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Prepackaged vs Homemade
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Kenneth Gurney
(Drunkenblade) - F
Prepackaged vs Homemade on 02/11/2005 20:05:58 MST Print View

Not sure if I get the hole Dehydrate my own food thing?
I love to Dehydrate fruit and such, but what are the benifits (UL) of Dehydrating a hole meal at home when I can buy prepackaged Items?
Yes, I have heard that all the additives in the preservation of prepackaged foods are bad for your body and soul... Is home made Dehydrated food really better for you and is it really lighter?

Oh, I do repackage prepackaged packages:)

Dehydrating your own on 02/12/2005 13:04:41 MST Print View

The big benefit I find is TASTE !! I find the commercial dehydrated/freeze-dried foods just aren't as tasty as the dishes I can whip up at home on my stove. I also can't 'buy' the variety that I can make. :-)

Kenneth Gurney
(Drunkenblade) - F
Taste? on 02/12/2005 13:46:46 MST Print View

Taste? Really? Ok, well yes I guess seasoning the food to your taste is a benefit, but is that all?
I must say I have tried alot of different FD food and nothing tops Mountain House for Taste... (as far as Prepackaged FD foods are concerned)
I for one was quite suprised at how good Mounain House products are...

Oh, I did hear an arguement for Cost, but that doesn't really pan out either.
Figuring cost of the Dehydrator, Food stuff, packaging material and your time (minimum wage) you won't break even until???
Please, I do understand the fun of doing everything yourself, I enjoy my dehydrated fruit, but prepackaged FD main meals are cheaper in the long run.:)


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
taste of food on 02/12/2005 14:31:52 MST Print View

gotta agree Mountain House does put out great meals. I even have a hiker buddy that swears that he would eat them for dinner at home.

Kenneth Gurney
(Drunkenblade) - F
Ken... on 02/12/2005 16:02:04 MST Print View

Hey Ken... I've been triing to get a hold of you...
E-mail me

Edited by Drunkenblade on 02/12/2005 18:30:34 MST.

Cost issue on 02/13/2005 06:49:56 MST Print View

I haven't really compared the cost of FD foods to the foods I make at home. As far as the cost of a dehydrator, I bought mine for about $10 15 years ago and it's still working fine. (Look for liquidator specials around Christmas time.) I also buy my food in season when it's at a good price. This seems to help keep the cost down. If you can't find a cheap dehydrator, you can always dehydrate food in an oven. (Although the cost of running an oven is alot higher than the cost of running a dehydrator.)

Kenneth Gurney
(Drunkenblade) - F
Chicken and Rice Recipe? on 02/15/2005 00:15:14 MST Print View

Can some one post an Entree "home made" Seasoned Chicken and Rice Recipe... "That they Dehydrate and actually use." Complete with approximate dehydration time, portion size, weight and packaging(boil bag?). :)
I will make this myself using the directions provided and post a clear comparison cost annalysis for all to see...:)
Please understand that I just want to see for myself... The fact is that I maybe wrong, but I won't know until I try.:)

Tim W
(watters) - F
cost on 03/20/2005 17:28:18 MST Print View

I make an extra serving of a normal one pot saturday night dinner. After dinner I dehydrate the extra portion and store it in a vacuum sealed bag. By the time I'm ready to hit the trail I have a great selection of good tasting, very easy to prepare meals. No extra cost to speak of except the initial cost of the dehydrator and the pennies for the bag.

I got into dehydrating trail foods after reading Linda Yaffe's Backpack Gourmet book. Very simple.

Kenneth Gurney
(Drunkenblade) - F
Change of Heart? on 03/20/2005 20:04:21 MST Print View

After almost a month of originally posting this... and having recieved no recipes. :( all is not lost :)
I had the pleasure of triing "Freezer Bag Cooking" and it is very very good.
It does allow for one to flavor to taste and build your own meal according to likes and dislikes. The meals that I enjoyed were mostly Rice and Chicken meals that required me to carry a can of prepackaged cooked chicken. The down side(And ONLY down side) was weight of the can of chicken... 3oz of chicken was usually 5oz+ carried plus 3-4oz of the rest of meal.
So, for overall taste... Freezer Bag Meals were the best(Only because I could Tweak Them)
Mountain House still is the Lightest, especially in there new packaging! And Taste the best out of all Prepackaged meals...

Simple overnight will indeed include Freezer Bag meals... But as for the upcoming TRT thru hike... Mountain House:)

Join us on one of our Trips...

Edited by Drunkenblade on 03/20/2005 20:06:46 MST.

Chad Lorenz
(ChadL) - MLife

Locale: Teton Valley, Wydaho
Freeze Dried Chicken on 03/21/2005 12:26:43 MST Print View

You can purchase freeze dried chicken (mountain house brand) try


Edited by ChadL on 03/21/2005 12:27:31 MST.

Kenneth Gurney
(Drunkenblade) - F
1lb=$55 on 03/21/2005 14:42:53 MST Print View

Thats 1lb 1oz of freeze dried chicken for $55.25... Holy Cow!!!LOL and
$7.95 shipping
When I first looked at this I imagined 1lb of Chicken(Big Breast or two)LOL, but thats alot of Freeze dried Chicken:)
It is seperated into 40 servings...thats cool!
It would seem we are getting closer to perfection...


Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
$39.37 on 03/21/2005 16:07:01 MST Print View


Dwayne Thompson
(atonat) - F
prepackaged foods on 03/22/2005 09:45:14 MST Print View

As far as prepackaged foods, I have had great success with Mary Jane's Farm Backcountry Dinners. Their Organic and vegetarian/vegan dehydrated foods and quite tasty. Packaged in Wax coated paper that also serves as your eating bowl and can be burned or used for kindling afterwards. Check it out at:

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Prepackaged vs Homemade on 03/22/2005 13:05:44 MST Print View

We go on many weekend trips with our scouts. Of course we are on a budget, so often prepackaged is frowned upon because of the cost.
Many meals for the first day are prepared at home and portioned into freezer bags. Meals like beef stew or chicken and rice with veggie. These frozen meals, when packed right will last through to Saturday dinner and only need to be placed in a pot of boiling water, the water then used for hot chocolate or tea. Clean up is a piece of cake. (Teenage boys do not like to do cleanup... go figure)
Dehydrating things like canned pears, pineapple, apples, peaches and bananas have proven great snack food along the trail and are much cheaper than the prepackaged versions.
We also include Mountain House prepackaged food because they do taste better than others we have tried, and the local store gives the scouts a discount.
In the long run, we like the homemade on the first day or two and the variety offered in prepackaged for the remainder of the trip is a nice change the boys like.

Dane Pikkola
(DaneEdwards) - F
A vote for Homemade on 04/06/2005 19:13:02 MDT Print View

Guess it's time for me to contribute something, considering how much great info I've picked up on this forum.
First: I do all my own food, mostly because I get off doing it. Gives me a sense of impowerment, I suppose. The only equipment I use is an electric coffee grinder, a cookie sheet and my oven. (When I can borrow a commercial dryer, I use it. Saves electricity.) The coffee grinder is for pulverizing EVERYTHING. When you're ready to eat, just add hot water, stir and let set. For the no-fuss hiking I prefer, works just fine.
The "Recipes": Go to a good food coop (e.g.) and buy some of the following in the bulk section---Dehydrated:corn chowder;split pea soup mix; dried red bean mix; black beans;lentils;veg.soup mix---anything that says,"just add hot water" and looks like you would want to eat it on the trail. Also, dehydrated potatoes (Barbara's is by far the best);cous cous;instant oatmeal;fat-free powdered milk,e.g. Mix and match to find combinations you like.
Then go buy whatever veggies you like (lots of different ones). Cut'em up, dry'em, mix them together, run'em through the grinder till they're powdered. Add one big, heaping spoonful to each pre-packaged mix, add lots of whatever spices you like and store in the freezer till you're ready. I take about six different mixes with me, just add hot water and eat up. It's filling enough that I can never eat more than a large cup full. I also buy turkey *BEEP*,slice'em thin, dry'em, shred and use for snack food.
How many calories in all this? Don't know. Do know I'm never hungry, so suppose that must mean something. Light, compact, and (important) tasty.

Edited by DaneEdwards on 04/06/2005 19:15:01 MDT.

nathan perkes
at home food on 04/20/2005 15:38:12 MDT Print View

I have been playing around with boil in a bag meals that can be made easily at home. I agree with pulverizing the food. What I find works well is to cook some lean meat then send it through a meat grinder, this makes the meat into small fine shredded portions that dehydrate quickly and re-hydrate quickly. I will add this meat to instant staples like rice or potatoes and add an instant soup base or instant soup packets for flavor. This is quick effective and tasty. Give it a try.

cat morris
(catt) - F

Locale: Alaska
Re: A vote for Homemade on 08/14/2005 13:24:24 MDT Print View

Just wanted to thank you Dane for adding to my freezer-bag backpacking menu! I learned a lot about how to add veggies from you!

I used to love MaryJanes until I realized that for the $5 for 1 meal I could make 10 similar meals in ziplocks. Couscous or tiny noodles & parmisan cheese go a long way! One of my favorites is instant rice with dulce seaweed & red chile pequin.

But now I know how to add other vegetables other than just seaweed!


Curtis Presson
(Obdewla_X) - F
Prepackaged vs Homemade on 10/28/2005 20:20:06 MDT Print View

I've done quite a few dehydrated meals for all my backpacking adventures at home and enjoy doing so, although it can be somewhat time consuming. The big benefit is that it's generally less expensive, you can come up with with a good variety of on trail meals (limited by only your imagination) and it's fun.

Due to my travel schedule and time limitations, I have been purchasing pre-packaged meals from Enertia Trail Foods Not only are they fairly inexpensive, in my opinon it's the best pre-packaged food for the trail out there and I've tried them all. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Oh, and they pay for shipping... not a bad deal.

For each trip I repackage each meal in a cut down paper lunch bag with cooking directions written on the outside of the bag. After I'm done cooking, I burn the paper bag which cuts down on the amount of trash I have to carry out.

Edited by Obdewla_X on 10/31/2005 08:16:41 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Hi..... on 11/02/2005 16:54:09 MST Print View

I saw this thread and another thread here when I was tracking my I figured I would say hi to everyone-some here will know me from other forums.
My website is:
It is a free website that I have been running for a bit over a year. I am a lightweight backpacker who HATES freeze dried meals (yes, even in my 3 day disaster kit I have the fixings to make freezer bag!)
I figured I should post the link since there was mention of the concept :-)

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Hi..... on 11/02/2005 18:12:41 MST Print View

here is a link to another Thread in these Forums which specifically mentions your website. just thought you might like to read the Post about it. The Thread is primarily about a new book (a very good one, i might add) which you also might be interested in. Welcome to the Forums. I'm sure that you will have some valuable contributions. JUST CLICK ANYWHERE ON THIS BLUE TEXT TO BE LINKED TO THAT THREAD.'s the post by David White which specifically mentions your website.

Edited by pj on 11/02/2005 18:14:21 MST.