FOOD & COOKING

Best Backpacking Food: Tasty Gourmet Meals On The Go

Friends hike and food
Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

When talking about survival and life in the outdoors, and during emergency type situations we start thinking about food. When you consider the food, you tend to think about preservation and shelf life and stuff like that.

There are obvious benefits from dehydrated and freeze-dried stored food such as; they both give the food a great long shelf life which is a key factor for outdoor enthusiasts. Dehydrated foods have been claimed to last for about 20 years or more, which is awesome news for you, but that’s also if they don’t get wet. Just use the portion that you need and seal up the rest. It saves you bundles.

Backpacking food

But with freeze-dried, once the package is opened, it must be consumed within a matter of days. Freeze-dried foods tend to rehydrate better than dehydrated foods and in terms of taste it depends on you.

Backpackers Favorite Foods

We have scoured the market to find for you the best tasting and best backpacking food on the market right now. See which ones made the cut.

Backpacker’s Pantry Granola with Milk & Blueberries

Weight: 0.87 ouncesBackpackers pantry

Dimensions: 9” x 7” x 2”

Made by: Backpacker’s Pantry

Serving Size: 1

Shelf Life: 7 years

Content/Main Ingredients: Whole grain oats, butter (pasteurized cream [milk], salt), brown sugar, coconut, almonds, salt, whole milk, freeze-dried organic blueberries.

Best Use: Hiking, backpacking, emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, fishing, travelling, occasional everyday and alternative complete meals for persons without cooking facilities, disaster relief.

Warming and tasty wholesome granola made in traditional small-batch style: hand baked with real butter, almonds, blueberries, and coconut in rBST free whole milk. This is what you can expect from Backpacker’s Pantry Granola with Milk & Berries.

It makes one 7 oz serving and contains 16 grams of protein. So easy to prepare, just add cold or hot water. Persons who suffer with allergies may want to take notice of the following contents; milk, coconut and almonds.

Preparation is totally simple; rip off the top of the bag and open the seal. Then remove and discard the enclosed oxygen absorber. Next, put 1 cup of water to boil (if you plan on enjoying a hot meal), or add 1 cup of cold water to the pouch. Stir thoroughly, then relax and bon appetit!

This meal, just like all other Backpacker Pantry gourmet meals, is made up of a combination of high-quality spices and freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients. This particular combination allows the meal to be creative as well as satisfying to the taste buds.

This particular backpacking meal is just right for those who love and appreciate that home-made type of breakfast they would have gotten if at home, but they can still enjoy it even in the backcountry. It especially comes in handy on those cold and nippy mornings when you need something hot to warm you up while filling you up as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Backpacker’s Pantry Katmandu CurryBackpacker’s Pantry Katmandu Curry

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions: 8” x 1” 10”

Made by: Backpacker’s Pantry

Serving Size: 2

Shelf Life: 7 years

Content/Main Ingredients: Lentils, precooked parboiled long grain brown rice, potatoes, carrots, peas, sauce (salt, garlic, turmeric, coriander seed, cumin seed, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, dill weed, fennel seed).

Best Use: Hiking, backpacking, emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, fishing, travelling, occasional everyday and alternative complete meals for persons without cooking facilities, disaster relief.

Conjuring images of the Himalayas, and eating dhal bhat, this curry warms the soul in this delicious dish of lentils, brown rice, potatoes, peas and carrots. This is what you can expect from Backpacker’s Pantry Katmandu Curry. This pouch makes two 14oz servings and is high in protein, is gluten free and a vegan dish for all those of you who are looking for that meat free satisfying, good for you, complete meal.

Preparation is totally simple; rip off the top of the bag and open the seal. Then remove and discard the enclosed oxygen absorber. Next, put 2 3/4 cups of hot water to boil. When boiled, add the hot water to the pouch. Stir thoroughly, then relax and bon apetite!

