Tips for Purchasing Backpacking Meals made with Real Food 4

If you care about the foods you eat at home, chances are you also care about your trail food. And if your standard daily fare is made from fresh whole food ingredients, why wouldn’t you expect the same level of quality in your trail food?


Outdoor Herbivore’s Lemon Quinoa Tabbouleh

Obviously, most fresh foods don’t pack well; they may get crushed in your backpack and make a mess, or rot – neither one appetizing. So that leaves us with packaged foods.


Freeze Dried Eggs Photo Credit: Gigs / CC-BY-SA-3.0

In the past, packaged backpacking food corresponded to sodium saturated kibble. It consisted of food ingredients mixed with flavor additives to form a meal. Long shelf life and fast rehydration were featured over ingredient quality and nutrition. Thankfully, it has gotten better with time, and there are better choices today.

Yet lousy ingredients are still commonplace in backpacking foods!

Here is what to look for to determine if your trail food is healthy or not.

How to purchase genuine, healthy backpacking food

  • Don’t rely on marketing assertions which give statements such as, “all natural”, “no trans fat”, “made from real food”, “made from whole grains”, “non-GMO” and such on the packaging. Read the ingredient list instead.
  • Steer clear of trail food containing artificial food coloring, hydrogenated fats, flavor additives, MSG, nitrates, sulfites, synthetic preservatives, and hidden ingredients marketed under the blanket term “natural flavors” or “spices”. Backpacking meals that are made with whole foods means better nutrition.
  • Look to see how the food is preserved to make it shelf stable. Backpacking food can be either freeze-dried or dehydrated. Freeze drying and dehydrating are different methods for preserving food. Dehydration involves heated air (or sun drying) and destroys some of the nutrients while freeze-drying retains the most. Some companies use only one method while other businesses use a variety of methods. Outdoor Herbivore uses both freeze-dried and dehydrated  ingredients.
  • Check where the product is made. Food quality and sanitation standards fluctuate widely between countries.

Outdoor Herbivore’s customers often tell us how important their diet is to them. For some people, this means eating plant foods, organic ingredients, or simply restricting junk food. Whatever the reason, the focus is a sensible one because healthful eating is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself against disease and improve overall well-being.

We love eating and making good food at Outdoor Herbivore and are pleased to offer you wholesome backpacking food that will enhance your health and wellbeing. 

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4 thoughts on “Tips for Purchasing Backpacking Meals made with Real Food

  1. Reply food machinery Aug 5,2016 11:48 AM

    nice read, thanks for the great content

  2. Reply Total Packaging Systems Oct 10,2016 11:11 AM

    Some very useful tips here, it should also be mentioned that food packaging is pretty important if you want to keep your backpack food nice and fresh!

  3. Reply Grayfox Jan 15,2017 2:59 PM

    Can you precook beans vacuum seal them then finish cooking on trail

  4. Reply Outdoor Herbivore Jan 18,2017 8:49 PM

    Not unless you dry the beans after precooking. If the beans are wet packed after precooking, they will quickly grow bacteria.

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