10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

The world is so big that we find ourselves curious for more. 

We ask ourselves questions like, "What more does the world have to offer?", "what is beyond the other side of my continent?", "what are other cultures like?" and many other questions. 

So, we find ways to answer those questions that remain in our minds. One perfect way to do so is through backpacking.

The Wonders of Backpacking

10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

Backpacking is a cost-friendly way to travel or explore the world. 

You carry a handy backpack with the essentials you only need, such as a few comfortable clothes, a grooming kit, cellular phones or gadgets, and money. 

Backpacking is a fun recreational activity because you not only explore but you get to channel the inner cowboy in you. How? You only brought a limited supply of all the needed resources for the trip. 

The beauty of backpacking is making the most of what you got while enjoying the trip. 

Furthermore, it is convenient in such a way due to its lightweight being. So, you do not need to worry about carrying tons of bags from one hand to another. 

You will not be in uncomfortable situations like sitting on a bus or waiting in a ticketing line. You only have one reasonable weighing bag that is the perfect size to keep you mobile on your trip. 

Backpacking could be done anywhere! It may include locally traveling to nearby areas in your region, hopping from one country to another, or wilderness adventure. 

But, whatever you choose, there is one thing you should always prepare- Freeze-dried food and dehydrated meals for backpacking.

The Importance of Meal Planning and Preparation when Backpacking

10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

Preparing some meals and snacks is essential just in case hunger may kick in. Especially if you are the type of person who loves venturing out into the wild. 

There are less likely sources of food that you would want to eat, and even may not be edible. So, you would not want yourself to undergo starvation while on a mission to enjoy your escapade. 

Therefore, you must include some easy-to-prepare and ready-to-eat meals in your backpack at any time of the day. This is to keep you on the go, ready and energized to face the adventures ahead.

The question is, "What kinds of meals should you pack?". 

Indeed, that is a reasonable question because the primary purpose of backpacking is convenience. Hence, you would want to avoid carrying food that would give you a hard time.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Your Meal

The types of food that you would want to bring are those that are not difficult to prepare, such as:

  • Non-soup food. This is to avoid any spilling inside your backpack.
  • No refrigeration is needed kind of food. The refrigerator is one big thing you may not find accessible during backpacking. Not only that, but it could also eat up your time if refrigeration is needed. Which could ruin the whole itinerary of your planned trip.
  • Does not need an excessive amount of effort and time. For example, think about something other than having steak for lunch or croissants for breakfast. These are time-consuming and energy-costly food, defeating convenience's whole purpose. You should always consider the ease of your preparation and keep things simple.
  • The size and weight. Bring food that only consumes a little space in your backpack. Most importantly, it does not add excessive weight to it.
  • Nutrition and Calories. Backpacking is a fun activity, yet, can also be tiring and draining. So, you must bring food rich in protein and calories to give you the energy you need throughout the day. Moreover, there are better times to be conscious about your diet during backpacking. You need as much energy as possible to prevent headaches and fight fatigue. So, do not rely on protein bars or candy alone. It is always important to eat right.

Other Things to Consider

Shelf Life

Around four to six years is the average shelf life for natural foods. In contrast, freeze-dried meals with chemical-based supplements have a 30-year shelf life. A shelf life of one year is generally sufficient for backpacking.


Don't expect the meals in freeze-dried hiking food to taste like home-cooked food, even if they have beautiful names like Mango Sticky Rice. 

Taste and texture are primarily subjective, so you'll have to experiment with them to find the tastes and brands that you like. Testing them out in the wild is preferable since you will be more tolerant of their flavor after a long day of hiking and grateful for a hot, satisfying supper. 

To add more taste, we advise bringing some packets of olive oil, spicy sauce, dried cheese, salt, and pepper if necessary.

The Food Dilemma During Backpacking

Backpacking is one of the most fun-filled activities that put you in a dilemma. 

The dilemma is usually choosing between good food or the easy ones. The difference between the two is the time and ease of preparation. 

All in just before you get yourself fed from the hunger you obtained from the long-hour activities you have been doing. 

You can choose to have steak or pasta for dinner. However, you must keep all ingredients fresh to enjoy your full-course meal. In that case, it is impossible due to the lack of resources and utilities.

It would be best to have the patience and proper equipment to achieve the perfect steak or that savory pasta. 

On the other hand, if you realize that that is energy and time-consuming, you settle for canned goods or MREs. 

Canned goods or MREs are not quite a thrill to be consuming too. For the reason that they are not that pretty digestible, more so healthy.

10 Best Freeze-Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals

Finally, a discovery has been made to avoid all the problems and fuss between deciding what to munch on. 

The perfect and effective remedy to your dilemma is Dehydrated Meals and Freeze-dried food. This approach has become the go-to choice when backpacking for decades. 

Surprisingly, it provides you with tasty and healthy food to consume. Not only that, but the manufacturers have kindly provided their consumers with a wide variety of choices. 

These choices are just as fantastic as ordering in a three-star restaurant. They can go from delicious puddings and rich beef stews to practically freshly tasting vegetables that could seem as if they were just picked fresh from a farm. 

Furthermore, you will find that these types of food preparation are convenient, easy to pack, the type of food you want to eat, and still give you the nutrients and energy you need to keep you fueled for a long adventure of backpacking. 

Below is a list of items that are perfect for every backpacking adventure. The description of each product is based on the manufacturers themselves.

Mountain House

The Mountain House has been in the industry for more than 50 years now. 

They are known for being the first ones to provide efficient meals for the US Special Forces. 

They have designed their products with versatility, making them capable even from the ocean's depths to the peak of Everest. 

