Don’t you wish that you could have gourmet meals while you’re camping? Bringing a balanced diet on the trail can be hard. Without refrigeration, there’s really only one solution-dry food.
It has been how people keep meats, fish, and fruits through the winter since before recorded history. Beef jerky is a common trail snack, but that’s just the tip of the dry food iceberg, so to speak.
Today, modern technology allows us to dehydrate food of all types. Now, you don’t have to carry around fresh veggies and all the tools to process them. Instead, all you need is dry food and a pot of boiling water.
Read on to check out our top five types of dry food to take on the trail.
Dried and cured meats
Classic. Salami, beef jerky, pepperoni, cured fish, smoked salmon, all make great sources of protein on the trail. Most of these foods are hearty and don’t need to be refrigerated.
Unfortunately, dried and cured meats can be expensive. So try making your own. If you have an oven, smoker, or food dehydrator, you’re in business.
Dehydrated soups and mixes
There’s nothing like a good, hearty stew when you’ve been in the backcountry all day. And although dehydrated soup mixes certainly aren’t as good as the real thing, they are packed with nutrition and can really hit the spot.
Depending on where you live, dehydrated soup mixes might be hard to come by. They can often be found in the bulk section of a grocery store like WinCo or Fred Meyer. However, you may be able to find some at your local food co-op that are of higher quality.
Dried fruit make for great trail snacks. Out of all the dry food you can bring, fruit has the most natural sugar and energy packed into it. This is great for keeping your spirits and blood sugar up during long days of exercise.
Dried fruit is also one of the easiest and cheapest types of dry food to buy. Raisins, apricots, banana chips, apple, mango, cranberries, and blueberries are all common. However, some stores have exotic and interesting selections that will really make your mouth water.
Starches are a classic camping dry food. Rice, pasta, oats, quinoa, or lentils are all great bases for a meal. You can add them to your soup or put other things on top. You can make stir fry for dinner or porridge for breakfast.
These foods give you the bulk of your energy to last you throughout the day. They are also among the cheapest types of foods you can get. That way you can keep your backpacking on the budget.
Dehydrated mashed potatoes
Although similar to a soup mix, we felt it important that we mention dry mashed potatoes in particular. Because, while there are lots of excellent foods to dehydrate, no dry food is more logical, or more delicious, than potatoes.
Certainly, you won’t get chunky mashed potatoes from a powder, but with the right amount of garlic, salt, and pepper, you’ll be amazed at how good they can taste. It sure beats carrying potatoes into the woods.
There are many more types of dry food that we couldn’t fit onto this list. Some that are practical in the woods, and some that are best enjoyed at home.
Next time you head out into the wilderness, think ahead about your food. Plan your meals out and take enough nutritious food to keep you going the whole time. That may mean packing a couple of dehydrated soups, some fruit and some cured meats.
Remember that you are what you eat, and if you only eat Clif bars, well, we’re not exactly sure what that makes you.
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