51 Dinners | 14 Brands | Blind Taste Test
You read that right. A total of 51 backpacking dinners were tested and charted for this review to find the best food for backpacking out there. It was no small undertaking that took us over FIVE MONTHS of gathering, researching, and charting. One last shout out to the panel of volunteers who offered up their time (and intestines) for this review. We had a great time with this!
Best Food For Backpacking: What’s Most Important?
What makes up the best food for backpacking? For some its all about taste. For others, hitting that certain calorie count is the most important thing. Still others, clean nutrition is of the utmost importance.
No matter the order of priority for you the purpose of this review is the help you find the best food for backpacking for your needs and taste buds. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be able to make the decision of what meals to take on the trail, and what you can leave on the shelf.
Make sure you check out Part 1 of this backpacking food series where we tested 14 different breakfast meals!
Don’t miss our Backcountry Coffee Review!! We taste tested a handful of great backcountry coffee options.
Food Discounts Below!
Want ALL the details and info on ALL the meals we tested in this review? Filter and sort the meals by anything from calories, carbs, water required, net weight, sodium content, protein and more on all 65 backpacking meals using my comprehensive spreadsheet . This will help you easily find the meals that fit what you are looking for!
Become a Backwoods Pursuit Insider (TOTALLY FREE!) and get access to this and much more in my Backcountry Library. IT’S FREE!!
Testing to Find the Best Food For Backpacking
Our panel of 7 participants gathered to taste test each of these meals (results below). No one (other than the ones cooking the meals) knew which was which. The panel of taste testers knew only if the meal was, say, teriyaki chicken or chicken pasta etc. All of them were served in an identical bowl.
To help us findthe best food for backpacking, our panel of taste testers ranked each meal with a 1-5 ranking for both taste and texture along with whether or not they’d personally use the meal. We’ll put the percentage of the panel that recommends the product as the “recommend” percentage below. The results were averaged across the whole panel. The exact manufactures recommended cooking instructions were followed (with a measuring cup).
Now, with all that out of the way, lets get started.
Laugh a little….We did! Watch the Outtakes Video!!
Best Food For Backpacking: Dinners
Mountain House review
Long standing favorite in the backpacking, hunting and outdoor communities, Mountain House is a staple in many peoples backcountry adventures. With an enormous selection, you are likely to find something (or many things) you really like. While the typical complaint against Mountain House is the sodium content, they do have a lot of tasty options.
Alpine Aire Review
Alpine Aire is another popular backcountry food option that has a massive selection to choose from. While Alpine Aire offers your traditional meals, they also have gluten free meals, as well as deserts, snacks and more! They’ve got some brand now meals this year geared toward the hunting community, some of which we test in this review! Alpine Aire was one of the big surprises in this review and scored much better than we anticipated!
Outdoor Pantry Review
Outdoor Pantry is a lesser known company I discovered in my search for backpacking food options. These guys have a pretty large selection of some unique looking meals, so check out what they offer. I wish we could have tried more, but we had our hands full with the 51 we tried for this review! Outdoor Pantry is offering all Backwoods Pursuit followers 10% off your order!
Use the code “Backwoods10” at checkout and receive 10% off your order!
Backpackers Pantry Review
Backpackers Pantry is another well known food company who has some brand new offerings geared toward the hunting community. Many of the meals testing in this review are apart of these new offerings! Give them a serious look as some of these are tasty!
Heather’s Choice Review
Heather’s Choice is a rising company that prides itself in high quality gluten free meals. If you want to eat clean in the backcountry, these top shelf ingredients are gluten free. If clean, quality food is number one on your priority list, take a look at the offerings from Heather’s Choice! Heather’s Choice is offering Backwoods Pursuit followers free shipping on your next order!
USE THE CODE “BACKWOODS” AT CHECKOUT FOR FREE SHIPPING ON YOUR NEXT ORDER! (US ORDERS ONLY)
Peak Refuel Review
Peak Refuel is quickly making a name for themselves for their GREAT TASTING food. One of the favorites from our panel, they topped the list as some of the best food for backpacking in our blind taste test. We tested most of their meals in this review and were not disappointed. While the selection is limited, the portion sizes are massive…even too big in some cases. Some of the meals are easily sharable….a great weight and water saving bonus!
