Freeze Dried vs DehydratedFreeze dried food has almost all of the water removed and tastes exactly like it did when it was fresh. It doesn't require preservatives and is the lightest way to go. Dehydrated food doesn't have as much of the water removed, so it is heavier, and will not taste exactly as it did when it was fresh. When you buy either type, you should read the label carefully so that you know what you are getting in terms of preservatives/additives.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables often gets overlooked on bike/backpacking trips because fresh things don't keep. On our bikes, we would stop by small stores to pick up fruit/veggies in addition to some of the freeze dried items we brought along. But backpacking is another story all together.
Tip: When you buy freeze dried food, you might be shocked when you weigh out an actual serving size. It's not that big because it hasn't been re-hydrated...we have found that for outdoor adventures, we double the serving size of fruits/veggies.
Costco for Fruits & Veggies: Our very favorite fruit and veggies come from Costco. We keep a good selection of these on hand in the event of an emergency, which is nice because when it is time for a trip, we just go out to the emergency stock and pick out what we want to take along. I've included the Costco item number because I know that these are excellent products.
- Freeze-Dried Fruit Variety Bucket 300 Servings, Item #555340
- Freeze-Dried Vegetable Variety Food Bucket 320 Servings, Item #555338
Mountain House Meals: We have tried various meals, but have settled on Mountain House as our brand of choice. Every meal has been consistently good. Sometimes we eat our freeze dried veggies on the side, while other times, we mix them right into the meal.
One of the meals that we were not able to find locally is the Grilled Chicken Breast and Mashed Potatoes (ebay has the best prices), which we pair with green beans. Seriously, the chicken breast is so good that I'd serve it at home to guests. Do follow the cook time directions for the chicken breast; if you let it sit too long in the hot water, it will fall apart when you pull it out of the "cooking" bag.
Here are some of the other meals we've enjoyed:
- Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
- Chili Mac with Beef; we add freeze dried corn.
- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce; we add freeze dried green beans.
- Lasagna with Meat Sauce
- Rice and Chicken (the order of the words in the title says a lot...as in not a lot of chicken); we add freeze dried cauliflower.
- Biscuits and Gravy
- Granola and Blueberries
- Breakfast Skillet
- Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
- Scrambled Eggs with Ham, Red & Green Peppers
It is pretty tasty to add freeze dried potatoes to the breakfast meals...note that the potatoes need a lot of soaking time (a couple of hours).
Quaker Oatmeal: On the bikepacking trip, we did take these...a low cost breakfast option. But as the person who carried the food, I'll just say that I'm going to skip this next time. Too heavy and too sticky to clean up.