best freeze dried food

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022

Just as the world might go into existential crisis, it is crucial to have a substantial amount of non-perishable foods stocked up. Though the term ‘freeze-dried’ was previously much related to ‘astronaut food’, but not anymore.

Food that lasts for an extremely long time whilst maintaining taste and nutritional values are key points to attract buyers just like you and me. These are the main key points that will attract a person to purchase the best survival food kits, which you can read more about here.

For me, these range of food are must-haves during my expeditions in the wilderness. Not only that, they really could come in handy during times of emergencies or for long-term food storage too.

In this review, I would be presenting freeze-dried meals which could be customised to your liking and dietary restrictions. With numerous permutations and combinations of selections to make up a 3-course meal, I am pretty sure that there is something for everyone.

Pick a dish from each of the following sections, and there you have it, you very own 3-course meal. Simple right? Who says that being in the wilderness limits your diet? Eat your hearts out even in times of crisis or in the epicentre of nature.

Freeze-Drying Technology

Initially intended to preserve biological material, freeze-drying technology is now widely used in the food sector to extend its shelf life by years. Generally, it involves two steps as previously mentioned – freezing and subsequently drying.

This method of preserving food involves removing moisture from the food in a cold environment instead of heating, which tends to have less effects on the nutritional values and taste of the food.

In freeze-drying, the food is initially cooked (where necessary) and then frozen. This would enable moisture from the food to be removed via sublimation (solid to vapour matter phase change). The food which is frozen solid now enters the drying stage which happens in a vacuum.

About 95% of the moisture is removed via sublimation. A secondary drying stage would be involved which removes any leftover moisture in the food.

This technology is widely used in instant coffee or chocolate pre-mix powders. Water would be added to “reactivate or revive” the food back to its natural state before consumption.

However, this method of food preservation also works for fruits and even ice-cream. The magic happens in our mouths when the food is activated via our saliva.

Difference between Freeze-Dried Food and MREs

Freeze-dried foods are different from meals ready-to-eat (MREs).

MREs are more of an all-in-one package which usually comes in a single serving, whereas freeze-dried food could serve up to a large crowd. MREs do not have shelf-life as long as freeze-dried food, up to 5 years compared to more than 25 years for most freeze-dried food (except those which have dairy).

MREs do not require water for preparation, hence the term “ready-to-eat”. Sometimes, MREs come equipped with heating pads for hot meals which are activated by water. These add on weight to the package and may not be ideal for carrying.

MREs are more inclined to people in the military, where basic needs such as water are unavailable. Therefore, I am usually more inclined to get freeze-dried food rather than MREs as I do carry along a portable heating kit during my travels.

Meal Considerations and Benefits

Here are several criteria which I usually consider when choosing freeze-dried meals, and you should too.

Pricing

On average, freeze-dried food costs slightly more than regular food. This is due to the amount of work and processing that needs to go in to make the food long-lasting and edible, to say the least.

However, if you are looking for a satisfying meal after a long day in the mountains, opt for some carbohydrate-based meals (such as noodles, rice or even mashes). It would satiate your hunger for some time. Also, buy in bulk for a slightly cheaper price.

I usually opt for bulk deals whenever I see one, like up to 6 or 12 packets in a box. Bulk deals usually come with different meal choices too so there is variety. As a seasoned explorer, I always stock up on my favourite meals so that I don’t have to deal with stock unavailability or price surges.

Weight

For me, baggage weight is important. With freeze-dried food, the weight is greatly reduced due to absence of water. Most freeze-dried food are calorie dense, so we are carrying more volume with less effort.

Based on the servings per pack, majority could accommodate two servings, which is perfect as I usually do not travel solo. In my opinion, always try to match the number of servings with the expected number of people travelling with you.

Never overload but of course do not underload as well. I always carry around small snack packs which are convenient and easy to munch. Meals in pouches could always be folded to save space when packing.

Preparation

Majority of freeze-dried food only require water for preparation. However, it is important that some meals require hot water. As these foods do not come with heating packs, it is important to note this.

Soaking the contents of the packs for the stipulated time would ensure that you get everything the meal has to offer, especially in terms of taste and texture. I usually put slightly less water first, stir and let it soak. Depending on the texture, I would add more water gradually during halfway of the preparation time.

Taste

Obviously, the food should taste like the original as close as possible. At least, satisfying to a certain extent. However, in terms of texture the food may vary as it is only rehydrated with the water you put in, and that is something that I always keep in mind.