If you want great tasting food and huge portions, definitely give Peak Refuel a try!
Off Grid Food Company Review
Off Grid Food is a fast growing food company that has quickly made a name for itself….especially in the hunting community. These meals were made for hunters, by hunters and flat out taste amazing! High quality ingredients make these meals taste good time and time again.
Unlike many meals I’ve tried in the backcountry, I’ve yet to get that “gut bomb” feeling with these meals. Best of all… Off Grid is offering Backwoods Pursuit followers 10% off you orders with the code “BACKWOODS10” at checkout! Keeping up with demand has been a challenge, so I’d recommend snagging the meals you want as soon as they are available on the website or you might lose out!!
Use the code “BACKWOODS10” to receive 10% off you order!
Wise Food Company Review
Wise Company has a huge selection to choose from, making sure you’ll find something you like! They offer both single serve backpacking meals as well as large quantity food storage for emergencies. Wise Company offers some great tasting meals that you’ll definitely want to check out. Several of these meals ranked among up there with some of the other best food for backpacking, so definitely check these guys out!
BaseKamp is a newer backpacking food company that I discovered right before I launched this taste test (almost too late). Luckily, we were able to include them in the test because these are some great tasting meals! Huge servings make it easy to share these meals. While some of them are a bit on the heavier side and require a bit more water to re-hydrate, if you split them with a buddy, you’ll end up saving weight
Omeals are a different kind of meal than all the rest in this review. These are not freeze dried, and the meal also comes with a liquid activated packet that causes a chemical reaction which self heats the meal. No stove is necessary for hot water. If you just don’t like the freeze dried taste, these are going to be something you will want to check out. One down side is that the heating packet does add extra weight (each one serving meal is typically 8oz), but you do save the weight of the stove.
One awesome thing about the Omeals is that you can use ANY liquid to activate the heating pouch. This means you don’t have to use precious filtered water to get a nice hot meal….and it only takes 3-5oz of whatever liquid you choose to activate the heating packet. Pretty dang cool.
Next Mile Meals Review
Next Mile Meals was a last minute add to the test. While Next Mile Meals is brand new to the backpacking food industry, they offer low carb and Keto meal selections. lf you want some Keto backpacking food, you need to check these guys out. Next Mile Meals is offering Backwoods Pursuit Followers 10% off your entire order through May 31st!
Use the Code “Backwoods” at checkout to get 10% off your order!
Good To Go Meals Review
Good to Go meals are a bit different in that most of them don’t contain any meat proteins. Now, before you say that’s a deal breaker for you, you’ll want to check out how some of these scored in the taste test. As much as we like meat as hunters, some of these were pretty dang good. Good to Go meals also offers meals that are gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian (those who eat fish but no other meat).
As you can tell, Good to Go has carved out its place in the market of folks who prefer to get their proteins from things other than meat. If you fall in that group (or, even if you don’t), check these guys out. Some of these meals were delicious!
Mary Jane’s Farm Review
Mary Janes Farm offers some high quality organic, vegetarian meals as well as some of your standard meat based meals. Based here in my home state of Idaho, they offer some unique flavor options that are pretty tasty! If you want to eat organic, vegetarian or even some of your “normal” high quality meal options, check them out!
Legacy Food Storage Review
Legacy Food is more of a large quantity food storage company, but, they do offer some great tasting options that are ideal for you to leave at base camp and cook up for your crew when you get back to camp after a long day on the trail. These serve 4 people, so they are perfect camp. Definitely consider these for your base camp if you are cooking for more than just yourself. You can even cut the meals in half or thirds if you don’t need it all at that point and only cook what you need. These aren’t resealable cook-in-the-bag meals, so you’ll need cookware.
If on a mobile device, turn it sideways for best viewing of the chart!
Best Food For Backpacking: Dinner Results
Keep in mind that the above results were purely based on taste and texture. Much more information (way more than I could fit on the above table) from the panel is available by becoming a BP Exclusive Member (FREE!).
Subscribe to Backwoods Pursuit to get our FREE Backcountry Gear Worksheet!!!
Dial in your gear list, calculate your pack weight and lighten up you pack with this handy tool!