Remove From The Tray And Store It
This is what the dahl looks like once dry and stored .
Once the meal is dry to the touch, remove it from the parchment paper and store it in a zip-lock bag.
For convenience later on, you can split it between several zip-lock bags so that you have the quantity for one meal in each bag.
If you made the tray liners yourself, then you probably dont need to discard them . When you scrape the food off the parchment paper it generally leaves very little residue because of the lack of moisture. This means you can usually reuse the parchment paper liners several times.
Recipes That Require Zero Cooking At Home
All measurements in the following recipes are approximate and ratios should be adapted to your preferences. The amount of water it takes to rehydrate these meals may also vary. Also, many of the following recipes use meat as protein, but they can easily be adapted for vegetarians and vegans by substituting quinoa, nuts, nut butters, legumes, TVP, soy products, etc.
Good To Go Thai Curry
This thai curry from Good To Go is pescatarian, gluten-free, low in sodium, and contains zero preservatives. Its made in the USA and boasts an extraordinary four-year shelf life when unopened, making it an excellent choice for extended hunting or backpacking trips.
One pouch of Good To Go Thai Curry contains two servings of spicy yellow coconut curry with vegetables and jasmine rice. Preparation requires just four simple steps and in just about 20 to 25 minutes youll be enjoying a delicious Thai dinner.
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Water Content & Food Preservation
Most home style electric food dehydrators reportedly remove about 70-80% of the water content from food. However, commercial food dehydrators can be slightly more efficient reportedly removing up to 90-95% of the water content.
In contrast freeze drying removes more water content than dehydrating, usually in the range of 98-99%.
This means that freeze dried foods will last for years before they spoil, whereas dehydrated foods might be good for 6 months to a couple of years depending on the food type, water content, etc.
Of course if you are dehydrating your backpacking meals in the weeks or months leading up to your trip then these time frames should be more than sufficient dehydrated foods will easily last until you head out on your hike!
Line The Dehydrator Trays
I just make my own tray liners using parchment paper . But you can also buy silicone tray liners.
Once you have cooked the meal you will need to lay it out on the dehydrator trays. The exact procedure might depend slightly on the type of dehydrator you are using.
For most cooked meals e.g. dahl, pasta sauce, etc you will need to line your dehydrator trays so that the food does not drip through. However if you are dehydrating larger objects like raw fruit or vegetables then you may not need to line the trays at all.
It is possible to purchase dehydrator-specific silicon sheets that can be used to line the trays so you can easily dehydrate foods with a higher liquid content. These are usually sold separately, although some manufacturers such as Nesco might provide a couple of liners when you purchase your dehydrator. These liners are often referred to as fruit roll up sheets, although they are useful for drying many more foods than just fruit roll ups! If you buy them, be sure to buy the right size and shape for your dehydrator.
Alternatively, if you decide against buying silicon liners then you can use the following steps to make your own liner sheets using parchment paper
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The Crafty Weka Date And Orange Bar
While you can down this zesty, cinnamon-spiced bar in barely three bites, the caloric density of the 2.4-ounce serving outperforms most other snacks. The oat, seed, and nut bar delivers 24 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein, plenty to energize our tester up and over Californias Pinchot Pass and beat an incoming storm before lunch. Unlike coagulated clumps that stick to your teeth like a Tootsie Roll, common in many snack bars, the texture is akin to brownie batter. Sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds add crunch, while natural sweeteners like manuka honey and dates round out this trail treat.
Buy Now | $40 2.4 oz. per bar
Mountain House Rice And Chicken
Mountain Houses Rice and Chicken is a simple staple that goes down easy and requires minimal preparation. This mixture is perfectly seasoned in a savory sauce accented with pimentos. Its ready in less than 10 minutes by simply adding boiling water.
One of the best parts about this Mountain House meal is that it can be consumed right out of the can, which contains 10 single-cup servings. This means minimal cleanup when your belly is full and youre ready to climb into your tent. Lastly, this freeze dried rice and chicken is backed by a 30-year taste guarantee.
