Dehydrating My Backpacking Meals.


It’s mid April and currently we are having a snow/ice storm with 50 mph gusts of wind. This afternoon I have spent a couple of hours making chili while thinking of upcoming trips and adventure. It’s a good way to spend the day inside.         

I started dehydrating backpacking meals about five years ago.  I use a dehydrator vs buying freeze dried meals.

I used to purchase freeze dried and dabble with some dehydration of fruits, vegetables and  meats. After I developed an allergy, I decided that I can control what I have to eat on my trips with no added allergy related problems.

Today freeze dried meals are very popular, besides the amazing amount of flavors available. They are lightweight, offer high calories in a dense package and are very tasty and satisfying. Ok Some not so much with flavor, but that’s for you to decide.

There are still a couple of freeze dried meals I could not go without. One is the Mountain House Grilled Chicken Breast with Mashed Potatoes. I will do a review of this soon. The chicken breasts come out almost as if they came off the grill, with some grill marks as well.

Cost of dehydrating vs pre packaged freeze dried food.

  • Freeze dried food is definitely not inexpensive, but it is convenient, sometimes very good and rehydrates quickly.  


  • Although you can make a dehydrator or possibly use you oven, most people choose to purchase dehydrator. They start on the low end about $40.00 and then up. I have had mine for about 12 years and it’s still going strong. I purchased it at a local retailer that is no longer in business. it’s an Open Country Trailmaster Dehydrator


  • I prefer to vacuum pack my dehydrated meals with the hope that they last longer and to keep the smells to a minimum for bears. So I also have the cost of a vacuum sealer and bags.  My vacum sealer was a gift from my wife and not very expensive. It has helped me prepare many many meals.  Seal-a-Meal Manual Vacuum Sealer


  • The smell reason is probably negated by the fact that I must store my open bags within a smell proof zip top bag.


  • Depending on how much food you are preparing pre packaged freeze dried food is probably cheaper but as the quantity prepared increases the cost goes down for preparing your own dehydrated.


In the end it’s not about the cost for me, it’s that I know what ingredients are in my meals. If you have any “trail” meal suggestions or ideas please share them with me, I am always looking for new ideas.


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