After a long day of hiking through the backcountry, your mind starts to focus on one thing—food. We’re not talking about the power bars, jerky, and trail mix that you munched on while trekking, but a proper dinner at the end of the day. That’s where freeze-dried camping meals come in.
Invented in 1906, freeze drying works by dehydrating frozen foods and removing nearly all the moisture with a high-pressure vacuum. The process creates meals that can be safely stored for years but prepared in just minutes via a three-step process: Add boiling water to the food pouch, stir it up, and let it sit for a few minutes. After that, it’s ready to eat.
Eating sloppy food out of a pouch may sound gross to the backcountry beginner, but after a long day spent outdoors, it’ll taste like a five-star meal. While the freeze-dried camping meals of yesteryear left a lot to be desired in terms of quality and taste, backpackers in 2022 have an entire universe of offerings to choose from, including vegan, organic, high-protein, all-natural, and even DIY options.
Selecting the best option hinges on a combination of variables including taste, nutritional content, ingredients, and cost. While natural ingredients and good flavor are important, sustenance equals survival, so always make sure your meals provide enough calories and protein when on the trail.
No matter if you’re vegan, budget-conscious, or determined to eat like a backcountry gourmand, there’s a pouch for you. To help you stock your wilderness kitchen, we’ve rounded up 11 top-rated freeze-dried camping meals from both large and small brands including Mountain House, Good To-Go, Backpacker’s Pantry, and more. Bon appétit.
The Best Freeze-Dried Camping Meals of 2022
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