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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m starting to figure out our food pack for a March GC trip. I’ve settled on PRO. My plan is for mostly quick easy breakfasts and lunches, and stellar dinners with a few big solid breakfasts for layover days.

Would love to hear input on those that have used PRO and have advice on best meals, ones to avoid, and any other advice.

For those that have used any food pack service, what advice would you have, looking back to help iron out a solid menu?

We’re also using all of our own group gear (kitchen) and wondering if there are things, like coffee, that are best to keep out of the food pack and do on your own.

Thanks for your help and advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We don’t like to stop for lunch so we asked for lunches we could pass out during breakfast so boat crews can eat whenever they wanted to. We prefer to get to camp earlier and explore instead of spending an hour or more trying to make lunch.
I’m right with you on this one. Did you find the lunches they packed to work for your crew? Was there enough variety?
 

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I’m right with you on this one. Did you find the lunches they packed to work for your crew? Was there enough variety?
Most of the painless private, and PRO for sure, rely largely on Deli Sandwhiches for lunches. Don't get me wrong, I like a good sandwhich as much as the next guy, but 16-25 days of mostly cold cuts gets pretty monotonous. Perhaps ask them if they have other options to vary things up a bit.

For dinners, figure out how much prep you want to do and adjust from there. I've been on trips that used Ceiba a few times and PRO once. PRO seemed a bit more basic but also felt like there was a lot more prep involved in the form of veggie chopping and such.

My last trip was fully DIY foodpack and I think we did a pretty good job. The TL and I made sure we varied the meals a bunch but also focused on less prep on the river and more at home. I also felt like we had MUCH less food waste on that trip then we did with either Ceiba or PRO's pack. We had a few "garbage disposal" types on the trip that would do 3rd's and 4th's. We also focused on minimizing trash to carry out. Not 100% succesful, but still pretty good. Lots of vacuum bagging and such.

The folks I went on the PRO trip with used them again this year for their trip but asked them to focus more on less prep heavy meals and ones that were quick and easy to prepare. As far as I know...they were happy with that choice. There is definitely something to be said for not having to work hard in the kitchen after a long day of boating and side activities.
 

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I’m right with you on this one. Did you find the lunches they packed to work for your crew? Was there enough variety?
We actually goofed and picked normal lunches. Spent the first few days pulling over and trying to make lunch. After that we started making the lunch food at breakfast. It worked out ok and gave a good variety. I can’t help with PRO’s food because we did moenkopi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ask them if they can provide some pre-cooked, vacuum sealed dinner entrees. All you do is put them in boiled water for a short time (and now you've heated the dish wash water) and prepare the side dish. Then get more. It's worth the cost. Especially the ribs and brisket meals.
Good to hear the brisket and ribs are good. Any other ones you liked? Anything you didn’t like?
 

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Pro's " Dream Sauce" for pasta is very good. Pro was doing gourmet coffee from Capricorn Coffees' in the Bay area. It was very good ! Pro's packing system a few years back was not good. We assigned a kitchen bitch to round up all the goodies for each evening meal.She was removed from all other duties. Protein entree's were very good. Lunch drill was a PITA. Do sandwiches in AM as suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pro's " Dream Sauce" for pasta is very good. Pro was doing gourmet coffee from Capricorn Coffees' in the Bay area. It was very good ! Pro's packing system a few years back was not good. We assigned a kitchen bitch to round up all the goodies for each evening meal.She was removed from all other duties. Protein entree's were very good. Lunch drill was a PITA. Do sandwiches in AM as suggested.
That’s good info. How would you order things differently if you did it again? It sounds like they have a few ways to pack and make shopping easier, though at a higher cost, which I’m fine with paying, if it makes life easier.
 