I bring along small sachets of sauce, salt and even pepper just in case. I also always find taste to be subjective and you could only judge the product once you have tried it, best in the field.

Nutritional Values

Another attractive point of freeze-dried food is its nutritional values. With this special preservation method, most of the nutrition in the meals are retained, as it is not exposed to high temperatures. With that, all freeze-dried foods are designed to provide enough carbs, proteins, fats and even salts.

I always go for a meal which has a solid carb base (such as rice or pasta) so that it could satiate my hunger during long journeys. I also recommend choosing meals which are lower in sodium content as meals high in salt could cause dehydration.

Allergen / Dietary Restrictions

Specialised diets have been widely considered during the design of freeze-dried foods. Several brands such as Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry have meals which are catered for people with specialised diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo diet, lactose intolerant and nut allergies. Therefore, I always take note of these details whenever I get one of these meals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the difference between freeze-dried and dehydrated food?

A: Freeze-dried food differs from dehydrated food in a way in which it is prepared. The freeze-drying process involves removal of water via sublimation (solid to gaseous phase transformation) and occurs at low temperatures.

This does not disrupt cell structures of the food, hence maintaining the nutritional value and taste of the product. Dehydrated food is based off the principle of evaporation, where the food is heated to a higher temperature to remove water. Nutritional value could be loss in the process.

Q: Do I need cooking utensils to prepare the freeze-dried food, such as pots?

A: In most cases, freeze-dried meals could be eaten straight out of the pack. You just need to add a certain amount of water, let it soak for the prescribed period and the meal is ready.

Q: Are cutleries included in the packet?

A: Generally, most brands do not provide cutlery. So, it is important to bring a set handy.

Q: If I have prepared a pack of freeze-dried food, can I keep it for later?

A: The packaging of most brands does come with a zip lock tie to contain water or trap heat during preparation. It is not advisable but should be fine for a short period.

Q: Are freeze-dried foods sold in packets per serving? How could I accommodate a larger crowd?

A: Usually, brands offer packs in various serving sizes. The common serving size per pack is 2, for complete meals. Snacks usually come in single serving sizes.

For large crowds, brands also offer bucket deals which could feed up to over 20 people in one seating or look out for brands which have their meals in No. 10 size cans.

Best Freeze Dried Food Comparison Table

ImageProductPriceSuitable asWeightBenefits
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 113 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 2Mountain House Pilot
Crackers
Check BEST PriceSnacks2.69 lbs.A great backup
emergency food
kit that can fill u
your staple diet.
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 313 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 4Crispy Green Freeze-
Dried Fruit
Check BEST PriceSnacks0.75 lbs.Nutritious freeze-
dried fruit that is
packed in
convenient
single-serve bags
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 513 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 6Augason Farms Freeze Dried Sliced StrawberriesCheck BEST PriceSnacks1.11 lbs.The perfect snack
for storage in
emergency
situations that
can sweeten your
day and fulfill
your daily
Vitamin C needs
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 713 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 8Mountain House
Breakfast Skillet
Check BEST PriceMain Dish0.34 lbs.Just add hot
water and you'll
get scrambled
eggs and
crumbled pork
patty for
breakfast
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 913 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 10Peak Refuel Breakfast
Skillet
Check BEST PriceMain Dish0.35 lbs.Nutritious
breakfast skillet
with non-GMO
ingredients for
you to bring on
the trail
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 1113 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 12Mountain House
Biscuits & Gravy
Check BEST PriceMain Dish0.31 lbs.Get your
satisfying large
chunks of
buttermilk
biscuits here
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 1313 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 14Mountain House Chili
Mac
Check BEST PriceMain Dish0.30 lbs.If you're
expecting a
gourmet meal,
this is as close as
you can get
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 1513 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 16BaseKamp Tomatillo
Pork & Rice
Check BEST PriceMain Dish0.48 lbs.Tender chunks of
pork soaked in
seasoned sauce
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 1713 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 18Wild Zora Bedrock
Beef Chili
Check BEST PriceMain Dish0.20 lbs.Enjoy this light
stew with subtle
flavor that uses
herbs and spices
which makes it
really healthy
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 1913 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 20Mountain House
Homestyle Turkey
Check BEST PriceMain Dish0.30 lbs.A delicious meal
that you can
consider for
camping
especially when
it's made for
quick prep and
you can eat it
anytime, any
place
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 2113 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 22AlpineAire Three
Berry Crumble
Check BEST PriceDessert0.30 lbs.Nutritious food
made with quality
ingredients which
tastes fairly good
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 2313 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 24Mountain House Mint
Chocolate Chip
Check BEST PriceDessert0.09 lbs.Delicious desert
that you can eat
on the trial
especially if you
like to take a bite
on something
and let it melt in
your mouth
13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 2513 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 26Backpacker's Pantry
Mocha Mousse Pie
Check BEST PriceDessert0.30 lbs.Cheesecakes and
chocolate
pudding with a
touch of coffee