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Solely Organic Mango Halves
When we pick snacks for optimal energy output, calories are often the driving factor, along with convenience. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t keep a bag of gummy worms within arms reach on a trail, which is why we’re big fans of Solely dried fruits as a sweet-tooth alternative from time to time. Each serving packs about 130 calories of fast energy thanks to the mango’s natural sugar, which means you’re looking at just shy of 800 calories in every 8-ounce bag. They also pack a decent amount of potassium, so you’ll be stocking up on electrolytes to help keep muscle cramps at bay.
Features To Look For In Dehydrated Camping Foods
Given that these meals are mostly designed for the active and outdoorsy, they generally have great nutritional value and make for well-rounded meals all by themselves. However, if you know you have specific needs, review the nutrition facts ahead of time!
Most dehydrated camping foods require heating water, adding it to the food pouch, and zipping it up until it rehydrates.
Other options may have a heating pack in the bag that allows you to add room temperature water. In general, you should expect that your cooking method will involve water, heated or unheated.
When it comes to cooking, thats about as easy as it gets and its absolutely foolproof whether youre exhausted from a big day in the mountains or have had a few too many back at camp.
Cooking time for most freeze-dried foods is 3-10 minutes, blissfully fast and straightforward so you can refuel and get back on the trail or settle in for a great night of sleep.
Depending on your given activity, your caloric needs can vary greatly. A lazy day at camp or hanging on a river doesnt burn nearly as many calories as big days of hiking, climbing, backpacking, or skiing.
You should ensure your chosen meal fuels you and replaces at least some of the calories youve lost during the day while preparing you for whatever lies ahead tomorrow. Many camp meals range from 400 calories to 1000 calories.
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Honorable Mention: Good To
The Granola was the second best dehydrated breakfast we taste tested. Our reviewers were all impressed by how flavorful it was.
It didnt have the crunch that you would expect from granola , but it captured the flavor really well.
One reviewer put it best: Id totally steal this from my unsuspecting camp partner and eat it before they wake up.
We think said unsuspecting camp partner would be pretty bummed, since this is a delicious backcountry breakfast.
Product Specs Single Serving
Note: We also taste tested Backpackers Pantry meals. Our testers didnt like them as much as Mountain House and Good To-Go meals. But if youre interested in our recommendations, check out our guide to the best Backpackers Pantry meals.
Best Backpacker Food For Vegans Good To Go
If youre vegan, you understand the struggle of trying to find dehydrated meals that are both nutritious and satisfying. Most of the time, youre stuck with just one or two options that are completely bland and tasteless. Thankfully, Good to Go has created a line of delicious backpacking meals especially with vegans in mind!
Not only do you have classics like Oatmeal and Classic Marinara with Pasta, but you also have the choice to dine on international cuisine. Change up your menu with dishes like their Mexican Quinoa Bowl, Bibimbap, or Herbed Mushroom Risotto.
We also recommend the incredibly delicious Kale and White Bean Stew. Its made with nutrient-rich ingredients like dried navy beans, celery, sweet potato, and fennel. In just a few minutes, youll be slurping on one of the best backpacking meals that we know all vegans will enjoy. Being vegan in the outdoors has never been easier or more delicious!
Besides vegan meals, Good to Go also creates meals for many other diet and lifestyle choices. They have plenty of dehydrated meals for gluten-free eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians alike.
Looking for more vegan outdoor gear?Check out our guide to the best vegan hiking boots for your next adventure.
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Miles On The Appalachian Trail
Join me on an Appalachian Trail adventure from Georgia through West Virginia. The journal covers 1001 miles of rugged footpath, inspirational mountaintops, and unbounded nature.
“Received your book yesterday and just finished. Congratulations on such a wonderfully written book. It is a beautiful love story between you, Dominique, and nature.” – Annette
Available in paperback or download. when purchased with any other book.
