Jan 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm #1298383
whalen eBPL Member
Does anyone have any experience with Hawk Vittles, who sells dehydrated meals? If so, any recommendations, any favorites? How was the company, shipping, & prices?
ThxJan 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm #1946906
I love Hawk Vittles. I've always found their single meals to be the right amount of food at the end of a long day of hiking.
I really like the Cowboy Pasta and the Beef Stew.
The company was fine to work with, shipped fast, I think USPS. I thought their tiered pricing structure for shipping was a bit wonky. I actually ended up removing one of the meals from my order because it would have bumped me up into a higher shipping price, so the marginal cost of the meal was going to be like $9 instead of $5. Oh well.
Definitely recommend Hawk Vittles!Jan 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm #1946907
Ben CBPL Member
I have used their foods. They arrived fairly quickly. I liked how There were few ingredients and I knew what the ingredients were. I thought the food was good, but not great. The meals tended to be sweet to me. I usually don't like my savory meals to be sweet. For example, a past a dish with tomato sauce was too sweet for me. It reminded me of chef boy ar dee. I added a little hot pepper and it was quite good. Your taste may vary from mine regarding sweetness. Other than that issue, I was pleased with their meals.Jan 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm #1946935
Edward ZBPL Member
@fuzzLocale: Sunny San Diego
Used them for a five day and was ok…but found the flavor just so so…. Not too impressed. But as much as any non home dehydrated others. It's good but nothing made it stand out.Jan 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm #1946965
Mark CashmereBPL Member
I've bought them a few times and find them quite tasty, but as can seen by other replies tastes can be different. I have stick mostly to the Spicy Sausage Pasta, North African Stew and Moroccan Stew which were all very good. I was going to try the Black Bean Stew, but alas my 4-legged friend got into my food bag and polished it off before one of my trips. A buddy of mine tried (and I had a taste of the Has Browns and Sausage breakfast and while it didn't look great it still tasted quite good.
I like that he uses fresh ingredients and the dehydrates the cooked product — no preservatives, etc. I usually buy the double sizes and break them down with a scale to single portions into Ziplocs at home. Not too hard to figure out the smaller water quantity needed from there. We have found that the 2nd level of shipping (was like 6 double meals) worked out best for me and a friend I ordered with. Product was usually pretty quick (within a week or so).
HTHJan 28, 2013 at 11:32 am #1948047
I have ordered thousands of dollars worth of food from HawkVittles.
Just pay attention to the calories count because some of the individual servings are half or more less calories than what is listed. Open a spreadsheet or grab a piece of paper and start keeping track of that. Just something to pay attention to. Just click on the image next to each one for a pop-up that will show the nutritional information, and at the bottom of that pop-up is the package weight. Do the math to get the total calories per serving.
They tend to have a slightly higher calorie count than most others out there – and two or three of his are really high and very good.
He does tend to over hydrate his foods a bit to make sure they have a longer shelf life (which is a good thing) but it does tend to take a bit longer to get the food rehydrated (which is a bad thing) so I have found pre-soaking them while you are hiking to be of benefit.Jan 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm #1948158
Ryan SmithBPL Member
Hawk Vittles are my favorite meal so far. They have simple ingredients, good taste, and a high caloric content. Most other meals have pees, onions, and carrots in nearly every single meal which I am not a fan of. My favorite is the Buffalo Pasta.
RyanSep 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm #2028362
John HansenBPL Member
Based on these reviews and others, I bought some Hawk Vittles for our JMT trip this month. I violated my cardinal rule of not taking new food without trying at home, but the reviews were so positive. I used the cook-in-bag method and I also placed the bag in a cozy to ensure it stayed hot while cooking. I also let it cook for a few minutes more than the instructions.
First dinner – Beef Stew. Now, we were high (10,000'+) in the Sierra's, but the noodles were undercooked. But more importantly, the taste was bland. Was the double pack sufficient for 2 people? Yes, because we struggled choking it down.
Second dinner – Lasagna. This time, I let it cook 5 minutes longer in the bag in the cozy. But still the noodles were crunchy. And it was more bland than the Beef Stew. This was after a hard day of climbing over Muir Pass and we were starving. I added some hot sauce, but the taste profile was just bland.
