Backpacking food. It’s a never-ending search. Is this new Alpen Fuel Granola something that’s tasty yet won’t destroy your stomach- something that is nutritious, having just the right kind of calories and not an exorbitant amount of sodium, causing dehydration in the backwoods? Is the Alpen Fuel Granola the next “amazing” backpacking food? This hunting season, we had the opportunity to test out each of their flavors in the field, and boy am I glad we did!
Make sure to check out our MASSIVE BACKCOUNTY FOOD REVIEW where we did a blind taste test of over 50 freeze dried meals!
Packaging: Alpen Fuel Granola Review
It might sound a bit trivial, but packaging is a big deal with backcountry meals. So many brands out there give you a huge bag that is grossly oversized for the meal. One of the things I appreciate about Alpen Fuel Granola is that their packaging is the PERFECT size. It’s packed full of actual food, not air, and doesn’t leave you this big bag to pack away when you’re done. Because it isn’t too large you don’t get your hands messy when eating. I’ve had some backpacking food before where even my long handled Sea to Summit Titanium Spoon wasn’t long enough to reach the food at the bottom, getting my hands all grimy.
Water Usage: Alpen Fuel Granola Review
Another thing that can easily be overlooked, especially if the meal is really tasty, is how much water it uses. It’s a real bummer when water is at a premium, or requires a long hike to filter more, but you REALLY want to cook a hot meal, only to find that your meal takes 16 ounces of water. The Alpen Fuel meals only need 4-5 ounces of water to re-hydrate, weigh in at 4-6 ounces each, and only need 5 minutes to “cook” before eating. Of all the meals I’ve tested (and we’ve tested a lot), these Alpen Fuel Granola meals use the least amount of water, but don’t sacrifice a bit on taste. This is a win-win situation!
Taste: Alpen Fuel Review
Let’s face it. Taste is probably the biggest consideration when selecting a backpacking meal. Everyone certainly is going to have a different opinion because we all have a different palate for different foods, but we’ll bring you our thoughts on each of the flavors from our Alpen Fuel Granola review and testing. All of our testing was done out in the field on hunting trips.
Ingredients: Alpen Fuel Review
One of the very cool things about all of the Alpen Fuel Granola meals is that, not only do they taste amazing, they are all gluten free (and vegetarian) for those folks who have allergies or an intolerance. I personally don’t, but a few of my family members do, so these are perfect. There aren’t as many options for folks with allergies, so it’s awesome to have 5 incredible options here that are better than most backpacking meals we’ve tested, regardless of whether or not they contain gluten.
Who doesn’t like coffee with their breakfast? Check out our Backcountry Coffee Review as we tested a handful of the instant coffee options on the market!
Orange Pecan: Alpen Fuel Review
The first flavor we tried was the Alpen Fuel Orange Pecan Granola Breakfast. I’d been anxious to try these meals as I’d heard they were outstanding, and this first one certainly did not disappoint. Now I must stay that I don’t LOVE pecans, but I don’t dislike them either. However, in this case, the pecans really complimented and enriched the flavor. The orange flavor isn’t overpowering, but you get a great rich flavor. All of these granola breakfasts are what I’d consider to be on the sweeter side, so if that’s not something you like, maybe just pick one or two to try at first.
With that being said, I absolutely loved this one. As you can see, this is one hearty breakfast, just what you need to keep you going during a long day in the field. As often happens for me, I spend the early morning hours hunting hard, then once there is a lull during late morning hours, I stop for some breakfast. By that time I’m usually super hungry, so a hearty, tasty breakfast like this is just what the doctor ordered.
Strawberry Chocolate: Alpen Fuel Review
The Alpen Fuel Chocolate Strawberry Granola Breakfast was next in line for testing. Again, all three of us in our hunting party on this trip gave this another thumbs up. While we didn’t love it quite as much as some of the others, it was still excellent and something any of us would be excited to eat on our backcountry trips. It isn’t too chocolatey, has a great strawberry flavor and a hearty taste that keeps you coming back for more.
