Choosing the right freeze-dried food for backpacking requires a lot of planning.
Backpackers love freeze-dried food because they are lightweight, highly nutritious, taste great, and easy to prepare (rehydrate). Most importantly, freeze-dried foods have an incredible shelf life.
Freeze-dried food can last for a year and even more when adequately preserved.
How are freeze-dried food made?
Raw ingredients and food are cooked and then transferred into a freeze dryer. The freeze dryer freezes the food solid, creates a vacuum condition. Then as the temperate slowly increases, the frozen water content in the food vaporizes.
Freeze-dried foods have about 97 percent of the water content removed. Less water content means a higher shelf life.
You can buy an excellent home-use freeze drier here.
How to preserve freeze-dried backpacking food
After freeze-drying your food, you can store them in an air-tight container. This is done to prevent it from reabsorbing moisture from the air, which causes spoilage.
Using Mylar bags is one cheap and quick option. You can also put oxygen absorber into Mylar bags to prevent oxygen from getting in and spoiling the food. The bags can be sealed with a flat iron, hot iron, or an impulse sealer.
Cans are also good ways to preserve freeze-dried backpacking food. You may have to buy a can sealer for this, which is somewhat costly.
Vacuum-sealed plastic bags are suitable for all food types except high-protein foods like meats.
For foods you want to consume in a month or two, resealable containers or jars should work. Oxygen absorbers can improve the shelf life here too.
Air-tight jars are great for snacks like ice cream, cheesecake, yogurt, veggies, and fruits. Without oxygen absorbers, freeze-dried food in air-tight jars can last in the pantry for a few months.
How to eat freeze-dried food?
You have to rehydrate your freeze-dried backpacking food to enjoy it. Since freeze-dried foods do not need cooking, you have to soak it in hot or cold water, depending on your preference.
Where to Buy Freeze-Dried Food
Are you a backpacker looking to stockpile freeze-dried food for your next adventure? If you don’t have the time or resources to freeze-dry your food, you can effortlessly purchase freeze-dried foods online and have it delivered or buy them in some local grocery stores.
You can buy a variety of delicious freeze-dried backpacking food here.
Things to consider before buying freeze-dried backpacking food:
When buying a freeze-dried product for your next backpacking trip, ensure the brand delivers on high nutritional content.
While backpacking, you need a balanced diet to stay healthy. Examine the nutrient information on the package and ensure they have your necessary carbs, fats, and proteins to power your hike. You may consider supplementing your meals with cheeses, dried meats, or include needed carbs or protein.
It’s important to note that some foods cook more naturally and faster than others. As a backpacker on-the-go, you want something that can efficiently be rehydrated and heated. Freeze-dried meals are often pre-cooked. You have to add cold or hot water (following the instructions on the pack) and soak for ten to twenty minutes. This would make your food a lot more palatable. Buy freeze-dried food that wouldn’t be a hassle to prepare.
Taste wins every time. You want your backpacking trip to be a delicious one. Only trusted manufacturers of freeze-dried foods provide the most satisfying flavors. Aroma comes with texture, so you have to be very picky when making a buying decision. To know the brands you enjoy, it’s recommended you make test samples before going on your trip. It’s not enough to have hot filling meals; it should be tasteful too.
One good rule is to go for freeze-dried options of your favorite meals.
For more flavor, you can stack packets pepper, salt, dried cheese, hot sauce, and olive oil in your backpack.
Freeze-dried foods are incredibly lightweight due to their low water content. Ensure your carry enough food you can easily carry and would serve you along your trail. Take servings per pouch into consideration and make room for emergency food.
A rational weight plan (for one person per day) is 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. of food (2,500-4,500 calories). For a person doing strenuous hiking (up a mountain or long-distance), more food would be needed than someone just chilling at a campsite.
While it’s important not to skimp on quality, you should consider your budget too. Look at the cost per calorie, and see how this fits in your dietary plans. As a backpacker, you can save a ton of money by buying your freeze-dried food in bulk or making DIY freeze-dried meals with a freeze drier.
For health-conscious people, a clean label is essential. Some manufacturers boast of wholly natural ingredients, while others are filled with chemical preservatives. Examine the ingredient list before making a buying decision.
Freeze-Dried Food For Camping
Listed below are some freeze-dried foods great for camping.
- Freeze-dried fruits and veggies
Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are camping delights. You need vitamins and minerals to stay active along the trail. Besides, fruits and veggies are delicious and filling. Veggies can be used for soups, and fruits make for tasty camping snacks.
Depending on your preference, you can pack freeze-dried fruits banana chips, blueberries, apple slices, peaches, mangoes, strawberries, or pineapples.
For vegetables, you can pack freeze-dried broccoli, green beans, and even asparagus.
- Freeze-dried meat
Another winner is freeze-dried chicken and beef. Protein is ultimately filling, tasty, and great for energy. You should go for 100% USDA freeze-dried beef and chicken dices.
You can enjoy carb-rich mashed potatoes after a long day on the trail.
- Freeze-dried mushrooms
Fortify your soups with mushrooms. Freeze-dried mushrooms are shelf-stable and delicious.
Buy freeze-dried food for backpacking here.
Freeze-dried foods are loved by backpackers—hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts—because such foods (while guaranteeing a long shelf life) keep much of their nutritional value, even up to 97 percent of the original nutrient composition.