ORDERS $150+ SHIP FREE FROM MELBOURNE WAREHOUSE
November 20, 2020
One of the most significant considerations when hiking is pack weight and how to minimise it. We buy gear based on weight, packability, durability, and functionality - does it do what we need it to do?
Food fits into this consideration too.
Food fuels our adventure, and it needs to taste good too. It's gratifying to have knocked out a few km's on the trail knowing and thinking about what's on the menu for dinner. Take off your boots and put your feet up, have a wash down and relax with a comforting warm meal.
Some considerations might be how much food you need to carry for your trip, is there sufficient re-supply available in trail towns etc., or am I going to pack everything I need in? What's my food going to weigh?
At some point, most of us have made our meals and then dehydrated them with a $100 dryer, packed them into ziplock bags for the next trip. It's hard to beat a home-cooked meal made from scratch, but cons do come with the pros.
Dehydrating is rewarding, but consider the time it takes to cook the meals and cool, dry them, and pack them off into vac seal bags. However, they are more compact than freeze-drying, are heavier, and therefore, more gas must be carried for simmering when cooking.
Freeze drying has been around since the 1940's when blood plasma needed to be transported during the war. A bit has changed but the principals are still the same. The product is snap frozen then at -40 degrees Celcius, and heat is applied. Frozen water crystals skip a phase and turn into a gas, and this is called sublimation. Home freeze Dryers are still too expensive to purchase for the average Joe. Freeze dry fruit eaten raw has crunch, and rehydrated meals have great texture as the cell structure doesn't collapse during the process. These are the lightest food option for hiking.
Wet packs are another option for hikers. These packs have usually gone through a retort process of heat to sterilise the contents inside, just like the old school army ration packs. They are generally tasty, expensive for their size and heavy. The weight does add up, and on a 5-day hike, you would be carrying around 1.2kg just for dinners in a 250g pouch. Compare that to cooked 400g freeze-dried dinners at just 500g for five dinners which is less than half the carrying weight.
Heating is simple as dropping the pouch into a pot of boiling water, so make sure you carry more gas to get these packs up to the desired temperature.
The table below outlines the main differences between dehydrating, freeze-dry, and wet packs.
|DEHYDRATED||FREEZE DRY||WET PACK|
|WEIGHT BEFORE PREPARATION||140g||100g||250g|
|WATER COMPONENT TO ADD||500ml to 750ml||300ml||None|
|MEAL SIZE WHEN READY||450g||400g||250g|
|PACKABILITY||Ok||Our Exped meals are the lightest, most compact and biggest single serve available||Ok|
|SPEED OF PREPARATION||15 mins||Quickest 5-10 mins||10 mins|
|TEXTURE||Not bad||Great - beans and veggies have crunch!||So so - goes mushy like canned food 😏|
|MOISTURE REMOVED||5% to 20%||98% to 99%||0%|
|SHELF LIFE||1 Year||2 Years||1 Year|
|PACK WEIGHT OF 5 DINNERS||700g||500g 😁||1.25kg|
Hopefully, the above gives you more understanding of the different types of food options for your next hike.
Please note this is just a guide, and some figures change from time to time.
Below is a price comparison of 5 brands when the meals are cooked and at the "ready to eat" stage.
***To work this out when shopping, divide the meal's cost by the final weight "ready to eat" of the meal, which will give the cost per gram.
| BACKCOUNTRY CUISINE
|Single Dinner (Mex Chicken)||Double Dinner (Mex Chicken)|
|COST PER GRAM||$0.046||$0.036|
|CAMPERS PANTRY AUS
|Single Dinner (Cauliflower Dahl)||Double Dinner (Spag Bol)|
|COST PER GRAM||$0.039||$0.033|
GO NATIVE NZ
|Single Dinner (Veg Curry)|
|FINAL WEIGHT||250g wet|
|COST PER GRAM||$0.05|
ON TRACK MEALS AUS
|Single Dinner (Chickpea Curry)|
|FINAL WEIGHT||250g wet|
|COST PER GRAM||$0.056|
OUTDOOR GOURMET CO NZ
|Double Dinner (Mediterainean Lamb with Olives)|
|COST PER GRAM||$0.031|
April 05, 2023
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