Best Freeze Dried Food – The 3-Course Palette

The following sections encompass meals that make up your very own 3-course freeze-dried palette. Possibilities are endless and you could mix-and-match to your liking. From bites to snack on during your hike, to full meals to keep those rumbling tummies at bay, to closing off the day with a sweet ending, I have got you covered for your next expedition.

Meal Openers

For ready-to-eat meals that are suited to curb that hunger, as it is not the time for a full-on meal, these selections are some of the best out there.

Mountain House Pilot Crackers

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Description

Light and airy biscuits are the best snacks to have along the way. Slightly large serving size could accommodate many people, so one can should suffice.

A versatile snack which could be topped up with cheese, cream, dips or eaten plain to sustain that hunger. Freeze-dried to maintain freshness and to retain that crunch.

Price to Value

In terms of price to value ratio, it is relatively high for this product. I personally feel that normal crackers would be comparable to these for a lower price, unless it is for long-term storage or emergency situations. If you had a trip planned, ordinary crackers would do fine as well.

What to Look Out For

It is important to note that being in a no. 10 can means there is no flip tab and a can opener is required. There is a storage issue after opening, so it would be good to carry a few zip bags along or container if you decide to carry the whole can along.

The biscuits are plain and slightly bland. So, I do recommend bringing some small dip pods or sauces if you do not like the bland taste.

My Take

Being served in a no. 10 can is not ideally convenient. Therefore, I do recommend separating out the portions into smaller zip bags to carry around. There is difficulty in keeping the crackers once the can is opened, unless it is finished in one seating.

I still feel that it is a light and easy snack which is compatible with any sauces, soups and dips. The taste and crunchiness were also preserved. I usually dip them in stews during main meals or have them plain. Highly recommended if your journey is not too far or long.

Serving Size14g per piece, 62 servings per pack (approximately 62 pieces per can)
Net Weight30.58 oz (867g)
Pack Dimensions6.2 x 6.2 x 7.0 inches (Can size no. 10)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains soy and wheat
Total Sugar Content1g per serving
Calorie Content60 per serving
PreparationReady-to-eat

ProsCons
Mountain House’s trademark of up to 30 years shelf lifeLarge can with many servings is weighty and may not be suitable for backpacking
Goes well with many other mealsStorage issue after opening can
 No flip tab for easy opening (can opener required)

Crispy Green Freeze Dried Fruit (Multivariant)

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Description

Convenient bite-sized snacks have never been more colourful and healthier. Freeze-dried technology has changed the game of preserved fruits, which does not involve any added preservatives by Crispy Green.

Suitable for kids and grown-ups alike, these single-serving packs are ideal for lunchbox add-ons and for long journeys. 100% pure freeze-dried fruit slices with no sugar added would ensure that you get the maximum satisfaction that each pack has to offer.

Price to Value

The price to value ratio for this product is relatively low (which is a good thing) in my opinion. Usually these fruit snacks are sold in boxes of 12, so it comes down to slightly over a dollar per pack. For 100% pure fruit slices, I think it’s a pretty good deal.

What to Look Out For

The serving size per pack is quite small. So sometimes 1 pack is not enough per person (that just goes to show how good the product is).

Some variants of the fruit such as apples and pears could end up being hard and pineapples may end up being chewy as it’s freeze dried. Therefore, I usually moisten up the fruits in my mouth before chewing them.

This is also a product made in China but in a factory of exceptional quality. So, I believe there is nothing to worry about.

My Take

As a fruit lover myself, I always do have a pack of these fruits in my bag wherever I go. I personally do enjoy the taste a lot and I get to enjoy seasonal fruits all-year round with these small packs.

