Gear Review_ Dried Backpacking Meals


Tasty, nutritious, filling meals is as necessary as climate and surroundings to the enjoyment of in a single day camps. Exploring some lengthy distance Scottish routes this 12 months whereas researching a brand new guidebook has seen us attempt plenty of dried tenting meals alongside our “go to” staples of instantaneous mash, cup-a-soups, noodles and couscous.

We tried a choice of meals from most manufacturers together with meat and vegan, fundamental meals, breakfast and dessert choices the place obtainable. The choice included manufacturers that dehydrate the entire meal (mentioned to protect flavour), meals the place components are dried individually after which mixed, and freeze drying which prolongs shelf life and is alleged to supply a greater texture. A lot of the choices could be rehydrated with chilly water and loads of time however having tried this, we discovered that, while the outcomes had been edible, the expertise was miserable and never one thing we’d do besides in an emergency. We in contrast weight, value, energy, rehydrating time, ease of use, shelf life, texture and extra subjectively, style and the way satisfying they had been. Right here’s what we discovered:



£7.45 for normal meals (approx 400kcal – energy differ per flavour) £9.45 for further giant 700kcal meals.

These are slow-cooked meals utilizing entire and simply recognisable components (no palm oil) which are dehydrated utilizing industrial dryers. Rehydration time was the longest of the meals on check – quarter-hour for some fundamental meals which appears like a protracted wait when you’ve pitched camp. Nonetheless texture and style was wonderful. We favored the vary of attention-grabbing flavours with plenty of vegan and gluten-free choices (favourites of ours included the Inexperienced Gumbo and Barbecued Pulled Pork fundamental meals and Toasted Banana Porridge). There aren’t any desserts or snacks within the vary.

The slim, deep packaging doesn’t arise brilliantly by itself and given the lengthy rehydration instances, we tended to take a seat the pack in a woolly hat to maintain it upright and heat. The fill line on the within of the packaging is pretty straightforward to see and use however a protracted spoon is greatest for stirring and consuming to the underside of the pack. Firepot has launched optionally available compostable packaging, though this isn’t speculated to get moist, we did use this packaging in the identical manner because the waterproof baggage, ie. pouring in boiling water, stirring, resting and consuming from the packet, and had no issues. The load and calorie rely varies somewhat between meals however averages round 110g for the common measurement meals and 160g for the additional giant. Lengthy shelf life. These had been meals that we might look ahead to and the additional giant possibility is nice for when energy actually matter.

Tent Meals

£4.90 for 500kcal fundamental meals, £5.90 for 800kcal fundamental meals, breakfasts £4.20 and £4.90

Tent Meals produces a variety of 4 vegan fundamental meals and 5 vegan breakfast choices each in two sizes. Made utilizing pure and recognisable components, these meals had minimally packaging. They include dehydrated carbs (rice, cous cous or oats) supplemented with seeds, nuts, dried fruit and pure flavourings. These are vacuum packed in tiny baggage quite than in a pouch you them hydrate in; every meal is stunning small (suppose lower than a can of fizzy drink for the massive measurement meal) and really packable – nice when you had a bigger quantity for a protracted journey. Though the bag can be utilized to measure the quantity of water wanted, a separate pan or giant mug is required to rehydrate the meal in, one thing to remember when you are likely to camp simply utilizing a range kettle. Weight hovers round 111g for the 500kcal meals and 204g for the 800kcal choices, good ratios particularly mixed with the low weight of packaging you’ll want to hold out (round 3.5g per meal). Optimum rehydration time was round 10 minutes with 450ml working nicely for the 500kcal meals. Tent Meals have a shorter shelf lifetime of round 6 – 12 months (the corporate says it solely sells meals with lower than 6 months in its clearance part)

Our verdict? Surprisingly tasty (our favourites had been Almond Jalfrezi fundamental meal and the Tremendous Seed and Purple Berry breakfast), with a superb texture and nice calorie rely for the burden and value. Actually just like the small packaging and lack of waste. It’s straightforward to style the person components quite than feeling you might be shovelling down a single-taste slop. While it seems to be like one thing you may be capable of put collectively at residence, it’s really well-spiced and flavoured and it could be troublesome to recreate the identical dehydration and small packaging. Not one for anybody who doesn’t like, or is allergic to, nuts.

Huel Sizzling & Savoury

£18.75 for 658g bag (accommodates 7 meals at 400kcal every) – £2.68 per 400kcal meal (94g), £4 per 600kcal meal (141g)- bulk reductions obtainable.

Huel has come a good distance from its inception as a nutritionally full drink aimed toward Silicon Valley tech staff involved about vitamin however too busy to cook dinner. Whereas it nonetheless produces a variety of meal substitute shakes made utilizing chilly water, it not too long ago launched a Sizzling & Savoury vary, in 10 flavours, which it says offers, “full meals that’s excessive in protein, fibre and important fat, and accommodates a balanced macro cut up of 38:30:25:7 (carbohydrate, fats, protein, fibre), phytonutrients and all 26 important nutritional vitamins and minerals.” All Huel merchandise are vegan and comprise no soy, palm oil or GM foodstuffs.

