When you’re on a backpacking and camping trip you’ll want to make sure you eat well. Fuelling your body with nourishing food is essential when you’re walking and exploring in the great outdoors. However it’s sometimes difficult to get all the nutrients you need from limited supplies, especially if you’re carrying everything in your backpack.
Backpacking trips don’t have to mean bland food – there are so many ways to use freeze dried foods to add color, flavor and texture to dishes you make in the wild. Why not use our useful guide to avoid wasting money on unnecessary supplies, and instead enjoy nutritious and healthy options within minutes?
Freeze dried food offers the perfect solution as it is lightweight, healthy and easy to prepare. If you’re a survivalist or prepper who is keen to learn more about how to make use of freeze dried food on your next adventure we’ve sourced some of the best tasting products around.
There are a number of things you’ll want to think about before deciding on the best freeze dried food for your backpacking and camping trip. These could include:
Most freeze dried food will have a shelf life of at least 10-20 years with many products easily lasting 30 years. Some brands even offer a guarantee that the food will last for up to 30 years.
When you’re expending a lot of energy it’s important that you replenish calories through the food that you eat. Make sure that you are consuming enough calories to replace what you lose through hiking and exercise.
Taste is a very individual preference to consider as you may not enjoy eating a freeze dried food that someone else thinks is delicious. Sample as many different freeze dried foods as you can to check which ones you enjoy.
This is another individual preference but lots of fans of freeze dried food find it an important factor especially when rehydrating meat dishes.
Freeze dried food is a really healthy option when it comes to packing for your camping and backpacking trip. However you’ll need to make good choices when it comes to finding options that offer a range of nutrients. Try to avoid going straight for sweeter options.
If you’re going to be having freeze dried food for a number of days or even weeks, you’ll want to make sure you include some variety of tastes, flavors and meal options.
1. Mountain House Diced Beef
This diced beef can be eaten on its own or added to a variety of dishes for an intense meaty flavor. An excellent source of protein, this is an easy way of ensuring that you and your family get all the energy and nutrients you need.
The large can is perfect for feeding large groups, or you can portion out smaller amounts and mix individually with water as and when needed. If you lose access to hot water, you can easily rehydrate it at room temperature using cold water. Just make sure you give it a few extra minutes and stir thoroughly.
Used in stews, soups and tacos
110 calories per serving
Add hot water
25 year shelf life and the best I’ve ever tasted for freeze-dried food. Once you open the can, get to using it. Don’t be thinking you’ll come back in a month. Just like other food: it’s got to be used. Tried the rest and this is the best. Mountain House products are #1.
2. Saratoga Farms Cheddar Cheese
Cheese is a staple to many American diets and with this freeze dried option you can instantly add flavor to food. It’s perfect as a topping for pasta, to add into a sandwich filling or simply for snacking on as a good source of calcium.
American made, this product uses high quality ingredients to ensure that you and your family eat the best. Saratoga Farms use double-enameled #10 cans which come complete with an oxygen absorber already sealed inside. This can help you reduce any food wastage and offer you the peace of mind that your cheese won’t spoil. You can also reuse the cans for future food storage – just make sure you wash them out thoroughly and dry them.
Add to any dishes or eat alone
27 calories per serving
Mix with warm water then drain
As soon as I opened the can I was immediately transported to my childhood. So good
3. Wise Company Freeze Dried Breakfasts
This emergency food supply offers a complete selection of breakfasts and entrees for you to quickly pack into your vehicle or emergency bug out bag when SHTF.
You won’t have to worry about planning meals and catering to different food preferences as Wise Company has already done the hard work and selected a variety of different meal options.
The ready made meals are individually packed in Mylar pouches making them air tight. They undergo a unique nitrogen flushing process to ensure any remaining oxygen is removed and the shelf life is guaranteed.
Choose from delicious options such as apple cinnamon or brown sugar and maple multi grain cereal. These breakfasts are the perfect fuel to start your day with.