I always get the multivariant bulk boxes (usually the standard variety pack of 6x apple, 3x pear and 6x tangerine instead of the tropical variety pack of 4x each of banana, mango and pineapple) as I really like the crisp apples. It really does taste like the actual fruit without the worry of it being easily perishable.

Serving Size10g, 1 serving per pack
Net Weight0.35 oz (10g) per pack, 4.20 oz (120g) per box of 12 packs
Pack Dimensions10.5 x 10.5 x 6.8 inches (box of 12 packs)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeVegan, gluten-free, Paleo, dairy-free, Kosher, no sugar added
VariantsApple, banana, pineapple, tangerine, cantaloupe, pear, mango, strawberry (new)
Total Sugar Content5g to 7g per serving (depending on fruit)
Calorie Content35 to 60 per serving (depending on fruit)
PreparationReady-to-eat

ProsCons
Non-GMO VerifiedBox of 12 packs come in pre-selected variants (non-customizable)
Single serving is convenient for light snacking on-the-goAiry texture may not favour some people
Made from 100% pure fruit slicesServing size per pack is too small

Augason Farms Freeze-Dried Sliced Strawberries

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Description

As an add-on to your pre-made cereal or oats, these freeze-dried strawberries from Augason Farms aim to lighten your meal with a fruity burst. With such a large serving that comes in a can, it is safe to say that it could accommodate a crowd of kids or adults alike.

Though not the best as a grab-and-go, you could separate a few servings out and carry along in a zip-lock bag as a snack. Though not explicitly stated, there is no added sugar in the contents, and has a low-calorie count.

My recommended source of strawberries whenever someone plans to make a pie out-of-the-blue.

Price to Value

These freeze-dried strawberries are priced on the higher-ends unless there is a sale. Therefore, try to get them only when there is a drop in price. However, you do get fresh strawberries all-year round.

What to Look Out For

The product quality sometimes dwindles. I believe that it is a rare occurrence and highly dependent on the crops of the fresh produce, which could vary based on season. The pieces are somewhat smaller than other brands so you should keep an eye out for that.

Based on my personal experience, I do not have anything to report other than good quality strawberries which I make smoothies with.

My Take

This snack is more suitable if portioned out separately instead of carrying a whole can around. It is excellent if you want to travel to somewhere for several days and plan to whip up a cool dessert. My take is that go for smaller servings of fruit snacks which are more economical and have a greater variety.

Serving Size10g, 18 servings per can
Net Weight6.40 oz (181 g)
Pack Dimensions6.2 x 6.2 x 7.0 inches (Can size no. 10)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeGluten-free
Total Sugar Content5g per serving
Calorie Content35 per serving
PreparationReady-to-eat or rehydrate with warm water, 5 to 10 minutes preparation time

ProsCons
Up to 30 years shelf lifeLarge packaging in a can is not convenient for carrying around
Large serving size could be suitable as an ingredient for baking or making smoothiesSingle variant (strawberry only)
Suitable for bulk use (more towards home use or food storage)Storage issue of contents once can is opened (cannot be resealed)
 No flip tab for easy opening (can opener required)
 Slight variation in product quality due to produce

The Main Stars

Now, it’s time for the real deal. With so many brands, companies and cuisines to choose from, you’re sure to have a jolly good time during your next expedition. All meals can be enjoyed directly from the pack, so it’s mess-free and dish-free.

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 30

Description

Just as the name suggests on the pack, it’s the all-time favourite English breakfast, consisting of hash browns, scrambled eggs, bell peppers, onion and crumbled pork patties. A hearty meal to kickstart the day in the wilderness. Convenient, lightweight packaging is ideal for backpacking trips and hikes.

Making breakfast burritos with this as the filling is a great idea. Trust me, you will not regret it as I have been there and done that.

Price to Value

Pricewise, I feel that it is a good deal as each pack could cater for 2 people. The taste is top-notch and is a general favourite by many. Worth it.

What to Look Out For

If you do get this meal, I would advise to put less water than the prescribed amount, let it soak then add more depending on preference. I had once followed the instructions carefully and ended up with a super soggy mush. Though the taste is there, it felt soupy and mushy.

My Take

Although it is a breakfast skillet with generic breakfast ingredients, there is no reason to enjoy it anytime of the day. I personally enjoy it more with tortilla bread so that I could make myself a burrito.

It is filling as there are eggs and potatoes. Just a touch of salt and pepper would tie everything together.

