Podcast Episode June 30, 2020

Episode 28 | Making Your Own Backpacking Meals



In this episode of the Backpacking Light podcast, Andrew and Ryan discuss the gear, skills, and hacks you need to create your own backpacking meals. This giant two-hour episode is chock full of actionable tips, with input from Backpacking Light’s resident dehydration expert, Dave Swink, and Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD from the Backcountry Foodie.

Just a few of the things covered:

  • All the gear you’ll need to get started with at-home dehydration
  • How to make good backpacking meals using only ingredients from dollar stores
  • The best tricks to decrease food prep time and increase the taste and texture of your dehydration efforts
  • Which foods to dehydrate and which foods to stay away from
  • …and more!

Also in this episode:

  • Van life
  • A new Dyneema shelter from Tarptent
  • Luxury couples backpacking gear
  • What’s new at BPL


  • Introduction
  • Catching up
    • Ryan has been focusing on the live online Trek Planning Course.
    • Andrew is in the middle of a huge round-up of cottage industry pre-packaged backpacking meals.
  • Interview #1 – Dave Swink
    • How Dave got into dehydrating
    • Dave’s current setup
      • Nesco
      • Excaliber
      • Various tray types
      • Mandolin slicer + protective glove
      • Egg slicer
    • Prep time is the biggest barrier to entry
    • Some of the skills Dave has learned to lessen prep time
    • The problem of blueberries
    • Foods that are good (and bad) for dehydration
      • Fruits are great for snacks
      • Bananas are great for flavoring
      • Watermelon is surprisingly dehydratable
    • Meal bases and rice types
    • Keeping meals simple
    • The importance of food safety
    • Dave’s favorite successes
    • The importance of variety and texture
    • Food saver bags vs. ziplock style baggies
    • Dave’s favorite resources
    • Dave’s desert island food picks
  • Dehydrating Skills
    • The advantage of preparing separate ingredients
    • Fats, oils, and meats
    • Cold soaking
      • Techniques, pros, and cons
    • Ryan’s hacks for food-prep efficiency
      • Large blocks of food prep time
      • Testing in the field vs. testing at home
    • Spoiled meals
    • Freeze-dried meats vs. dehydrated meats
  • Dehydrating Gear
  • What’s New at BPL?
  • New Favorite Thing
  • Interview #2 – Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD
    • Prepping food for the PCT
    • How Aaron went from a thru-hiker to owning her own business
    • Backcountry Foodie’s early days as a 1-on-1 consulting business
    • Aaron’s cookbook
    • Backcountry Foodie’s current online/membership-driven model
      • Recipes
      • Meal planning
      • A curated list of resources
    • Food misinformation on the internet
    • Some common mistakes people make when making backpacking meals
      • Fuel yourself on the trail like you fuel yourself at home (hopefully in a healthy fashion!)
      • Avoid flavor fatigue with variety and enough spices and flavors!
    • Aaron’s guiding principles for meal planning (it’s more than about calories/ oz)
      • Eating as you eat at home
      • Water needed for each recipe
      • Pliability and space
      • Macros
    • Maximizing food
    • Aaron’s tips for making logistics easier
      • How to re-supply from non-premium grocery store chains
      • Knowledge + creativity + being open to new things
    • How to get 700 calories into a powdered drink
      • Using bags instead of bottles for meal replacement shakes
    • Reading food labels
    • Van life
      • Having a dog
      • Showers and such
    • How Aaron measures success for her business and life
    • Plans for the future
      • On trail food trucks?
      • Making and packaging Backcountry Foodie meals
    • Advice for making a career out of a love of the outdoors
      • Take the leap!
      • Research, study, and learning
      • Adjusting your expectations
      • Make use of webinars
      • Get a business coach
      • Figure out how to weed out good advice from bad advice
      • Tap into people that have skills that you don’t
    • Aaron’s favorite backcountry meal
    • How Aaron comes up with her ideas
    • Creating recipes while in the van
  • Aaron is a utilitarian coffee drinker


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