One of the joys of backpacking is a hearty meal after a long day on the trail. There are many delicious premade backpacking meals available, but you can easily create your own lightweight backcountry cuisine from your favorite recipes and a food dehydrator. This easy guide will show you how to save money and turn any suitable recipe into a dehydrated meal in 5 easy steps.
The best recipes for dehydrating are meals that involve a sauce. Think meals like pasta, chili, stew, soup or a casserole. You can find many dehydrating specific recipes online, but a dehydrating specific recipe isn't necessary. We often dehydrate the weekday leftovers of our favorite meals so we can enjoy them on our weekend adventures.
Quick Tip: No time to cook? Canned chili makes a great dehydrated meal, that is both lightweight and delicious!
For these directions, we will be using a homemade chili recipe we found online, but the same steps and techniques are applicable to any suitable recipe.
Use the food scale to weigh your meal before dehydrating. This gives you a base weight so you can calculate how much water will be needed to rehydrate your meal in camp.
Place each meal on a parchment paper lined dehydrating tray. The parchment paper keeps liquid and small pieces from falling through the tray. Spread the meal in a thin and uniform layer to ensure even dehydration.
Dehydrating overnight is usually sufficient for most backpacking recipes. A fully dehydrated meal should be brittle, easily break away from the parchment paper and be free of moisture when crumbled. Check your meal and simply dehydrate for an hour or two longer as needed.
Place your backpacking meal in a ziplock bag and measure it's weight to calculate how much water will be needed to rehydrate. Here we see that we reduced the weight of our backpacking meal by 23.5 oz!
One fluid ounce of water weighs roughly 1.043 dry ounces so unless you want to get extremely precise you can estimate that you will need to add 23.5 oz of water to rehydrate your backpacking meal in camp.
Keep dehydrated meals in the freezer until you are ready to hit the trail to keep them fresh.
Quick Tip: We add a few extra ounces of water to allow for a few minutes of simmering.
Place the dehydrated meal and the required amount of water into a pot and heat on your backpacking stove. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and simmer for a few minutes. Test a spoonful to make sure it is fully rehydrated and enjoy!
Quick Tip: You can pre-soak your meal to save fuel and reduce cooking time.
New to backpacking? Read tips from a beginners first backpacking trip.
My first pair of sturdy, quality hiking boots changed my outdoor experience. Before them, I tumbled around awkwardly in slippery, ill-fitting, non-breathable (and somehow also non-waterproof) boots, coming away from hikes happy but covered in scrapes, bruises, and favoring tender limbs. My arches would ache, and eventually, the dull pain would spread to my leg joints. Then I bought “my blue boots.” The most significant outdoor purchase I had ever made, I was unconvinced that they would be worth it. Now, without a doubt in my mind, I can say they were absolutely worth the price.
Hikers and backpackers are constantly outside and being active, even in the off season. The physical impact of carrying weight, working muscles repeatedly, and being exposed to uncontrolled conditions can take its toll both in the short and long term. Being able to hike, backpack, snowshoe and do whatever outdoor activities you choose is a special thing, and calls for attention to remain possible, comfortable, and enjoyable.
To stay healthy and protected from injuries, here are a few self-care tips to keep you doing what you love.
Snowshoeing is an activity that can open your eyes to breathtaking new dimensions and faces of nature. Not only is it a fun and achievable goal to help you get outside during the winter, but it is an experience unlike any other that is sure to make an impression.
Though it can be overwhelming to think about planning a beginner trip in the winter weather, anyone can take a snowshoeing trip with the right preparation and mindset. For me, a cold-natured summer hiker, snowshoeing offers confidence in my own abilities and an outlet to enjoy the winter that I have grown to anticipate and love.
|Small||4 - 6.5||2 - 4.5||35 - 37||20.5 - 23|
7 - 9.5
|5 - 7.5||38 - 40||23.5 - 25.5|
|8 - 10.5||41 - 45||26 - 28.5|
13.5 - 15
|11 - 13.5||46 - 49||29 - 31|
|Small||N/A||N/A||N/A||20.5 - 23|
6 - 8.5
|5.5 - 8||39 - 41||23.5 - 25.5|
|8.5 - 11||42 - 44||26 - 28.5|
12 - 14.5
|11.5 - 14||45 - 47||29 - 31|
|WOMEN'S||FITS SIZES||US Sizes (Inches)|
|Small||2 - 4||Length: 26"||Width: 15 ¾"|
|Medium||6 - 8||Length: 26 ½"||Width: 16 ½"|
|Large||8 - 10||Length: 27 ⅛ "||Width: 17 ½"|
|X-Large||10 - 14||Length: 27 ¾"||Width: 18 ½"|
|2X-Large||14 - 18||Length: 28 ⅜"||Width: 19 ½|
|MEN'S / UNISEX||CHEST TO FIT||US Sizes (Inches)|
|Small||34 - 37||Length: 28"||Width: 18"|
38 - 41
|Length: 29"||Width: 20"|
42 - 45
|Length: 30"||Width: 22"|
46 - 49
|Length: 31"||Width: 24"|
|2X-Large||50 - 53||Length: 32"||Width: 26"|