This meal, just like all other Backpacker Pantry gourmet meals, is made up of a combination of high-quality spices and freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients. This particular combination allows the meal to be creative as well as satisfying to the taste buds.

This particular backpacking meal is just right for those who love and appreciate that home-made type of lunch with a little curry flavor, that they would have gotten if at home, but they can still enjoy it even in the backcountry.

It especially comes in handy on those cold and nippy afternoons when hunger strikes and you need something hot to warm you up while filling you up as well.

Some reviews on this backpacking meal scored low for taste and spiciness, however, if anyone knows curry and spices, they would know that a curry meal is bound to have a little heat to it. So if you’re not a fan of heat, then we wouldn’t recommend this one.

Other customers were really happy with the flavor and spiciness of this meal, and scored it high for its great flavor and referred to it as being “delicious”.

Check the price on Amazon

Mountain House Freeze-Dried Breakfast Skillet

Mountain House Freeze-Dried Breakfast SkilletWeight: 0.4 pounds

Dimensions: 9” x 7” x 3”

Made by: Mountain House

Serving Size: 2

Shelf Life: 12+ years

Content/Main Ingredients: Hash browns, scrambled eggs, pork sausage patty, peppers and onions.

Best Use: Hiking, backpacking, emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, fishing, travelling, occasional everyday and alternative complete meals for persons without cooking facilities, disaster relief.

Filling hash browns, savory sausage, tasty veggies and scrambled eggs all team up to make the legendary Mountain House Freeze-Dried Breakfast Skillet. Bursting with flavor and protein, it’s no wonder this is one of their most popular breakfast items for fueling explorers everywhere.

This pouch contains two 1 cup servings and is quite filling indeed. For those of you who are concerned about allergies, you might want to be aware of the following contents; eggs, wheat, milk, soy.

For nearly 50 years, Mountain House has been the premier choice of campers, backpackers and survival experts. Born out of freeze-dried meals that they make for the United States Special Forces, Mountain House has a proven history of reliability and most importantly, delicious flavor. They also back their meals with a 30 year taste guarantee! Now you can’t beat that for freeze-dried meals.

Some customer reviews about this product were less than satisfactory where one person claimed it was too salty and others were not fans of the mushy taste or look. A whopping 84% of customer reviews gave this breakfast meal 4 and 5 stars and claimed that it was a really good buy and tastes really great.

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Mary Jane’s Farm Organic Spuds with SpinachMary Jane Spuds with Spinach

Weight: 2.8 ounces

Dimensions: 1” x 7” x 9”

Made by: Mary Jane’s Farm

Serving Size: 1.5

Shelf Life: 2 years

Content/Main Ingredients: Organic potato flakes (organic potatoes, mono- & diglycerides), organic white sharp cheddar cheese (organic cheddar cheese (organic milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes {vegetable rennet}), organic tapioca maltodextrin, salt, lactic acid, citric acid, natural mixed tocopherols), Sea Salt, Organic Spinach, Organic Garlic, Organic Onions, and Organic Black Pepper.

Best Use: Hiking, backpacking, emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, fishing, travelling, occasional everyday and alternative complete meals for persons without cooking facilities, disaster relief.

These Mary Jane’s Farm Organic Spuds with Spinach meals are just delicious!  Completely missing that weird flavor that you taste in other instant potatoes, these potatoes provided in this entree are unbelievably perfect, healthy and super easy. It is quickly becoming known as the best dehydrated food on the market.

To make, simply add boiling water directly into the pouch and grab a spoon. There is absolutely no waiting for this meal. Mary Jane’s Farm Organic Spuds with Spinach is made from 100% organic ingredients, and you bet your bottom dollar that this entree was made to feed one hungry camper.

It’s perfect for whatever mode of trail travel you choose – backpackers, hikers, mountain bikers, climbers, llama trekkers, equestrians, fishers, cross-country skiers, boaters and rafters. Guaranteed no dehydrated taste, but totally home-cooked flavor all the way.

