Freeze Dried Camping Food: Our 10 Favorite Brands
When you think of camping or backpacking foods, you usually dont think of gourmet meals. Personally, plain pasta and tuna usually comes to mind. However, this can be both bulky and heavy to pack in. Not an ideal combination when you want to save those extra kilos and that precious space in your backpack.
Not to mention, at the end of a long day of hiking and setting up camp, the last thing you want to do is wait around to cook your dinner.
So, whats the solution? Dehydrated or Freeze dried meals!
In no particular order, here are 10 of the most recommended freeze dried camping foods:
Shelf Life And Emergency Preparedness
A meals shelf life denotes the amount of time that it retains its flavor, nutrition, and edibility. Looking at the brands above, the shelf lives vary from 1 to 30 years, depending on the preservation method and type/amount of preservatives used. This information is easy to find on the packaging or manufacturer website. To guarantee their shelf life, backcountry meals should be stored fully sealed in a cool and dry environment .
Most backcountry enthusiasts are buying for their next adventure, meaning that shelf life shouldnt be a concern for most. But backpacking food, as it turns out, is also ideal for emergency preparednessit takes up less space on your shelves than canned goods , lasts for a long time, and is easy to prepare. For stocking up in case of an emergency , the shelf life is a specification worth considering. And if food storage is your main intent, we do recommend buying in bulk. Companies like Mountain House offer their meals in cans and even buckets, which will take up significantly less space and save on both packaging and money.
Best Freeze Dried Backpacking Meals
Everyone knows food simply tastes better in the backcountry. Thats just science. However, you dont have to resign yourself to eating tasteless or flat-out cheap freeze dried backpacking meals.
On the contrary, backpacking meals have come a very, very long way in a relatively short period of time. Long gone are the unidentifiable globs of mashed potatoes and something pretending to be beef chunks.
Today, the best freeze dried backpacking meals resemble something Grandma would make for Sunday supper. Thats because Grandma likely did many of the companies on this list are small family operations, born out of a desire for healthy but delicious backpacking food.
These healthy backpacking meals are tasty and generally require nothing more than water heated on your portable camp stove. But they also pack an essential nutritional punch, combining high fat and caloric density with low weight and little to no fillers.
Read Also: Easy Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
The Ultimate Guide To Gluten Free Backpacking Food
This post may contain affiliate links.
There are tons of gluten-free backpacking food options out there, but the trick is knowing where to look! In this guide, weve collected options as we could find to build a comprehensive resource for gluten-free backpacking meals!
Whether you have Celiac, are gluten intolerant, or just trying to cut down your gluten consumption, trying to find gluten-free backpacking food often requires an exhaustive amount of label-reading. This means parsing through every ingredient list with a magnifying glass to ensure some weirdo wheat-derivative wasnt slipped into an otherwise benign-looking product.
Thankfully the backpacking food industry has realized the growing demand for gluten-free products and has not only started producing more options but properly labeling their gluten-free backpacking meals.
So we scoured the internet to find as many gluten-free freeze-dried and dehydrated meals as we could, and were sharing them all in one place. So if you are a gluten-free backpacker this is your one-stop-shop!
The list below contains meals that are described as Gluten Free by their manufacturer and/or the linked retailer website. We havent independently verified this information nor can we speak to their manufacturing practices regarding cross-contamination. When in doubt, you should contact the companies themselves for more information.
We Offer A Number Of Gluten Free Emergency Options
We know that a gluten free diet can be very limiting but your gluten free survival food doesnt have to be. We have spent countless hours sourcing a number of gluten free options to provide our customers with many gluten free options to choose from. We have delicious gluten free survival food options ranging from tomato basil soup to maple brown sugar oatmeal. And the best part about our gluten free survival foods is that you cant even tell its gluten free. We offer a number of gluten survival foods aside from the obvious ones like freeze dried fruits and vegetables and freeze dried meats. A number of our tasty survival entreesare also gluten free and, of course, made with clean, nutritious real foods without chemicals and fillers.
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Best Variety Of Gluten Free Emergency Food
At Harmony Foods, we are the leaders in premium dehydrated foods and we have an extensive selection of gluten free emergency food to fit your needs. In fact, all of our Fruits, Vegetables, Beans, Chickenish Chunks, Chickenish Bits, and Plain TVP are gluten free.
In the event of an emergency, you want to be prepared. If you’re gluten free, it goes without saying that you want to make sure you have gluten free emergency food on hand. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place! At Harmony House Foods, Inc., the quality and purity of our gluten free survival food is our number one priority. That’s why we take special care to ensure that all of our equipment is properly cleaned between processing, so there is no contamination. When we say âgluten free,” we really mean it.
Trailfork Coconut Chana Masala
TrailFork has really outdone themselves in putting this deliciously creamy spin on a lightly spiced classic. All of TrailForks meals are prepared in a separate container using only boiling water. This is largely due to the fact that theyre taking care of our environment by offering 100% compostable packaging.
