Tips for the Trail
POT COZIES – You might not have a pot cozy if you’ve mostly eaten freeze-dried meals up until now, but when you’re cooking homemade backpacking meals, it’s an essential piece of gear that saves fuel and simplifies the cooking process. All the “cozy” does is insulate your cookpot or Ziploc bag so it retains heat more efficiently, extending the length of time the water stays hot while soaking into your food. You can easily make your own pot cozy from a windshield sun shade. Or purchase a custom pot cozy or REpack that fits your pot/Ziploc online. In a pinch, you can also use a fleece hat to cover your pot, but it’s not the best idea for long trips or treks through bear country.
STAY HYDRATED – It’s very important to be extra on top of your hydration when you’re consuming dehydrated meals. To avoid intestinal distress, make sure to use adequate amounts of water to rehydrate your meals and give them time to properly cook and absorb water before you eat them. Drink water before, during, and after your meals and listen to your body.
MEAT GRAVEL – If you have a hard time getting meat to rehydrate on the trail, you may want to try “pre-soaking” the meat or the entire meal (as long as it’s not instant potatoes, stuffing, or ramen) for 10 min or so before adding the water to the pot, boiling it, and returning it to the food as usual. You can pre-soak it in the bag or in another vessel like a cup, pot, or wide-mouth water bottle.
OVERWHELMED YET? – We understand that making your own backpacking meals takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re short on either, there are lots of great packaged meals on the market that you can simply purchase before your trip. Do what works best for you so you can get out on the trail. Check out our Best Freeze Dried Backpacking Meals list to see which meals we recommend after trying hundreds.
WHAT ABOUT BREKKIE AND LUNCH? – If you’re new to the world of backpacking, you might like our Best Lightweight Backpacking Food guide where we go over the basics of packing food for a backpacking trip and give examples of simple breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks that work well on the trail.