Their products promise to provide quality food in any climate or situation. A few of their best products are:

10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

1. Beef Stroganoff with Noodles comprises Tender pieces of beef, tasty onions, and mushrooms blended in a savory cream sauce over a bed of egg noodles.

2. Chili Mac with Beef consists of pillow-like macaroni noodles, savory precooked beef, and yummy kidney beans in a tasty chili sauce. The freeze-dried Chili Mac is the all-time go-to freeze-dried food of every customer. All you have to do is add hot water and have a tasty meal in just minutes.

3. Neapolitan Ice Cream Bar - This is made with natural creamy ice cream. This brand incorporates chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors blended perfectly to create an enjoyable and yummy dessert. What is impressive about the Mountain House Neapolitan Ice Cream Bar is that it does not melt. It is ready for eating right off the pouch! You need not worry about the dripping mess that usually follows when eating ice cream.

4. Spaghetti Sauce with Meat Sauce - Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat Sauce gives you that wholesome, comforting flavor of Italian cooking in hardly any time at all. Tender spaghetti noodles, hearty chunks of beef, rich marinara sauce - what's there not to love?

Good To-Go

Jennifer Scism, an accomplished Chef and the co-owner of the nationally recognized restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village, Annisa, founded Good To-Go

Scism is an advocate and promoter of having easy access to good food. 

Her culinary background included: working, more so, cooking at NY Times 4-star rated restaurants, traveling to over 20 countries to study regional cuisines, and having defeated the Iron Chef, Mario Batali, on the TV Food Network's Iron Chef program. 

Therefore, she knows her way in the culinary world. 

The birth of Good To-Go started soon after David and Jennifer met. 

They were fond of going on outdoor adventures. They spend days and nights on their outdoor trips, and along with that is the need to look or find something to eat. 

Jennifer had a hard time looking for something fresh and delicious. Not to mention that she was already full of packed meals in the area. 

During that time, she maximized her cooking knowledge and expertise and created something that she never thought would be very beneficial. 

Jennifer had begun dehydrating her favorite go-to meals in her countertop dehydrator.

After so much experimentation and tries, she and her husband, David Krootis, the co-founder of Good To-Go, made one of the best discoveries in the history of food preparation and food in general.

10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

1. Thai Curry- This would be the right choice if you are fond of spicy cuisines and want them done quickly. The spicy yellow coconut curry was Good To-Go's first meal to win the Backpacker Magazine Editors' Choice Award 2014. Up until now, it is still a favorite among Good To-Go loyalists. The pack or pouch consists of broccoli, cauliflower, peas, green beans, Thai chili, coconut milk, lemongrass, and tamarind, all contributing to the wonderfully smelling and tasting curry. Furthermore, it is gluten-free and has a 4-year shelf life.

2. Classic Marinara with Penne - Nothing is more comforting than a steaming bowl of slow-simmered marinara sauce over noodles. Our classic Italian tomato sauce is served with the best brown rice penne.

Backpacker's Pantry

Backpacker's Pantry started in 1951 and was headed by Ann Benedict. 

At that time, the company aimed to supply the Girl Scouts with lightweight, nutritious food for their trial. 

After two decades, the Smith Family bought the company and is, up until now, the one managing the company's whole operation.

10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

1. Colorado Omelet - All-natural, free-range eggs with a scramble of cheddar cheese, bell peppers, and onions. The Colorado Omelet is formerly known as the Denver Omelet. It is rich in protein, low in sodium, and requires minimal cooking.

Directions: Remove and discard the enclosed oxygen absorber before beginning food preparation. Add 1/2 cup (120 mL) of water. Blend. Add another 1/2 cup (120 mL) of water. Blend until smooth—Cook over low heat in a nonstick pan. Stir frequently.

2. Louisiana Red Beans and Rice - A True Cajun Classic! This simple red beans and rice dish is tossed with a Creole sauce and a delicious spice of Cajun flare. It is Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and organic.

Directions: Remove and discard the enclosed oxygen absorber before beginning food preparation. Add 2-1/2 cups (600 mL) of boiling water. Stir well. Seal and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Stir and serve. Rehydration time doubles every 5,000 feet of elevation gain. Our directions are set for 5,000 feet.

MaryJanesFarm Organic

MaryJanesFarm Organic is an active promoter of using all-natural and organic ingredients.

10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

1. Shepherds Meat Pie - This product is made with all-natural, organic ingredients. The steps are simple when preparing the Shepherd's Meat Pie. All you have to do is mix everything up, add boiling water, stir, and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

2. Garlic Pesto Fry Bread - Another product made with all-natural, organic ingredients.

Difference between Freeze-Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals

10 Best Freeze Dried Food and Dehydrated Meals For Backpacking

Freeze-dried foods have a substantially longer shelf life than those dehydrated because dehydration only eliminates around 80% of the water in the meal. 

Food that has been freeze-dried is rapidly frozen, and after that, it is placed in a vacuum, where all of the water vaporizes. 

In contrast to dehydrated meals, which generally survive one to five years, freeze-dried foods can be stored for 20 to 30 years. 

However, this needs expensive equipment and cannot be accomplished at home.

The nutritional content is where freeze-dried and dehydrated foods vary most. 

Freeze-dried foods maintain all of their flavor, aroma, texture, and nutritional content from their natural state. 

Dehydrated foods can become a little chewier since the heating process "cooks" them over a long period while they dry, and they lose roughly 50% of their nutritional value.

In hot or cold water, freeze-dried foods rehydrate more quickly, typically in 5 minutes or less (dried berries, almost instantly). 

Dehydrated meals often take 10 to 20 minutes to rehydrate when using boiling water, which means a longer wait time and more stove fuel—two things backpackers dislike!

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