Breakfast – Packers potatoes. In the hiker bin at Muir Trail Ranch…
If I'm going to pay twice the price for a specialty dehydrated product, it should be better than Mountain House. I'm tired of Mountain House, but the equivalent product (Beef Stew and Lasagna) is better than Hawk Vittles. Since this product was originally designed for cooking in a pot for 15 minutes over a low flame, my guess is that the cook-in-bag method only works in the low hills of the East Coast. I can't even imagine the result without a cozy.Sep 26, 2013 at 8:51 am #2028466
Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
I passed this on to Redhawk this is his return:
"Thanks for the info Ken. Didn't see that particular post in the thread. It's interesting, one individual talks about the "noodles" in the beef stew not rehydrating well, Curious because there aren't and noodles in the beef stew. As far as Johns (Abella's) post he is incorrect in that the posted nutritional values are for single servings, therefore a double serving would be twice the nutritional value, not vice versa. Can't post on the forum unless you're a member and they charge for membership. So those errors will not be addressed. I do make sure the food is well dehydrated, not to increase shelf life but to assure that there is no chance for bacteria or mold to form.Sep 26, 2013 at 9:11 am #2028487
Jeff SimsBPL Member
@jeffreytsimsLocale: So. Cal
I have to say that I have converted from Packit Gourmet to Hawk Vittles pretty much exclusively. I eat hot for both breakfast and dinner with snacks and bars throughout the day and have found that my body responds much better to Hawk Vittles than any other dehydrated food that I have tried (no head aches, constipation or other stomach issues)
I for one really enjoy most of the dinner options, Bison Stew and pasta, there was a shrimp meal that really sticks out as well. Most of the breakfasts are pretty good as well. I found the grits to be a bit bland, however they are grits, and grits are bland so a little home dehydrated hot sauce of choice and maybe some shrimp and it is a breakfast of champions.
I used the HV exclusively on my 9 day JMT NOBO and every meal was completely rehydrated . I do use the cook in bag process and I drop the bag in an insulated cozy of sorts.
I have also found Redhawk to be extremely accommodating when it came to shipping everything in an extremely timely manner when I had to rearrange my trip dates.
As always YMMV but I will stick with Hawk Vittles and mix in a bit of the Packit Gourmet stuff that I like as well.
JeffSep 26, 2013 at 11:00 am #2028550
@attaboybradLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I too was disappointed with Hawk Vittles. After reading a ton of positive reviews I ordered about 10 of their meals as well as their coozie.
Each meal was boiled-in-bag-in-coozie with the prescribed amount of water and given 30+ minutes to rehydrate, and each was disappointing: watery consistency with bland flavor that sent me to bed still hungry.
They're also frustrating to boil because the bags can't stand up on their own like MH pouches can.
I'm back to Mountain House and thankful for it.Sep 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm #2028631
Larry De La BriandaisBPL Member
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
I have never tried Hawk Vittles, but I to plan to try a meal or two. I currently only use Packit Gourmet and love their meals. They are also excellent at getting my order shipped with time to spare. I just put my departure date in the comments and they make sure it ships with enough time.
I can eat Mountain House, but it doesn't taste very good. ;^)Oct 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm #2141680
Randy CainBPL Member
@bagboyLocale: Palmdale, CA
The front page of the Hawk Vittles site says, “…the portions are generous. When we say double serving, we mean it satisfies two people with big appetites.” On their FAQ page, it further says, “Q: Is each double serving really 2 servings? A: Yes, I base my serving size on the appetites of two full sized men who have spent a day of hard exercising. Many of the meals have been more then my hiking partner and I would finish.”
With that in mind, here's a photo of an individual serving size of the Beef Stew, before and after I rehydrated it. It’s in a 32 oz Ziploc container. Remember that it's supposed to be enough to satisfy someone with a "big appetite" who has "spent a day of hard exercising." Obviously it will depend on how much other stuff you have for dinner….
So here’s what I’ve tried so far:
▪ Sierra Spaghetti: A little bland, but not too bad. I ate every last bite, so that says something. I’d probably buy it again, although just dehydrating my own spaghetti is a lot tastier and more filling.
▪ Moroccan Stew: Bland. Tiny serving size. Would NOT buy again.
▪ Fiesta Frijoles: Bland. Tiny serving size. After a few bites, I tossed the rest down the drain and went on to the next one (see below). Would NOT buy again.
▪ Beef Stew: Bland. Didn’t rehydrate quite enough. Tiny serving size. After a few bites, I threw the rest down the drain and headed to Subway for something tasty. Would NOT buy again.
I have six more of these to try, so I’ll update this post to reflect my thoughts about them. I don’t need a lot of tasty freeze dried meals. I just need to find a small handful that I really like and that have large enough portion sizes to fill up my scrawny 160 pound frame after a day of hiking. So the experiment will continue…..
▪ Chicken Pilaf: Very bland. Didn’t rehydrate enough, even in a cozy. Better serving size that most of the others so far, but that’s to be expected when the dry ingredients are up to the 5 oz range rather than the 3-4 oz range. Two bites into it, I threw it down the drain, which has been the norm for most of these meals. Would NOT buy again.
