Freeze Dried Meals for Backpacking and Camping
Camping and backpacking are some of the most popular outdoor activities, but a good camping or backpacking trip takes careful planning. One of the biggest things to consider when heading out for one or more nights is what you will bring along to eat. If you’re going to be hiking to your destination, or if you’re going to be staying for multiple nights, it’s a huge advantage if the food you pack is light, nutritious, easy to prepare, and won’t require refrigeration or special storage. Due to its ability to meet all these demands, freeze dried food has been a popular choice for backpackers and campers, and several options are available in stores to purchase. By freeze drying at home, however, you can ensure that you’re getting high quality food, you aren’t using any preservatives, and you can take exactly what you want to eat.
High Quality Foods
Way too many foods that are packaged for campers are made from substandard foods. So many “ready-to-eat” meals are a poor mix of dehydrated noodles or rice, filler ingredients, and then a very small amount of freeze dried vegetables and meat along with a bunch of unhealthy food preservatives. As dehydrated food loses up to 60% of its nutrients, and fillers can be of negative nutritional value, these off-the-shelf products are a poor choice for camping. When you freeze dry at home, your foods will maintain 97% of its nutrients. You will also know exactly what is going into each meal, so fillers, preservatives, and lower-quality ingredients are easily avoided. Simply put, there’s no better freeze-dried meal for a backpacker than the one they prepare themselves at home with their own freeze dryer.
Pre-packaged meals are loaded with preservatives and food additives. These ingredients are often disguised as “natural flavors” or maybe even “flavor enhancers,” but they’re nothing more than unnatural ingredients used for processing food. 100% freeze dried food does not need any additives to maintain freshness nor does it need any additives to enhance flavor. The freeze drying process locks in flavor and freshness for up to 25 years. For more about the dangers of preservatives and additives, so our article on Food Additives to Avoid.
Eat Your Favorite Meals
When weight is at a premium, or there’s no access to refrigeration, many types of food become difficult to pack into the backcountry. However, with a freeze dryer everything changes. If you want to have lasagna miles deep in the woods, you can. How about scalloped potatoes or ice cream in the middle of the desert? No problem. You can freeze dry most any complete meal and immediately turn it into an easily packed and lightweight feast. Just heat up water and your favorite meal is ready to go in minutes. Best of all, it will look and taste exactly as it did the day you first prepared it.
Freeze Dry Leftovers to Have on Hand
To avoid wasting food, many freeze dryer owners will take their meal or ingredient leftovers and preserve them for later use. You can freeze dry what would normally go to waste, and that preserved food is an excellent meal to have on hand so you can take it on your next camping trip.