Pinnacle Foods Co Herb Roasted Chicken And White Cheddar Biscuit Dumplings
This take on chicken and biscuits vaulted beyond the usual lumpy, papier-mâché texture were used to with dehydrated versions of the Southern staple. Seasoned with rosemary and garlic, the juicy chicken pairs well with the melt-in-your-mouth cheese dumplings and takes 12 minutes to rehydrate. With 710 calories, 33 grams of fat, and 47 grams of protein in the single-serving pouch, its a feast after extra-long days on the trail. I hiked through 19 miles of brushy trail during an all-day rainstorm, one tester said after a trip in Idahos Frank Church-River of No Return. I arrived soaked and cold at camp, but this mealand some dry socksrevived me enough to tackle the next day in the same conditions.
Buy Now | $14 4.3 oz.
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Relax Dinner Is Taken Care Of
We believe that no matter where you are you should be able to eat a delicious meal. Because of the new technology and process we use at Real Meals it means you get the nutrition you require without the hassle and risks of carrying raw food. Our freeze-dried process occurs at below-zero temperatures and retains 99% of its nutrition but weighs only 20% of its original weight.
Wild Zora Mountain Beef Stew
The team at Wild Zora makes delicious trail snacks and meals from minimally processed, all-natural ingredients. This freeze dried meal is ideal for backpackers, hikers, and hunters that want to eat on the trail just like they eat at home.
The Wild Zora Mountain Beef Stew contains grass-fed beef, organic carrots, onion, broccoli, mushrooms, kale, celery, green onion, sea salt, garlic, marjoram, thyme, and parsley. Each container holds a single, 420-calorie serving and lasts up to 2 years unopened. Perhaps best of all, improved packaging makes the pouches these meals come in even easier to eat from.
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Q: What Kind Of Food Is Good For Backpacking
As I said before, the backcountry is not the place to try new food. You want to make sure you know you like it, itll make you feel full, and it wont disagree with you in any way.While all of the foods on this list are either freeze-dried or non-perishable, I like to make a peanut butter sandwich for my first day, and bring some fresh apples for snacks and veggies for my first dinner or two. If I am not in a particularly hot environment, I feel comfortable bringing perishable foods like those for the initial leg of my trip .
Peak Refuel Strawberry Granola
This freeze dried breakfast meal is a great option for early morning peak scrambles or adventures deep into the backcountry. Each pouch contains a whopping 23 grams of protein and two whole servings of delicious, wholesome granola with strawberries and milk.
Peak Refuel uses non-GMO ingredients in all of their freeze dried meals so that you can enjoy a nutritious backpacking meal by just adding water. All the ingredients rehydrate right in the pouch, which you can also eat straight out of, making clean up virtually non-existent with this freeze dried food.
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Buy An Electric Dehydrator
If you dont already have an electric food dehydrator, then you will need one. Dont worry, they arent a big investment. You can get them pretty cheap.
If youre not sure what to buy, then check out our list of the 3 best dehydrators above.
Once you have purchased an electric food dehydrator then you are ready to get started!
Freeze Dried Camping Food: Our 10 Favorite Brands
When you think of camping or backpacking foods, you usually dont think of gourmet meals. Personally, plain pasta and tuna usually comes to mind. However, this can be both bulky and heavy to pack in. Not an ideal combination when you want to save those extra kilos and that precious space in your backpack.
Not to mention, at the end of a long day of hiking and setting up camp, the last thing you want to do is wait around to cook your dinner.
So, whats the solution? Dehydrated or Freeze dried meals!
In no particular order, here are 10 of the most recommended freeze dried camping foods:
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Best Energy Bar: Kind Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
Im a bit of an energy and nutrition bar addict. Thats why I bought 78 bars from top brands like Clif and Kind and spent days tasting and ranking them.
After all that, the Kind bars stood out as the ones that were tastiest and would be most enjoyable to eat after lots of miles on the trail.
The Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate flavor was our favorite, but there are plenty of other delicious ones.