Complete meal provided
Dependent on meal
Add hot water
Great food and taste! Easy to prepare. An overall nice kit. I use it for traveling when I’m in Africa. Just add boiling water for a delicious meal. I liked all the meals.
4. AlpineAire Strawberry Granola with Milk
With 13g of protein per serving, this sweet French vanilla granola is both delicious and nourishing. It can be enjoyed just as much when mixed with cold water as hot water meaning you won’t have to worry about heating water or finding access to power.
Whilst most people enjoy these for breakfast, this snack can be eaten as a dessert or simply when you’re on the move and want to enjoy something sweet.
The individual pouches are lightweight and easy to transport so you can quickly grab one and put it in a bug out bag or store a few in your get home bag for if you need to fuel yourself in an emergency.
Complete meal or snack
360 calories per serving
Mix with hot or cold water
Great backpacking breakfast! Just add water and eat right away! Delicious
5. Mountain House Pad Thai with Chicken
If you thought that all freeze dried food was bland, think again. This is a spicy treat from Mountain House and hikers and preppers love how easy it is to rehydrate. It feels like a real treat when you’re out in the wild to have something that could easily compare to a take out meal back home.
You could consider splitting them and mixing with other meals to add flavor, or just enjoy a sachet at a time. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure you use enough water for the contents and if you do split the amount then make sure you do the same with the water too.
Unlike with many rehydrated foods, the chicken has a normal texture which is a welcome change when you’ve been surviving off basic food.
490 calories per pouch
Mix with hot water
I am happy to say that this one actually turned out to be one of my favorites from Mountain House! Every bit of it rehydrated well, and the taste was on point!
6. Augason Farms Scrambled Eggs Mix
Having a scrambled egg mix in your food storage is a brilliant option if you’re looking for an item with maximum versatility. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and as a side dish or a main meal. This freeze dried scrambled eggs mix can also be used for baking cakes or cooking other dishes and meals.
The texture of the eggs is smooth and you simply need to add warm water and whisk. You can use a standard camping fork for this. Just make sure you get all of the air out and mix up the food with the water properly to avoid any chalkiness in the texture.
Many people find they can’t tell the difference between freeze dried scrambled eggs and fresh eggs so you might even incorporate these into your kitchen cupboard back home.
Side dish or snack
120 calories per serving
Add to warm water and whisk
The best scrambled eggs I ever tasted. Easy to cook too – just add equal parts water and powder. I couldn’t tell the difference between fresh eggs and these. Soo good! Needs no refrigeration. I’m planning to always keep a can on hand for the future.
In Depth Buyers Guide
When it comes to freeze dried food you can’t beat the shelf life it offers. Almost all companies will offer 10 – 20 year shelf life with most freeze dried food being safe to consume up to 30 years after it has been produced.
The reason for the long shelf life of freeze dried food is the process that it undergoes to remove the moisture. This is much more effective than the dehydration process. The freeze drying process not only gives a long shelf life but it also allows the food to retain up to 98% of its nutritional value.
The shelf life of freeze dried food is also aided by the packaging used. Most freeze dried food will come in either a double-enameled #10 can or a Mylar pouch. These help to ensure that no moisture can get inside and spoil the food. In addition, oxygen absorbers are often placed inside the can or pouch.
In some cases, a nitrogen flushing process will be used to ensure the freeze dried food remains in optimum condition and can reach its full shelf life.
Texture is often underrated when it comes to assessing freeze dried food. Yet if you’re surviving off freeze dried food for long periods of time, you’ll start to notice that it’s not just the taste of it that is important.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure the texture of your freeze dried food is as appealing as possible is to rehydrate it properly.
Always follow the directions on the packet carefully and make sure that you measure out the appropriate amount of water. Stir it thoroughly to make sure that the freeze dried food is mixed properly with the water, and allow it the full length of time in the instructions.
