Field test and review
Every time I think of my first overnight hike I recall vividly how well prepared I was for my evening meal. I had prepared frozen chicken fillets, fresh broccoli and pasta, all ready to be cooked and consumed when we made camp. It seemed to make complete sense that I would take food that I would normally eat at home rather than eating all of that packaged stuff. While it was a great idea at the time, after several multi day hikes I soon realised this added unnecessary weight, was time consuming to prepare and cook and was completely impractical, particularly in warmer weather or after three days on the trail. I had to find another solution so headed off to my favourite outdoor shops to see what was on offer.
Back Country Cuisine Freeze Dri food comes in a wide variety of flavours and sizes for all appetites & dietary restrictions. Simple to use packages are light and filling. Simply add hot water, reseal bag, wait for re-hydration and enjoy.
Freeze Dri foods are ideal for hiking; they weigh less than fresh or canned food and maintain flavour, colour, aroma and nutritional value. The packaging is robust and is ideal for saving space. The zip lock top makes it is easy to re-seal whilst cooking, to save left-overs (if you want) and to avoid attracting wildlife. It also means that when you pack the rubbish out the food waste and liquid stays in the pouch.
Available in easy to pack in and pack out pouches, Back Country Cuisine carries a shelf life of two and a half years. Ice cream products have a 2-year shelf life. Make sure, of course, to keep packages unharmed and in a cool, dry area. Different sizes are also available if you need to share your meal between two people.
Simply follow the instructions on the back of each package. In short, add boiling water, re-seal the pouch, wait 10 minutes and enjoy. Each product has different water requirements (i.e. 200ml for Beef Stroganoff, 250ml for honey chicken soy, 300ml for apple pie, 180ml for strawberry ice-cream, etc.). In extreme conditions room temperature or cold water will work, but you must double the wait time for re-hydration. We generally place the pouch in an insulated sleeve to assist with cooking and reducing the effects of the external environment.
The Back Country Cuisine packaging will heat up with the boiled water inside, but you may still hold the package from the bottom or from the very top. This may be difficult for some who eat right out of the bag so we usually stand the bag in a bowl to make it easier to handle.
I enjoy Back Country Cuisine Freeze Dri food on overnight hikes. I enjoy the taste, have a wide selection of meals to choose from and appreciate the convenience. For multi-day hikes, I generally carry my own dehydrated meals as after a few days on the trail they can go right through you. There is a range of different dehydrated meals on the market these days so I do recommend checking them out to see what works for you.
- Flavourful freeze-dried food.
- Resealable packaging.
- Nutritional information & grams per serving.
- Lightweight & easy to pack in/out.
About Freeze Dri
Back Country Cuisine is easy to prepare and great tasting because of the features of our Freeze Dri process. This combines quick-to-hydrate, freeze-dried vegetables and meats with sauce mixes that have been processed to retain their natural flavours. The result is delicious meals that can be prepared in the pack in 10 minutes with the addition of boiling water.
In the freeze drying process, crystals of frozen ice in the food are sublimed (evaporated) to water vapour in a vacuum chamber. The result is a completely dry product that does not shrink during the drying process. When prepared for eating, the water quickly gets into the pores left by the ice crystals to give a juicy, tender food product.
After packing, the food is heat-sealed in foil pouches from which all the air has been removed and replaced with nitrogen gas. This keeps the food safe and flavoursome for at least three years without the need for preservatives.
Back Country Cuisine meals are formulated to meet the high energy needs of outdoor activity. There is a careful balance of carbohydrates and sugars for instant energy, protein to replenish exhausted muscles and oils and fat to provide an energy store (oils and fats are kept within the recommended maximum of 30% of total energy)
Freeze drying retains the natural vitamins in the food because of the low temperatures used in processing. Along with naturally occurring minerals and the addition of salt, the meals provide vitamins and minerals necessary to stay healthy.
Available from most leading hiking stores.
Field Tested by Darren Edwards > www.trailhiking.com.au