"After 40 some years of running rivers, I just need to let you know what a great job your company did supplying food and gear for my last hurrah in Grand Canyon. Your menu and food has the best quality and quantity that anyone could ask for. The coolers were packed to perfection. I now believe all the folks that recommend your company."
Otsie Stowell, 2011
The PRO Foodpack
The foodpack is probably the most important aspect of your trip. Groups can rally in spite of rips and flips, bad weather, etc., but nothing can put a damper on a trip like running low on food. Been there done that – Bruce's first trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon was salvaged only by the generosity of the Fly B Ranch which resupplied them. When running the Grand became a reality, his mother volunteered to organize the food. Both his grandmothers and mother were excellent cooks, so a lot of thought went into their meal plan (which we still have a copy of). For a month prior to the trip, his bedroom became the food room – lined with about 50 grocery bags, each assigned to a specific meal. They ended up eating far better than several of the participants did at home. That menu plan became the basis for the commercial trips that followed a few years later and its influence can still be enjoyed today.
In the mid-80s it was clear that these new computers could be a big help in tallying up shopping lists and organizing menus - so, Bruce and Nancy worked with a programmer to create menu planning software. This allowed us to offer a wide variety of meals and different styles of packing food to satisfy individual preferences. The current version of that plan allows us to accommodate food allergies while also offering Ethiopian specialties for your enjoyment. The cookbook, which you receive both in an electronic format before your trip and in a binder with your foodpack, provides you with recipes for all your meals along with a pull list. You are also provided a total inventory which has been annotated with the location of each item in your pack. After your boats are loaded at Lee’s Ferry, the location of each box is noted on a boat map; so in conjunction with your cookbook you can easily locate what you need. Once you pull your first meal, it will be clear that besides a generous quantity, quality is our prime focus. Whether it’s choice meats or fruits and veggies chosen to ripen at the appropriate time – we do not/will not compromise. This is a big adventure and a well fed, healthy crew is key to its success.
PRO's online menu planning resources help to customize your menu for your trip's specific needs.
Food Buy & Pack
With the PRO Food Buy & Pack we purchase the food, reduce the packaging and carefully pack the food for you. In addition to the meals that appear on the menu, we also supply a put-in breakfast and take-out lunch (if we do your take-out shuttle). We offer two choices for your food packing method - the PRO Pack and the Combo Pack. Whether we pack into your coolers and boxes, ours, or a combination, we work with you to be sure the overall volume of the food fits sensibly into your rafts.
Which Food Buy and Pack method suits your needs?
The PRO Pack - $55/day of your trip:
Similar items are packed together, much like your pantry. Condiments are in one box, breakfast supplies in another. Coolers are split into Meat, Dairy, and Produce. Cans and fruit are in crates, durable vegetables in dry bags.
Like items are packed together; for example - all the breakfast items are packed together, all the pasta is together, all the cookies are together.
Your boxes empty evenly throughout your fleet.
You're able to utilize fresh foods as they ripen, and respond to changes in the weather or your schedule.
The PRO pack is the least expensive option.
Someone will need to pull specific supplies for each meal.
It takes more time initially for group members to identify whose raft has what, so shopping is more time consuming.
You have to consolidate foods to make room for garbage.
The Combo Pack $65/Day of your trip:
Dry & canned goods are packed in order by camp (Dinner through Breakfast the next day), and coolers are split into Meat, Dairy and Produce coolers.
Shopping time needed downstream is reduced.
Canned and dry goods are quickly located in the Camp Box.
Separate coolers for different types of food enable you to pay attention to your food, which is important on an expedition of this length.
Allows less ease of meal re-scheduling.
There is no obvious place to store leftovers and unused supplies from the camp box.
It requires more time for our Food Packer to separate food stuffs into meals and pack them as efficiently as possible, and so, costs more.
PRO offers the longest lasting ice in Grand Canyon - ONLY available with a PRO food pack. We make super-cold ice directly in our coolers, and in yours when you send them to us early enough (two weeks freeze-time is needed). Solid ice, and a pre-frozen cooler, lasts far longer than block ice which contains air pockets, cracks and impurities. The process of making PRO Ice takes time - we freeze three layers to create a flat food-packing surface. For a Grand Canyon trip we fill the cooler about 2/3 full of ice. We use plastic grates on top of the ice keep your food from sitting in melted water. Add PRO Ice for $100/cooler.
PRO has many river tested, crowd pleasing sample Menus to choose from. You can use them as is or modify one that comes pretty close to what you want.
Works for most appetites and has been used many times on the river. It is a proven crowd pleaser and includes all our favorite river meals, both meaty and vegetarian.
Quick & Easy
This menu includes quick & light breakfasts and Heat & Eat dinners with easy sides. No dutch oven baking. This menu leaves more time to hike and watch sunsets.
Offers the best of the meatless meals and includes tofu, eggs and cheese along with taste tested meat substitutes.
Hot Hearty meals to keep you warm from the inside out!
PRO Classic II
The PRO Classic with meat included in nearly every meal especially breakfast meats. This menu will satisfy the meat & potatoes fans, while having something for everyone
Try this when your group is split between vegetarians and carnivores – these meals are light on meat.
Lighter meals for when it’s too hot to eat!
Some of these meals may take more time or culinary skill (most don't), but are well worth it.
Food Pack Costs
A PRO Food Pack consists of:
Food Buy & Pack Method ($55 or $65/Day of your trip)
Cost of Food (average $28/person/day)
PRO Ice ($100/cooler)