▪ Shrimp Cappellini: Did we bother putting ANY flavor in this one at all?!?! This is like eating plain, unflavored noodles. Serving size is good, but bland beyond belief. This one didn’t rehydrate enough either, even in a cozy. Two bites and it went down the drain, just like the last one. Would not buy again!!
Honestly, this experiment is getting old fast. I still have four more of these to try, and I’m tempted to just throw them all in the trash. VERY disappointed at this point. I’ve tried numerous brands of freeze-dried food over a lot of years, and Hawk Vittles is by far the absolute worst I’ve experienced. I've tried six meals so far, and only finished one. That's an 83% failure rate.Oct 21, 2014 at 6:44 am #2143279
Yeah, I had to stop buying the HV meals.
They lost all of the flavor they had when I first started buying them.
They also got significantly harder to fully rehydrate – they are keeping the food in the dehydrator waaaaaay to long.
The portion sizes also kept getting smaller and smaller – I use to buy their spaghetti and lasagna in the large size and I could get three or four dinners from them.
I know at one point he just got so swamped with orders that he had to stop taking on new customers. It was at some point just before than that his meals went downhill in quality.
He told me once that he had three 9-tray excaliburs running 24/7 just to keep up with other orders. I had been placing orders of 50 meals and sometime shortly after my above post stopped buying from HV, I just could not take the decline in quality. They were awesome a few years ago though!Oct 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm #2143620
Five StarBPL Member
@mammomanLocale: NE AL
I have to respectfully disagree with some of the above reviewers….EYOE (eat your own eats!). I have used Hawk Vittles for years, and love many of their meals. Also a big fan of PackitGourmet.
Sierra Spaghetti- very filling and generously-sized portions, I like to add a bit of tabasco or Cholula.
Mushroom Linguini- outstanding with some extra parmesan cheese
Southwest Lasagna- a favorite of my wife.
Moroccan and North African Stews- my personal favorites….just a hint of sweetness.
The Italian Sausage and Pasta dishes are awesome. The hot one is spicy!
Breakfast grits and country quiche are a nice change-up for breakfast.
A couple of dinners that I didn't like so well were Cashew Curry and Stir-Fry SalmonOct 25, 2014 at 5:20 am #2144230
Jamie ShorttBPL Member
@jshorttLocale: North Carolina
I must say I am with John. Great experience with Hawk Vittles. This is hot off the press. I placed an order placed on Oct 8th. I think the order arrived the next week (it was quick). I went on a 3 day trip this week eating cowboy pasta the first night and black bean stew the second night. These were both absolutely fantastic.
The first meal was cooked at 6000' elevation with a temp in the upper 30's.
The second meal was cooked at maybe 4500' (not positive) at a temp in lower 40's.
Black Bean Stew
My method…boil water, add more than recommended (probably 3/4" higher than top of contents), and let sit in coozy for 20+ minutes. The meals have always been hot and well hydrated using this method. My max elevation is 6k feet. If going to 10k you might actually want to consider adding water and simmering. I am not sure you can get water hot enough for a good rehydrate at higher elevations.
On the amount… I personally find the amount of the meals to be perfect, but I am not a "big" eater. The "stews" are a smaller portion that I am not sure are intended to be a full meal. They would make a great lunch or can be supplemented with some dense bread. I brought 2.7 oz of bread with me to eat with the stew and after a 20 mile hiking day I can say it was absolutely amazing.
Blandness…the meals I had were not bland at all, the Black Bean pasta was exactly the opposite…it was full of taste. I don't think HV uses salt which might contribute to blander experience. I will say there were a couple of meals I have had in the past that yes I would call "not spicy". The two meals I ate this week were indeed full of flavor and spice. I think it depend on the recipe not the particular batch. One recommendation would be to bring a salt and pepper packet. Also read the ingredients and decide if you think a particular meals will be spicy enough.
I was a freezer bag guy…doing my own dehydrating and meal prep, but after trying Hawk Vittles I have not made my own meals since. These are simply too easy and too good.
JamieOct 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm #2144339
John RowanBPL Member
I'll chime in from the pro-Hawk Vittles camp as well, having used them for about 90% of my backcountry meals for the last two years.
While some of them are a bit on the blander side of things (linguini mushroom sauce and the country quiche come to mind), they've all been enjoyable and very filling meals for me, and I'll keep using them for everything that I do (unless I go through with my plan for a PCT thru next year, in which case I'll be going way, way cheaper). The big thing for me is that I feel like I'm eating real food, rather than just putting a ton of garbage into my body (a la Mountain House or pretty much any of the other food we all eat during our trips).
(Worth noting: I am a vegetarian and have been targeting the higher calorie meals. Thus, my experience is limited to about 6 of the offerings on the HV "menu")
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