RightOnTrek: Dehydrated Meals for Camping and Hunting
Dehydrating food is an easy way to preserve it for later use. It also helps keep food fresh and makes it easier to pack on the road. You can easily make your own DIY backpacking meals but for those strapped for time, there are plenty of companies making dehydrated meals for camping. Not all of these are build equally, however. I’ve recently discovered RightOnTrek’s MRE’s and I can say that they’re extremely thoughtful. The meals come planned as full-day nutrition for one adult and range from dehydrated food to packaged snacks and toppings. I’m really digging this set up.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks! A Full Dehydrated Meals Plan
If you’re looking for healthy, quick meal options, consider dehydrating some of your favorite foods. If you don’t have the time to prep, RightOnTrek is a super efficient way to handle your days in the field carefree. For me, that means more time to plan routes, research terrain, and immerse myself in the things I care more about.
Net-net, what buying a RightOnTrek meal kit means is that I don’t need to go to the grocery store before my backpacking or hunting trip. I can save that evening and either get out earlier, or do something else. This is life optimization.
RightOnTrek Meal Review
I love that there are vegan options for the RightOnTrek dehydrated meals. While I’m not vegan, I’ve spent enough time emptying my soul in the backcountry due to dodgy ingredients. Vegan meals cut some variables out of the picture like lactose, meat, eggs that may upset my gut. I love that I can buy a package that has a full day’s worth of meals and not worry about contents.
Here’s my first impressions and thoughts on trying the RightOnTrek meal kit.
First Impressions: Premium Product Price?
At first, there was a bit of sticker shock when I looked at the Backcountry Meal Kit price tag. The packaging and price point feels like a premium product. There was a nice touch of recycled cardboard, a mesh bag holder, and a branded mini carabiner. The price initially felt high but the product is premium. Full disclosure, I’m not a premium products person. I’m kind of a tightwad. Spoiler alert: totally worth it.
For $40, you get 2700-calories. For a comparison, you can buy a 4-pack of genuine military surplus MREs for around the same price that net ~5000-calories. However, the military stuff won’t be as delicious, thoughtful, or refined.
When I opened the package and examined the contents, I’ve realized that $40 is more than fair for a single person. I broke down the $40 as 3-core meals, but I’m thinking about this all wrong. The meal kit also considers snacks, coffee with sugar and cream, condiments, dessert, and tea on top of 3-core meals. My kit had banana bread oatmeal, a snacky-lunch of jerky/chips/peanut-butter, and a cashew rice dinner with peanut butter cup dessert. If I broke down the prices, it would be more than fair. The pre-packaged snacks are premium. I’m sure I’ve seen the peanut butter cups sell for over $5 standalone at Wholefoods. As a standalone product, the core dinner dishes are only $8, making them cheaper than a competitor like Mountain House.
You’ll Need a Mess Kit
Maybe my expectations are too low for dehydrated meals, but I fully expected to cook these in a bag. Intuitively, I should be able to open the top of a bag, add water, wait, and eat with a fork. Not the case.
RightOnTrek instructions on these packaged meals require cooking in camp cookware. The steps are to add ingredients, add boiling water, then set to low heat and stir for several minutes until ready.
Being packaged as a backpacking meal, I’d like to have ditched my camp cookware mess kit and went totally native here. I’m not too fancy and would be fine eating out of a bag.
Premium Dehydrated Meals Flavor, Reasonable Cost
Straight up – the meals are pretty good and are much more interesting than your standard chicken-rice or beef stroganoff freeze dried meals. The High Country Pad Thai was pretty dang good for a dehydrated meal for camping and at under $8, it’s a total buy recommendation. If I compared it to a restaurant item, I don’t think it would pass for a genuine Pad Thai. It was very rich, creamy with the added peanut butter, and the overall consistency was thicker and saucier than a Pad Thai. However, after a full day of biking up a mountain, the extra peanut butter, oils, and interesting spices were very welcomed. Pretty delicious.
The General Tsoy’s rice was also great and left us both very satisfied. This meal was something closer to what I’d expect from a dehydrated meal I’d put together at home. This is to say it was pretty good, but also totally achievable if you made it yourself. The rice cooked well, the sauce as excellent, and the added crunch of cashews was nice over the texture of the vegan chicken. Having eaten a bunch of vegan food as an Angelino, the texture was just like any other vegan chicken you’d get at a restaurant.
I had my reservations on feeling full off of just these bags of food. I’m glad the food was dense enough to be filling and the extras were an added treat.
The RightOnTrek meals are packaged very thoughtfully to save weight, time, and pressure to ensure you have enough calories. The vegan options are nice as they cut some of the things that could make one’s time in the bush skew towards time *by* a bush with a shovel. While the day’s price tag feels high, it really isn’t when you break down what it costs you to feed yourself a day’s worth of food in suburbia.
As an adult with an adult job and a family who only has so much time to do things, buying a full day’s worth of backpacking food from my office desk feels worth it. I’m generally pretty cheap and will do it myself to save a buck, but breaking down the cost after-the-fact makes the RightOnTrek meals seem worth the time savings.
I love that the whole day’s intake is thoughtful and includes coffee to start the day, and tea to end the day.
Final recommendation: buy.