Just Add Water

Five Freeze-Dried Meals to Put in Your Pack

Camping is a simple pleasure, but even the most die-hard of outdoorsmen will long for the comforting food of home without having to pack an entire kitchen’s worth of equipment.

A reasonable alternative, however, is to pack freeze-dried foods that keep the flavor without the hassle of being perishable. Since not all dried food is to be trusted, we’ve picked out our 5 brands that offer the best freeze dried meals — good for both a weekend camping trip and an unexpected emergency.

Mountain House











Perhaps the most trusted brand among hikers, Mountain House Freeze Dried Foods offer an unparalleled variety of food without ever sacrificing the actual taste of their products. Try the beef stroganoff with noodles for a filling dinner or bacon and eggs for a surprisingly hearty breakfast.

Harmony House Foods









This may be the best option for any health nuts looking to avoid any artificial ingredients, GMOs, and the like. Harmony House has prepared soups and chili products, along with individual dried vegetables and fruits that you can mix and match to make your own concoction to fit personal tastes.  Try the vegetable soup mix or the vegetable sampler.

Backpacker’s Pantry










While Mountain House might have a wider selection, Backpacker’s Pantry offers the sort of variety in cuisine you simply wouldn’t expect from freeze-dried foods. You can go for Eastern flavor with pad Thai, or down home with bacon cheddar mashed potatoes, or even Caribbean with the jerk chicken and rice.

Wise Company







To put it plainly, the other brands on this list beat the Wise company on flavor, but never on value. That’s not to suggest their meals are in anyway bad. They simply specialize in large, cheap packages that are perfect for longer trips or stockpiling.

Nature’s All Foods









Nature’s All can’t be beat when it comes to freeze-dried fruits, all of them organic and fair-trade. But most of all, they’re delicious and simple — you don’t even need to add water for these. Simply pick your favorite fruit and snack on them for breakfast or a snack to keep your energy up for day-long hikes.