Preprocessed dehydrated ingredients and complete meals for a backpacking trip are easy to find. They're not as good as home-cooked meals but they weigh less and occupy little space. They're safe in extreme conditions but can include preservatives and additives. Those with food allergies must exert care to select interesting meals without endangering health.
Another way to keep your pack light and your palate engaged is to dehydrate your own food. With a reliable, relatively inexpensive food dehydrator in your kitchen, you can take almost any favorite food on your next backpacking trip.
Tips & Warnings
What is true of any kitchen process is true of dehydrating, packaging and storing backpack foods. The cleaner your preparation and storage techniques are, the better. Plan to eat food within a year.
Instructions for entrées work for many desserts.
Vegetables like carrots and beets make delicious leather. Add a pinch of salt instead of sugar.
Fruit/vegetable leather instructions also work for liquid and semi-liquid condiments like sour cream and salsa.
This book is a good source: Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling, revised edition, by Alan Kesselheim, copyright 1998, International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, Camden, ME. A portion of profits is donated to an environmental cause.
If one item in a package retains too much moisture, or if a package seal fails and lets in outside air, the entire package will be lost. Just throw it out and do things differently next time.
Signs of product spoilage include mold, mildew, condensation, odor and insect infestation.
Article Written By Lani Johnson
Lani Johnson is a hiking, writing musician. Recent published work includes journalism, poetry and research. See her online writing at Trails.com or at Azacda.presspublisher.us.