Serving Size53g dry mixture, 2 servings per pack
Net Weight3.70 oz (106g)
Pack Dimensions3 x 7 x 9 inches (Pouch)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains eggs, milk, wheat and soy
Protein Content14g per serving
Calorie Content260 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 12 fl. oz. boiling water, 10 minutes preparation time
Other SizesNo. 10 Can (10 servings), Pro-Pak (vacuum sealed, single serving) and Military Meals, Cold Weather (MCW) (vacuum sealed, single serving)

ProsCons
Mountain House’s trademark of up to 30 years shelf lifeNo cutlery provided
No additional preservatives, artificial flavours and colouringBoiling water required for preparation
TerraCycle packaging which is recyclable, sustainable and eco-friendlyPrescribed amount of water may be too much, forming a wet mush. Hydrate with slightly less water for better texture.
 Mild taste

Peak Refuel Breakfast Skillet

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 31

Description

Another close contender for the breakfast skillet, but different components. This meal from Peak Refuel consists of the usual scrambled eggs, sausage patty, bell peppers but comes with chunks of potatoes in the mix.

Containing 100% real meat without any fillers ensures that you are getting a nutritious meal no matter where you are. A healthier choice as it packs more protein and has lower levels of sodium as well as cholesterol. Furthermore, this meal is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant as no milk is involved.

Price to Value

Although the price is slightly higher than its competitors, a single pack with 2 servings is large. I feel that it could even feed 3 small-eaters. So, you are really getting your money’s worth.

I have also tried making breakfast burritos with these, and I could make about 3 to 4 of them. Worthwhile if you have a big appetite.

What to Look Out For

This breakfast skillet is tailored for those who are more conscious about health and have dietary restrictions such as being lactose intolerant. This meal has a lower salt content and could compromise on the overall taste.

I had to add extra seasoning when I got this meal, so it defeats the purpose, but that is just my personal preference.

My Take

Other than the milder taste, I really do enjoy this product. The large serving size really suits me as I usually have snack in-between meals, so maybe this could curb that hunger.

The pepper pieces which are large also improves the aesthetics of the overall dish and makes it more appealing and appetising in my opinion.

Serving Size69g dry mixture, 2 servings per pack
Net Weight4.87 oz (138g)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains eggs, no milk
Protein Content20g per serving
Calorie Content320 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 10.5 fl. oz. boiling water, 15 minutes preparation time

ProsCons
Contains non-GMO ingredientsNo cutlery provided
Large serving sizeBoiling water required for preparation
High protein per servingLong preparation time
 Short shelf life of 5 years

Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 32

Description

As simple as it sounds, there is so much more than meets the eye in this pouch. Each pack comes with buttermilk biscuits, peppery gravy and even pork sausage patties in the mix to satisfy your hunger.

Taste of a simple English breakfast has never been more convenient. Could be a main meal for those who prefer a less heavy meal on-the-go.

Price to Value

The value I got from this meal is proportional to its price. I did feel that it was worthwhile as I was satisfied with it.

What to Look Out For

An important note is that this meal contains textured vegetable protein and pork, just in case you any allergies to these ingredients.

A great tip is to open the packet half-way during preparation to check of more water is needed. Go light on the water and stir periodically. This is the ideal way to get the texture of biscuits that would suit you best. It is also best to enjoy the meal hot.

My Take

In my opinion, this biscuits and gravy dish would lie between an appetiser and a main meal. I really do enjoy it as it is not a heavy meal. I do recommend this to those who opt for lighter meals.

Serving Size65g dry mixture, 2 servings per pack
Net Weight4.40 oz (124g)
Pack Dimensions8.2 x 4.0 x 8.5 inches (Pouch)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains milk, soy and wheat
Protein Content11g per serving
Calorie Content280 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 12 fl. oz. boiling water, 10 minutes preparation time
Other SizesNo. 10 Can (11 servings)

ProsCons
Mountain House’s trademark of 30 years shelf lifeNo cutlery provided
No additional preservatives, artificial flavours and colouringBoiling water required for preparation
TerraCycle packaging which is recyclable, sustainable and eco-friendlyTextures of the biscuits after rehydration may not appeal to some

Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 33

Description

This is one of the most popular meals by Mountain House. A scrumptious meal comprising of spicy chili, beef chunks, macaroni pasta, beans and onions. A warm, hearty meal which would sure to leave you satisfied after a long trek in the outback, all in one pack.

Authentic chili spices will give you a warm feeling inside and pasta to curb that hunger. There is no reason that this dish becomes one of the most selected packs from the Mountain House range.

