Freeze dried food has become one of the most popular meal options for outdoor enthusiasts heading into the backcountry. Here's how you can lighten your load for your next camping trip, along with some flavorful freeze dried meal options for even the pickiest eaters.
Commonly confused with dehydrated food, freeze dried food is prepared in an entirely different way. With dehydrated food, a machine circulates dry, hot air across food, removing the majority of water. With freeze drying, food is quickly frozen and placed in a very strong vacuum. As the water in the food sublimates, turning from ice to vapor, the food effectively dries out while maintaining the ability to be rehydrated later.
While outdoor adventure opens the door to fresh experiences and scenic wonders, it also comes with specific challenges. Whether hiking, mountain biking, camping or rock climbing, most people are looking for ways to lighten their loads without having to sacrifice nutrition and taste. Freeze dried foods are a perfect solution for outdoor enthusiasts who view food as more than just fuel.
Ideal energy-to-weight ratio: Whether they’re climbing steep cliffs or hauling heavy backpacks, outdoor enthusiasts can't afford to lug around a lot of extra weight. Canned foods and other food items can add ten to thirty pounds of weight to your load, especially if you're planning to spend several days in the wilderness. Many backpackers prefer freeze dried meals because they don't weigh down their packs. The freeze drying process removes about 80 percent of water, drastically reducing the overall weight of food items. Quality meal pouches can provide between 500 and 900 calories, while weighing only about five to seven ounces.
Flavor and nutrition: Years ago, people associated dried food items with the bland MREs (meals ready to eat) used by astronauts and military personnel. These days, however, modern freeze dried meals are available in a diverse array of flavorful options, including high-protein pancakes, sweet and sour rice, Cincinnati style beef chili, pesto pasta with salmon, Santa Fe style rice and beans, Fettuccine Alfredo and countless more. While traditional dehydrated food loses a substantial amount of its natural flavor, freeze dried foods retain the original taste of food much better, resulting in a surprisingly delicious and satisfying meal. What's more, since the freeze drying process eliminates water weight without affecting nutritional content, every meal maintains its caloric content and about 90 percent of its vitamins and minerals.
Convenience: Since they are easy to prepare, freeze dried foods allow campers to spend less time preparing food and more time enjoying the outdoors. Rehydrating freeze-dried food is a fast, straightforward process: Add boiling water; stir in the mixture; and close the pouch, letting it sit for just a few minutes. After a quick stir, your meal is ready to eat in only a few short minutes.
Backpackers Pantry provides a vast assortment of delicious freeze-dried meals for climbers, explorers, anglers, hunters, hikers, backpackers and anyone else who spends time outdoors. Browse our nutritious, gourmet food for the trail.