Talus Thai Tom Yum Soup Recipe
This soup is excellent for those days when youre cold, feeling under the weather, or need a lighter meal. The broth infused with lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, and thai chilies is delicious, warming, and sinus clearing. It can even help soothe an upset stomach and kick start sluggish digestion.
At home: Dehydrate a small amount of sliced mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and chopped onion at 135°F for 4-6 hours.
Add to a gallon-size Ziploc:
25 g dried shrimp
1-2 Tbsp dried mushrooms
85 g instant white rice
Makes: 1 serving
On the Trail: Boil about 3 c water, then turn your stove off. Add all ingredients and stir to combine. Put the lid on your pot and place it in a cozy. Wait about 10-15 minutes to make sure everything gets thoroughly rehydrated. When the rice and vegetables are soft, the soup is ready. There should be plenty of fragrant liquid broth to sip and enjoy.
Notes: Though the bouillon cubes are high in sodium, they make a great hot pick-me-up spicy drink on cold, rainy days. If youre backpacking, youre likely sweating a lot anyway, so a little salt can be good for the body. If you like this recipe, you might also like tom ka . Tom ka paste is available online or in Asian markets and can be combined with dried chicken, coconut milk powder, vegetables, and instant rice, similar to this recipe.
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Best Lightweight Backpacking Meals
For this round up of the best lightweight backpacking meals, weve mostly focused on nutritious dehydrated dinners and high-calorie freeze-dried meals, including vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free meals, but we have also included one ready to eat option so theres something for everyone. In our view, the four best-tasting brands are Firepot, LYO Expedition, Real Turmat and Summit To Eat with not much to choose between them. But obviously this is down to personal preference and its all very subjective, so your best bet is to order a selection of meals and discover what tastes best to you. Below we list the 10 best backpacking meal brands, and in the reviews we outline our favourite picks from their ranges.
- Firepot Best Lightweight Backpacking Meals
- LYO Expedition
- Wayfayrer Best Ready To Eat Backpacking Meals
- Adventure Food
- Expedition Foods Best High-Calorie Backpacking Meals
- Extreme Food
Meals Tested: Orzo pasta bolognese, posh pork & beans, dal & rice with spinachVital stats: 135g / 510kcal / 3.8kcal per gram / 15mins posh pork and beansBest for: Wild camping, car camping, campervan trips, hiking tripsKey attributes: Environmental packaging, tastes like real food, best taste on test
Get the latest price at:
Get the latest price at:
Meals tested: Pulled pork with rice, blueberry and vanilla muesliVital stats: 121g / 547kcal / 4.5kcal per gram / 8 mins pulled porkBest for: Campsites, wild camping, a camping treatKey attributes: Unique meals, delicious taste
Option : Cooking And Dehydrating A Whole Meal
cooking spaghetti sauce at home
dehydrated spaghetti sauce for the trail.
Already do a lot of cooking at home? You might prefer preparing an entire meal to dry in your food dehydrator vs. drying and assembling individual ingredients as described above. As long as you follow a few simple rules, you can whip up and dehydrate almost any of your favorite thick soups, stews, and sauces safely and make them into lightweight, adventure-ready meals.
Below are some examples of hearty, delicious recipes that dehydrate/rehydrate well. You can cook a big batch in the evening to eat for dinner, load the rest in the dehydrator to dry overnight, and weigh out/package the dried meal in single servings for the trail the following day. Repeat. .
Rules to Follow:
Use only trimmed, lean meats
Chicken should be very soft
Use low sodium broths, tomato sauce, salsa, etc.
Remember: Butter, oil, toppings, and condiments can be packaged with the meal and added on the trail to return fat, enhance flavor, and add texture.
Think Thick – You may want to use less water or broth than usual in recipes, add cornstarch, or reduce soups and stews to thicken them before dehydrating. Partially blend soups that contain starchy vegetables like squash and potatoes with a food processor to help thicken them up and make them dehydrator-friendly.
Spread thick soups, stews, and sauces evenly on non-stick tray liners
Dehydrate at 145°F for 48 hours or until completely dry and brittle.
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