Price to Value

In terms of value, I am very satisfied with this product. The taste is good and commendable. Therefore, you couldn’t really go wrong getting yourself a pack. A full-proof meal.

What to Look Out For

This meal is spicy and may not be suitable for those with low spice tolerance. Therefore, if you wish to share this meal with someone else, make sure that they could take the heat. I personally do enjoy this meal as the spiciness is comforting, especially at night when it is cooler.

My Take

I see this as one of my must-haves whenever I go on my journeys. As I enjoy spicy food, this meal is up in my alley. For all spice enthusiasts, this is the freeze-dried meal for you.

Serving Size54g dry mixture, 2 servings per pack
Net Weight3.80 oz (108g)
Pack Dimensions8.2 x 4.0 x 8.5 inches (Pouch)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains wheat and beans
Protein Content12g per serving
Calorie Content230 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 12 fl. oz. boiling water, 10 minutes preparation time
Other SizesPro-Pak (2 servings)

ProsCons
Mountain House’s trademark of 30 years shelf lifeNo cutlery provided
No additional preservatives, artificial flavours and colouringBoiling water required for preparation
TerraCycle packaging which is recyclable, sustainable and eco-friendlySpicy meal might not be suitable for young children and for those with low spice tolerance

BaseKamp Spicy Tomatillo Pork and Rice

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 34

Description

A low-profile meal comprising of rice, Chile Verde with black beans, pork chunks, tomatillo sauce, jalapenos, garlic and cilantro. Slightly spicy taste which makes it more palatable and rice as a base carb would sure to leave you full and satisfied. The taste of the meal is comparable to that of other major brands.

BaseKamp is slightly new to the freeze-dried food game but is here to make a statement, where taste prevails and is here to stay on much longer.

The 2.5 servings per pack is suitable for those who have a larger appetite and are always hungry for more. However, it has a lower protein count per serving compared to its competitors.

Price to Value

Based on the 2.5 servings per pack, the price to value ratio is low, which is a good thing. Technically, you are getting more contents per pack. The price of this is reasonable and competitive when compared to other brands.

What to Look Out For

There is a wide range of meals from BaseKamp, and this is only one from the bunch. Something special about the packaging is that you could tear the packet to half its size so that it becomes a bowl. I tried it myself, and its easier to scoop out the contents with a spoon.

This meal is mildly spicy based on my own tolerance, so it should cater for a larger crowd.

My Take

I was impressed by the taste and quality of this meal from BaseKamp. Flavours were on point and I didn’t have to add anything else. The texture from the beans were satisfactory as they were not mushy.

Though this is my first time trying from the brand, I would venture other meals from them to expand the list of freeze-dried food variants. You should check them out for your next trip.

Serving Size60g dry mixture, 2.5 servings per pack
Net Weight5.30 oz (150g)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains soy and beans
Protein Content9g per serving
Calorie Content240 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 20 fl. oz. boiling water, 10 minutes preparation time

ProsCons
Slightly larger serving per pack (2.5 servings, instead of the usual 2 servings)No cutlery provided
Has a second tear notch to reduce packaging to bowl heightBoiling water required for preparation
Long shelf life up to 25 years 

Wild Zora Bedrock Beef Chili

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 35

Description

Wild Zora’s freeze-dried meals to-go emphasises on its compatibility to suit various dietary and allergen restrictions. The collection comprises of Paleo meals (which are ingredients that became common when farming emerged a long time ago. For example, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains).

This meal contains 100% grass-fed beef and real vegetables such as organic tomatoes and cayenne peppers to add some spice. Wild Zora claims that there is minimal processing such as addition of hormones, preservatives and fillers in the meat components.

You can be assured that this meal would be satisfying with high contents of protein and its extremely large single serving per pack, which could potentially feed two small eaters. Furthermore, Wild Zora has a large range of Paleo meals other than this one, so feel free to try them all.

Price to Value

I feel that the price for these Paleo meals are higher as it originated from a small startup, and there is only a single serving per pack (but quite large to be considered single serving). However, the fact that the meal follows the ‘Paleo’ diet, ingredients of higher quality and is generally healthier could justify the price for some consumers.

What to Look Out For

All meals from Wild Zora are Paleo meals. So, the taste may differ as the ingredients used are different too, with less processing. Look out for other desserts and mains from Wild Zora, in which some are vegan. I am eager to try the freeze-dried porridge with fruits. Seems interesting.

