For a lot of people, the major concern about going camping is the food. Would you rather sacrifice taste for ease? When you go camping, you could choose to eat fancy barbeque that needs a lot of work, time and equipment. Or you could settle for canned food or Ready-to-Eat Meals that are barely edible.
Lucky for us, now there’s a solution to the problem that doesn’t ask for any effort and manages to taste good at the same time.
Freeze dried and dehydrated meals are not just restricted to astronauts anymore. They’re convenient, have the right amount of calories, easy to carry because of their light weight and on top of that, they also taste great.
All you have to do is add water – either in a pot or in the packaging itself, and you’re good to go.
Of course, if you’re a camper, hiker and backpacker you would know exactly what you want in a meal. If only you could actually make that meal and have it last out there in the wild.
Fortunately for you, you don’t have to do anything. Good-to-Go’s chef, Jennifer Scism is a professional chef who took her love for cooking and camping and merged them together to bring frozen dried food of astounding taste.
They aim for simplicity and flavor and manage to hit the ball out of the park with room to spare. Good-to-Go products are not as quick to make as some others, but the taste is worth the wait.
Though the variety of flavors is limited, there are a good fifteen flavors to choose from with different packs especially for specific meals of the day.
2. Mountain House
A brand under the house of Oregan Freeze Dry, that has been making packaged food for over half a century now, Mountain House is someone you can trust with your meals. There’s a reason they’re the most visible brand under the category after all!
Mountain House knows how to make nutritious meals without compromising on flavor, and also have vegetarian and gluten-free options for those who have to watch their diet.
There are some downsides. Their products are said to be very high in sodium composition, which some people may want to avoid. Their products are also a bit on the expensive side, but then again, no pain no gain.
3. Backpacker’s Pantry
As the name itself suggests, Backpacker’s Pantry is a lightweight option that focuses on its portability function, and manages to do so very well. Packing a decent amount of calories and the right amount of flavor within each packet, Backpacker’s Pantry only needs hot water for you to have a full meal in your hands.
The packets are also made in a way such that they act as your own convenient mini-bowl. Once you’re done eating, you can simply throw away your packet. No cleaning required. And not only that, but they also come with a large variety of flavors for you to choose from.
If you’re an environmentalist, there’s another plus side for you: Backpacker’s Pantry donates part of their proceeds to wildlife charities and organizations like Defenders of Wildlife and Polar Bear Adoption.
The only downside is that their products have a heavy sodium content which may not suit everyone.
4. Harmony House
Not everyone is satisfied with pre-made, instant foods. Some of us want to challenge the chef within us, and others just like experimenting. Harmony House is one of those brands that come with its pour-and-mix options. But it also caters with the DIY-ers who want to make their own recipes.
They sell the individual components of recipes such as dried fruits and vegetables, and even soup blend kits and chili mixes. Now you can make up your own recipes out there in the wild. They also provide TVP meat substitutes for you to add to your recipes and give it an instant protein boost.
Although this means a bit more work on the campsite, it also means that you can expand your menu and options to a drastic extent. However, despite their large variety of food, they have minimal pre-made dishes, so if you’re the kind who wants their food and wants it now, this may not be the brand for you.
5. Packit Gourmet
Packit Gourmet is a family owned business from Texas and started when the owners hit the road because of their growing family and had to work hard to make a good dehydrated meal.
Packit Gourmet is special in its own way since it provides all the different ingredients of the meal separately, and even adds condiments and seasoning when they believe it would go well with the meal.
This is good if you’re picky about your combinations and don’t like to eat certain ingredients, since you can just not add them. It also enhances the flavor.
The downside to this is that it causes more clutter than you would ideally like to have while camping, and becomes a bit more complicated to prepare.
However, there is a good variety to select from. They also provide meals that range from simple preparation to more complex ones, so you can also filter it further.
The one thing to take care of, is to make sure that if the meal includes ingredients that may spoil, you consume them in time.
Of course, regardless of what brand you’re using, you have to consider a few things before you have a meal of dried food. Cooking time is important – not every brand and flavor is prepared in the same time. Some take longer and are more complex while others are easier and take less time.
You must also make sure you eat the right amount of food. Dried food is, as the name suggests, food with the water content drained out. Dried food is denser in calories than regular food, so you should make sure your calorie intake isn’t more than what is required, nor too less.
And of course, because of the preparation methods, it is also relatively expensive, and may not be the best option for someone on a budget.
So if you ever decide to pack your bags and head out, you know exactly what you need to keep yourself well fed and healthy, while also not sacrificing the satisfaction of your taste buds!