Check the price on Amazon

Good to Go Herbed Mushroom Risotto

Weight: 7.7 ounces (shipping weight)Mushoom Risotto

Dimensions: 8” x 8” x 1”

Made by: Good to Go

Serving Size: 2

Shelf Life: 2 years

Content/Main Ingredients: Arborio Rice, Cremini Mushrooms, Onion, White Wine, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Garlic, Sweet Rice Flour, Walnuts, Basil, Kosher Salt, Thyme, Black Pepper. Also contains: Walnuts, Sulfites.

Best Use: Hiking, backpacking, emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, fishing, travelling, occasional everyday and alternative complete meals for persons without cooking facilities, disaster relief.

This Good to Go Herbed Mushroom Risotto is made the old school way, by first lightly cooking onions in olive oil. Then the rice is added, coating all the grains and then comes in the white wine.

While gently stirring in this mixture, the hot mushroom stock is added to achieve a creamy and yummy consistency. Finally, the basil pesto and sautéed mushrooms are added to complete this dish. Very people-friendly, it’s gluten free and ideal for vegans.

Good to Go creates all natural, dehydrated gourmet meals that are light, easy to pack, and reconstitute to a delicious hot meal in just 20 minutes, so that you can enjoy a homemade entree anywhere you go. Clearly, one of the best backpacking meals on the market.

If you’re looking to pair this meal, consider this; there’s a belief that since Risotto traditionally is served as a first course, it should be paired with white wine. This mushroom risotto, if eaten let’s say for example, on a mountain top, may be the only course served.

The mushrooms give the rice an earthy quality that pairs very well with a red. As a suggestion, a Pinot Noir will gladly go hand in hand with this sophisticated dish, nicely transported in a Platypus for easy in and out.

One customer didn’t like the richness of this meal and another felt that it tasted a little grainy. However, the majority of customers who purchased and tried this mushroom risotto felt that this was the best tasting of all dehydrated meals that they’ve ever had.

Others were so grateful that vegetarians were catered for in this meal, and of course, there was no sacrifice made for the taste. Receiving a number of 5 stars, one customer even referred to it as being “Restaurant quality camp food”.

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Harmony House Foods Dried Vegetable Soup Mix

Weight: 12.8 ounces (shipping weight)Harmony House Foods Soup Mix

Dimensions: 3.7” x 3” x 5”

Made by: Harmony House

Serving Size: 16 servings per container

Shelf Life: 12 – 24 months

Content/Main Ingredients: Carrots, Onions, Tomatoes, Peas, Celery, Green Bell Peppers, Green Beans, Parsley. No additives or preservatives, Non-GMO, Gluten free, Kosher OU.

Best Use: Hiking, backpacking, emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, fishing, travelling, occasional everyday and alternative complete meals for persons without cooking facilities, disaster relief.

This 12 ounce jar of Harmony House Foods Soup Dried Vegetable Mix is labeled as a “bestseller” and contains a full quart (4 cups) of Harmony House Foods’ Premium Vegetable Soup blend. There’s no need to chop the onions, dice the carrots, or cut the tomatoes. The work has already been done for you! This mix contains a minced version of carrots, onions, tomatoes, peas, celery, green bell peppers, green beans, and parsley.

It’s unseasoned, so you can add just the right amount of seasoning to your taste or as you desire. If you prefer not to add any seasoning at all, then all the better for you. You can use this as a soup mix, or add it to any dish that requires a combination of vegetables such as Shepherd’s pie. With a 1 cup mix to 6 cups water ratio, this soup blend goes a long way.

Several customers commented on the fact that there were many pieces in this mix that didn’t rehydrate and they had to pick them out. Other persons weren’t too happy with the taste claiming that it tasted okay but not great.

One other person thought it had too many carrots. A quick suggestion to resolve this is to allow the pouch to sit for double the recommended time after adding the hot water, to allow everything to rehydrate.

