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Food dehydrating for lightweight, cheap and easy backpacking and camping

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I would bet that some of you, like me, are into backpacking and back country camping with minimal gear. Sometimes getting out into the woods with only what is on your back, rather than a truck load of gear and coolers, is great fun!

I remember when we’d go camping during my childhood. The best times often were meal times. I can still almost smell the smells coming from camp, my activity and play induced hunger was close to being satiated! For some reason, food at camp always tasted better too.

But carrying all that food on our backs ain’t gonna happen. And sure as anything, when you attack the label “light weight” or “convenient and easy” to anything backpack or camping related, you’ll start seeming big dollar signs pretty quick. You all know what I mean.

So what about COMPLETE, full meals, that are cheap, lightweight, prepared before you leave home, taste good, super light weight and easy to pack, and oh, did I mention cheap?

After looking at method after method, testing out in the field, I come to the conclusion that dehydrating your own food is the best way to accomplish what we’re talking about here. Plus, you know what? It makes a FUN project to enjoy with the kids and family on a weekend afternoon. Everything is always better when the family is involved.

Consider:
It’s light weight.
It packs small
It’s easy to stash away from bears
It keeps without cooling
It’s home cooked, so you can make the foods you like, seasoned how you like
Home made so no preservatives and other yuckies
It beats Ramen noodles any day of the week.
It’s much cheaper than the dehydrated or freeze dried foods from the outdoors and camping store. (tastes better too!).

If you want to get started, check out a few links and resources here:

http://www.backpackingchef.com/index.html
http://www.trailcooking.com/
http://www.onepanwonders.com/

They have lots of cool ideas besides dehydrating also.

A few of my personal tips:

  • Make individual serving bags. For example, imagine a cup of instant rice, some of your favorite dehydrated veggies and chicken, a dash of salt and pepper, some Italian seasoning and a sprinkle of granulated garlic, ready to dump in the water, boiling at camp. Sounds good huh? A nice, tasty, one pot meal. (Always use granulated garlic instead of garlic powder, you’ll thank me).
  • Practice dehydrating different ways: in a machine, in the oven, and out in the sun. It’s fun, and useful to know.
  • Some things dehydrate better than others. Experiment and practice. Be creative! One guy dehydrates things like home made mashed potatoes. Another guy makes tomato sauce leather. Think outside the box! Chances are you can find a way to take your favorite flavors with you.

A friend of mine recently recommended to me the books about food dehydrating by Mary T. Bell. I just placed my order for a few to check em out.

Take a look for yourself if you are interested:

Food Drying With an Attitude: A Fun and Fabulous Guide to Creating Snacks, Meals and Crafts.

Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook

So anyway, there are some ideas and resources for you to get started. Play around with it, have fun, and involve the family! Eat a complete meal at home, made from your dehydrated, then rehydrated, food and see how it goes.

See you next time I’m off to pick up the kids from school and go fossil hunting.

What are you doing with the family this week to enhance their appreciation for nature?

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5 Responses to Food dehydrating for lightweight, cheap and easy backpacking and camping

  1. Hey Laurie, thanks for stopping by. Nice site you have there. Please everyone go check it out, there is some good info over there!

    Mike

  2. Thanks Mike… I’ve also been writing for Seattle Backpackers Magazine and posting some new recipes there. I’ll have to remember to put the links up on my site. Or you can check them out at http://www.seattlebackpackersmagazine.com

    As you can see, I adore chatting about food for wilderness trips… call it occupational hazard… lol. I love reading your blog by the way and I really enjoyed the article about camping with children – very well written.

  3. Hey Laurie, thanks again for stopping by! Sorry for the delay I have been super busy lately. But I have LOTS of good ideas to share with everyone this coming spring.

    The backpacking site looks great! We’ll have to think about collaborating in the future.

    Mike

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