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I would talk to the fine folks at PRO. After all they do this for a living and have been at it a long time. They’ll do whatever you want within reason. Just don’t change your food pack every week and try to reinvent the wheel. The food pack is up to the trip leader- most people that complain about the food weren’t offered the opportunity for input before the trip or didn’t bother to if asked. Have a great trip!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would talk to the fine folks at PRO. After all they do this for a living and have been at it a long time. They’ll do whatever you want within reason. Just don’t change your food pack every week and try to reinvent the wheel. The food pack is up to the trip leader- most people that complain about the food weren’t offered the opportunity for input before the trip or didn’t bother to if asked. Have a great trip!
Way ahead of you. Already have my deposit in. They are awesome. I’m just looking for some input from customers with experience.
 

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We used pro, by and large excellent. There food organization is outstanding (go for the more expensive option.) A few suggestions: Stay away from the jambalaya and pork chops. (Summer sausage in jambalaya?) The quantities are very generous, if you have 16, order food for 14. We only did four hot breakfasts in 16 days which worked well. (The bacon was great, though!) The electric water pump is fantastic.
 

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I'll echo the above. They dont want people complaining there isn't enough food, so they pack heavy. People eat more food in March than July for sure but unless you have a bunch of real big eaters you can dial down to a 14 person food pack for a trip of 16 for sure.

PRO does a great job overall. No matter who you use, a food pack always means more work finding the food than if you've brought your own and know right where everything is. Spend the time up front and build your boat maps of where stuff is and learn it.
 

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Spend the extra $ and do the custom food pack no matter which outfitter you use.

My last trip in February trip we used Cebia and were able to pick and choose which meals we wanted. I have worked with them several times and we have never had a problem even with accommodations for food allergies.

We did mostly boil bag dinners entrees; I think we had 14 with 4 grill meals thrown in and quick and easy no cooler meals for the last few days on a 23-day trip. Grilled cheese and tomato soup and quesadillas with canned chicken, etc. I think they all use Artisan Kitchens in Flagstaff for the boil bag meals, and we doubled down on the ribs and brisket. Wasn't a fan of the lasagna, or the Mexican meals, the oriental offerings were good. You can view the Artisan Kitchen menu online.

Ask for instant mashed potatoes instead of a bag of regular potatoes. Most outfitters will accommodate anything for an upcharge, spend the money to get what you want. I don't use their snack box and have everyone bring their favorites but remind them to keep them on a hard sided container like Tupperware or lose them to the ravens and rodents.

We do a mix of easy breakfasts and some more traditional ones and a mix of quick lunches and deli ones. I like to get out of the boat for a stretch and we can knock out a shore lunch in about 45 minutes. We get on the water early so usually have the option of spending the time.

We always do our own coffee and drinks so we can get the type we want, as everyone has their favorites, and you aren't stuck with 96 ounce containers of Gatorade. We use shelf stable milk for the coffee so we aren't in the dairy cooler in the AM unless we need breakfast stuff from it.

Ask for precooked bacon and sausage with the breakfast meals, it saves a lot of hassle and clean up. I aways add some of this bacon on the bagel breakfasts so there is a protein option. You only have to heat the bacon on the griddle for a few seconds, and we never have any left. I use a full pound of the precooked bacon for each meal, any extra goes on sandwiches at lunch.
 
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The boil meals can be good but they take a very long time to heat so don’t plan on them being any faster. Get the water going early in the dark months or people will get cranky.
 

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The boil meals can be good but they take a very long time to heat so don’t plan on them being any faster. Get the water going early in the dark months or people will get cranky.
True, you need to plan ahead. I find that it takes about 35 to 45 minutes to heat the boil bag meals. It helps to pull the next couple of days meals out of the coolers and let them thaw so you aren't trying to heat frozen food. If you stay ahead of this on the first week or so you use a lot less fuel and decrease your boiling time. We heat them on the blaster in the same bucket as the hot dishwater, so you aren't heating extra water. We take an extra propane tank if using a lot of boil bag meals but usually don't use much more than the regular menu.
 
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