Amazing No-Fuss meals in the backcountry

Whatever your outdoor adventure, bicycle touring, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, mountaineering or backcountry fishing. These cheap, easy, space-and-weight saving, tasty and nutritious freezer bag meals can have you eating like a gourmet.

Eight Big Reasons to Dry Your Food First

1. Cheap, delicious meals. You will save about 80% of what it would cost you to buy pre-packaged meals. Each freezer bag meal is the right size for a person, so you do not wind up hungry in camp or waste food. The money you save on tasty, nutritional meals during the first two weeks in the wilderness will pay for the equipment for a lifetime.

2. Saves space. Dehydrated, vacuum bagged meals take up a pittance of the space in your food bag compared to fresh food. With dried meals there is no spoilage or unwelcome, juicy, smelly leaks in your pack. The plastic vacuum bags, or Ziploc freezer bags are soft and pack tight to save space. There are no sharp corners and bulky items.

3. Saves weight. Whether backpacking or portaging or bicycling, you can save 80% of the weight compared to fresh food. Two pounds of food can dry to 4 ounces.

Plus, you don’t need heavy and bulky cooking utensils like a skillet or spatula or condiments for cooking such as oil and spices. All you need to prepare freezer bag meals is a convenient way to heat water, such as the Jetboil.

4. Lasts longer. Home dehydrated food has a shelf life anywhere from weeks to months. Suck out the air with a vacuum sealer or straw and store in the closet until you are ready to go.

5. Taste and nutrition. When you harvest fruits and vegetables at peak ripeness for flavor and nutritional value the drying process will concentrate and intensify flavor and antioxidants.

These are nutritions meals and snacks that your kids won’t turn their noses up. You control the quality and you don’t need preservatives. Lock in proteins, good fats, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and natural enzymes.

Enjoy a wide variety of your favorite meals on the trail rather than the monotony of a few sodium-laden meal choices repeated day after day.

6. Easy to Prepare at home. You will need room for the dehydrator on your countertop or set up a card table in a corner of your kitchen or dining room. Mine is on the enclosed patio. I prefer a dehydrator that has an auto-timer and thermostat so it works while I’m sleeping, and I like to be able to add or remove a tray during the cycle.

7. Easy to clean up after each meal. There are no skillets or pots or dishes or grease to clean. Just rinse out the freezer bag and save it for re-use, or recycle it as a fire starter kit. The only utensil to clean is your spoon.

8. Waterproof. The freezer bags are waterproof. Your food doesn’t get soggy if you get rained on or capsize.

I’m convinced I enjoy my adventures more because of these eight reasons to dry my food first. I hope I’ve encouraged you to try it, too. Let me know what you think.

Andy Lee is a retired American writer living in Pereira, Colombia.

He is the administrator of the Facebook group Adventure Canoe and Kayak Camping, and the author of Five Hundred Miles to the Sea.


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