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These are the popular freeze-dried meals found in most backcountry pantries - in your case the backpacks we rent.
Mountain House and other dehydrating companies take just about any food imaginable, dry it out, and package it in a foil pouch. You just add boiling water at camp - typically 2 cups - seal the pouch back up and wait about 10 minutes for it to reconstitute to its original form. The pouches we carry are the "two-serving" size, but in reality each is for one person - about 600-700 calories per container. You can eat right from the pouch.
There are dozens of flavors and food preparations out there, but we just carry a few select ones we know taste pretty darn good and are popular with hungry hikers. We're not talking fresh gourmet here, but after a long hiking day with our backpacking rental gear these meals do hit the spot.
See more photos and instructions on our dehydrated meals, and here are a few pointers to consider if you're new to dining on freeze-dried food:
* Take some variety, even if not all are your favorite. The same ol' same ol' every night gets boring, even when backpacking.
* If you're going to be out more than 5 days, and you've rented a standard-size bear canister, you should remove the food from its original packaging and put in baggies - the original pouches take up too much room in most cases. You can keep one pouch and reuse it as a "bowl" of sorts for the other meals as well.
* These food packages have a lot of sodium per serving. No big deal after a long day of exercise in most cases, but if it matters to you, take note. A typical pouch might have a day's worth of sodium in it by itself.
* You will need some type of stove and fuel to boil the water needed to rehydrate the food. Rent our canister stove as an example.
All in all, these meals are a good tasting, convenient option for backcountry adventures. We do suggest supplementing with other food choices if out for more than 4 or 5 days. See more on food preparation and dining in the outdoors.