My Take

In my opinion, if you are really looking for a hefty and filling meal, this may not be the ideal way to go. There are better options out there, unless you follow a strict Paleo diet, then is totally crafted for you.

Serving Size85g dry mixture, 1 serving per pack
Net Weight3.00 oz (85g)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeGluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, Paleo
Protein Content36g per serving
Calorie Content420 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 12 fl. oz. hot water, 5 to 15 minutes preparation time

ProsCons
Largest single serving sizeNo cutlery provided
Has a second tear notch to reduce packaging to bowl heightBoiling water required for preparation
 Short shelf life about 1 year

Mountain House Homestyle Turkey Dinner

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 36

Description

Resembling your family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, this meal from Mountain House brings back memories up in the wilderness. With real seasoned turkey meat, breaded wheat stuffing, a plethora of vegetables and spices, it’s a celebration anywhere and everywhere.

Make everyday a turkey day.

Price to Value

Based on the taste, I would definitely say that the price is justified. I really did enjoy this meal, as the taste really did resemble a turkey dinner. I had no regrets getting this meal.

What to Look Out For

This meal has slightly higher protein content from the Mountain House range.

The texture of the stuffing was a little mushy, as I probably added too much water at the start. Other than that, you can find vegetables such as green beans, celery, carrot and onion in the mix, so just in case you have an allergy to any one of these veggies, you should opt out.

My Take

One of my go-to meals which I will try to find whenever I am stocking up for my next trip. Definitely sharing this with my other campers so that they believe me that any day could be a turkey day.

Serving Size55g dry mixture, 2 servings per pack
Net Weight3.90 oz (110g)
Pack Dimensions8.2 x 4.0 x 8.5 inches (Pouch)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains wheat and milk
Protein Content15g per serving
Calorie Content240 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 10 fl. oz. boiling water, 10 minutes preparation time

ProsCons
Mountain House’s trademark of 30 years shelf lifeNo cutlery provided
No additional preservatives, artificial flavours and colouringBoiling water required for preparation
TerraCycle packaging which is recyclable, sustainable and eco-friendlyBreaded stuffing could split if soaked for too long
 Extra seasoning could be added based on preference

A Sweet Ending

After an appetising meal, why not end it on a sweet note. These dessert selections wrap up your 3-course meal, giving you the feeling of content after a long day. Who doesn’t like a sweet ending?

AlpineAire Three Berry Crumble

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 37

Description

A sweet treat of a triple berry crumble, comprising of a mixture of blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. An excellent combination when paired with the crisp apples and topped with a brown sugar citrusy sauce for that zing. Top it up with crunchy chocolate pie crumbs for that added texture.

This really is a great dessert during your trip. Sort of a deconstructed berry pie if you look at it. Nevertheless, it tastes great.

Price to Value

In general, the price is low and furthermore it caters two servings. However, the serving size is small. No harm trying.

What to Look Out For

This meal has freeze-dried berries as part of the contents, so that was something I noticed when I opened the packet. The additional crumbs which come separately added they crunchy texture which I liked a lot. I hope they could add more crumbs though. Just an opinion.

My Take

I was really satisfied with this dessert. It really did wrap up my day the last time I had it. It was not too sweet from a dessert standpoint. If you are at home, some granola bits and ice-cream with this would make an excellent combination. Recommended.

Serving Size53g dry mixture, 2 servings per pack
Net Weight3.75 oz (106g)
Pack Dimensions7.5 x 1.8 x 9.8 inches (Pouch)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains wheat and soy
Total Sugar Content26g per serving
Calorie Content200 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 6 fl. oz. boiling water, 10 minutes preparation time

ProsCons
Measuring scale on the packaging makes it easy during preparationBoiling water required for preparation
Separate crumbs for crunchy textureNo cutlery provided
Contains whole freeze-dried fruits (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries)Slightly shorter shelf life of 3 to 5 years

Mountain House Ice Cream Sandwich

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 38

Description

Similar to those infamous “space” ice cream, Mountain House has managed to make their own for all those trek junkies out there. Sweet vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cookie wafers, it’s a treat wherever you go.

What’s even better is there is zero mess as the ice cream never melts, so you don’t even have to chill it. Singularly packed and ready-to-eat, it could be both a snack and a dessert. Suitable for both kids and adults who yearn something sweet and delightful in the wilderness.

