Over the last couple years I have tried to find other options than standard brand name freeze dried meals for tasty on-trail dinners. Currently there is better variety in what is available from the companies such as Backpacker’s Pantry, Mountain House and Good to Go, though I do get bored with the selection by mid-summer. The time to rehydrate these meals at higher elevations is considerable, per the instructions, 40 minutes at 10,000 ft elevation can be a detractor after a long day on the trail.
Last year I subscribed to Backcountry Foodie. I started with a few of the simple recipes from this site and have slowly expanded into new recipes. I referenced the Backcountry Foodie’s pantry to start buying key basics. Now that I have many of the key basics such as shelf stable dairy products from Hoosier Hill Farms (directly from HHF or Amazon) and vegetables/fruits/soup mixes/textured vegetable protein from Harmony House Foods (directly from HH), I can build a variety of meals and tweak the flavors to suit mine or my wife’s taste preferences. Many other items are simple household spices.
Ryan Jordan had recommended Harmony House Foods, I believe in a masterclass. They have a broad product line that matches up well for backpackers. From soup mixes to freeze dried fruits, vegetables and fruit powders. Their tomato powder is one of my favorite building blocks with pasta.
I often dehydrate pasta and use this as the basis to build a meal though I do mix it up with quinoa and couscous. I find the simple dehydrated pasta meals rehydrates faster (10-15 minutes at higher elevations) than do freeze dried meals. I find a simple meal with quality ingredients make the most satisfying meal.
I often follow Backcountry Foodie recipes, but I do venture into personal creations. Backpacking Light Podcast 028 | Making Your Own Backpacking Meals provided great inspiration with some key insights. I made a Hatch Green Chile with sweet corn pasta after listening to the episode.
The approach does take a little more time to assemble the ingredients and dehydrate the pasta than buying off the shelf meals. We have been pleased with the end-result and the shorter wait times from boiling to eating.
I found the hardest part is taking the first step to select a couple similar recipes and buy the core ingredients. This appears to be a common hurdle based on comments at the Backcountry Foodie website. I wanted to share my experience with the BPL community. Please share any best practices you may have in creating backcountry dinners.
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