Dehydrated Backpacking Meals

Does anyone use a dehydrator to make their backpacking meals? Our family just got one & we have only tried jerky in it so far. Which was amazing. We are hoping to cut out name brand backpacker meals & create our own. Does anyone have any great recipes or tips/tricks? Thank you!

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I absolutely love making fruit leather. It’s super, super easy and always tasty as a snack on backpacking trips. Full disclosure, I still use dehydrated brand-name stuff, and use my dehydrator for snack.


I love that! I haven’t made fruit leather in years. When my son was little I made it in our old machine. After it broke I just never got back into it. Adding this to the list.

It seems strange, but the next time you make pasta at home, you can make a little extra and dehydrate the leftovers. You end up with quick cooking pasta that doesn’t need as much water or as much cook time; similar to “minute rice”. If you have a bumper crop of roma tomatoes, you can slice those up and dehydrate those too. Its best to get them before they are super ripe, but no need to skin them even if they are.

I’ll put the pasta and dried tomatoes in a zip top bag with some spices and when I get to camp, all I do is boil a little bit of water and rehydrate the mixture to my liking. Sometimes I’ll add one of those chicken or salmon “packets” from the grocery store for protein. Yum.


Those are some really great ideas! I really appreciate it. I love the idea of adding the romas & the packets in. Thank you!

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We generally dehydrate onions, peppers, sweet potatoes and broccoli before every backpacking trip. They are easy add-ins to pasta, quinoa, rice or any grain staple. They provide great flavor, nutrients and bulk without any real weight. I’d echo the fruit leather as well! One of my favorite things to snack on. I also like to buy sliced mango when it goes on sale and dehydrate that, so easy and delicious! I’ve really enjoyed supplementing our backcountry meals with dehydrated fruits and veggies. Enjoy!


Those all sound like some delicious options! I am really enjoying the idea of adding more fruits & veggies while on the trail. Those are staples we usually end up craving. I love the mango idea! Thank you!

related to the initial question - does anyone have a food dehydrator they would recommend?

So far we have really loved our Nesco Gardenmaster. Having the heating element at the top seems to be highly recommended. We also really like that there is a temperature & timer so we don’t have to keep an eye on it so much.

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I have an Excalibur 9-tray and 2 Nesco Gardenmasters. I find that we have to rearrange items more often in the Nescos than we do the Excalibur. We basically run them all from spring-beginning of winter between dehydrating our foraged mushrooms, veggie boxes, and garden harvests to drying mycological samples for DNA analysis. For food, I find the Excalibur to be superior to any dehydrator I’ve ever owned. I got mine refurbished from Amazon about 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. It has made backpacking meal prep super cheap and perfectly customizable (we dehydrate gochujiang, Thai basil, dal, hummus… stuff that’s hard for us to find in our area for backpacking).