A freeze dried meat dish with meat that has a good texture and consistency will be much more enjoyable to eat than one that simply tastes like a smooth soup. With freeze dried scrambled eggs, you can get a good fluffy texture by whisking the mixture thoroughly rather than simply stirring through the hot water.
Freeze dried food retains up to 98% of its nutritional value which is a huge benefit to you as a consumer. Many ready to eat meals or dehydrated foods that are designed to be taken in a bug out bag, on camping trips or backpacking expeditions are more focussed on providing you with calories rather than key nutrients.
With freeze dried food you can easily provide yourself and your family with a balanced, healthy meal. Make sure that you enjoy a variety of freeze dried vegetables such as sweetcorn and sweet potato. Freeze dried fruits such as apples and blueberries are ideal for adding to your breakfast or desserts, or simply eating as a snack.
When it comes to desserts, be careful about the amount of sugar that you’re consuming. Some freeze dried foods such as creme brulee are inevitably much higher in sugar than other freeze dried food options. Try to eat these desserts in moderation and alternate them with other snacks. Obviously if you are walking long distances and need extra calories, these could be good options to fuel yourself and your family.
It may be tempting to simply order big cans of freeze dried food in bulk and these are certainly useful in situations where you are catering for large numbers of people having multiple meals. Big cans of freeze dried food such as breakfast cereals with berries or scrambled eggs mix are useful as you can simply portion them out as and when you need them.
For meal times, variety is really important. A varied diet will help you to get all the different nutrients that you need, yet it’s also good for your emotional morale to mix up meals. It can get really boring having the same thing to eat at every meal and a new dish and different flavors can be a welcome boost.
Lots of freeze dried food companies offer a variety pack of different meals. This takes the hassle of meal planning out of your hands and you can enjoy dishes such as Pasta Marinara and Chicken Teriyaki.
When it comes to buying freeze dried food, you need to first take some time to plan out which meals you’ll need and the quantity that you need to buy. You can do this with some basic math – working out the number of meals to be eaten and the number of people/portions for each one.
Always include variation in your meal planning. If you’re struggling to think of different dishes and getting overwhelmed with including the ingredients for each one, simply purchase a selection of different meals in a variety pack. Remember you may want to take condiments such as salt and pepper in sachets to season your food with.
Read The Ingredients
Many of the freeze dried food products available do not use artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives. These aren’t needed due to the freeze drying process, which is another benefit of freeze dried food overall. However it’s important to read through the other ingredients before buying freeze dried food – it’s easy to do this online and you can find all the information you’ll need.
When looking at the ingredients, check to see if there is anything extra being added to your freeze dried food. Look out for sugar levels as well as any flavor enhancers such as MSG.
Take Note of Nutritional Value
It’s easy to find the nutritional value on the side of your freeze dried food can or pouch. You can use this to plan your meals and ensure that you and your family will be getting a balanced and healthy diet.
Make sure that you include foods that are high in calories to fuel your physical exercise. These should give you sustained energy and could include dishes such as granola with fruit or multigrain cereal.
You’ll also want to make sure you get your full quota of vitamins from freeze dried fruit and vegetables.
Including meat dishes into your meal planning will help to keep your protein levels up. If you’re vegetarian you may want to find freeze dried grains and pulses.
Eating freeze dried scrambled eggs and cheese are both excellent ways of ensuring that your calcium levels are topped up especially if you aren’t drinking milk regularly or having other dairy products such as yogurt.
With all these freeze dried food options on the market you can easily be a stowaway gourmet. We’ve searched through the best rated products to allow you to enjoy healthy, nutritious and delicious meals when you’re on the go.
With some of the best freeze dried food available at the click of a button, there’s no reason to settle for bland, boring food or to miss out on healthy, satisfying meals.
Take a look at some of the products we’ve discussed and make sure you stock up on these delicious freeze dried options. Depending on your storage space you can choose between larger cans and smaller sachets – we’ve got you covered whatever your situation.