Check the price on Amazon

Harmony House Foods, The Original Backpacking Kit

Weight: 3 poundsHarmony House Kit

Dimensions: /

Made by: Harmony House

Serving Size: 70

Shelf Life: 12 – 24 months

Content/Main Ingredients: 18 Pouches; Carrots (2), Diced potatoes (2), Green Peas (2), Tomato Dices, Sweet Celery, Cut Green Beans, Sweet Corn, Green Cabbage, Mixed Red & Green Peppers, Chopped Onions, Black Beans, Northern Beans, Lentils, Red Beans and Pinto Beans. Non-GMO, gluten free, Kosher OU.

Best Use: Hiking, backpacking, emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, fishing, travelling, occasional everyday kitchen use and alternative complete meals for persons without cooking facilities, disaster relief.

This is The Harmony House Original Backpacking Kit, winner of the coveted “Editor’s Choice Award” from Backpacker Magazine back in 2007. It’s also Harmony House’s #1 Bestseller. The Backpacking kit continues to be a customer favorite year after year. Backpacker Magazine describes it as “An insane deal, one that will lift your backwoods chow to new heights”.

Designed for those who love the outdoors and hit the trail, this Backpacking Kit comes with Harmony House’s exclusive resalable one cup Zip Pouches (18 of them). For a list of the contents, please see Content/Main Ingredients. They are really great tasting vegetables and premium products.

When ready, just zip open the pouch, pour the desired amount in your cooking pot, simmer, season, and enjoy. Do you have to simmer the ingredients before eating them? No. You can simply soak them in water and they will be ready to go.

Make sure to pick up some of Harmony House’s empty Zip Pouches, so that you can divide your meals and be prepared for the trail. The pouches are resalable, so you can use just the amount you want and save the rest for later. A recipe sheet will be included with your kit, in case you’re a little overwhelmed by what you get, and may not be sure how to get started.

And guess what? If you’re not ready for the trail, the Backpacking Kit is great for the home kitchen as well! Oh yes. Just pop it in the pantry and enjoy the convenience of ready-to-cook food. Whether on the trail or in the kitchen, this kit really is a winner!

Some customers were not very happy with the taste of some of the vegetables and beans. Other customers were overall real happy with their purchase. They claimed that the Backpacking Kit has “good nutrition and weight” and is a “great backpacking necessity”. It’s just important to keep in mind that since these are not pre seasoned or flavored, when you go backpacking, be prepared to walk with your seasonings too.

Due to this fact, this may not be the best hiking food out there. However, if that’s not your ideal idea of eating on the go, then maybe an alternative product from Harmony House would suit you.

Check the price on Amazon

The Verdict

And there you have it folks! The top 7 Meals on the Go available on the market today. So there should be no guess work on what’s out there and which ones are the best.

They’re all right here. Whether they’re freeze-dried or dehydrated, they will do what they claim, which is to fill you up and satisfy that hunger. So stock up on them and enjoy your chow down time.

Group Contents

What is your favorite backpacking meal? Do you look for something in particular for food or a specific style of cooking?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.

  • John Millard

    If you’re looking for a delicious and meat-free option, allow me to recommend the Backpacker’s Pantry Katmandu Curry. It’s mildly spiced and not too salty at all. And it is so delicious; I am definitely bringing it with me on future camping trips!

  • Sean Nelson

    Yeah, hands down my favorite backpacking curry. Whoever thought about this is a genius, meriting a medal. This has always been a satisfying meal for everyone in camp and it’s an understatement to say we can eat this all week long! 🙂

  • Steve Roman

    I’ve been a fan of Harmony House Foods, The Original Backpacking Kit, for the last few years. It’s a great way to carry food with you without having to lug a bunch of cans around. They are so tasty and also really easy to use; great backpacking food!

  • Sean Nelson

    You’re referring to the dried vegetable soup mix, right? This is really tasty and filling after a doing some extensive activity in camp.
    In addition to home-style camping food, gourmet meal are most welcome. Nothing beats the flavor, texture and taste of gourmet meals, though.

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