Which freeze-dried meals taste best?

Hungry after a long day of hiking, paddling, or snowshoeing with your Scouts?

Three little words can save the day: “Just add water.”

The beauty of freeze-dried meals comes in their simplicity: Boil water, add mix, and you’re done.

But — speaking from experience here — ease of use often comes by sacrificing taste. The freeze-dried meals I remember were bland, watered-down concoctions that were a chore to eat.

That was years ago, and times have changed, says Brandon Garrett of The Ready Store in Draper, Utah.

Today’s dehydrated meals retain the simplicity but boost the taste, he tells me.

I asked Brandon and his team at The Ready Store — purveyors of dehydrated food, survival kits, and emergency supplies — to share their favorites.

Note: Many are available either in pouches — for individuals, small groups, and backpackers — or #10 cans, for larger groups and car camping.

Here they are!

Breakfast

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet Wrap

Brandon says: “This comes in an easy-use pouch. You can prepare the whole thing inside of the pouch, and it doesn’t require any extra dishes – which is great for a backpacking trip. The mix includes hash browns, scrambled eggs, pork sausage, peppers, and chopped onions. Put that all in a tortilla wrap (not included), and it makes a great breakfast.”

Lunches and Dinners

Saratoga Farms Shanghai Teriyaki Stir Fry

Brandon says: “This one came up as a favorite for a bunch of people at our office. The great thing about this dish is that it’s a new meal at a cheaper price per ounce. I mean, how many times do you have teriyaki stir fry on a campout? It’s a great meal to change things up a bit at the camp. It’s also less expensive than ordering Chinese take-out!”

Mountain House Chicken Salad Wrap

Brandon says: “This is another wrap like the breakfast skillet wrap. It doesn’t come with tortillas, but is the inside of a chicken salad wrap. You can prepare the whole meal inside of the pouch, which makes for easy clean-up, and all you have to do is add water.  It’s great because if you need to get back to a merit badge class and only have a few minutes for lunch, this can be prepared very quickly.”

Saratoga Farms Mac & Cheese

Brandon says: “We did a test with our employees’ children where we gave them some typical Mac & Cheese along with Saratoga Farms Mac & Cheese [pictured above and at right]. The vote was in favor of Saratoga Farms! Another cool thing about this Mac & Cheese is that it contains less calories and cholesterol. It also contains more of your daily percent of calcium then your typical Mac & Cheese.”

Dessert

Mountain House Blueberry Cheesecake

Brandon says: “This is a pretty cool dish. It’s a little more complicated to make. You have to prepare a few separate dishes and then combine them to make the cheesecake. But what better dish to have after a day of working on merit badges than a creamy dessert?”

A Reminder About Water

Brandon Garrett of The Ready Store in Draper, Utah

Without potable water, these meals are worthless. So Brandon and his team remind customers to make sure they have a proper water-filtration system when out on the trail. His favorites are the Katadyn HikerPro, the Katadyn Combi, and the Vario Water Filter.

Thanks, Brandon and The Ready Store for sharing these reviews!

Note: Neither Scouting magazine nor Bryan on Scouting received compensation or product samples from the manufacturers or The Ready Store for publishing these reviews.
About Bryan Wendell 2913 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.