Caramel Apple: Alpen Fuel Review
Next up we tried the Alpen Fuel Caramel Apple Granola Breakfast. As of writing this, this is a new flavor for Alpen Fuel, and the new bags weren’t even done yet, thus the reason the packaging looks different. As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Of all of the Alpen Fuel Granola meals we tested, THIS was the all time favorite in our party. As I mentioned earlier, pecans aren’t typically something I love, but dang they were amazing in this meal!
The caramel perfectly compliments the pecans in this one, so much so that I had trouble getting it back from my wife and son who were “helping” me test these meals. Now, if you don’t like a sweeter breakfast, this one might not be something you love, but I’d say give it a shot. It goes perfectly with a cup of black coffee on a cool fall morning in the mountains (or really any time). Personally, this is the best backpacking breakfast meal that I’ve ever tried. It’s that incredible!
Coconut Mango: Alpen Fuel Review
The next meal we tried was the Alpen Fuel Coconut Mango Breakfast meal. I’ll have to admit, this is one I was kind of avoiding as I typically don’t want anything to do with coconut, but I’ll always give something a try before writing it off. To my shock, I loved this one too! I had to trust my taste buds because I usually shutter when it comes to coconut, and I especially did when I saw “triple coconut” on the label, but again, Alpen Fuel Granola knocked it out of the park. It was epic!
To my surprise, the coconut flavor was not overpowering, but really offered a nice balance of flavors. The almond and mango really added a lot to the flavor and balanced out the coconut making this a meal I actually really enjoyed. My wife loves coconut, so naturally this was one of her favorites that we tested on an archery elk hunt this year.
Lemon Berry: Alpen Fuel Review
Last, but certainly not least, we tried the Alpen Fuel Lemon Berry flavor. I was REALLY looking forward to trying this one out since I love berry granola and was already in love with the taste of the others we’d tested that contain ingredients I typically don’t like. I shouldn’t have been surprised at this point, but again, this one was out-of-this-world good, so much so, that this Alpen fuel granola will be a staple in my pack going forward.
The raspberries and blueberries combined with the lemon flavoring was just outstanding. Being a berry lover, it was no surprise that this was a real winner for me. Meals like this one are ones that I could eat over and over again and not get sick of. As with all of these meals, you get a great high caloric count, very little water needed to cook, and a nice sized package that doesn’t drown out your food.
It was tough to decide an absolute favorite between this one and the Caramel Pecan, but I’ll still give the edge to the Caramel Pecan. This would be a great 2nd option to take with you in the backwoods to change things up a bit.
Our Alpen Fuel Granola Rankings
As subjective as this is, here are our personal rankings after trying each of the Alpen Fuel Granola Breakfast meals:
- Caramel Pecan
- Lemon Berry
- Orange Pecan
- Coconut Mango
- Chocolate Strawberry
All of these meals sat well in our stomachs, which is certainly a welcomed thing in the backcountry. They aren’t heavy or feel like a gut bomb, but give you a ton of calories to replenish the energy you need for high output activities. I wish they didn’t have quite the saturated fat as they do, but they offer a good amount of protein, lots of vitamins, reasonable sugars and low sodium.
Alpen Fuel Review: Conclusion
At the end of the day, what meals you like is a very personal thing as everyone has very different taste buds. For us, though, these Alpen Fuel Granola Breakfast meals were overall some of the best we’ve tried. That Caramel Apple is my favorite breakfast meal of anything I’ve ever tried, and the Lemon Berry isn’t far behind. Every single one of these meals were fantastic, not only in flavor, but in weight and how little water they took to prepare.
As a side note, you can use hot or cold water to prepare them which is a benefit if you don’t have access to a heat source. The flavors in these meals stand out much more, however, if you use boiling water to re-hydrate them, so if you can, we’d definitely suggest making them a hot cereal rather than cold, to get the best taste possible.
Huge win all the way around with any of the Alpen Fuel Granola meals. These will be a staple in my pack going forward. Don’t take my word for it though. Pick some up for yourself and see what you think. These are definitely some of the best backpacking breakfast choices on the market!
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