :-)
I can't think of any hot food in a race other than the mont blanc races' noodle soup... it's always bits of sandwiches, energy bars and fruit etc. I survived 200 miles without any hot food so it can't be too necessary!
Well we could chew the (trans)-fat all night about the difference between ultras and MM's (the terrain for one) but...
...it'd be better to just go training! Agreed.
Travellunch is welcome to send me more free samples so that I can test this out...
I wonder how it would compare weight and value with some egg noodles a chicken stock cube and some dried porcini mushrooms and some ginger garlic and corriander a little slice chillie tow arm it up.
I don't know but I'm hungry and that sounds good!
Another question... which winter ultra are you doing?
This is turning into one of those terrible, formulaic RomComs - where you start of hating the sight of each other and communicating only by snide and sarcastic criticisms, and after discovering a joint love of punishing yourselves in unnecessarily long races, end up happily ultra-marathoning off into the sunset together. Innit sweet? ;-)
Or not... and no, this "lady" isn't protesting too much.
I was actually discussing this thread with my climbing partner last night - she is Californian so used to be very in to not eating any of the stuff discussed above. But then she moved to Finland. I met her last night at a McDs where she had just grabbed a big mac meal. The thread came up when she said she had been planning to take the carrot option rather than the fries, but somehow couldn't do it when she got to the front of the line. "That would be the MSG..." I suggested, demonstrating my extensive new knowledge gleaned from reading UKC whilst I should have been working. :-)
> This is turning into one of those terrible, formulaic RomComs - where you start of hating the sight of each other and communicating only by snide and sarcastic criticisms, and after discovering a joint love of punishing yourselves in unnecessarily long races, end up happily ultra-marathoning off into the sunset together. Innit sweet? ;-)
Errr, thanks, or something, Toby:)
brt--it's the Arrowhead Ultra (UKC won't let me post a link, but google) in the running category (you can either bike, ski or run). I'm also tempted by Susitna but it's in Alaska and would be a bit of a trek to get to!
We'll get Jennifer Anniston to play you as she seems to specialize in crap formulaic RomComs these days. :-)
You are going to run somewhere where you could ski? That really does sound like totally unnecessary masochism. Do you get to wear snow shoes?
I know, skiing would be so much more reasonable! But I want to eventually use the race to qualify for Badwater, and the only way you can do that is if you completed it in the running category. I'm moving back to Minnesota though so I'll get in plenty of skiing this winter:)
I don't *think* there's a rule against snow shoes, but nobody wears them; I think the standard footwear is normal running shoes. I might be supplementing mine with neoprene overshoes though because I'm scared of frostbite!
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