Camping is all about enjoying nature and being as unfettered as possible. If you have to lug boxes and bags of food or industrial sized coolers along with you on your trip, it kind of spoils the vibe. But you get hungry, right? And you are probably also on vacation, so you don’t necessarily want to live on protein bars that taste like sawdust. Freeze-dried foods are the perfect answer for campers who want lightweight supplies and tasty food. That’s right, tasty food. Freeze-dried food doesn’t have to remind you of MRE’s from your army days, and it doesn’t have to be full of chemicals and preservatives like a lot of packaged products. In fact you can freeze dry almost any of your favorite foods and enjoy it out on the trail. No preservatives. No mysterious ingredients. No wondering where it came from. And, it’s very easy to freeze dry your own food.
The freeze-drying process allows food to retain its nutritional value, taste and texture. Our freeze dryers first freeze your fresh food and then remove 98% of the moisture (and weight) from them. Your freeze-dried food can be safely stored in airtight bags until you’re ready to eat. Reconstituting freeze-dried food is easy; just add warm or hot water and your meal, wait a few minutes, and the food will return to its original texture, taste and shape.
Here are some of our favorite camping meals and snacks to freeze dry:
- Fresh fruit cut up in bite-size pieces
- Macaroni and cheese
- Scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables and cheese
- Soup kits
- Grilled Tuscan chicken breasts
- Biscuits and gravy
- Loaded baked potato casserole
- Vegetable ratatouille
Now that you’ve lightened up the chuck wagon, here are a seven more ways to reduce gear weight:
- Pack lightweight layers of clothing rather than a few heavy layers. It is particularly important to skip most cotton and wool items as they are heavy and hold moisture. Your nearby outdoor store will have a plethora of lightweight items that insulate while wicking moisture away from your skin.,
- Leave the trail guidebook at home – just photocopy, tear out the pages you need, or load to your smartphone (which doubles as camera, flashlight and entertainment system).
- Don’t take more than an extra change of anything – wear one change of clothes while the other is drying.
- Don’t take entire tubes of sunscreen or insect repellant – transfer 1 oz. per 3 days of your trip into small, lightweight bottles.
- Replace your sleeping bag or tent with lightweight versions if they weigh more than 40 ounces.
- Don’t take a towel. Dry yourself with the clean shirt you’re about to put on. Your body heat will dry it out in just a few minutes.
- Think twice about the gadgets and gear that can be so appealing in the outdoor supply store.