The TrailFork Coconut Chana Masala is vegan and gluten-free. It contains white rice, garbanzo beans, coconut milk powder, spice, and tomato powder. Each pouch contains one, 590-calorie serving thats packed with 18 grams of protein. This freeze dried food option is ready to enjoy in just over 10 minutes.
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Alpineaire Veggie Burrito Bowl
This freeze dried food option is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a meat-free substitute when out on the trail. It still provides enough substance to make you feel full and replenished after a long day hunting, hiking, or backpacking.
The AlpineAire Vegetarian Burrito Bowl contains a savory blend of cilantro-lime rice, black beans, corn, peppers, and zesty Mexican spices. Each package contains 600 total calories and a heaping 20 grams of protein. Preparation requires nothing more than the addition of boiling water, a stir or two, and a little patience.
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What About Gf With Other Dietary Restrictions
If you are GF and have an allergy to soy or milk, your best bet is to look for paleo meals. The paleo diet excludes virtually all common allergens .
The only brands I know of that make paleo emergency meals are Elements Meals and Wild Zora. If you know of any other options, please let us know in the comments!
These options are pricier, but the quality is far superior. Not only are you getting real meat , but you are getting real ingredients, lots of protein, and no artificial fillers.
Wild Zora Paleo Meals
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Gluten Free Hiking Food Basics
If you’re still with me , you might want even more details about carbs, protein, and fats, and why it’s so important to get the right balance of them as a hiker.
If you haven’t read my general information on hiking nutrition, it’s good background reading.
Or to cut right to the chase, download my Hiking Nutrition Tips for Gluten Free Hikers.
- It’s an inexpensive, fast, info packed read to help you head out on the trail with GF confidence.
- It will also help you sort out the differences between gluten allergy, insensitivity and intolerance.
If you’re ready to start cooking up a GF storm, my current favorite blog with health information and great recipes for all occasions is right here.
- It’s not updated anymore, but it will take you a long time to work your way through all of the recipes!
Not sure what your digestive upsets on the trail are related to?
Gluten Free Hiking Food: Best Protein Sources
And of course, we need to pay close attention to protein when we’re out on the trail longer than a day.
- Get up to speed on the best sources of protein for hikers.
Here’s a great source of “clean” protein – meaning gluten and additive free but packed with flavor!
If you look into the back story of this company, you might be impressed.
- But it’s the taste that makes these stand out for gluten free hiking food.
Warning: These are addictive gluten free hiking food!
I can’t eat just a handful, so I package these in the smallest possible ziplock plastic bags and label them by day with a stern warning: “These are for Tuesday’s lunch ONLY!”
Here’s another protein source that recently came to my attention : EPIC protein bars.
Nice selection of flavors, too: turkey, bison, lamb and more.
Read Also: King Arthur High Gluten Flour
First Option: Make Your Own Gluten Free Hiking Food
The make your own GF food route has gotten so much easier over the years.
- Gluten Free in the title of a cookbook is no longer an anomaly!
You can also find lots of great information on the Internet, including blogs and recipe sites.
If you decide to make your own carbohydrate-rich gluten free hiking food, you will need to purchase non-wheat flours and other baking ingredients such as xanthan.
- These ingredients will cost more, which can be daunting at first.
- They might be hard to locate, although on line purchasing opens up a wide range to you.
Recommended Reading: Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing Gluten Free
Contact Me With Your Favorite Gluten Free Hiking Food Ideas
I’m so very happy to share my hard won knowledge with you because I want you, my gluten free virtual trail buddy, to have the energy and well being you deserve on your hiking adventures.
What a relief it was to figure out that the gluten in wheat and other grains was making me tired, cranky and unmotivated on the trail!
For your strongest vitality on the trail, go with gluten free hiking food and never look back .
Give these gluten free hiking food products a try, and let me know what you think.
And if you find something even better, please share!
Now, even more hiking good food tips for you!
Also Check: Tate’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Option : Modify Existing Products
This is tricky if you have a raging gluten allergy and must avoid gluten at all costs.
Thats why I dont recommend this route if your life is endangered upon ingesting gluten .
However, if you suffer mild abdominal issues & discomfort and want to experiment with taking the gluten out of your favorite mixes, you can try the modification route.
For example, you can substitute rice noodles in your favorite instant soup recipe as long as the noodles are in their own separate package: toss the original noodles and keep the flavor packets to flavor the gluten free noodles.
I use these and love them.
Gluten Free Backpacking Meals High Energy And Lightweight
Base Camp Food have the best selection of gluten free lightweight meals and expedition foods. Its not always easy to find lightweight freeze dried and ready to eat meals which are suitable for different dietary requirements but here at Base Camp Food we carefully select and choose our ranges to ensure that we can cater for nearly all dietary requirements.
Base Camp Food has over 50 different options for those who require gluten free camping meals and expedition food. Whether you need a lightweight freeze dried gluten free meal or a ready to eat gluten free camping meal we have a number of options to suit all tastes. All our meals are available with free UK delivery.