Huel is available in giant baggage quite than individually packaged meals, which you’ll then divide up as you want. It’s slighty faffy to prepare beforehand as you should stir the massive bag of Sizzling & Savoury completely to combine up the components earlier than utilizing the offered scoop to measure out meals into baggage. 2 scoops equals a 400kcal meal and desires round 200ml of water, 3 scoops and 300ml for 600kcal. The lidded cup (supplied with first order) has a measuring line for the quantity of water wanted for two scoops and works nicely for rehydrating each sizes of meal however it loses warmth so must be positioned in a hat or related for insulation whereas rehydrating.

While not scientific I felt fuller for longer after consuming this than a number of the different manufacturers, though I’d go for the three scoop possibility for a night meal and a couple of scoops for a lunch. When Huel first launched, the web was awash with tales about it inflicting digestive points which may very well be a giant deal out on a backpack. We’re glad to report that we felt no digestive ill-effects by any means from one giant meal a day for a number of days however, as with all of the manufacturers, it most likely is smart to check these meals out on quick journeys or at residence earlier than embarking on a 3 week trek.

The truth that you make up your personal meals for every journey means it is rather versatile and there’s a lot much less waste packaging not like a number of the extra conventional meals. It additionally works out cheaper than the competitors.


Our verdict? A lot tastier than anticipated, our favorite three flavours had been Inexperienced Thai Curry, Pasta Bolognese and Chick’n & Mushroom Pasta. All had been actually flavoursome and, whereas a bit sloppy, had sufficient texture to make them really feel like a correct meal. Lengthy shelf life, cheaper than different manufacturers though bulk shopping for is required, positively a superb possibility for a protracted multi-day backpack the place weight and good vitamin is a significant component. This additionally rehydrated fairly nicely utilizing scorching water from a flask so I’d contemplate taking this for a morale-boosting scorching lunch on a winter day stroll.

Journey Meals

£5.50 – £6 fundamental meals (600kcal, 142g – 156g), £5 – £5.50 breakfast and desserts (600kcal, 142g)

Based by Hans van der Meulen, the primary Dutch individual to summit Everest with out supplemental oxygen and likewise an Arctic expeditioner, Journey Meals produce a different vary of fundamental meals in plenty of flavours together with a vegan and vegetarian choices, 3 breakfasts and three desserts. The strong foil packet that stands up nicely and retains realtively heat whereas rehydrating, fill line is marked on each out and inside however may very well be simpler to see on the within. The rehydration time is 8 minutes which was sufficient. Common meals use between 280ml and 350ml of boiling water. 2 12 months shelf life.

Total these had been pretty tasty with the veggie couscous being our favorite and the breakfasts feeling notably hearty and preserving us full for longer. Fairly a number of extremely processed objects on the ingredient record however a superb weight-calorie ratio. Not the tastiest on check, however nonetheless ok to look ahead to, and cheaper than some manufacturers.

Summit to Eat

£7.79 common fundamental meals (approx 650kcal,130g) £9.99 large pack fundamental meal (approx 1000 kcal, 217g), breakfasts and desserts £6.99 – £7.79

A wide variety of freeze dried meals together with vegan choices, two sizes of fundamental meals and breakfast and desserts. We discovered these had been the tastiest of the meal manufacturers examined, with an affordable texture and straightforward to make use of, strong pouch with seen fill line and 10 minute rehydrating time. The common meals use 300ml of boiling water and don’t lose an excessive amount of warmth throughout rehydrating. Very lengthy shelf life.

Our favorite fundamental meals embody the Hen Tikki (meat texture is sweet), Macaroni Cheese and the Bean Cassoulet. Particular point out must be made from the Chocolate Mousse with Cherry & Granola – a night deal with price preventing over, or not less than preserve one in your pack throughout a multi-day hike for when you really want a lift. The least mentioned in regards to the Scrambled Egg with Cheese the higher – this breakfast possibility does doesn’t work for us for both flavour or texture, the opposite breakfast on provide Morning Oats with Raspberry is gorgeous. Total a superb ratio of calorie for weight and nice vary of flavours.

Expedition Meals

£8.25 fundamental meals (450kcal, 78g) £9.99 fundamental meals (800kcal, 160g) £10.99 fundamental meals (100kcal, 188g) together with 2 vegan choices, some vegetarian meals and a variety of breakfasts and desserts.

Expedition Meals produce an enormous vary of meals in 450, 800 and 1000kcal packs. Just like the opposite freeze dried meals right here, the resealable pouch is opened, the oxygen eater sachet eliminated, boiling water added and stirred, re-seal and anticipate it to rehydrated (on this case the acknowledged time is 5 minutes), stir once more and eat. While the packaging has fill line markers on the skin, the label doesn’t say which one to fill to however simply states the quantity of water (250ml for the 800kcal meal), a transparent fill line would make it simpler. We discovered we wanted so as to add somewhat extra water to the meals and depart them a few further minutes to get a greater texture.


We had been solely despatched one meal to check (thai inexperienced rooster curry with rice) so can’t touch upon the vegan or breakfast/dessert choices; we might describe the style and texture of the curry as being honest. The rooster items remained somewhat laborious however general the meal was nonetheless fairly tasty and filling, simply not one thing to get overly excited by. Good for a tricky expedition; for journeys the place excessive energy are the precedence, the bigger meals present the most effective vitality to weight ratio of the manufacturers on check.