I am sure you will not be disappointed with this “astronomical” creation. Get it?

Price to Value

It is cheaper if you get a 12-pack. Sometimes during my journeys, I could have them either as a snack or a dessert. The price is reasonable.

What to Look Out For

As these ice-cream sandwiches are ready-to-eat, and there is no refrigeration needed, I feel that there is a powdery texture for the ice-cream. After a while, that feeling wears off for me and the taste really kicks in.

I also noticed that the ice-cream and wafers could separate easily as both are dry and not sticky. The product is somewhat unable to hold itself, but I don’t mind it.

My Take

I am amazed that this ice-cream sandwich does not require any refrigeration and doesn’t melt at all. The taste is alright and resemble regular ice-cream sandwiches.

It is easy to carry around as it is packed individually. Hopefully there would be more options in ice cream flavours in the future from Mountain House.

Serving Size32g each sandwich, 1 serving per pack
Net Weight1.13 oz (32g)
Pack Dimensions5.2 x 1.0 x 8.8 inches (Pouch)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeContains milk, wheat and soy
VariantsAlso available in Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream filling
Total Sugar Content12g per serving
Calorie Content150 per serving
PreparationReady-to-eat

ProsCons
No refrigeration requiredShort shelf life of 2 years as it contains dairy
Ice cream has been freeze-dried and would not meltSingle flavour combination (vanilla filling with chocolate wafers)
TerraCycle packaging which is recyclable, sustainable and eco-friendlyContains artificial flavouring

Backpacker’s Pantry Mocha Mousse Pie

13 Best Freeze Dried Food and Backpacking Meals in 2022 39

Description

This deconstructed pie dessert is convenient and easy to prepare during your journeys. A chocolate pudding with a hint of coffee bitterness and cookie crumb topping, one of the best ways to end your meal at the end of the day.

Preparation time is slightly longer as no hot water is required, therefore it could be enjoyed cold. A sweet treat for everyone.

Price to Value

The price for this dessert is on the high side for me, however there is a lot of content in the pack. This may not be the most economical option.

What to Look Out For

The consistency of the product really mimics that of a real pudding if you stir the contents regularly during the preparation time. Although the sweetness was alright for me, it may be too sweet for some. The coffee flavour was a nice touch.

My Take

A great tip is to add Oreo crumbs if you have any on top of the crumbs given. That would really add on to the texture. It’s worth a shot if you love chocolate pudding-like desserts.

Serving Size52g dry mixture, 2 servings per pack
Net Weight3.70 oz (104g)
Pack Dimensions8.0 x 8.0 x 8.0 inches (Pouch)
Dietary/Allergen NoticeVegetarian. Contains milk, wheat and soy.
Total Sugar Content28g per serving
Calorie Content210 per serving
PreparationRehydrate with 8 fl. oz. cold water, stir for 2 minutes and leave to soak for 10 to 13 minutes

ProsCons
Graham cracker crumbs add that crunchy textureSlightly higher in sugar content per serving
Uses cold or ambient temperature waterNo cutlery provided
Long shelf life of about 7 yearsLong preparation time
TerraCycle packaging which is recyclable, sustainable and eco-friendly 

Final Thoughts

Freeze-dried food was regarded as “astronaut” food since the freeze-dried ice cream was introduced long ago. Now, there is such a large variety of food which are freeze-dried for the convenience of storage or carriage for long expedition journeys.

These are the top 13 freeze-dried meals which I have tried and reviewed for you. From ready-to-eat snacks to full meals that only require water to rehydrate. I am pretty sure there is something for everybody, be it small kids to adults. These meals are sure to leave you and your loved ones full and satisfied no matter where you are.

An important thing to note that these freeze-dried foods are not only limited for expeditions but could also be considered as emergency food to a certain extent.

Based on these selections, Mountain House is still up strong and running first in the freeze-dried food race, with meal entries spanning across all three courses. However, smaller or newer brands which cater to niche groups such as Wild Zora (for Paleo meals) should not be neglected, as sometimes you could find diamonds in the rubble.

Taste is subjective and it could be customized with extra seasonings to suit your liking. It is up to you to come up with your 3-course freeze-dried meal.

I personally liked Crispy Green’s Fruit Slices, Mountain House’s Chilli Mac with Beef and AlpineAires’s Three Berry Crumble.

I would love to see what combinations you come up with.

Stay safe out there!

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