Recommended Reading: Caseys Pizza Gluten Free
Read Also: How Do I Know If Im Allergic To Gluten
Wild Zora Mountain Beef Stew
The team at Wild Zora makes delicious trail snacks and meals from minimally processed, all-natural ingredients. This freeze dried meal is ideal for backpackers, hikers, and hunters that want to eat on the trail just like they eat at home.
The Wild Zora Mountain Beef Stew contains grass-fed beef, organic carrots, onion, broccoli, mushrooms, kale, celery, green onion, sea salt, garlic, marjoram, thyme, and parsley. Each container holds a single, 420-calorie serving and lasts up to 2 years unopened. Perhaps best of all, improved packaging makes the pouches these meals come in even easier to eat from.
Gluten Free Baked Goods
If youre a day hiker, youre not concerned with how well a cookie holds together.
But gluten free backpacking food that you prepare yourself?
Thats when you want ingredients that wont go stale or rancid, and work well together to hold their shape.
Lets fall back on our reliance on oats, and add in some almond flour, to create some nutrient dense cookies that also taste great.
The sugars will give you fast fuel, and the oats and almonds will keep you feeling full.
Heads up: Bringing bread on a backpacking trip isnt a realistic option, even when its loaded with gluten to bind it together. Unless you like dipping a spork into your nut butter and picking up crumbs
Read on for the best cracker tips, and make a mental switch for your backpacking gluten free lunch options.
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The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Whole Grain Dog Food Complete Meal Or Dog Food Topper Chicken 4 Lb
- MAKES 16 LBS OF FOOD: Just add warm water for a wholesome & delicious meal that rehydrates to 4x its weight. A 4 LB box makes 16 LBs of fresh food! Serve alone as a complete easy homemade meal, or use as a topper to dry food.
- FREE RANGE CHICKEN & ORGANIC WHOLE GRAINS: The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken dog food is made with real whole food ingredients like free range chicken, organic oats, carrots & bananas, which are gently dehydrated for maximum flavor & nutrient retention and easy digestion.
- SUITABLE FOR PUPPIES & ADULT DOGS: Complete & balanced nutrition for adult dogs and puppies of all breeds and sizes, including large breed puppies, as well as adult mothers .
- HUMAN GRADE: Unlike most pet food, which is feed grade, this recipe is 100% human grade made with human grade ingredients and produced in a human food facility. That means higher quality ingredients and more safety standards, just like youd expect from your own food.
- WE SAY NO TO: This recipe contains no preservatives, by-products, fillers, GMO ingredients, corn, wheat or soy.
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Ready To Eat Gluten Free Camping And Backpacking Meals
Whilst freeze dried meals require a water source, our gluten free ready to eat backpacking and camping meals are made up ready to eat – no need to add water. They are heavier to carry but are more convenient and are really tasty. You don’t even need to heat them if you don’t want to but they taste much better if you do! Why not try a Vegetable Korma which is a lightly spiced vegetarian gluten free backpacking meal and also recommended for DofE expeditions.
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Gluten Free Expedition Breakfasts
We have to give our gluten free freeze dried breakfasts a mention. We have a number available but our two most popular are the LYO Expedition Organic Millet Porridge with raspberries and ariona powder. It is gluten free, lactose free and has no artificial additives. The LYO Expedition Coconut Porridge with blueberries, figs and chia seeds is a superb gluten free freeze dried backpacking meal and is often found in the Base Camp Food Team Pack!
All our gluten free meals have free UK delivery available. Please ensure you check all ingredients carefully to ensure they are suitable for your diet and contact us if you have any questions
Dont forget that Base Camp Food has a fantastic range of lightweight camping stoves and cookware and you can earn Base Camp reward points on all your purchases!
Backpackers Pantry Pad Thai
The Backpackers Pantry Pad Thai is a non-GMO, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free backcountry meal that is high in protein to replenish the calories you exert throughout the day. Its made of premium freeze dried meats and produce to provide nutritious enjoyment for backpackers, hikers, and hunters alike.
This freeze dried meal contains two servings, each with 460 total calories. Rice noodles are seasoned with a spicy, sweet, garlic sauce and supplemented with textured soy protein, vegetables, and roasted peanuts. Preparation on this one requires a little more effort, but the returns are certainly worth the work.
Recommended Reading: Whole Foods Gluten Free Pizza Crust
What Makes For Good Backpacking Food
There are a few factors to keep in mind when determining whether a food is good for backpacking: shelf-stable, weight, calorie density, and cook speed.
Shelf-Stable: Its important to use ingredients that can be stored at room temperature. You can get away with bringing some things like cheese or salami if you eat them in the first few days, but for the most part, you want to skip anything perishable.
Lightweight: Since you have to carry it every step of the way, backpacking food should be as lightweight as possible. Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods tend to be lightest, though there are plenty of grocery store options well review as well.
Calorie Dense: Backpacking takes a lot of energy, so you need food that can properly refuel you. When we plan our backpacking food, we try to average 115-130+ calories per ounce to keep the weight down.
Cooking Time: Consider how much patience you have to cook your food and how much fuel you will be bringing. Quicker cooking foods tend to be preferred by most backpackers for fuel conservation.