Dehydrating your food is an incredible way to add variety to your backpacking menu and improve the quality and quantity of food that you can bring along on strenuous hikes. Here’s a sample 9 day menu for the 100 mile Wilderness which gives you an idea of the variety and weights savings that are possible.
I normally carry about 2 pounds of food per day in my food bag But that would amount to 18 pounds of food for a 9 day trip. Imagine being about to slash that by 50% by eating dehydrated food. That would really lighten up your backpack and reduce the bulk of your load.
To put the weight and compression factors of dehydration into perspective, here are two bags of food that have been dehydrated. The bag on the left is a white bean and artichoke dip recipe. Before dehydration, the ingredients weighed about 30 oz. After dehydration, they weigh 5.4 oz. The bag on the left contains a green pepper, red pepper and onion medley. Before dehydration, the ingredients weighed 32 oz. After dehydration, they weigh, 2.4 oz.
9-day Backpacking Menu
Here’s a look at the menu plan for my 100 mile wilderness trip which includes recipes from the great dehydrated food handbook Recipes in Adventure. They’re all pretty easy to make if you have a good dehydrator and a little patience.
|1||Snack 1||Ginger Cookies|
|1||Snack 2||3 Pieces Large Toblerone|
|1||Lunch||Gouda and Crackers|
|1||Snack 3||Sunflower Seeds|
|1||Dinner||Spaghetti, Sauce & Hamburger/Veggies|
|2||Breakfast||Pumpkin Bark and Raisins|
|2||Snack 1||Cranberry Almond Gorp|
|2||Snack 2||Ritter Hazelnut|
|2||Lunch||Gouda and Crackers|
|2||Snack 3||Black Licorice|
|2||Dinner||Rica Canyon Spread and Rice|
|3||Breakfast||Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Corn|
|3||Snack 1||Chili Spiced Mango|
|3||Snack 2||Snickers Bar|
|3||Snack 3||Candied Ginger|
|3||Dinner||Ratatouille and Brown Rice|
|4||Breakfast||Banana Nut Bread Pudding|
|4||Snack 1||Nut Mix|
|4||Snack 2||3 Pieces Large Toblerone|
|4||Lunch||Justin Nut Butter & Crackers|
|4||Snack 3||Dried Fruit Mix|
|4||Dinner||Chicken Adobo (Rice)|
|5||Breakfast||Pumpkin Bark and Raisins|
|5||Snack 1||Cat Cookies|
|5||Snack 2||Ritter Hazelnut|
|5||Lunch||Salami and Crackers|
|5||Snack 3||Black Licorice|
|5||Dinner||Spaghetti, Sauce & Hamburger/Veggies|
|6||Breakfast||Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Corn|
|6||Snack 1||Cranberry Almond Gorp|
|6||Snack 2||Snickers Bar|
|6||Lunch||Salami and Crackers|
|6||Snack 3||Nut Mix|
|6||Dinner||Ratatouille and Brown Rice|
|7||Breakfast||Pumpkin Bark and Raisins|
|7||Snack 1||Nut Mix|
|7||Snack 2||Ginger Cookies|
|7||Lunch||Justin Nut Butter & Crackers|
|7||Snack 3||Bulk Milk Chocolate|
|7||Dinner||Philip's Chicken Curry w Rice|
|8||Snack 1||Nut Mix|
|8||Snack 2||Dried Fruit Mix|
|8||Snack 3||Bulk Milk Chocolate|
|8||Dinner||Spaghetti, Sauce & Hamburger/Veggies|
|9||Breakfast||Banana Nut Bread Pudding|
|9||Snack 1||Cranberry Almond Gorp|
|9||Snack 2||Cat Cookies|
|9||Lunch||Justin Nut Butter & Crackers|
|9||Snack 3||Bulk Milk Chocolate|
|9||Dinner||Rica Canyon Spread and Rice|
Survival Skills for Non-Foodies
Here are some dehydration tips that I can pass along from experience:
- If you are not the foodie in your house (I’m not), or if you live with someone who considers the kitchen their domain, they will feel threatened when you take it over for a major dehydration project. If possible, avoid cooking and dehydrating food continuously for 2-3 weeks. You best bet is to build up a supply of staples in the off-season and augment as needed for specific trips.
- Clean every kitchen gadget, utensil, and bowl immediately after using it. Otherwise they pile up and can become a real source of tension between you and a partner.
- My dehydrator sounds like a white noise generator and the sound can be irritating when it runs 24 hours a day. If you have the time, dehydrate your food at night when everyone is asleep.
- Siliconized parchment paper is an excellent substrate for drying leathers and bark made from wet ingredients. It conducts heat very well and makes it easy to peel the food from the paper after drying, or at the halfway point when you want to flip it over.
Above all, keep the peace. You never know when you’ll want to dehydrate food in the kitchen again.
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